The writing went a little slow tonight. I wasn’t satisfied with the first three paragraphs and kept rewriting them. I’m not sure I made them better, but at some point, I had to move on so they are what they are.

See you tomorrow!

Marshall Cooper

Day 11 – 19230/50000 words

Chapter 5

For the next two days, Marshall resigned himself to staying in his apartment and keeping his foot up as much as possible. He finished reading The Razor’s Edge, and The Year of Magical Thinking. Catrin came by once, but could only stay for a few minutes because she had assignments due in her classes. He also spent a few hours turning the crank on his emergency radio and listening to the local station. The music continued to explore the “hits of the seventies, eighties, and today.” he found the ads more interesting than the music. Since it was the height of the local election season, all of the candidates were running ads.

The radio spots for Sheriff Dwight Weatherly emphasized, “Experience, Integrity, honor.” The ad talked about his forty years keeping Santa Creda safe. The ad never mentioned his opponent, a man named, David Guerrero. David Guerrero, however, had a lot to say about Sheriff Dwight Weatherly. By the end of two days, Marshall had memorized the entire ad.

A deep voice began, “Sheriff Dwight Weatherly wants you to believe there is nothing wrong with Santa Creda’s sheriff’s department. The facts are clear though. Over the past two years, the Sheriff’s department has experienced record turnover, losing a third of their people. His staff is leaving in droves. Even more distressing, all of his new people come from other cities because nobody in this town wants to work for him.” A second voice then chimed in, sounding like a concerned citizen, “The Weatherly family owns half of this town. How can the guy who owns this town be in charge of its law enforcement? Who’s watching Sheriff Dwight? It’s time for a change.” The original voice came back on then. “David Guerrero grew up in Santa Creda. After he fought in Desert Storm, he came back to Santa Creda to represent the law. David Guererro spent ten years working for the Sheriff’s department. He knows what is rotten and he knows how to fix it. Vote Guerrero. It’s time for a change.”

As attack ads go, it wasn’t the nastiest Marshall had ever heard by far, but he still found it interesting, having just gotten a taste of the turnover Guererro was talking about. Marshall had decided that he liked Sheriff Dwight. He even spent a little time thinking about the possibility of going back to work. It seemed like a bit of a pipe-dream though.  He had no reason to expect his headaches to disappear. By limiting his time staring at glowing rectangles, Marshall was keeping his headaches down to one or two a day. For the most part they didn’t last as long as they used to either, but that was without trying to stare at a computer and solve issues. Maybe in another year, he might have them under control. At this point though, he couldn’t picture himself doing his old job. He was trying to accept that his old life wasn’t his life anymore.

On the morning of the third day, Marshall got up and was able to walk across his apartment without pain. His ankle still felt a bit tight, but otherwise it seemed operational. The rest of his body felt a bit lethargic and rusty though. He hadn’t come to Santa Creda to spend his time stuck in an apartment. Still, he wanted to do things right. He did his morning stretches and balance exercises. His balance was definitely a little off and he was unable to stand on either leg for a full thirty seconds even with his eyes open. That was frustrating, but not entirely unexpected. Marshall went ahead and iced his ankle down again that morning, deciding that it was better to keep up the practice for a couple more days rather than skip it just because he felt better again.

Marshall got dressed and put his shoes on. He paced back and forth in the apartment a few times just to see how it felt. There was no pain, although he still felt like he was favoring his right leg. He decided to walk down to the coffee house and get some coffee. He started walking. The day was cloudy and a little cool, so he put on his jacket. The breeze was coming in off the ocean and he could catch the scent of the salt water as soon as he left the building.

Marshall walked slowly, taking his time and keeping a closer eye on where he stepped than he usually did. There were no sidewalks in his neighborhood, and the roads were stating to need repaving. Marshall had heard about that issue on the radio too, as part of the mayoral race. The challenger there was accusing the mayor or running the city into the ground, literally in the case of the pavement. As a pedestrian, Marshall actually cared about that issue. It was a pothole that had gotten his ankle after all.

Marshall made it down to Seaside Espress and ordered an iced coffee and a pair of banana muffins. After his experience with Catrin’s muffins, he was hoping he had found something that he could enjoy. He took his order out onto the second floor balcony, even though he knew it would be a bit cold up there. He took one of the muffins out of the paper bag they gave it to him in, and took a bite. Unfortunately, whatever magic Catrin had done with her muffin did not translate to the pastries at Seaside Express. The muffin tasted like most things did to him, which essentially meant they tasted like nothing at all. Marshall had suspected that would be the case, but he was still disappointed. He finished both muffins however. He was determined to make himself eat a reasonable number of calories every day, at least until his sister’s visit was over. There would be questions about his weight no matter what, but it would not do to lose another five or ten pounds before the family arrived.

He was alone on the balcony, except for the occasional birds that would approach, only to fly away at the least sign of movement from him. Marshall simply stared out at the ocean, trying to feed off of the energy surf. He thought about what the sheriff had said about the city being a superorganism. If that was true, was he truly a part of the ecosystem now, or was he an invading bacteria or virus, meant to be expelled by the antibodies. Maybe it was Santa Creda that had conspired to injure him. Maybe the city was sending a warning that it would fight back, He certainly hoped that was not true. He thought about the turnover at the police station. What if they did not belong either? Marshall looked at the other side of the scale though. It seemed like Santa Creda was making an effort to find him a job. People kept approaching him with offers. Maybe that was the town’s way of bringing him in. Sadly, the jobs did not fit, but overall, his feeling was that he was doing well. He was meeting people. That was a good thing. In chandler he could not remember the last friend he made, but here there was Catrin, and Rainman, and maybe even the Sheriff.

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