Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

404, Daily: Chapter Seven

Of course one of the fun things about trying something like this -- writing a chapter of a novel every day -- is just how many things conspire to get in your way.

My laptop has done this wonderful thing now where whenever I open MS Word the program crashes and my laptop churns like a portable butter factory.

Not exactly how I like to spend my mornings and evenings.

I don't know why but it truly is an alien experience, feeling barred from my own computer; having to sit there and watch, helpless, as it struggles to load .dlls and access the page file; listening to the hard drive chug as it fights to squeeze data through the bottleneck.

Truthfully, it's my own fault. I got the laptop solely as a 'writing' laptop a few years ago but even then the Toshiba Portege 2000 was already ancient tech (though still a beautiful, elegant laptop!).

Yes, the old P3 750 processor and 256 megs of internal (non-upgradeable, as I'd come to discover) RAM seemed like it'd be perfectly fine for the task. But, alas, I underestimated my own internal need to do 'everything' from one station.

Soon there would come PCICMA wireless cards and the GIMP (for the odd image-editing task) and anti-virus software... and anti-spyware... and dedicated email applications and FTP and Skype and...

Yeah, I guess I had it coming.

To its credit, this sucker held out a good long time before dying on me... but now comes the fun part of pulling everything off of it, formatting and re-installing XP... and all the service packs and hotfixes... without a built in CD drive and without the ability to boot from USB.

Ahh, yes, good times.

In other, related, news, I spent most of this morning (I've started getting up at 6am, so as to get a good start on the day's chapter) re-writing chapter six almost entirely from the ground up after getting knee-deep in chapter seven and realizing 'oh wait, that makes no sense'.

Turns out that having the boss call to check on his missing footage while his employee was being called a 'wanted murderer' (and by his own company, no less) didn't really track.

So... yeah. That needed an overhaul.

Anyways, here's the Daily for chapter seven:
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*Please Note: What follows below is only the FIRST page of Chapter 7 and is considered to be 'Raw Footage' -- unedited, first-draft material that may be subject to change (even in its entirety). This is designed to keep you in the loop with my story as well as, hopefully, intrigue you enough to want to buy the full, finished episode at the end of the week. Warning: there will be mild spoilers and coarse language as well, so please keep that in mind as you read on.

Episode #2 (which collects the finished and polished versions of chapters 6-10) will be available on Sunday, August 22nd for 99 cents CAD.

You are encouraged to offer feedback and/or interact with me as this process unfolds. I'd love to hear what you like, what you don't like and what you'd love to see more of.
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CHAPTER SEVEN

Jess paces back and forth in the darkness, head in hand, listening to her cell phone.

"Fuck! Can't get -- stupid, fucking, network…"

She tosses Marco the cell phone as she inspects the pristine carcass of her news van; stepping inside, where the floor board -- and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment -- would be.

"Fuckers."

She turns around, seeing only quiet houses and shattered windows and cracked cement.

"FUUUCKERS!"

With a frustrated yell she slams her foot into the steel, again and again, crying out as the pain rises up her leg.

Jess turns and sits on the rear bumper, rubbing her foot, trying to dull the pain; leaning against the remnants of a door jam, the fight flooding out of her as she shakes her head, pulling herself together.

"Keep trying that number, kid. We don't want to be out here long."

Marco approaches, kneeling as that familiar computerized message plays through the phone speaker.

"We're sorry. Due to network congestion your call cannot be completed at this time. Please try again later."

"Here, let me take a look at that."

He leans close to take a look at her foot but she pulls it away, still trying to rub out the fire.

"Hey! I know what I'm doing, trust me."

After a long moment she relents and Marco takes her foot in his hands, running his fingers across the bones, fighting to remember all the procedures.

"I hadn't always planned on being a wanted murderer, you know. Heh, mom always wanted me to be a doctor -- put me through every Red Cross first-aid course she could find as soon as I was old enough."

He nods to himself as he finishes his inspection, sliding her sock back on.

"You're fine, probably going to have a nasty bruise, but nothing's broken."

She flexes her foot, still wincing. Marco dials the number again as he gets to his feet. He paces, eyes darting around the empty neighborhood, shivering as a knife wind rolls through.

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