Birch Bayh (yeah, an unfortunate name…)

I started doing some work on my hypertext narrative the other day, and when I went back to it today, I got excited. This is such a fun story to write! I love the way the characters interact; I don’t usually write characters like this. Furthermore, I’ve never really written anything about Indiana, on a conscious level anyway, so it’s refreshing to get to “go” back home while I work.

Anyway, here’s a sneak peak of my hypertext narrative, sans the choices you’d get online, one of which is whether the main characters are traveling from their hometown of Baltimore to an event in Rockville, Indiana – like in this version – or from their hometown in Indiana to an event in Baltimore.

For now, I’m calling this story

Lost Things

The cab ride from the Indianapolis airport to Rockville had been long and, at $122.50, obscenely expensive. Miriam, Paula, and Cooper stepped out of the taxi alone, sleep-deprived, and darn near penniless. On this trip, they were doing nothing, it seemed, but grieving for lost things. Now, Cooper was paying the fare, and then they would be off to meet the family members they’d only ever heard about in passing.

Miriam was fair skinned, with ultra-short red hair and a temperament to match. On top, she wore a thrifty but chic maternity shirt, which perfectly matched her “previously loved” designer jeans. Both ensured that she was constantly aware of the life growing inside her, and as she thought about it for the thirty-seventh time that day, she subconsciously rested her hand on the small of her back.

“Damn.” Cooper said, as he slammed the door shut and watched the cab drive away. “Our boy grew up in this hood?” Breaking his gaze on the lone yellow car, which was headed back to Indianapolis, he observed the quaint little town square with the same amount of interest that a dog might show a fly in a country basement on a cold winter’s day – which is to say hardly any at all. For a moment, Miriam thought she could actually hear his heartbeat slow to a crawl. He pushed his longish black hair out of his eyes before continuing: “What a dump. I guess I see why he went and offed –”

“Dump?” Miriam said, stepping closer, the better to face him off. “You ever left the city, Cooper? Ever? Baldamore’s a fuckin’ sty compared to this.” With her free hand, she pointed at the courthouse and smiled. “Just look how pretty. No graffiti, no grime spots, no nothin’. It’s fuckin’ beautiful here. Paradise, almost.”

“Yeah, but I see where he’s coming from, hon,” Paula interjected. Then she waved her hands vigorously in front of her to indicate something large and meaty. Paula was black, and Miriam had always found that that, when black people waved their hands, she had to listen and – usually – agree. “I mean….Baldamore’s a city at least. There’s nothing here; we’re in a ghost town for cripe’s sake. Beautiful or not, it’s just plain creepy.” As Paula finished, she put her arms back down at her sides and picked at the seams of her bluejeans, like she always did when she was nervous about something. It was a tell and was very helpful for avoiding arguments, which is why Miriam had never mentioned it to her. Besides, it was cute.

“Yeah, maybe.” Miriam spun around, slowly, taking everything in, her top teeth softly, affectionately biting her bottom lip. As if stifling a giddy burst of emotion. From where she stood on the town square, she saw the courthouse in the middle, of course, a small mom-n-pop variety store called G & M, a local bank branch, a couple of antique stores, a church, an old theater, a privately-owned grocery, and several other places she couldn’t figure out. “Creepy, but I like it. It’s different.”

“Whatever,” Cooper said. “Let’s just do this and get the fuck –”

“Don’t say fuck!” Paula shouted.

“– outta here. Why she can say fuck and I can’t?”

“We have an understanding: no drama, no controlling, no alpha-female baloney. It’s all in the contract.” She punched Cooper’s shoulder and winked. “Besides, she does what she wants, and that’s what I love about her. You, on the other hand…you’s just a straight-up thug!”

Cooper glared at her through squinted eyelids. “Let’s just do this, okay?” He looked around, chose a direction, and walked.

Miriam put her arm around Paula. “See, baby? We got this.” She kissed Paula on the cheek, and they too started walking.

*NOTE: This blog entry is syndicated from a blog I had to start for my Electronic Publishing class at U.B. this semester. I may or may not delete the extraneous blog when the class is over, but I thought I would at least give my readers the opportunity to read the contents of that blog indefinitely.

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