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Tomorrow's Garden; Not quite an Andrea one-shot
Topic Started: Oct 14 2011, 01:03 AM (821 Views)
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Guy Maddin's favorite A.D.
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
"We have received confirmation that a plane will be landing within the hour--"

"For the first time, it appears that this yearly act of terror may have a happy ending--"

"To repeat, we do not yet have confirmation on the names of the students, nor how many there are, although many are assuming--"

"We will be reporting live at the scene of this astonishing breaking news as soon as our coverage team has arrived--"


---

Joanne Raymer turned the television off and got up from her sofa.

She left her living room, passed by her home office, the guest bathroom, heading towards her kitchen. She had decorated in a modern, open style, with large windows that gave her a front-yard view of suburbia. Not the suburbia of the moment, with rows upon rows of identical houses in a vacant lot off the interstate; the real suburbia, old houses with character and ancient trees growing alongside them. It was a neighborhood one could grow old in or retire to, one to raise children in and not worry about what they might be doing once school let out. It was hers.

Just outside the side door that opened into her kitchen, Joanne Raymer kept a garden. It was small, orderly, and neat. She grew herbs, sage and parsley and thyme, because she had tried to avoid salt since her doctor had suggested she cut down her sodium intake. She planted peppers and tomatoes and the occasional zucchini plant, and she would offer any surplus produce to her elderly neighbors. The garden was hers, and Joanne knew it always would be. The fruits and leaves might change from day to day, the plants themselves from season to season, but come tomorrow, the garden would still be hers. To Joanne, her garden was a symbol. Of what she'd been striving for, even before she left home and met David.

She had been Joanne Bloomquist then, a 19-year-old girl from the town of Fairmont; she was the first in her family to go to college. Her father had been a proud employee of Fairmont Railway Motors, as has his father before him. Her uncles and cousins worked for other manufacturers or for the city. Some worked at the United Foods Cannery, and her father would shake his head at them and ask how they could endure a lifetime labeling canned beans while he put together railroad speeders. He had imparted that to his children; the railroad might not be glamorous, but it was real, and it was dependable, and if you didn't shape up and keep your nose to the grindstone, you'd end up with the canned beans instead. Her father was a firm man, often distant, but he had taught her how to be proud. He had taught her that not through force, not even through words, but simply through who he was.

And his children had made him proud. Joanne's brother Dwight, solid, hard-working, followed his father to Fairmont Railway, risen to Supervisor of Quality Control. Joanne herself grew up bright and pretty, active in school and community. She had been artistic as well, and designed dresses for school theater productions. Briefly she had entertained the dream of a career in fashion and wardrobe design, but dreams were not dependable things. She had taken the right path instead, gaining acceptance to study Business and Administration at the state university. Her father had been proud that she had recognized the dream as the hobby it was. Joanne still drew on occasion, small pencils and watercolors, and she designed her own Christmas cards each year. She sometimes worked at the kitchen table, where she could look out on her little garden and be proud of what was hers.

It had been in her first year at the University of Minnesota that Joanne met David Raymer. Five years her elder, tall and confident from his stint in the military, he was a groundskeeper by day taking business courses by night. Joanne's father approved of David with the exception of his shaggy blonde hair, which he told Joanne he had grown out to make up for missing out on the 1970's. It was the hair that initially drew her to him, that hint of defiance amongst dependability. And when he took her to the cemetery and revealed that they were the grounds he was keeping, she had been drawn even closer.

Joanne wed David in 1985, waiting until she had secured a long-term secretarial position. She gave birth to Andrea in 1990, waiting until she had secured her position as a sales representative. In 1995 she had Alex, waiting long enough to achieve certification as an independent broker. And like clockwork, in 2000 she divorced David, waiting long enough to be sure that whatever they had was long since gone, that the hint of defiance Joanne once loved had gone further than she could endure. It had grown in David himself, even as his business became more successful, more dependable each year. He was too jocular, his approach to life too facetious. He treated the world like it was his own private sitcom, with Joanne co-starring as the stick-in-the-mud wife. He spent too freely, acted too rashly, had been too permissive with the kids, embracing the "cool dad" role to the point that he had already turned Andrea against her. And so there had been arguments, and stony silences, and infidelities on both sides, and once she had waited long enough to be sure, the two of them made their separation official.

Then in 2005, after one last five-year cycle, David had died. Defiant to the end. Joanne had mourned him of course. She had loved him once, and would remember that time. She had done her best to comfort Alex, to ease his grief.

And then Joanne had moved on. She painted when the impulse struck her and took cooking classes to discover ways to utilize her garden. She threw herself into her work and when she became frustrated with a client's demands, or found herself sick and tired of explaining negligible differences in rates, she thought of the canned beans and the United Foods Cannery that had closed in 1992, and of the railroad speeders still being produced to this day. She did these things, and she tried to teach her children how to be proud.

She tried. And because of David, Joanne's only daughter had refused her. Andrea had thumbed her nose at her, mocked her, taken every inch Joanne gave and stretched it into a mile. She had done it maliciously, deliberately, with her father encouraging her every step of the way, and after David died Andrea only redoubled her efforts. Joanne had waited as she always did, she had given Andrea every opportunity to correct herself, and instead Andrea had tried to set Alex along the same path to ruin. So Joanne did the only thing she could, and let Andrea go, the same as she'd done to David eight years prior. And Andrea had gone, all the way to that Survival of the Fittest cesspool she had so gleefully wallowed in. Defiant to the end.

Joanne received the news the day after the buses had left on the senior trip, not long before the broadcast itself began airing. And as she did with David, she had mourned, even as Andrea lay bare her sins for the world to see, even as her daughter attacked and insulted her in front of a mass audience, completely inconsiderate of the damage she could be doing. Joanne's clients, colleagues, friends and neighbors would all have heard Andrea's vicious words, and while she hoped most people would not give credence to the rantings of a teenage drug dealer, she knew that some probably would. But Joanne could deal with that. If she lost a client, she would eventually gain a new one. Her clients, like her garden, changed from season to season and from day to day. But they remained hers.

So Joanne had prepared to move on once again, and now the news had announced that at least some of the students were returning home. No names were given, but Joanne had seen the footage of the escape attempt. She knew there was at least a decent chance Andrea would be among them. And as Joanne Raymer stood in her kitchen and thought about her garden, she asked herself what that might mean.

How it might change things. If it would change anything at all.

She worked that over in her mind as she looked out of her front window at her neatly trimmed lawn, at the cul-de-sac she called home. Alex would be home from school any minute now. Doubtless he would have heard the news, would want Joanne to get to the airport as fast as possible to see if his sister was alive. She would do that. Either way, she was sure the police or military would soon be contacting parents of the surviving students.

And if Andrea was alive, then what?

Joanne poured herself a glass of water, then stepped outside to pick some fresh herbs from her garden while she waited for Alex. Then what? Andrea had already answered that question for her. Season to season, alive or dead, Andrea was what she had chosen. Andrea was Andrea.

Andrea was not Joanne's garden. Because Joanne's garden was hers.

Come tomorrow it would be different. But it would be. Her garden would remain.

So would she.
v6!
G058: Kaitlyn Greene aka Katy Buried - Horse Tranquilizer and Syringe
She Knew She'd Found Freedom - Questions - Fools - Barons - Opportunities - Sideshows - Dawns - Gulches

v5!
G038: Deanna Hull - Replica Freddy Glove - DECEASED
From Sea to Sky -Smoke--Sun--Tiki--Nine--Repeat--Talk--Now--Drift--Hunger--Valley--Fall--Rust--Paper--Heart--Sky-
B023: Jesse Jennings - Riz Action Figure - DECEASED
From Vision to Glory -Vision--Summon--Time--Plan--Length--Sleep--Cause-

v4!
B006: Ricky Fortino - Trowel - DECEASED
B022: Imraan Al-Hariq - Remington 870 - DECEASED
G036: Carly Jean Dooley - VASE D: - DECEASED
G077: Andrea Raymer - Gunpowder - ?????
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Guy Maddin's favorite A.D.
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
(Andrea Raymer continued from Four-Act Structure)

Andrea was escorted off the plane and into the adoring arms of an empty tarmac.

Yep, disappointment again.

Seriously, what was with this super-secrecy shit? Sure, some of them were still all traumatized and crap, but they could've just snuck out the back way. Where was the cheering mob? Where were the blinding lights of a thousand flashbulbs? Where was---

"Ugggh.... hey, we're back."

She blinked twice and lay back on the gurney. OK, so MAYBE she wasn't in the best condition to meet a throng of reporters. Or everyone else who'd soon be descending on this story all vulture-like. Not to mention that Andrea knew her mom would be around soon enough. She'd recovered enough strength to take a few spins in a wheelchair at the hospital, but that didn't mean her back could handle a cross-country flight in a seated position just yet. Actually, it'd probably be more embarrassing than anything else to be seen in this condition especially given that she was still on some nice painkilling drugs and ooohhh, pretty sky.

Yeah, on second thought this was probably for the best. It'd even add more mystery to their, uh, mysterious rescue. Their rescue by a bunch of teenage wannabe-commandos. Freaking hilarious, really. So yeah, it'd add more mystery and once she got all better and walked out of whatever hospital they were taking her to in a couple days THEN it would be time for all the great stuff and ooohhh, pretty sky.

(Andrea Raymer continued in Crash and Burn and Never Learn)
v6!
G058: Kaitlyn Greene aka Katy Buried - Horse Tranquilizer and Syringe
She Knew She'd Found Freedom - Questions - Fools - Barons - Opportunities - Sideshows - Dawns - Gulches

v5!
G038: Deanna Hull - Replica Freddy Glove - DECEASED
From Sea to Sky -Smoke--Sun--Tiki--Nine--Repeat--Talk--Now--Drift--Hunger--Valley--Fall--Rust--Paper--Heart--Sky-
B023: Jesse Jennings - Riz Action Figure - DECEASED
From Vision to Glory -Vision--Summon--Time--Plan--Length--Sleep--Cause-

v4!
B006: Ricky Fortino - Trowel - DECEASED
B022: Imraan Al-Hariq - Remington 870 - DECEASED
G036: Carly Jean Dooley - VASE D: - DECEASED
G077: Andrea Raymer - Gunpowder - ?????
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