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One cut over the line.... - On Writing

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September 23rd, 2012


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11:45 am - One cut over the line....
Over the last couple of weeks, I read the entire book again, the first time since the final editing that went on during the month of May.

One of the wonderful things about this book for me is that I still like it, after all this time, and as many times as I've read it.

I'm going to put another missing scene for you behind the cut here, but unlike the scene about New Orleans with Alex and Rob, this is a scene that should not have been deleted.

I created a continuity error for myself with this edit, and I brought it upon myself. Spoilers for my book behind the cut, as well as a missing scene that I shouldn't have deleted that involves the last game Blake plays in high school for the Mustangs.



If you've read the book, you know that Blake gets injured in a game, and has to miss most of his season. His opponents in that game were a team called the Case High School Tigers.

I sent them up against the Mustangs again in the semi finals, and the idea was that Blake would recover from his injury and get to play one last time, even though he had to wear a brace to protect his still-healing shoulder.

But as I was editing the book, I forgot Blake played the same team twice! Once when he got injured, and once more later that season. So I conflated the games in my mind into one, and went too far with my cuts. This resulted in the book's final version underplaying both the aftermath of Blake's injury, and the end of his high school sports career! I also like the moment here with Carol -- I think it foreshadows Blake's maturing process and how his parents see that and try to encourage it.

So here's what I should not have cut. I hope you enjoy it.

If you have the print version, this passage should go in the break on page 311, part of Chapter 46.

~~~



It would have to be Case again in the high school semifinals. It would fucking have to be. There was no justice in the world and there was probably no God.

Blake played his part of the entire semifinals game with his heart in his throat. He had a custom brace that he didn’t really like; it interfered with his range of motion for passing just a little, but he had to agree that it made the shoulder feel great.

Coach Spears had told him he was going to call only handoffs and passes for Blake. He was not going to let him get tackled, and Spears, without making a big deal of it, had taken aside the line and basically begged them to think especially about Blake and his injury when they were out there blocking for him. Many of them were new and Blake did not expect them to have one fucking bit of sympathy for him. But they were doing their jobs beautifully and so far Blake had not been sacked, or even come close to it.

These Case Tigers, though. They were a tough team, and their quarterback could do everything. He was tall and had really come into his own for his senior year, and he was connecting with his receivers, it seemed, every time. The Mustangs were having a hard time keeping up. They could stop the run, but their pass coverage was just not getting it done. The score kept mounting and mounting. Early in the first half the Mustangs kicker had missed an extra point because of the wind, and Blake had a sinking feeling that that one point might be important. Really important.

Every play counted. Every single play. He was holding his own, though, and he was damned if he was going to give Coach Spears a reason to pull him out. Meador had started, and Blake went in for the second quarter. He had not begged; he had said nothing, but Coach Spears had told him in the pre-game meetings that he would put Blake in for this one, and he had gone through the entire strategy with both quarterbacks. Blake had only been practicing for two weeks before this game. He was so glad to play, but he somehow couldn‘t feel the relief and happiness he knew had to be down inside of him somewhere.

No one wanted to say it, Blake didn’t want to think it, but he was so grateful and so mad, all at once. Because it was very, very likely that this would be the last game Blake would ever play of competitive football. Ever.

***
Time was running out in the fourth quarter. Meador had done all he could; had made his passes, had run and handed it off to the two good running backs the Mustangs had, but nothing could stop the Tiger quarterback and those awesome wide receivers. Blake watched, sitting on the bench, sweaty with his face streaked with black. It felt so anti-climactic. This was all there was. This was it.

The final score was 42 to 39. He and Lucas had played hard and had made literally no mistakes. But it was over. Blake pulled his white helmet off and put it on the bench beside him. He looked at the green rearing horse and the number 12 and the green streaky grass stains. The winter air was cold on his damp face. It felt good. He heard the whistle, and the last formation broke up and the screaming got louder. The Tigers fans poured out of their seats and on to the field, heedless of the Riverside cops who tried to contain them. Blake just sat there. The Tigers were going to State to face the Patriots; their first trip to state in six years. They and their fans were ecstatic, jumping up and down out there under the magical white lights, hugging each other. They had earned this, but Blake could not be happy for them. Not even a little.

Someone was standing by him. He looked up. It was Coach Davis, who had been his offensive coach since freshman year, moving up to varsity with him the same year Bill Gutierrez had gone over to Eastern. Davis stuck his right hand out to Blake and Blake stood up and took it, automatically.

“You had a good ride, Thompson,” Davis said, and Blake nodded. He couldn’t look the guy in the eye. Fuck -- then Davis was hugging him, and he just lost it. He didn’t want to lose it, but he did. Two sobs escaped him, shaking his shoulders, and he leaned back and turned away, willing himself to pull it together. He pushed a thumb and a forefinger against his eyelids. He tried to start walking. Davis was slapping him on the shoulder pads, and then pushing him, turning him to where the lines were forming for the after-game thank-you’s.

***

Blake was restless. He’d run in the morning; talking his mom into that had been easy after the good report from the doctor the day before. He hadn't hurt himself in the Case game; he was fine. But he was still restless. After dinner, he got back in the shower. Then he dug out a nice pale pink buttondown that his mom had ironed weeks ago and found his good jeans.

He surveyed the effect in the mirror. He let out a breath and pursed his lips. He went to his sock drawer and pushed aside the neat pairs until he found his earrings. They had been in there ever since the morning he had driven down with Bill and Jennifer to Austin. He had not wanted to look at them or touch them. He picked them up and weighed them in his hand, and decided. He would wear them. The dragon ring was in there, too, looking small and dull among the neat blobs of his socks. He looked at that, and left it there, and went to the bathroom to find some alcohol.

The earrings stung going into the holes in his ears. He had waited almost too long to try to put them on again. He stood there and smoothed down the front of his shirt. He opened the cabinet and found some hair gel that belonged to his brother. The soccer team thing had influenced Drew to streak his hair and spike it up. Blake experimentally gooped up his hands and ran them through his hair, which Danny was cutting shorter for him these days. Yeah, all right. He would do. He turned to go back to his room, and there was his mom, leaning in the open bathroom door, watching him.

“I gather you’re going out?” she asked. He looked at her carefully. He didn’t think she was mad.

“Yeah.”

“You’ve got your phone?”

He pulled it out of his front pocket (it was awkward; the jeans were tight) and showed it to her.

He moved forward, hoping she would clear the way, and she did. He went to his room and got his Mustangs jacket and put it on. She was still waiting for him in the hall. He watched her muse over and then discard several parting comments, apparently thinking better of saying them. Don’t say anything, don’t, don’t, don’t; I’m not a little kid, for Christ’s sake.

“Be careful,” she said.

“I will.”

He was almost down the stairs when he heard her say to his back, “I’m glad you’re feeling better.”

He went to the Rainbow, and as soon as he was in the door, he knew it was the right idea. It felt good to be on the move again, doing something. He arrived pretty early, about ten, and the place was not even half full.

***

Author's note: And then it picks up in the printed text again -- he goes home with Mark. And of course it's not the day of the game; it's the next night. Again with author error!

Hope you enjoyed! Continuity errors are a bitch. :(
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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