An Innocent Man

EPIPHANY. King cake season has officially begun! HUZZAH! Although…Christ on the cross, it’s Carnival season already. In fact, a month from tonight there will be parades. As I sit here shivering in my kitchen (although the sun is out) this morning, that thought blows my mind.

Anyway, Comic Con was very fun yesterday.

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And this was lovely:

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And instead of name plates, they had a MARQUEE:

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How lovely to have one’s name up in lights, as it were!

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It was a great panel, lots of great questions from the audience, and some great discussion and tips and hints about writing.

Then I walked home, and watched the live stream of the US Figure Skating National Championships, which reminded me that I had an idea for a figure skating noir, and even started writing the first scene in the book, so here’s yet another fragment for you:

The move is called a charlotte.

The move is not considered masculine so his coach will not let him do it in a program. But he’s proud that he has the flexibility to do it, and he always gets to the rink early so he can practice the moves he will never be allowed to do until he lets his Olympic eligibility go and scoring no longer matters.

Men don’t do spirals.

He reaches the end of the ice and goes into a curved turn, going to the inside edge and letting centrifugal force pull him back around so that he’s facing the other end of the ice. He turns and glides backward. He brings his arms together, crossing them at the wrists in front of his chest and explodes them out in a straight line at his sides at ninety degree angles. With his chest puffed out he bends at the waist, raising the left leg up, perfectly straight, the toes pointed as he brings his chest down to his right knee, grabbing the right ankle with both hands as he continues to glide toward the other end of the rink, his left leg raised in a perfect split, feeling the stretch in his groin and his hamstring. The stretch feels good and he works to catch his breath, his heart still thudding in his chest and his ears, the cold emanating from the ice slapping his cheeks, a drop of mucus hanging from the end of his nose as the slide slows.

When he is almost to the other end of the rink he pushes with his hands off from the ankle, bringing the back leg down and tapping the toepick on the ice, digging it in and launching himself up into the air, pulling his arms back in and together as he spins neatly in the air, ankles crossed and counting.

One….two…three.

After the third revolution he releases the tight arms, exploding them out at ninety degree angles to the side as his right foot comes down and his left leg goes backward. The blade of his right skate lands off balance, on the inside edge and hits a groove in the ice. There’s no way to save the landing. His ankle gives under the pressure of the force and he falls.

This is going to hurt.

Is all he has time to think before he hits the wet, glistening ice. He lands hard, chest first followed by the rest of his torso and his legs tangle. The impact forces all of his air out of his lungs and the thud sends jolts of pain, dull agonizing pain, through his ribs and he gasps for air as he spins on the ice, out of control and unable to stop himself until his crashes into the boards with his right side and bounces back off out onto the ice, finally coming to a stop with stars dancing in front of his eyes and his lungs gasping to take in the icy cold air. He lies there for what seems an eternity, the wet ice soaking through the sweatshirt he is wearing, his ribs aching, his legs screaming in pain from the lactic acid burning through the muscle fibers. He lies there, knowing he needs to get up and start moving before the muscles seize and tighten, knowing he needs to get back up on the blades and build up speed and try the lutz again, it has been drilled into his head so many times to get back up and skate, when you fall you have to get up and try the jump again and keep trying until you land it, otherwise you’ll become afraid and will never be able to land it, you have to be fearless, get up, get up, get up….

But sometimes he wanted to never get up. Sometimes he wanted to just crawl over to the opening, take off his skates and grab his bag and put on his shoes and walk out of the rink never to come back.

He gets up, his breathing still labored, his legs still aching. He starts doing crossovers, even though his legs are shaking, and he picks up speed, going faster and faster and it feels like he is flying…flying…and nothing will ever bring him down.

A little rough, but not bad.

And here’s Guillaume Cizeron, the sexy French ice dancer, for your Saturday viewing pleasure:

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