A Record Year for Rainfall, Chapter 11

A Record Year for Rainfall is my second book, originally published in 2011.

Download A Record Year for Rainfall and my other stories in the books section.

Please note that the subject matter in this novel can be pretty graphic.

Album sat at his computer. The images were really, really great. Bret had successfully photographed a stampede of cougars into a VIP room. Scores of naked women and sex were caught. The look of desperation and shame on everyone’s faces were sublime. It would make for one of the best posts ever.

There were two problems with the set. The first was that Prince wasn’t identifiable in any of them. This was supposed to be a post about Prince, and his absence cheapened the whole thing. The second problem was that Album could clearly see Tess, and everything she had going. The irony wasn’t lost on him. He felt vindicated. He was at least a little right about her. It got him a little hard.

But could he post them, knowing what it would do to her?

Album looked at his blog. It was his adult life’s work. In totality, Album had caused an enormous amount of trouble. He liked that. He was proud of it. But he remembered the conversation he had with Bret out in the desert. He remembered his stupid idea of turning the blog into a print publication. He wondered what he really wanted out of that.

He didn’t want his words to be on paper. He wanted his words to matter.

That’s about when he called Fane and took the job. He threw in a few exceptions. He wanted a guarantee none of his writing would be censored. He wanted a guarantee that he completely controlled the creative output on the group, and he had 100% creative control on the twitter account. When Fane asked what the hell Twitter was, Album told him it was a dumb fad online, and not to worry about what he wrote there.

Album deleted the pictures. Prince wasn’t even there. There was no reason to publish the collateral damage. He kept one picture of Tess. Her tits were in excellent focus. He saved it into his pron folder.

Album wasn’t a good guy. He liked that about himself. More than anything, he figured he could have fun making Fane’s life hell.

He left a page on the blog. It wasn’t a goodbye so much as a frosty the snowman. He said he’d be back. He said he hadn’t sold out because he was taking a pay cut. He put it all out there. Made secrets public knowledge. Even his own. He complimented everyone he could by name and everyone he couldn’t. To those, he said, they’d know who they were.

He finished with a quote, as he was known to do. He chose it well, something cryptic and revealing, honest and boasting all at once. He took a quote from a Wintersleep song, a Canadian band Bret wouldn’t shut up about that he’d come to love.

At a party with nobody who will love you but the wine

Gobbled pills that the doctor should have never prescribed

Scattered letters to the boyfriends you have never identified with

Surreptitious, spilling kisses you could never quite deny

You will find me in the valleys, in the gullies of your mind

Pigeon blood-red, cut and carat in the eyelids of your blindest memory.”

# # #

Bret stood outside Jenny’s door. He knocked. She hadn’t given back his key.

Jenny opened. Hey,” she said. How’d it go tonight? Feel good that it’s all over?”

Yeah,” Bret said. I feel good that it’s all over.”

Well, come in. Tell me nothing about it.”

Bret held his ground. I can’t come in. I don’t belong here.”

Jenny was confused. What do you mean?”

Jenny, this was a mistake. I should have never come here. I didn’t learn anything. I didn’t grow. I didn’t find out anything grand about life or the universe or my own destiny. I fucked around for a year, and I’m really sorry I dragged you into my drama and messed up your life. If I stay, I’ll just make your life worse.”

Jenny stood silent. She could believe everything she heard, but she hated it.

Bret said, I love you, but I need to go home.”

Jenny slapped Bret and then shut the door. It was emphatic. She didn’t want words. She didn’t want hours of figuring it all out. She didn’t need every answer to every question, even though in the moment she really wanted a few. It was Jenny’s way of winning. And Bret let her have it.

# # #

Bret exited Jenny’s apartment building. He found his car. He saw Tess. She sat in the passenger seat. She was writing a text message. Bret got in the car. He turned on the engine. He turned on the radio, and found a station he liked.

Fuck you green world,” he said. Some of the whores on this rock are going to be all right.”

Tess looked at him with an eyebrow raised. That code for something, cowboy?”

Bret shook his head and changed the subject. What about your stuff?”

Trice is going to take care of it. I’ll come back in a bit. But this is important. Going home means something for you, and I need to be a part of that, I think. And what about your stuff, buster?”

Bret smiled. I don’t have any stuff.”

Tess smiled.

Bret pulled the car onto the road, then onto the highway. He got dust in his eyes. He was used to it.

When he couldn’t see the light of Las Vegas anymore, he asked, Are we going to be okay?”

Tess claimed, I’m okay now. You’re the train wreck. So it’s a push, really.”

Bret laughed. He drove the whole way north, up to the friendly chill that was the 49th parallel, through Alberta, passed the Rockies, past the long forests to the edge, to that cloudy western coast that felt entirely too damn good.

March 25, 2011