I’ve lived a crazy life. I’ve done and seen pretty much everything. My head is full of stories and I’ve been told for the past 20 years to write a book. I’ve always had a couple in the works, and I’m finally getting down to it. My friend and writing buddy, Sami, told me about NaNoWriMo a couple months ago. National Novel Writing Month. The deal is this: You have 30 days to write a 50,000-word novel. You cannot start until November 1st and you have to submit what you have done by midnight, November 30th.
I wrote the intro last night. A daily goal of 1667 words is set to keep writers on-track. Though I only made it to 1500, I surpassed my 2-day goal and am now up to 3501 words. The novel is about my apartment building. I’ve only lived here for a year, but there have been enough things that have happened to fill a book.
Here’s the intro (we are NOT supposed to edit while writing, but to do that after if there’s enough time, so excuse anything that needs to be corrected for now):
“I gotta get the fuck out of here” she said to herself. Another strange note left on her car, another rat in the kitchen. The weird notes from someone Violet went out with two years ago appeared under her windshield wipers appeared intermittently ever since. Notes like “I love your new boots” and “Why were you up so late last night?” caught her off-guard. Every time it happened, she was shaken to the core, thinking the last one was the ultimate effort of the freak to keep in contact with her. Yeah, she’d thought about calling the cops, but with no last name, it was pretty difficult to file any charges.
The rats started to appear 5 months prior. Roof rats. A common occurrence in Phoenix. They loved the citrus as it fell from the trees and rotted on the roofs. They also loved pet food: cat food, dog food, whatever was left out on the floor. Violet had a puppy and a cat. The puppy was smaller than the first rat. Sitting there one evening, her pots and pans had started banging around. Seeing a long, slinky tail slowly moving behind a pan, she freaked out and looked for the cat. “Isn’t this your job, asshole?” she said, but then saw how big the damn thing was and shoved the cat back into the bedroom. Running to the neighbor’s, she felt foolish. But, hey, this was a man’s job. So, after five months of the rats, the notes and overall fear of simply going to bed had taken its toll.
Switching on the laptop, she checked Craigslist for an apartment to move into. There was no way she’d stay in Melrose, an historic neighborhood in Central Phoenix. Though she adored it, the rats would just find her again. So would the freak. He’d find her car. Searching the ads in Central Phoenix, many were places too small or too expensive. Finally, after two hours of searching she noticed the headline “Melrose Place, without the drama.” The photos were of a modern-style architectural building. Reading through the ad, it said it had been designed by Al Beadle, her favorite and very well-known designer in the Phoenix area. She called immediately.
Violet is one of those girls that’s just, well, “different.” Not one to go with the masses, rarely does she ever wear the kind of clothes you get at the mall. Anything designer comes from second-hand stores, and she picks those out because nobody else has them. She wouldn’t be caught dead at a party with the same shoes or dress as anywhere else. Goodwill? Hell yeah! Buy something used; it’s like recycling and her hippie mom would be proud. The apartment sounded perfect: only a dozen units, not one of those stupid gated communities with a conference center and party room that could be rented out. Who the fuck needs that shit? She’d rather be in a place where she would know her neighbors and be a part of a community that wasn’t the typical cookie-cutter crap dotting the Valley of the Sun. She needed a place that had as much character as she had.
The location was ideal: less than a mile from work and close to all her favorite restaurants and small, locally-owned businesses. Pulling up, a rather large man was waiting for her in the parking lot. Collin was extremely, openly gay. Ok, he was a total flamer. And proud of it. He commented on Violet’s hair and clothing. “This is gonna be perfect,” she thought to herself. She had a ton of gay friends and that’s just what every single girl needs, right?
“We have a lot of cool people here who have lived here for years,” he said, showing her around the facilities downstairs. Small, coin-operated laundry room, the pool and parking spots. There were three apartments to choose from, and he showed her the one downstairs, first. “I think the one upstairs will be more your style, though, and you’ll feel a bit safer,” he explained. She answered only with “Cool.” He led the way upstairs.
Everyone had plants everywhere! There were cacti, succulents, trees in pots and vines crawling up the stucco walls. Little tables lined the walkway from end-to-end, all loaded with houseplants. It seriously looked like Melrose Place. The property had a fence around it because of the pool, and the yard was a lush green. The place looked well taken care of.
Opening the door to #10, it was instant love. Original cabinets, from the 1960s, were abundant in the dining and kitchen areas. The style was retro: built-in, original oven that was green, just like her great-grandma’s. “Does everything work?” she asked incredulously. The place had “flavor” and she turned on the ceramic stovetop. “Yup. I live on-property, so if anything goes wrong, I’m on it. If I can’t fix it, I have enough people who can.” Those words attracted her, but they would also be an omen of things to come. She had know idea about the “people” that Collin knew.
“I’ll take it!” she exclaimed, completely in love with the vintage appliances, vast storage space and overall feel of the building. “The carpets will be shampooed, right?” she asked, noticing it was stained in some spots. “Oh, yeah, I’ll do all of that before you move in,” Collin replied confidently. “Cool,” was all she said.
They agreed on the money shit, like rent and deposit and Violet took one last look around before returning back to work. Lunch hour was over, unfortunately.