Writing & Writers

Undead Revisions

Love is lame, so let me brain

Friday, I started working on revision for ZITO – for those who don’t know the acronym, it stands for Zombies in the Outfield. The origin of the story came from my work last year at the stadium. I’d spend long hours after the stadium to get all the clothes washed and ready for the next day. Because I had to go back and forth from clubhouses, I got to see the stadium in the dark. The creepy setting started working on my overactive imagination and blamo! After several versions of the beginning, I started writing a version of ZITO I liked earlier this year. I released it into the world via Tumblr – the story has since been taken down – and asked for criticism and suggestions. Perhaps only one or two people actually gave me something I could work with. The following are the changes I’ve made:

  • Henry is no longer slow-minded, making him a more believable leader.
  • Venus is no longer infatuated with Big Ted
  • Big Ted and Tony are no longer soldiers, but former baseball players – made things less complicated and allowed me to create a back story for Big Ted’s contempt for Henry.
  • Henry now leaves the stadium with the search party.
  • Introduce another character, stemming from a previous zombie story I was drafting – but never finished due to so many complications that I confused myself and cried in a corner.
  • Removed the Green Zone dream, only hinting it with the new character.
  • I introduce the fence kink – as well as other kinks – at the beginning rather than something I just threw in out of nowhere.
  • Tony is dead before the story opens and is only mentioned once.
  • I introduced the concept of zombies into the story, though they creatures are called ghouls throughout it. Only once does a character refer them to zombies, due to his philosophy background.
  • I spent too much time reading and watching all things zombie.
Still working on the kinks of the story, but it will keep a similar ending. Less background/history is given – there’s no me going out in tangents about some character that’s already dead. Once the draft is gussied up, I’ll place it back on Tumblr and release it back into the world.
Doldrums

Turn the Ugly Light Off god

By Daniel Schwabe

There’s a ghost in me who wants to say I’m sorry, doesn’t mean I’m sorry

“If I die at this stadium,” I say, “I want the ball that did me in buried alongside me.”

Clocks

There is a pain digging through me. It’s only a matter of time before whatever it is surfaces and I face the consequences of its existence. I was angry to tears. Of all the ways to express emotions, the only one that comes to me naturally is tears. Tears of happiness. Tears of crushing depression. Most of all, tears of anger.

Pin me up against the wall and take away my sense of control, you will push me to this zone of helplessness. I could feel the tears welling up. I tried to hold them back, but things don’t work out the way you want them to. Fight or flight. I fear what I’m capable of if I ever choose fight. Flight. My instinct is bolt.

“Let’s just say,” I said, “It takes a lot of self-control not to punch people. And there are a lot of people I’d like to punch.”

It’s a ticking clock. Several of them. Each synced to their own devices. When people step in my way. When people decide to talk down to me. I’m good at what I do and do what I’m good at. Try to cross me and I’ll leave you in my tracks, broken and bloodied. This isn’t a threat, it’s a promise.

The Killer in Me

“I couldn’t care one way or the other,” I tell my mother. We’re talking about charity. Most people do it for rewards in a make-believe afterlife. Others do it for a sense of duty to their fellow man. Neither make sense. Why help others when they don’t help themselves? The people in other countries dying upon the streets while their leaders roll around in money. The weak are massacred. I know that it’s wrong. I know that I should feel some amount of pity. But nothing comes to me. Human is an animal on the verge of extinction at our hand. The world would do better without us.

Mackie

“There aren’t enough beautiful things in this world,” he says. “I’ll create some more.”

The death artist is like any. He is good at his craft. He explores his limits and those of others.

Foul ball

I’m standing, talking. The ball slams into the fence a foot from where I stand. I forget the dangers of working here.

Doldrums

Ohhhhh Yeah, Let’s Play Some Baseball & Other Tales from the Ballpark

Can't remember the source of the image, sorry

I’ve never been one for baseball, or sports for that matter. Ask me ten years ago what I thought about the stadium built here in Edinburg, I would’ve told you it was a waste of money. But it’s grown on me. The stadium, not so much the sport. Though, I gotta say, it’s sorta humanistic of me to – dare I say? – have a favorite sports team.

Okay, maybe favorite is too strong a word. I mean, I’m not about to collect Roadrunner memorabilia. Though, as I type this, a team baseball cap – which goes for $20 at the pro shop (it’s called a pro shop, right?) – rests upon a pile of books on my desk. But that’s nothing. Right?

It’s not so much the team I love, but the familial attitude within the front office. Unlike the Coyotes – back in 2007 when I worked for them – the administration is great in the sense that they remember that their employees – while not really considered employees according to the IRS – are human.

Today, for example, in the front office, the phrase “Oh yeah. Let’s play some baseball”  – obviously said with gusto – filled the air. A. wanted it as our new catch phrase, as in:

Scene: Front Desk. The phone rings. Receptionist answers.

Receptionist: Edinburg Roadrunners. Oh yeah, let’s play some baseball.

It was R. – for some odd reason, I’m still hooked on attempting some anonymity for these wonderful people – who really “owned” the phrase, with his unenthusiastic voice.

Sadly, not all people at the ballpark are as great as those in the front office. And, yes, I’m talking about the players. At the beginning of the season, the players loved me. Some of them still do, in fact. Probably not as much as before as I don’t feed them every night – which was explained at the beginning of the season, but a sudden case of amnesia as plagued the clubhouse. For the most part, these people are understanding and know their boundaries. Except one.

Every year, there is some schmuck who thinks – just because he’s playing as a professional athlete – he’s the top shit. He carries that attitude that as clubhouse manager, I must drop all things to meet his beck and call. His first night, he made a demand for me to get him a cup of ice, which I did. (FYI, anytime you piss off the clubbie, you’re bound to meet some consequences. In TT’s case, the consequence was a cup of less than favorable ice – the bottom of the ice machine, which is more commonly known as the great bug graveyard.) Today, he decided that he’s important enough for the front door of the clubhouse to remain unlocked. No dice. And if Mr. Attitude thinks he can continue this act without repercussions, he’s wrong.

Last season, this character was played by another person. It ended with a pathetic excuse for an idle threat – “If that’s the case, then I’m not going to let you wash my clothes anymore.” – this threat, by the way, has become my favorite anecdote to describe how greatly some of these fellows hold themselves. I’m not one for conflict – who am I kidding, yes I am – but I swore that I would never allow anyone to insult, mistreat or belittle me in front of the team again.

But let’s not dwell on the bad side of this job. Let’s focus on what makes it enjoyable. And that’s everything outside the clubhouse. Until next time.

Doldrums

Forget taking me out to the ball game, just take me out

Welcome to Summer Hell

As none of you know, each summer I work at the Edinburg Baseball Stadium, the current home of the Edinburg Roadrunners. I love the job, don’t get me wrong. This post isn’t about bitching. The general manager, as well as, all the other uppers, treat me well. They keep me paid during the summer and they never abuse my kindness. I can’t say the same thing about the baseball teams, but that’s expected.

A while back, I reported that the Edinburg Roadrunners were no longer a part of the United Baseball League, but a merger league called the North American League. Well, I go into work today – they called me in to help J. put up signs on the wall – and sit down for a breather. As I wait for J. to arrive, I read Doc by Mary Doria Russell and look down at the schedules stacked neatly on the front desk. Having already seen the schedule on the right, I focus my attention on the ones on the left. I heard that we were planning to host soccer games at the stadium, so I quickly write it off as that – completely oblivious of the baseball and bat printed on it. I snap back to the Roadrunners’ schedule and see that several of the teams are missing. So I asked D. what’s going on with the the ones from Illinois. Apparently, they went belly up and sold off. Besides, even I knew how much of a pain in the ass it was going to be to send the teams back and forth.

That’s pretty much when D dropped the news on me – what I had thought of as the soccer team was really the newest team in the league. Apparently, Coastal Bend Thunders are now the McAllen Thunders. I wasn’t even aware that McAllen had a baseball stadium. You learn something new everyday, right? Only, McAllen doesn’t have a baseball stadium (that I know of) and the Thunders will call Edinburg Stadium their home.

Wait. If the McAllen Thunders are playing at Edinburg…that means the Edinburg staff… Oh. Fucking. Hell.

The news that I will be taking care of not one but two home teams was only made worse when I also learned that a new manager was thrown in the mix. Hold on. I’m having a heart attack. You mean to tell me, of all the people I convinced to like me last year, the only one coming back is the one who threatened to choke my ass?! Excuse me while I go bang my head on the wall for a few hours.

San Angelo is still on the roster, which is great. San Angelo liked me enough not to kill me, but not enough to not blare their music in the locker room. Guys, I’m here to keep the peace between you and the umpires. Don’t make my job any harder.

Hope shines like a beckon in the horizon. Workforce has stated that we might get the program again this year. I’ve asked for four workers – two in the morning and two at night. If we don’t get them, the stadium will have to hire me a buddy – hopefully someone who won’t try to screw me over.

Well, it’s still early on. Changes happened after a month, but I hope they don’t happen again. Because I can seriously say, I’m not looking for the hectic scheduling. Oh, and I observe the right to ask for the 19th and 20th in August. If we have all the help we need, this shouldn’t be a problem. I have a girlfriend whose birthday always seems to land on a home game. And they’re this year.

Writing & Writers

“Love is lame, so let me eat your brain”

Blog to keep track of my progress (currently private)

I started writing “Zombies in the Outfield” earlier last week, which takes place in the same world as my Gospel, TX project. Earlier today, I finished a really rough draft of my story which I posted on Tumblr just a little while ago. The Gospel, Texas Project is a blog dedicated to my zombie tales, though it’s not open to the public for the time being. The story deals with – you guessed it – zombies, called ghouls in the story. But really, it’s about a group of six survivors who are living inside a baseball stadium. The question of who is really in charge begins to tear their little world asunder.

I see ZITO as a film, rather than just a short story, but there are no rules that say it can’t be both. Of course, whatever the rough draft turns to be, it won’t be posted online. It won’t be posted at all, anywhere, save if I sell it.

The characters consist of narrator Henry (whose last name never revealed), a simple kid who’s been working for the baseball stadium for a few years. He’s smarter than he lets on, but because of a learning disability, he never feels like he’s amounted to anything – except that his mother kept insisting that he was meant for greater things. Venus (last name also never revealed) acts as a love interest. Helena is your typical, Southern Baptist, daughter of the church pastor. Al Johnson, who may or may not be African-American, acts as Henry’s bodyguard, always standing up for him when others are putting him down. Big Ted, the new guy in town who pretty much thinks he should be in charge of the ballpark. Raylan Jenkins isn’t really shelled out character wise. He doesn’t represent anything I hate in people other than he’s a follower of whoever is in charge, rather than whoever has the most logic. Other characters include the older man from Wisconsin, the former general manager; Lawrence “the Law” Hendrix, former field manager turned ghoul; Daniel Mercado who was the clubbie before Henry; and Henry’s Mom and sister – Yvette – who are only featured in his flashbacks.

Jason Walsh "Pericardium" (click to purchase)

In other news, while typing the rough draft, I was listening to Jason Walsh’s Percardium, which you can purchase here. I can’t review just yet because, as you could possibly tell, I’m burned out word wise and need to rest my thinker. But in one word, itisaverygreatalbumandyoushouldalljustpurchaseitrightnowbecauseIsaidso.

Writing & Writers

Alone, Dead and Moving

 

My birthday's coming up. I'm worth it, aren't I?

It was sometime last summer when the idea of writing a zombie story that takes place within an abandoned baseball stadium. As some of you may know, I work (seasonally) at the Edinburg Baseball Stadium, home of the Edinburg Roadrunners – a minor league baseball team, apart of United League Baseball family. I’ve only worked for three seasons, going on my fourth this summer. I started off back in 2007 when it was the Edinburg Coyotes, before they reverted to the original team name. I worked at the toll collector, the janitor and now the clubhouse manager. Several stories and ideas spun from my years there. Back when I was toll collector, I realized just how easy it was to sell drugs while on the job. No one ever – especially the police – questioned a toll collector taking money in a dark parking lot of a stadium. So I wrote a story.

Because most of my work last year took place at night, I walked back and forth between the clubhouses. Once alone, I allow my imagination to run rampant, which it did. I started seeing zombies everywhere, imagining a group of survivors living there. It was a good place, too. Plenty of places to sleep, walk in freezers filled with food and drink, a water filtering system, bathrooms and showers. So the writing project I quipped “Zombies in the Outfield,” started festering. I’m proud to say that I started writing the story earlier today.

Written in a first person narrative, the story follows six survivors as they make sense of the newfound world they’re residing in. Of course, tensions start to rise when it is brought into question who the real person in charge is.

Oh well. I’m gonna hold back on the details and head back to writing. I just wanted to post something about what I’m doing.