Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Project Get's A Name.

So I've settled on a decent name now for "The Project", a name that I hope will imbue it with more cred and attraction than what I have been calling it thus far.

"Dreams Of A Love Indestructable" is a story about a dying young man whose spirit refuses to leave this life.

Denny Banister had it all. A successful university degree, a passion for the guitar and a beautiful woman with whom he is head over heels in love. Tragically Denny is struck down with inoperable cancer and he is destined to die. At the moment of his death, however, Denny's spirit passes from his destroyed body and into the body of a drug addicted young man who lies in a trauma room, clinging to life on the other side of the world.

Andy DeVries is a troubled young man who stands on a precipice. He lives on a razor's edge, dealing in drugs and mixing with dangerous people, he is alienated from his father and he stands to lose the only thing that matters to him - a place at a prestigious Conservatory for classical guitar in Chicago. For Andy has a love of the guitar as fierce as Denny's was. Having been snatched from a near fatal overdose Andy is suddenly plagued by dreams of another life - a life he has never known but is familiar to him. He dreams of a love he has never known yet he knows this love intuitively. Having been given a chance at redemption Andy begins to change.

Something has been awakened in him - a spirit of a once proud man. And as the woman on the other side of the world grieves for a lost love Andy begins a quest to find her - knowing her only by the dream...the dream of a love indestructable...

I invite you to visit my portal and follow my progress as the novella develops week by week (or thereabouts). If you like it tell your friends. If you really like it - perhaps consider a donation via paypal ( I know that sounds a little bold but I'm publishing "Dreams Of A Love Indestructable" to my portal free of charge.

In lieu of this I thank you for spreading the word about my novella.

Part Seven is almost done and will be appearing here soon...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dreams Of A Love Indestructable (Part Six).

His sleep was restless, plagued by bizarre nightmares featuring the people who were in his life now. His girlfriend Cassandra, Vasq and his crew, Beck, Veldtman - all of whom stood over him like a jury in a courtroom passing judgement.

He dreamed of the overdose - of being back in the trauma room surrounded by the doctors and nurses who, this time were laughing at him - cruelly. They were grabbing his skin, pulling at it so hard they were tearing bloodied chunks of it away from his chest, exposing his ribs, his lungs, his blackened heart, covered in maggots. In his mind he tried to scream but he was unable to puncture the silence pull himself from the depths of this horrible imagery. He was trapped there being taunted, mocked, ridiculed...

Then there was his father - standing alone on a dusty, gray highway, beside his Kenworth 18 wheeler, looking away from him and into a barren, inaccessible desert. Shaking his head his father turned and walked off the bitumen into the parched landscape, disappearing from view...emotionally inaccessible.

Somewhere in the deepest hours of the night, the disturbing imagery gave way to a nascent peace and suddenly he found himself immersed in a comforting warmth.

There was an ocean. Waves breaking on a sandy shore...

A grassy hillside...

He knew where it was but he couldn't place it...

A dog - a pup - was galloping across the grass, yelping enthusiastically. A cattle dog? A sheep dog? He couldn't tell. But he knew the dog - was familiar with the sense of companionship with this dog.

There was a woman's laughter, light and breezy. He felt his heart skip a beat and he tried to look towards where he thought she was but he couldn't manipulate his field of vision. She was there the very corners of his vision

Her presence, warm and pure...

Her love...vital...

And then she spoke. She called to him...

"Get the ball honey! Before it goes into the sea!"

What was that accent?!

He knew it but it's origin was just out of reach of him. The dog passed in front of him and in that instant he recognized the black and white markings, the pointed ears, the sleek body of a cross bred cattle dog. He tried to go to the dog but he was stuck fast where he stood as though his feet were stuck in pools of cement.

He reached out with his hand...

But there was no hand...

He panicked. He couldn't breathe. And as the imagery of the peaceful shore began to fade he tried once more, desperately, to look towards the woman.

And then she was his arms. Her embrace sent an electricity coursing through him that was at once and foreign to him...

Yet he knew it...

He could feel her skin upon his cheek, he could smell her hair...

Rosemary and mint.

He felt her lips upon his and they kissed long and deeply. He tried to look into her face but could only see her lips as she drew back.

'I love you...'

Andy awoke in the darkness of his room, her voice echoing in his mind. The warmth of the dream, the bitterness of his nightmares conflicted in his mind until he sat up in his bed and shook them away. Yet he allowed his consciousness to hold onto the memory of her and he stared into the darkness of the room allowing his senses to remember.

Quite unexpectedly, as though it was not of his own volition, he opened his mouth and whispered...


* * *

Beck stumbled into the apartment early the next morning and collapsed down onto the sofa in the living area. He had pulled another all nighter on the building site and hadn't even bothered to change out of his work gear, his coveralls and reflective vest before he came home, so tired was he.

He felt for the remote on the side table - translation - the old packing crate that posed as a side table, and flicked on the TV. In the light from the box Beck suddenly noticed that the living room was spotless...absolutely spotless! The week old pizza trays were gone, the empty beer cans that had been piling up in the corner underneath the miniature Chicago Bulls basketball ring - also gone. The carpet had been vacuumed - there was no trace of crumbs or food of any sort on the floor. The tatty wall unit that housed both Beck and Andy's collection of books, DVDs and magazines and glass ware was neat and tidy - for the first time ever! The books were neatly arranged, as were the DVDs. Magazines - mainly copies if Maxim and FHM were arranged chronologically by month of issue.

All at once Beck was bemused, impressed and slightly disturbed and he suddenly felt guilty about having his dusty work boots on.

He got up and went through into the kitchen to find a similar scenario. It was almost sparkling. The oven and stove top were pristine - the first time Beck ever recalled seeing them such. A pair of saucepans - one large, one small sat on top both of them as equally as clean - not a trace of baked on crap in sight. The benches were had been wiped down and gleamed, the small round dining table and chairs in the corner were neat and tidy. It even smelled fresh in here.

It was then he heard the sound of scrubbing coming from the bathroom. Poking his head around the door frame Beck saw Andy - down on his hands and knees, wearing only a pair of pyjama bottoms - scrubbing the toilet - evidently the only remaining task in the bathroom which was also the cleanest Beck had ever seen it.

"Umm...good morning there," he greeted hesitantly. Andy paused and turned around.

He nodded. "What gives man? You turn gay all of a sudden"

Andy smiled wanly at the quip and dropped the scrubbing brush into the toilet bowl, collapsed back against the wall. Beck suddenly realized that Andy's stringy, greasy hair was gone. It had been shaved off so now Andy sported a crew cut similar to Beck's - only much shorter. Beck noticed several nicks and cuts in Andy's scalp, some of which sported dried and crusted blood.

"Couldn't sleep...Kept having bad dreams. Couldn't look at this fucking pig sty anymore," Andy paused pointing limply at the shower whose curtain was now gone. "I'll replace that too. I'd hate to think just how much bacteria was growing in that old one".

Beck nodded slowly.

"Fair enough man. Whatever you think is best...are you feelin' okay?"

Andy looked up at Beck and shook his head slowly.


A long moment of silence...

"But there's not much I can do about it right now...except clean.
"I, uh, rearranged your DVDs. I know..."

Beck brushed it aside with a nod.

"No did a fucking great job...I shoulda got of my ass ages ago and got my shit together"

At that, Andy chuckled - a kind of bitter chuckle - and he peeled off the rubber gloves he was wearing. His eyes drifted up to the ceiling.

"I gotta get my shit together Beck..." he said solemnly. "I can't go on like this".

Beck was struck by Andy's candor then and he leaned his head against the door frame.

"Hmm" Beck replied simply. "You know...I've never judged man because you pay your rent and your share of the bills and shit without're on a shitty path man. Those cock suckers who hang off you...they're wrong for you Dev. You can do a shit ton better".

Andy nodded slowly and wiped his brow.

"I gotta get some sleep man" Beck said and he backed away from the doorway, about to turn towards his bedroom when he hesitated. He glanced back at Andy.

"Nice buzz cut dude"

* * *

Andy had passed the exam - barely. He'd, uncharacteristically, turned up on time for classes that morning and attended all of them throughout the remainder of the day and the next, only skipping a Friday afternoon lecture to get to the Pub for his shift. No one at the Pub dared mention his rather stark, different appearance nor did he say much to them either. As he had over the past three days, Andy got in and worked hard, harder than he ever had at his job, maintaining the momentum that had taken everyone by surprise.

Andy ignored the repeated calls to his cell from Vasq, members of his posse and - significantly - Cassandra. Vasq had turned up at the Pub that evening but Andy asked one of the security guys to get rid of him - which they did so - eagerly.

Andy sat quietly at the end of the bar reading a text book during his break late that evening. Samantha brought a meal from the kitchen out to him.

"Thanks" he said quietly as he turned the book over so as not to lose his place.

Sm watched him as he began eating and after several seconds he looked up at her, causing her to divert her eyes away.

"What?" he asked.

"N...nothing," she stammered. "I...ahh...your haircut looks good. You actually look pretty decent without that EMO shit hanging down over your face"

Andy brushed his hand through it and nodded.

"You know," he began through a mouthful of mashed potato. "This is probably the best meal I've eaten in months? If I'd known this was one benefit of actually working I would've got my ass into gear long ago"

Samantha smiled knowingly at the comment.

"Well if you keep this up you're gonna find a lot more benefits in working here" she gestured with a nod behind her. "They're talking you know. About you. They're trying to figure you out"

Andy shrugged his shoulders.

"Nothing to figure out. Maybe I just wanna brown nose to the boss"

Samantha eyed him skeptically.

"Something happe...," her voice trailed off then as something or someone caught her eye behind him.

Andy turned in his seat as a tall figure entered the bar. A man dressed in denim jeans, a thick, woolen tartan jacket and a grubby looking truckers cap bearing a Red Bar Radio logo. A match stick he was chewing protruded from the corner of his mouth.

Bruce DeVries - Andy's father - regarded his surroundings with a dour, expression. His dark eyes fixed upon Andy momentarily...

Then he walked through the bar and disappeared through the bistro entrance, completely ignoring his son.

Samantha immediately felt a twinge of embarrassment for Andy. He simply turned back to his meal and ate a few mouthfuls silently but she could see that his appetite had already left him. Wordlessly Andy abandoned the plate and disappeared into the nearby men's room, returning minutes later to his work.

* * *

Bruce DeVries and Gideon Allan's friendship went back 20 years to the time of the first Gulf War where they had served together. Their friendship was a enduring constant in both their lives despite the failures of other, arguably more significant relationships.

Bruce often dropped by the Pub before heading out on the highway on his long haul runs. And tonight was no exception. He had been drinking there for years - or at least for as long as anyone could remember. Of course he would only have a meal tonight - no drink. He would catch up with Gideon for an hour or so and then he would leave. Seattle was his destination this trip.

Rarely, if ever, did he talk with his son. In fact Bruce hadn't expected Andy to be here this evening. Had he known - he probably wouldn't have come.

So it was significant that Bruce DeVries appeared at the bar a little over an hour and a half later just as Andy was finishing up his last few jobs. Samantha nudged Andy as he unloaded a tray from the glass washer and nodded discreetly at his father.

Andy set the tray down and wiped his hands with a towel. He looked at his father - the square jaw, peppered with a five o'clock shadow dark, the thinning hair that was graying at the temples, the dark eyes that seemed unable to look at him directly.

Neither seemed able to open dialogue. Samantha found it painful to observe from the other end of the bar where she was serving a group of regulars.


" heading to Seattle tonight," Bruce's voice was gravelly and deep with just a hint of a Southern twang. "be away maybe four...five days"

After a long moment Andy nodded.

"Your sister called..." Bruce continued. "Mentioned the hospital"

"Yeah...well," Andy rubbed his forehead and fidgeted nervously with his foot at a spot on the floor. "It was nothin'"

Bruce seemed unable to advance the conversation. He fingered his watch, drew the zipper of his jacket up further. The scowl was unmistakable.

"Wake up to yourself. You're a fucking disgrace"

Bruce turned, strode from the bar and was gone.

Andy stood expressionless as his father had been.

Inside, he felt crushed...

Copyright © 2009 Dean Mayes

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dreams Of A Love Indestructable (Part Five).

Andy sprinted across the lawn of the university nearly gasping for breath. He was horribly late and he knew it but still he ran in some vain hope that it would make a difference. He gripped the unwieldy guitar case in his left hand, occasionally scuffing it along the grass, cursing himself every time he did so.

This was the Conservatory where Andy studied classical guitar under the tutelage of some of the finest practitioners of the art in Chicago - if not the country. It was the one thing of value to Andy. He had been admitted to this institution on a scholarship, having shown a prodigious talent for the instrument throughout his senior years at high school. For someone considered under privileged, Andy's talent was described as a revelation by one of his former teachers. He had been encouraged to go as far as he could with his 'gift'.

But, as with other facets if his life right now, Andy's place at the Conservatory was under threat. He had missed a crucial exam on Monday just gone - because of the hospital - because of the overdose. It was not the first time. He'd missed both exams and important tutorial sessions in the past for similar reasons. One too many hours at the raves, one too many drinks, one too many illicit substances.

As he ran, Andy's mind was - yet again - working through possible scenarios to bullshit his way out of this mess. But he knew that, this time, the situation would be dire. His lecturer, Veldtman, would be fuming.

As he leapt up a flight of stairs, the painful twinge of a stitch tugged ferociously at his lower right side and he had to stop before he doubled over.

Andy was a mess.

He hadn't showered this morning when the realization of his predicament had hit him. He reeked of stale marijuana smoke and sex. His hair was greasy, his complexion - a mess of acne and what he thought was a developing cold sore. His clothes - the same ones he had worn yesterday - were rumpled and in dire need of a launder. As he approached the doors to the lecture theater he pulled his beanie down a little further and checked his under arms. The cheap deodorant was simply that - cheap.

Thankfully, as he snapped open the door and stepped inside he was confronted by a welcoming darkness - the class was in the middle of watching a documentary film. Andy found an empty line of seats at the very back of the amphitheater and huddled in there praying that she hadn't noticed him but knowing instinctively that she had.

She - was Sorrel Veldtman. A diminutive, if somewhat earth-motherish Jew, Veldtman had been both Andy's lecturer and tutor for the past two years and was one of the few people he held in any sort of high regard. Veldtman had been a master of the classical guitar for more than forty years, having brought her talent from a coastal village near Tel Aviv to the concert halls of both New York and Chicago. It was rumored that she had recorded with Jose Feliciano though Andy had never been able to confirm this. Veldtman was a master of flamenco, a discipline Andy himself aspired to. She was tall, gypsy like - noted for her loud head scarves and her deeply lined face that was at once harsh but also quite stunning.

The documentary film ended and the lights came up in the amphitheater. Veldtman clapped her hands together to rouse the handful of "dozers" before her then stepped out from behind her lectern to address the audience.

"So," her voice snapped. "The Spanish introductory film to give you a beginning point for the remainder of this semester. We shall be studying their history, their influence upon the modern discipline and you will be required to master some of the basic pieces"

Veldtman paused to allow her students to absorb her words. She scanned the auditorium, noticing the new arrival at the back. Her eyes narrowed and then she nodded.

"That will be all for now"

Immediately the auditorium became a buzz as students got to their feet and began filing out. Andy sat in his seat, unconsciously biting at his finger nails and tapping his foot incessantly, rhythmically. He studied Veldtman, trying to gauge her mood at this moment. Despite his talent Veldtman did not suffer fools at all.

He knew she'd be pissed.

He got to his feet, losing his nerve suddenly, and he tried to lose himself in a group of students who filed passed him.


Andy's jaw locked painfully and he knew right then that the ceiling was going to fall. A few of his student colleagues regarded him with what amounted to thinly veiled disgust as he shuffled past them, down the central aisle of stairs. By the time he was three or four steps from the bottom, the auditorium was quiet again.

Veldtman was placing some notes in a folder before reaching for an over sized handbag.

"You missed my examination...again" she hissed menacingly.

Andy stopped where he stood as though he had turned to stone as she pierced him with a malevolent stare.

"What's your pitiful excuse this time?"

Andy opened his mouth to speak. The pre-rehearsed explanations circled around in his mind but suddenly, they all seemed pathetic. He simply shook his head. His shoulders slumped.

"You were warned Mr. DeVries...formally, that if you missed another assessment task...the consequences would be dire for you"

Andy simply nodded an acknowledgement. Defeat washed over him and he knew this was it. He was going to be dumped from the Conservatory.

Veldtman began pacing back and forth, arms folded defiantly.

"The decision rests with me now. After discussing it with the faculty head they have given me the final say...and I say I would dump you..."

As she had with class minutes before, Veldtman let the impact of her words hang in the air between them to knife through him like shards of glass. For his part Andy felt as if he might throw up.

Veldtman grimaced, pursed her lips forcing air to whistle through her teeth.

"I am aware, however, that you were in hospital on Monday..."

Again, a theatrical pause.

"And that things were touch and go for you DeVries"

For the most fleeting of moments, Veldtman's icy facade cracked, her shoulders relaxed slightly and she seemed to offer some sympathy through her eyes towards him.

"I am not interested in the circumstances of your hospitalization nor the reasons why you failed to attend on Monday"

Andy (stupidly) prepared to stammer a reply but Veldtman brushed him away brusquely.

"You have an hour!" she declared turning abruptly on her heel to begin gathering up her books. "You will be here ready to sit and you will take my exam...We shall see what you are capable of"

And with that Veldtman strode from the room leaving Andy frozen where he stood, trying to force his beleaguered mind to prevent him from descending into wholesale panic.

Outside the lecture theatre Veldtman stopped before a man - an aging hippie character with wild silver hair, a salt and pepper beard and a pair of gold rimmed glasses whose bridge was held together with a band aid. He regarded her with a questioning look.


Veldtman sighed annoyed and rubbed her brow.

"I...I couldn't do it" she said scratchily.

Casper was not surprised. His satisfied smile said it all. He clucked as though he had won a wager.

Veldtman considered slapping him but she restrained herself.

"I have given him an hour. He will sit the theoretical component this afternoon and that will decide his fate"

"I knew you wouldn't cut him loose" Casper persisted with his self indulgent 'I told you so'. "The faculty are going to be pissed"

Veldtman's eyes narrowed then and she fixed an intense stare that bored right into Casper.

"Do you honestly think that you could live with yourself knowing that you had denied a talent as potent as his?"

Casper opened his mouth to respond, stammered silently as he tried to answer. He knew he couldn't though.

"Casper I have not heard anyone elicit a more beautiful sound from the strings of a guitar as I have from that young man. He is a troubled, soul, I'll grant you...but he has a gift such as I have never witnessed in anyone..."

She paused momentarily.

"I know there is good in him...I am praying that the guitar will bring it out. I will not abandon that talent so long as it's in him"

"He's a fuck up Sorrel" Casper sighed. "I think you should cut him as soon as possible and stop denying the inevitable"

With that Casper turned on his heel and sauntered away.

* * *

Andy clicked open the door of the apartment and hung his ruck-sack on the hook just inside. He leaned the guitar case up against the wall just below it.

Andy felt sick to his stomach - and not just because of the secondhand take-out he had subjected himself to on the journey home. He knew had blown the exam badly...he knew it. In the fallout from the weekend he had completely forgotten his study - which wasn't anything new - but he usually made at least some sort of effort to cram in the lead up to an exam.

Veldtman always seemed to cut him some slack and he took advantage of that whenever he could. And that was the problem...he took advantage.

The apartment was empty. Beck was working - again but Andy was relieved to have the place to himself. He checked the answering machine. There were two messages from Cassandra to call him. He deleted them right away. He didn't want to talk to her right now. He went to the bedroom and stripped off his jacket, pullover and shirt in one effort and tossed them in the laundry basket in the corner. He considered lighting a joint but decided against it. He was - perhaps uncharacteristically - sick of drugs.

Looking down at the floor beside the bed Andy dropped to his knees and felt under the bed until his fingers brushed across the top of a hard metal object there. He pulled out the small locked box and fished a key out of his pocket. Opening the box Andy looked down upon a serious wad of folded bills inside - his "earnings". Though he hadn't counted it lately, Andy estimated that there was about three to four thousand dollars there. A considerable amount. He shook his head as he considered his ill gotten gains but then paid it no mind as he quickly locked the box again and shoved it back underneath the bed.

He decided upon showering - his odor was appalling.

Andy knew that - where the guitar was concerned - Veldtman considered him somewhat of a wunderkind. He was seriously good at it and combined with the grades he had achieved so far in his studies Andy had the potential to top his class. But he was arrogant, undisciplined and lazy. He had come to rely too heavily upon his raw talent to get him through. Today, he realized he could no longer charm his way through an exam or an assessment task.

It was probably too late anyhow. He knew that - more likely than not - he was fucked. At that moment a wave of sadness rolled over him and he felt himself on the verge of tears once again. The thought of losing his place at The Conservatory…it was a prospect too much to bare. It really was the only thing of value to him.

"Jesus" he whispered.

It was good to be clean again Andy thought as he stepped out of the shower and took the towel from the rail. He dried his hair off first then his body. As he stood up he caught sight of himself in the mirror...

...He recoiled at what he saw there. He heart thumped loudly in his ears and - inexplicably - he felt an overwhelming surge of panic. Suddenly, he was afraid to look in the mirror.

His emotions threatened to spin out of control...

Slowly, Andy turned back to the glass and looked at what he saw there. A gaunt individual. His cheeks were sallow and his cheek bones were too prominent – he looked anorexic. The skin was pocked with a recent explosion of acne and was a pasty white. His hair - stringy and overly long in the front, a try-hard attempt at facial hair. He looked dusgusting.

In his mind a voice, foreign in accent and tone, spoke to Andy.

This isn't what I'm supposed to look like...

Andy couldn't look away now even though he was repulsed by what he saw - a drug addicted 25 year old, with a shitty attitude and a predilection for self destruction. In that moment Andy was over come by a wave of self loathing so potent, he almost wanted to smash the mirror.

Is this where I'm supposed to be now...?

Again that foreign voice, strange in his mind…yet familiar, knocked him off balance and maddened him more.

‘Who was that,’ he thought to himself.

Finally he turned away and went to his bedroom. It still stank of stale air - of perspiration and smoke Andy screwed his nose up at It wasn't something that would usually have bothered him but somehow, now, it did. Despite the cold outside, he immediately unlocked the window and opened it slightly to allow the crummy air in his room to escape.

Andy lay on the bed and pulled the blanket up around him.

He lay there feeling as though he did not belong in this city, in this life, in this body...

Copyright © 2009 Dean Mayes

When It Just Won't Happen

Sometimes in life, one's brain just refuses to kick into gear, when the creative part of the brain knows it has something to get out there but it's like someone putting a thumb to the roof of your mouth and preventing you from uttering a sound. The common term for this among writers is that of "writer's block" This is why I haven't posted a new instalment of Indissolubilis Diligo in while. I have an instalment on the table right now but I am not sure whether I am happy with it.

I know I said that this project was going to be 'on the fly' and I was going to put it up here and just let it be as it were - but I have becoming picky...well - I was always picky - but in the quest for perfection I have allowed that to creep into The Project.

Sometimes I look at what I have just written and I go "fuck it - this is bullshit". And then I think - you know - who is reading this anyway? No one probably. I am just wasting my time. But then I step back and try to look at things more rationally and think - this is a project of love more than money because, let's face it, I am not making any money from this.

This story like a certain other story of mine has been kicking around inside my head for years and it is something I have wanted to get out onto a page for years. I always imagined that this story would be a kind of short story or novella, just a sweet love story about a love and a spirit that refuses to die. Now that I have begun with it I have mixed feelings - pride - because now it has a life, because it is documented and frustration because I seem to be so bloody prone to writer's block and I can't seem to find a way forward right now. Life gets in the way too and that makes it hard. Family responsibilities, work, getting through...

So should I just post whatever I have right now as bad as I think it is? Should I continue to polish it and procrastinate over it and run the risk of delay delay delay?

What to do, what to do?

My love affair with writing is a beast of a thing...