Wednesday, March 10, 2010


[In this scene, protagonist screenwriter Steven Meyer and wife Jane have hiked to the top of Cisco Butte to check out a possible location to stage a film. Only the day before, Steven’s attempt to climb to this summit was thwarted.]

…From this vantage point Steven thought he could pick out which square mile sections the government owned and which were in private hands.

“That’s odd.”

“Jeez, what now?”

“Looks like mine tailings right off over here.” Steven pointed to a talus slope of fresh, crushed rock about where the little ridge that flanked from the log building intersected the side of the butte.

“Mr. History Man,” Jane said, “the gold rush. Forty-niners before football. You know: washboards, banjos on knees...”

“Yeah, but we're at eighty-eight hundred feet. Wasn’t much gold to be found at this elevation. I mean, who’d have the energy to dig it out?”

“People who didn’t know any better?”

Steve pointed. “Someone dug a big hole over there, and I don’t think gold was what they were prospectin’ for.”

“Why’s that?”

“I don’t know. Just a feeling,” Steve said. Then he added, “Actually Janie-biscuit, I don’t really know much of anything.”

She smiled knowingly.

THE TEMPERATURE continued to climb. The air, sweet as nectar. A rock promontory just beyond the communication antenna offered a three hundred sixty degree view. The spot begged for a pair of picnickers. The panorama from the Sierran crest all the way across the valley to the coast range, incomparable. A bite of cheese and Rykrisp washed down by some refreshing, cool beer seemed the perfect compliment to this nearly postcard-perfect scene.

Steven took a draught of Pabst. “Whadaya think, dear?”

Jane responded with a comely smile and dancing eyes. She reached a hand behind his neck and pulled him slightly. Steven leaned over and touched his lips to hers again. Something about the wilderness made him feel extra-human or sub-human or maybe just a little animalistic in certain regards. Steven liked this – everything about this. He liked the high sun in a topaz-colored sky. He liked the smell of the sage. He liked the above-it-all view and the romance it inspired. He liked the honey-sweet smell of Jane’s hair, the subtle fire of her embrace and her kiss. Kisses up here, Steven thought, have all that magic of a first kiss. All that magic all over again.

What her eyes told him made him love her more.

This is what heaven is like.

Not long into this lunchtime diversion, with a whistling roar that was anything but natural, Steven felt the earth move again, accompanied by a peppering of granite bits and a furious blast of spiny, brittle twigs. He covered his wife, shielding her from the angry squall of soil and debris. From a yawning chasm, something rose that Steven had seen only once before and quite recently.

Something Jane had tossed off as one of her husband’s creative delusions; but something, about which, she would soon believe.

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