The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Twenty Two: Sleep

28 02 2010

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter  Twenty Two: Sleep

Mary Shay lays with her arm across the stranger’s chest. General is asleep on the floor beside their bed. The dog lifts her head up. She begins to growl. The stranger opens an eye. He reaches over and pets the dog on the head then slips out of bed and pulls on his pants. Reaching for his gun that is sitting on the bureau, he steps lightly to the door. He opens the door a crack. Outside in the hall he spots a man in the hall. It is the kid with blond hair one of the head hunters. The door to the stranger’s room is open. General steps up beside the stranger. The stranger puts his hand on the dog’s head and pets it to keep the dog quiet. Three  men exit from the stranger’s room. The stranger recognizes them right away

The old man: “What do we do now?”

The leader: “How are we supposed to kill a man if he isn’t here.”

Blond kid: “He should be. His horses are still in the barn.”

The old man. “Well, we can’t stand around talking about it. We should be better organized.”

The leader: “Like you could do better.”
The four men step along the hall and down the stairs. The stranger bends down and plays with the dog’s ears.

The stranger: “Fortune is on our side, General.”

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Twenty One: Mary Shay

25 02 2010

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter Twenty One: Mary Shay

Stepping out of his room, the stranger is met by a young woman. She has just stepped out of the room opposite his. The stranger smiles and nods his head.

The stranger: “’evenin’, mam.”

Young woman: “Hello, sir.”

The young woman hesitates for a moment before speaking. The stranger smiles to himself. He has seen this act before.

Young woman: “Sir, are you a resident of this lovely town?”

The stranger chuckles: “No, I am not, mam. And it’s not much of a town.”

Young woman looks relieved. “I did not wish to bruise local sensitivities. You see, sir, I am alone.”

The stranger smiles understandingly: “Yes, mam.”

Woman: “I was hoping to find a respectable establishment to eat in.”

The stranger: “Well, mam. I was just on my way to dinner. May I be so bold as to invite you to dine with me?”

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Twenty: the Blacksmith

22 02 2010

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter Twenty: the Blacksmith

Early the next morning the stranger takes a walk over to the barns to see his horses. The General follows behind him. The stranger steps into a barn. A small boy stands in the corner. There is a sickly quality about the boy that makes the stranger grimace. He turns away to feed his horses some hay, then looking around for a brush and finding one begins to brush down one of the animals.

Blacksmith: “You love your horses.”

The stranger turns around. He hadn’t heard the blacksmith step up behind him.

The stranger: “Wanted to say good morning to my lovelies.”

The blacksmith steps over and takes the brush out of the stranger’s hand. He begins to brush the horse down.

Blacksmith: “You hear about the meeting last night?”

The stranger nods.

Blacksmith: “Thought I saw ya. God damn English. Think they can… You oughta keep an eye out. British don’t like outside agitators.”

The stranger: “Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

The blacksmith chuckles.

The stranger: “I’m looking for someone.”

Blacksmith looking suspiciously at the stranger. The stranger shows him the sketch.

The stranger: “A negro. About thirty years old. He has a deformed ear. Childhood accent.”

Blacksmith with hardly a glance at the paper, thinks for a moment then shakes his head.

Blacksmith: “Nope. They all look pretty much the same to me.”

The stranger leaves the barn with the General.

The stranger: “What do you think, General?”

The dog barks.

The stranger: “We agree on that. The blacksmith knows something.”

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Nineteen: Talk of Rebellion

19 02 2010

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter Nineteen: Talk of Rebellion

The stranger sits out on a chair in front of the barbershop. Takes out his pipe and watches the day disappear. The air is cool. The smoke from his pipe mixes with his breath. His dog curls up around his feet. Folks in the town pass by. Some nod. The stranger responds in kind. Sometimes he engages them in conversation. Shows them the sketch of the black man.  No one recognizes him.

As darkness approaches, the stranger steps away from the barbershop and makes his way back to his hotel. At his hotel, Montgomery’s Inn, there are many horses outside. Although it is dark, there are several children on the street. The General walks beside the stranger ignoring the children’s attempts to pet him. Inside the inn there is a heated meeting going on. Men are yelling at each other although there is no sign of violence. In the middle of them is brightly uniformed man called General Van Rensselaer.  The stranger makes his way to the bar, gestures to the innkeeper who moves down the bar.

The stranger turns to the innkeeper.

Stranger: “Quite a party you’re having here.”

Innkeeper: “That’s Will Mackenzie. The one doing all the fancy talking.”

The stranger: “You don’t say. He’s much taller in person.”

Innkeeper points to a garishly attired military figure.

Innkeeper: “That fellow over there is General Van Rensselaer.”

The stranger orders an ale and listens to the discussion for a time. Mackenzie’s talk as he drinks his ale. Mackenzie raises his hand and points to the ceiling.

Mackenzie: “The time for talk is over. Action is demanded. Remember Papineau. Soon British thugs will be knocking at your door. To camp inside your home. To eat your provisions. To drag your son off to…”

The stranger becomes bored. He gestures to the innkeeper.

The stranger: “I suppose it would be too much to ask for a bath.”

Innkeeper: “Tonight, it would.”

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Eighteen: Barbershop

17 02 2010

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter Eighteen: Barbershop

We find the stranger in a barber shop getting a hair cut and shave. The barber is a jaunty looking fellow with thick bushy sideburns and a lambchop moustache. The stranger takes a seat in a chair. He asks for a shave. The barber puts a large kettle on the stove in the middle of the room. He soaps up the stranger’s face.

Barber: “Yes, sir. We’ve been getting our share of tourists.”

Stranger: “Good for business then.”

Barber: “Maybe. Lot of soldiers. Mostly Irish. And negroes. From the States.”

The stranger takes out a piece of paper from his pocket. There is a sketch of a male black man on it.

Barber: “Nope. Don’t know many negroes. You might ask the blacksmith. Most everyone goes through his livery stable.”

The barber sharpens his knife and begins to pare off the stubble from the strangers face. The dog begins to growl. One of the gang of four, the kid, enters the shop. He takes a seat. Kicks off his boots. And begins to pick at his feet.

Barber: “Be with you shortly.”

The stranger keeps an eye on the kid as the barber finishes the shave.

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Seventeen: Loose Talk

12 02 2010

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter Seventeen: Loose Talk

The stranger takes a walk with General to the outskirts of the town. He looks out on the woods. Coming out of the darkness of the trees he spots the gang of four. They move onto the street and along the road toward the stranger. As they pass the giant looks down at the dog. He turns and glares at the stranger. Moments later, a group of British troops appear. They start to stop travelers to ask questions. The gang of four noticing this turn down a side street. The stranger recognizes one of the troopers. It is  Captain Kelly. The General barks. Kelly looks up from business and notices the stranger.

Kelly: “You’re not sick of our winter yet?”

Stranger: “How could one not love the cold, the wind, and the snow?”

Kelly: “If you don’t mind me asking, where are you going tonight?”

Stranger: “I thought I might get a shave. Thanks for asking.”

Kelly: “You may hear loose talk. Keep your thoughts to yourself.”

Stranger: “Isn’t there something called freedom of speech?”

Kelly: “This is not America, sir.”

Fictional Photographs

11 02 2010

I’ve tried my hand at a lot of different types of collages. One that I enjoyed was creating collages that looked like photographs. From the viewers point of view it was no different than looking at a photo. Except that the event never took place. It is as if these were events in an alternative universe. Reading Hemingway is like that. You almost forget that it is fiction. A lot of these pieces share some of that ambition.

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Sixteen: Watching

9 02 2010

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter Sixteen: Watching

The stranger sits by the window smoking a pipe and watching the comings and goings of people in the street. The snow that had fallen the night before has melted. The streets are muddy. A group of British troops marches through the main street. There are wagons from the nearby farms with farmers picking up supplies. Women walk along the wooden sidewalks wrapped in warm coats, chatting, and stepping into and out of the dress shop, the general store, and a restaurant where a sign advertises breakfast. The stranger notices a number of wagons pulling into the barn where he had bedded down his horses. Noticing how much deeper their wheel tracks are when they enter than when they leave the stranger grins. He looks down at the General. The sun is beginning to set. The stranger checks his pocket watch.

The stranger: “I wonder what they’re unloading.”

The stranger looks back onto the street. “This town is full of little mysteries.”

Story Telling – past and present

8 02 2010

One of the things that I like about blogging a work is that it allows a certain amount of detachment from what you’ve done. And although this is the sixth or seventh rewrite I see places where I would like to make changes. Mostly small technical ones. There is one difficulty/challenge in all of this and that is writing in the present tense. It feels uncomfortable. Perhaps because story telling by its very nature is about some past event. Writing in the present tense is like observing incidents as they happen and reporting them. Story telling (in the past tense) is like being a sleuth, a Sherlock Holmes. Story telling (in the present tense) is like being a camera.

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Fifteen: Montgomery’s Inn

7 02 2010

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter Fifteen: Montgomery’s Inn

By late afternoon the next day the stranger reaches the outskirts of York. There are people everywhere. Lots of excitement. And troops. Visible. The stranger finds a livery stable and boards up his horses. The blacksmith directs him toward an inn down the road. The stranger walks down the street. The crowds are getting heavier. There is excitement in the air. He steps into a small inn and asks for a room. As he enters his room, a young woman exits the room opposite. She smiles. The stranger does not.