It was tricky business writing happy stories from the perspective of one who could only imagine being successful, but there Everson Wheeley was on the page, floating possible futures of grace and determination and beauty, places people would want to go, places an author could guide them to, even one of no account -- and they might even make him known enough to concoct some more stories like that for them, and everybody would be happy.
The road to publication was long, thorny, and pesky. Wherever one went, there were barriers, and opportunities to spend money for nothing.
It was Everson's interest to leave all of that behind. He gave his buddy Noah Jeffers a call and was surprised when the fellow picked up the phone.
"Everson here," said Everson.
"Ah," said Noah. "Good day."
"Good day? I hardly think so. The news is bleak and bleary."
"All of us are weary."
"Well then, what have you got?"
The conversation began and went on. It strayed from books to ideas about slavery and injustice. The two writers wondered if in reality we were all Africans. If so, everything would fall in place better. The complexities of the world would not be necessary. In a few minutes, they were both convinced that everybody was black. Moreover, everybody was fidgety.
But what story was there to tell?
Evidently, there was a story, however. It's hard not to have one when you get two writers together. The ideas start bumping around in each one's hemisphere of a head like some kind of excitable molecular roller rink.
Neither Noah nor Everson had ever been proficient on roller skates. Noah had taught himself to ride a unicycle though. It was like learning to ride a bike.
The story you're reading, dear reader, is the story these two came up with that day without realizing it. It's the story they looked for later and never found. It had some dialogue in it and a character named Frances Toade. Frances Toade was a public menace when it rained. At all other times she was civil.
Some people don't like the rain.
But the rain does fall.
Things took a turn, however. And Frances Toade, who was a menace when it rained, made a quick exit. The reason for this was, another story was coming around the bend like a lasso that had finally outfoxed gravity.
a sheaf of flashes