How to Write a 10,000 Word Short Story in 30-days

687474703a2f2f63646e2e73686f706966792e636f6d2f732f66696c65732f312f303033362f323835322f66696c65732f56696e746167652d536b692d4465636f722d4368616c6b2d426f6172642e6a7067Before my first book (Five Weeks in the Amazon) was published, I would repeat a quote to myself over and over, like a mantra, almost every day. I am not sure where I heard it, but it went like this;

“The only difference between someone who is an author, and someone who is not an author, is an author has written a book.”

So, I wrote a book. And I studied writing. I read books about the lives of other authors and I learned about their different writing processes, but one truth remained the same. All you needed to do, to become a writer, was write.

687474703a2f2f7777772e77696c6c69616d706361726c66696e657072696e74732e636f6d2f7072696e74732f4b6c6f7373526f636b6965732e6a7067Ernest Hemingway would consider it a good day if he produced 500 words. With consideration to our different methods of creation, when I am writing well, an output of 1000 words is my daily goal. Hemingway wrote in pencil, rereading previous pages, and I assume erasing and editing as he went. I prefer to write with a black pen. Then I edit a few few times by hand before transferring it to my computer and it assumes a digital state.

For me, writing 1000 words per day feels like the mental equivalent to running 10km’s. To run 10km, without stopping, at a good pace, is hard physical work.  If you plan on running 10km’s, six, or seven days a week, it requires an  above average level of physical health.

photoWhen I am physically fit, I can run 10km’s in under 45 minutes, each day. The more days I run, the less 45 minutes feels like a challenge. The opposite can be said when I am unfit, or have not been active for a long time (like after I had  shoulder surgery in September). The thought of running 10km’s (even if it is the same 10km run) can become daunting, depending on the circumstances .

Writing is similar. If I have not been writing every day, it can overwhelm me to think about reaching my daily goal of 1000 words. Just like running, the more I write, the stronger my mind becomes. The mental energy it takes to create this amount of written content strengthens the parts of my mind in the same way running strengthens the body.

When I am in a consistent daily routine of writing, I can write 1000 words with little trouble. In fact, there was one day when I was writing the story I wrote for the 10,000 word, 30-day challenge, when I added over 2700 words my story FROST for the #JustWriteIt #sports is a website for authors like me to share their work with other writers, and readers. It is a communal hub for indie writers and run by a young staff dedicated to helping up and coming authors.

Each month they  host a writing challenge called #JustWriteIt, in which participants pledge to write a 10,000 word story in 30-days. On March 8th, I took the pledge, inspired by the theme for the month #sports, and having a story I have been waiting to write for years.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 10.53.48 AMWhen I first accepted the challenge I trusted myself, and knew I had been writing lots  and was confident I would be able to write FROST. At the 2-week mark was I was on pace to meet the goal, and within the week I had a few days of extra output and completed the challenge.

FROST, is the story of Nick and his father going on a ski trip for the day. It begins with Nick’s surprise as he is woken up by his father and told to put on his l0ng underwear. The surprises don’t stop there and from crying on the chairlift to sneaking into a closed off run, Nick’s story is filled with memories many people can relate to from those early childhood memories of skiing with their father. In Nick’s words, “Lets go skiing!”

Frost - going skiing book cover


Travel Psychology Secrets: Why 1000 Words is Worth More Than a Single Picture

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” was written above a pod of breaching Orca whales, on a photo taken somewhere in Puget Sound. The words were written in a haphazard cursive as if to imply the weakness of writing, while proving the magnificence of photography. This was was when I was a young boy, on a promotional poster for the ferry company, during the two-hour ferry crossing to see my grandparents from Tsawwassen to Vancouver Island.

BC Ferries

Something captivated me in that quote. It seemed like a challenge. As though you couldn’t use words to create a replica of a moment, or a feeling. Since then I have written enough to realize with 1000 words you can say a lot.

Take the short story I have included in a PDF for a free download. It’s called Kids will be Kids and I’ve been working on it since I was in living in Colombia last year. This version of Kids will be Kids was edited while living in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Sucking the life out of my chosen existence; trying to find some sort of balance between the act of survival, happiness, and an environment which fosters creativity and focus. It will be included in I Killed a Black Dog, my soon to be published second book.

Kids will be kids

Kids will be kids

They were sitting on the grass across the street. It was dry now, but it wouldn’t be later. The rain always came in the afternoon and most of the time after he had taken lunch. It never lasted long, and it was never cold enough to need a jacket, but every day the rain would come.

It was something the man had come to expect and it didn’t bother him anymore. He wasn’t certain, but they looked like they were wearing the same clothes as last night.

There were two girls leaning against each other and two boys sitting on either side of them. A third boy lay with his head in the lap of the girl with jean shorts and a new tattoo. One of the boys, the one wearing a yellow hat, stood up. He wobbled to the right, leaned to the left, and then he fell down in the same spot he’d been sitting. The group erupted in laughter and across the street the man continued walking.

One of the girls took a sip from a can of beer and placed it on the grass beside her. She pulled out her cellphone and said something to thee others. The girl next to her was playing with the hair of the boy whose head was in her lap. He looked up at her curiously and she smiled. Her cheekbones were framed by her short, slightly tangled hair and she smiled back at him. The boy wearing the yellow hat pointed at the man who’d been watching them.

He looked down when he realized he’d ben caught staring and began waking faster. A nervous wave of self-consciousness washed over him when he assumed whatever they were saying was related to him. The only reason he’d been watching them was because he remembered the girl with jean shorts and the new tattoo. She had come in three times last night, each time a little more drunk.

She spoke with rapid, confusing English words and while the man couldn’t understand it, he liked her voice. It was soft and clear, but also piercing in its honesty. Walking along the sidewalk the man tried to listen to her foreign words and wondered if he would ever learn English.

Across the street he saw one of the boys grab the hands of the boy who had been laying down and pulled him to his feet. The others stood and they all looked towards him.

There was no doubt anymore; he knew they were going to follow him and he walked faster. Without slowing, he bent down and picked up an empty beer bottle from the sidewalk, and stole a quick glance towards them.

The girls adjusted their shorts and tops. One of the boys put his arm around the girl with the new tattoo, but she slid out from under his arm and turned around to face him. Grabbing both his hands she began skipping backwards; leading him, and the group, playfully across the street.

The man saw that they were getting closer. Suddenly he felt rushed. He stubbed his toe and stumbled, but used his good hand to keep hold of the railing as he climbed the short staircase. The group had almost crossed the street when he looked back again.

He wondered how long they had been waiting for him when he reached into his pocket and pulled out a key ring with keys of all shapes. He coughed a little, cleared his throat, and then bent down on one knee to open the giant padlock. He jiggled the padlock loose and with a surge of effort stood, sliding the shuttered metal door upwards. It clicked loudly at each fold until it was open.

He slid a different key into the second door and turned it clockwise until he felt the deadbolt drop into the lock. Swinging the door open made the bell attached to the hinge of the door jingle.

The sound had been burned into his memory and by this point gave him a feeling like deja vu every time he heard it. Taking one final look over his shoulder he shuffled inside as fast as his old body would let him.

The group jumped up the stairs cheering.

The beer store, was now open.

Editing I Killed a Black Dog

At just over 700 words, I hope Kids will be Kids says as much as any Instagram photo I’ve posted. For now, I will borrow a quote from Michelle de Montaigne’s Essay’s. It describes the merit of written verse (and prose) in an illuminating analogy :

 Just as the voice, confined in the narrow channel of a trumpet, comes out sharper and stronger, so, in my opinion, a thought, when compressed in the strict meters of verse springs out more briskly and strikes me with a livelier impact

What do you think? Is a picture worth a thousand words? Or is 1000 words worth more than a picture? Sign up here, I have a new post coming soon!

If you want to read more of my writing, check out my first book Five Weeks in the Amazon

Life is Slow in Taganga, Colombia

Taganga bayThis is Taganga, it’s raw and always hot. The people are poor, and there’s no water, but it is an honest town, in the way towns like these are. The truth is a mixture, a combination, of the vice and the virtue expressed by those that live there. There is nothing to hide because it is all exposed.

Early in the morning, when the fisherman push their boats out to sea, their feet drip sparkling drops of water when they jump on board. The wind blows clean and fresh from the ocean and it is the only time the town is quiet.

Taganga BeachLater, once the sun is high and burning the gravel streets bake, and the wind shifts and begins to blow the other way. It funnels down the canyons from the dry brush hills, which surround the half-moon bay, and it blows strongest when the sun is setting.  Howling at times, the wind is never cold warm and always enjoyable. When the weather is like this, life slows down and becomes more tranquil. The true beauty of existence can be touched and is brought to your sweating skin with each breath of breeze.

I dedicate this story to Monica, and La Tortuga Hostel.

Kids will be Kids

Kids will be Kids – A Short Story from Colombia

They were sitting on the grass across the street from him. It was dry now, but it wouldn’t be later. The rain always comes in the afternoon and most of the time it was after he had taken lunch. It never lasted long, and it never got cold enough to need a jacket, but every day the rain would come. It was something the man had come to expect and it didn’t bother him anymore.

There were two girls leaning against each other and two boys sitting on either side of them. A third boy was lying with his head in the lap of the girl who had jean shorts and a new tattoo. One of the boys, the one with the hat, stood up and began to lean to the right, then he leaned to the left, and then he fell down in the exact spot where he had been sitting. The group erupted in laughter and the man continued walking.

One of the girls was holding a beer and took the last sip before placing it on the grass beside her. She pulled out her cellphone and said something to the others while pointing at the man who was watching them. The girl next to her was playing with the hair of the boy whose head was in her lap. She looked up curiously at the man and he was already looking at her. From where he was, he saw the sun reflecting off her shiny, smooth and slightly tangled blond hair but he looked down when he caught her looking at him.

Beginning to walk a little faster he looked away and felt a nervous wave of self-consciousness wash over him when he realized they were talking about him. The only reason he had been watching them so closely was because he remembered the girl with the new tattoo. She had come in three different times last night, each time a little more drunk.

The girl with the new tattoo spoke with rapid, confusing English words and the man couldn’t understand anything she was saying. He liked her voice though; it was soft and clear, but also piercing in its honesty. Slowly walking along the sidewalk the man listened to the foreign words and wondered if he would ever learn English one day.

The group stood up together and looked towards him. He had no doubt anymore; he knew they were going to follow him and he walked even faster. Without stopping he bent down to pick up an empty beer bottle from the sidewalk and stole a quick glance towards them.

Across the street he saw one of the boys grab hold of the one who had been lying down and pulled him to his feet. The two girls stood beside them adjusting their shorts and tops. When the third boy stood, he put his arm around the girl with the new tattoo, but she slid out from under his arm and turned around to face him. Grabbing both his hands she started skipping backwards leading him, and the group, playfully across the street.

The man saw that they were getting closer when he looked back. He used his good hand to help him climb the short staircase. He stubbed his toe and stumbled, but kept hold of the railing along the stairs. At the top of the stairs he reached out and threw the beer bottle he’d picked up into the trash. The group had almost crossed the street when he looked again and suddenly he felt rushed.

I wonder how long they have been waiting for me, he thought, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a big key ring filled with keys of all shapes. He coughed a little to clear his throat, then bent down on one knee to open the giant padlock attached to the bottom of the metal door. He jiggled the padlock loose and with a surge of effort slid the metal door upwards. As it rolled up, it clicked loudly at each fold. He stood back up and tried to find the other key he needed to get inside.

He slid the key into the deadbolt and turned it counterclockwise until the bolt slid back into the lock. Swinging the door open made the bell, which was attached to the hinge of the door, jingle cheerfully. The sound of the bell had been burned into his memory and by this point in his life it gave him a feeling like deja vu every time he heard it. Before stepping inside he slid a rock across the ground with his right foot to hold the door open. He looked back over his shoulder one last time and shuffled inside as fast as his old body would let him.

The group jumped up the stairs cheering. The beer store is now open.

The Wait – A Short Story from Colombia


The Wait...

“Excuse me, will this bus ever be coming?”  The man looked at her, but how should she have any idea?  She sat here almost every day wondering the same thing.

“I guess it will get here when it gets here, sir.” her voice was low and she was uninterested in starting a conversation with this man.

“I was told I should be here at noon” he looked at the other people with concern on his face, “Is that the correct time?”  He wondered how they could be so laid back all the time.

She turned to him and said, “Sometimes the engine gets too hot coming over the pass and they must wait until later in the day when it cools down.  Then they can come down without them brakes getting too hot.”

“Yes, but will it be much longer? I have a flight to catch.”

“I really can’t say sir, there is never any way to know and so we must wait.”

“Thank you, and I am sorry to bother you, it’s just that I have been told my son is sick and I must return home immediately.”  When he said this his brow furrowed into deep lines and his worry was intense.  She thought to herself that he looked like he was wishing the bus would come as much as anyone she’d ever seen.

“I am sorry sir, things are just very slow here.  The bus will come, it always does, but I cannot say when.  And I wish your son well; having a sick child is always quite frightening.”

“Thank you and yes; yes, it is indeed, and I am aware that things are very slow here.” His voice wavered slightly, “that’s the reason I came here, to be honest.”

I was honored to be welcomed and taken in like family and when the brother of a good friend passed away this was his last dance before being laid to rest.
They rocked his tiny coffin, his last dance before being laid to rest.

It was a waste of time to talk to this man and she knew it, but she asked him anyway, “And where are you from sir?”  The breeze was pleasant today and strong enough to keep the temperature right on the edge of where she liked it.  This man surely was strange to be here at a time like this.  She wondered what he would have been like before, in the good days.

“He is damned sick,” he said, “It’s happened before with him; they say I must come immediately.”  Preoccupied by the heat, he didn’t notice the breeze.  It wasn’t much but it blew small gusts from the west.  The man sat hanging his head.

“The bus will come sir; you mustn’t worry, it is just that things are slow here.”

“I know” He said, his head hanging even lower, “that’s part of the reason I came.”

He never expected when he was younger that this is how it would end.  Although he knew it wasn’t truly the end, he just felt closer to the end now than when he was younger.  Now he could hear the sound of the clock, counting the seconds in his race against time.

“He will get better I am sure; the last time they said it might happen again, but I pray he is in good hands.  Perhaps Marie-Angel or his sister Olivia have found where they took him.  I just need to get on this damned bus.”

“I understand sir, but it’s hot right now and maybe that bus is waiting till the suns drops down past the other side, then it can come through the pass with no problem; it is an old bus.”  She shook her head slowly when she said this to him, she was staring straight ahead now looking up the pass.  Didn’t this man know anything?

She turned back to him one last time; in her mind it all made sense.  “It happens mostly after the big rains, when it gets real hot, most times after lunch, but now it should come any time; won’t rain for a couple months I guess.  You will get to the airport for the night flight; will that work for you? The night flight?”

“Yes, the night flight will be fine, as long as this damn bus ever shows up.”

“It’ll come like I told ya.  Did ya happen to know they used to bet on it?”

“Bet one what?” He raised his head slightly.

“The time the bus was gonna come in.”

“Who would bet?”

“We all would, but the men on the platform ran the bets.” She nodded towards a few of the guys leaning against the wall who had their shirts up above their bellies to stay cool.  He hadn’t seen them but she knew they would all try to hire on as a porter when the tourists came in, if there were any left.  “Them boys and us would all wager on what time the bus was coming in, but now of course we all stopped.”

“What made you stop?” The man picked his nose, the dry air always made his nose itchy.  He was sitting with his head raised.

“A lady they all say was a witch cursed the bus one day and it crashed coming down the pass and everyone on it died.”

“That is a horrendous tragedy, I am sorry for any losses you had.” He looked towards her now.

“Yes, so if you don’t mind I hope you can understand why I would not like to talk about what time the bus comes anymore.”

“Yes, yes; I am very sorry to bother you, I only worry about my son, they didn’t tell me much over the wire.”

“The bus will come sir, things are just slow here.”  She looked away.  What a waste of energy to talk to this man, and at a time like this?  There was nothing to do but wait.

Day is done, gone the sun


Day is done, gone the sun

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With Love, The Bar Staff… – A Short Story from Colombia

“Can I please get an Aguila?” he said this politely, but he knew things were different after last night.  She looked up at him from her phone.  She was damned pretty he thought.  Like so many girls he had known before, her eyes held the truth and most of her beauty.

Of course things would be different now.  They were always different situations in situations like this, and her eyes looked sad and maybe a little angry.  Her beauty could not hide, but the truth he’d seen last night was protected by her absent gaze.

“Here,” she placed the beer on the warped and worn wooden bar in front of him.

Como estas?” he smiled, trying his best to speak her native tongue politely.

Tu es loco!” there it was, the truth and beauty became bright in her eyes now.

“No….” He grinned and said sarcastically.  “Yo todo normal…”  He laughed when he said it because they both knew he wasn’t normal, and maybe she liked crazy guys.  So he asked, with a more serious tone, “Ti gusta loco chicos?”

“No se.” Her eyes flashed away and then she flashed away, spinning on one heel towards the sink behind her.  He had seen it in her eyes though, it was quick, but she’d been thinking about him too.  It made him happy when her eyes softened.

Just then the Australian couple with dreadlocks walked into the bar and sat down on the stool next to him and the .  “Dos Mojitos, poor fave-vor” said the big, tanned Australian guy.

Turning to the man sitting next to him at the bar he said, “Oi mate, how ya going? Ya shoulda seen all these cunts out in the water today.  Mate, I tell ya it was outrageous.  One of the poms that’s staying here, he went and puked right in his mask 5m down and all these fish started coming up and eating it.  Mate, I’m telling ya it was the best shit I’ve seen in a long time.”

“It was rank” his girlfriend added, “the guy said he was eating pizza and drinking rum and coke last night, it was mess!”  She would have been a lot more attractive without the dreadlocks but her face was beautiful and you could tell she knew it.  They both smelled the same, it was a clean smell.

One of the things the man loved about the bar his beer was sitting on, was how it turned into an ongoing organic art piece as the night continued.  The cold glass beer bottles would sweat and water would drip down over the soggy label onto the wooden bar.

It would create circles on the bar that varied in size, depending on how fast you drank your beer.  The circles would be a light grayish color on the dark-stained bar.  If you sat in the same seat and drank enough beers, over time, they would join together and create circular designs which only make sense at the time, and were always gone in the morning.

The man looked up at her making the drinks.  He liked the way the bartender looked from behind.  Thinking back to last night he remembered how soft her skin had been and he wanted to touch it again.  Those legs, the color of cafe’ con leche; her calves ascending toward the back of her thighs and then disappearing into the shadows of her short dress, and her light summer dress which blew flirtatiously in the wind.

She was mulling the mint leaves and lemon syrup and her hair looked pretty, she was freshly showered and wore a tight braid.  He hoped when she turned around things would get better but the Australian turned to the man at the bar and said “Oi mate, we saw you and ol’ miss here having a toss in the hammock last night!  Good on ya, fine piece of tail for a place like this.”

“Andy shut up.” His girlfriend punched his huge shoulder with her tiny hand.  Australians were never conservative when they drink, were they?, the man thought.  The bartender looked pissed off.  “Would you like to pay cash or should I put these on your room?” she asked this as she slammed the drinks down hard, causing one of the mint leaves to fall off the edge of the glass onto the bar.

“Oh you can go ahead and chuck ‘em on the room, and don’t worry sweet-stuff, your secret’s safe with us, I was just taking the piss out of ol’ mate here.”  All the hippies the man at the bar had ever known smelled like patchouli oil and body odor but the two Australians always smelled like the ocean and nature and they never smelled dirty even though they both had dreadlocks.

The bartender didn’t look at any of them, she got red in the face and turned around quickly and busied herself by cleaning up after making the drinks.  Embarrassed and angry and this damn Australian wasn’t helping anybody out, the man at the bar thought, and tried to change the subject by asking for another beer.  “Una mas Aguila?”

Pulling open the door of the fridge, frosty air poured out into the warm Caribbean night.  She grabbed an icy cold, sweating beer, and placed it in the center of the water circles stamped in the bar in front of him.  She did all of this without looking at him but he couldn’t stand it.

Gracias mi amor,” He said smoothly and with a confident voice.

Her eyes flicked up and in an instant her truth and beauty were there.  Her cheeks were flushed when she looked into his eyes.  The thing he never could have known was that she desired him as much, if not more, than he desired her.  That was what made her so angry.  He was just a boy and she had let herself get too drunk.

“Con mucho gusto,” she said with a mix of confidence and humility.  His heart melted and he fell in love with her all over again when she said this.  It reminded him of the bedroom last night and the thankfulness she had expressed in her soft Spanish voice.  He wished he could make her thankful again right now.  She was so distant and he wanted to see her truth and beauty.

Their eyes were still locked, like they had been last night, well before at least.  Before it all went to hell.  It had started when he opened his bedroom door as she walked past it after coming downstairs from the bar.  She looked up at him with a look of yearning and then fell into his arms and without a word they had their first kiss.  Her tongue and her lips were as soft as anything he had ever touched, but there wasn’t time to think about that now.

“How’s about some tequila’s darlin’?” The Aussi guy said, with so much volume and force they both turned to look at him.

“Do you want the good stuff or the shit?” With her Latin accent it sounded so cute even though she was angry.

“Get us the good stuff and throw it on my tab and you two cunts have one with us, will ya?!.”

The bartender shrugged.  The man at the bar looked over at him and then back at the bartender and shrugged as well.

“Ok then,” she said half cheerfully, it was just business and there was no truth or beauty in her eyes when she lined up the four shots and cut the slices of lime.

So that’s what is going on, the man at the bar thought to himself, he had a flash and remembered the prices of the expensive tequila and he thought about how fresh and clean the hippies always were, even with their dreadlocks, and he decided at that moment they weren’t real hippies.  It was all an act, they were fake-hippies.  Fancy Australian fake-hippies.

Salud” the bartender tipped her head to them and then tipped it backward, downing hers before any of them had picked theirs up.

“Here’s to you two lovebirds!” the Aussie guy always seemed to shout when he spoke and he winked at the bartender and raised his glass.

“Andy shut your trap, ya dick!” his girlfriend tried to punch him, but this time he leaned backwards on his stool and her fist swung past his chest and missed him completely.  The force of her punch sent her tumbling off her stool and into his lap and her tequila shot spilled onto both of them.  Unfazed, the Aussie guy raised his shot glass a little higher and looked at the man at the bar and said with a slightly cocked head, “Cheers mate!” they crunched their glasses and a little spilled out of both.

When the man at the bar tilted his head back the last thing he saw was the big grin of the guy with dreadlocks, his wet shirt, his girlfriend trying to climb back up from his lap, and on the other side of the bar was the furious stare of the bartender.  That image of her face confused him, which confused his stomach and in the seconds afterword, he tried to ride the crashing wave of nausea without succumbing to its strength.

“You’re a dick, Andy!” his girlfriend leaned over and shouted from the barstool she had returned to.

“Oh, you love me sweetie, you know it…” His grin had the qualities of both puppy and child which made him seem like one of those guys who would be impossible to get angry at.

“You’re an asshole; he’s an asshole, right?” his girlfriend turned towards the bartender and slumped both elbows down heavily in front of her on the bar.  The bartender wasn’t going to say anything to confirm her accusations, he was an asshole, but she was an asshole too, they were both assholes and it was her own fault she had fallen out of her chair.

“I’m going to bed Andy, why don’t you stay here with the people you LOVE sooooo much.  I’ll be in bed, you’re such a jerk.”

“Oh relax will ya? Don’t get your titties tied.  Sit down, you’re all right.” She was standing now and had been about to walk away but instead moved closer to him.

“Have another drink; you’ll be fine.”  He reached over and touched her when he said this.  Pulling her closer with one hand, he slid a dreadlock behind her ear with his free hand and then leaned forward to kiss her gently on the cheek.

The bartender looked away.  Love was weird she thought, it made you do the weirdest things and she turned her head back and forth slowly.  His girlfriend reached her tiny hand up into his massive pile of matted hair and pulled the fake-hippie guy toward her so she could whisper something in his ear.

“Well kids, that’s it for us!” he shot up straight and quickly finished the last sips of both their drinks.  When he stood up from his stool he was surprisingly bigger than his girlfriend.  He bent down and grabbed her around the waist and straightened his legs to stand up and when he was standing he swung her around and placed her bent over on his right shoulder.

“Old lady told me she wants to watch some porn and get kinky tonight so don’t bother coming to find us for a few hours!” He shouted this back towards them and they didn’t know it at the time but that was the last words either of them ever heard that fake-hippie guy say.

His girlfriend was still shouting as he carried her across the bar and down the stairs, “You’re such an asshole Andy, put me down, I AM NOT having SEX with YOU tonight you pig, and you sure as hell ain’t getting kinky, you can’t say that type of shit, ANDY, put me down….”  But he had already carried her down the stairs and out of the bar and they were gone.

The bartender looked at him, the man at the bar who was really a boy.  Alone with him she had no one else to be angry at.  She stared her icy stare at him, even though she liked him.  She leaned onto the bar and he leaned onto the bar and he smiled even though she didn’t.  Her hardness softened as she stared at him, and into him, and he realized he was close enough to kiss her if he wanted to, so he did.

“Stop it!” She slapped him and recoiled, “Why the hell did you do that?”  When she said this the truth and beauty was there, though now it was a rage of truth and a blaze of beauty and it was all of her.  She splashed the ice out of the cups from the finished mojitos and then walked out from behind the bar towards him.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything, I just thought…” His voice trailed off, she looked angry.

“You’re a real asshole” she slapped him hard across the face and it stung.

Tranquilo, princessa.” He stood up over her and grabbed both of her wrists before she could slap him again.  “It’s all good.”  His voice was calm and he pulled down on her wrists and it brought them closer together and then she stood up on her toes and kissed him gently on the lips.

“I really liked last night,” She said this as she was taking a half step backward to look up at him in the innocent way all women do to a man they admire.

“Me too.” He smiled at her and she couldn’t help herself.  Her arms were around his neck just like when he had opened the door last night and before either of them had time to think she kissed him with a real and true kiss and he felt it in his whole body.

He grabbed the small of her back and pulled her towards him kissing her deeply.  They bumped into the bar and then turned and they were still kissing and then they bumped into a stool and it fell over.  She pulled his hair a little to pull him away and said, “No, I can’t, I won’t… You’re just a boy.”

“Why?” Was she crying, he wondered?

“I can’t, OK; I just can’t.”

“OK, OK, relax…OK?” She was crying and he felt awkward.  Woman are the queerest things he thought as she broke away and he saw now that she had big wet tears in her eyes.

“You don’t understand; you’re just a boy; boys never understand.”

“But…” and then there was no one for him to talk to.  She ran across the room after her last statement and he heard her feet hit each of the 12 stairs and the sound of her flip-flops as she ran down the hall and her door opening and shutting quickly.

“Women!” he said to no one and reached down to pick up the barstool they had knocked over.  Afterwards he walked around behind the bar to grab a beer from the fridge.  Digging in his pocket he found the correct change and left it on top of the register for whenever she came back.

He stood in the place where she had stood all night and drank his beer quickly.  In this heat you only had approximately 12 minutes to finish your beer before it got warm and too flat to enjoy.  He opened a new beer and set it on top of his old circles on the bar and stood there waiting for the bartender to return.

Another girl and her friend came up the stairs and into the bar, they were nice girls but they weren’t the type that would understand his condition.  He sold them a beer and put the money on the register and then told them he had to go.  At this point he didn’t have time to explain anything.

Walking past them he went downstairs to find the bartender.  When he got to the bartender’s room she wasn’t there.  She didn’t come back to the hostel that night and he left in the morning for home and they never saw each other again.