Saturday. Mike knew it’d be frenzy, from early till after 5, when people started prolonging their tastings, probably afraid to get in the car and drive, he always thought. But he made time to write, finishing the short story he started yesterday in the lot of the Kenwood Market. He read it again.. noticing a certain appropriate candor to the gruesomeness of the character. He’d never followed-through with a short of this literary shape; exploring tones of vengeance, revenge, justice.. or karma which he didn’t believe in.

Today, a run scheduled. Up Lawndale, and maybe a bit past the winery once he was back on the valley floor. Everything today had to be recorded. The piece he wrote yesterday, which he intended to send to The New Yorker, still on the little pieces of scratch paper. He hated how those so quickly collected, piled on his desk, or on the kitchen table, in that Literary nook of his. He needed an office offsite, and he wanted to be somehow pushed to it– He didn’t know where he was going with that thought stream. And he didn’t need to right away– Or maybe he did, he knew, turning 35 in 1 month, 17 days.

He’d target the New Yorker piece tonight after work, after his run. And he’d cap himself at 500 words; on the truths of the wine industry, the misperceptions, the horror of the fantasy that they sell– OR, he could write it in fiction, have two characters behind the bar, on a slow day, talking, sipping, going against the custody. Yes, commit to fiction, he thought. “The New Yorker,” he wrote, “I just have to write that one piece, that one piece.. everything will change. I will use them as my voice propeller. Journalism.. voice.. perspective… TRUTH. Nothing will be able to hurt me. I’ll show everyone…”

8:30AM. The second cup, done. He was tempted to fly to the kitchen for another, but that’s what the mocha was meant to do, keep his inner catalytics luminous. He brandished the little black notebook from his teaching bag. “No stapled scratch paper sheets today.. this is what journalists, REAL journalists use,” he wrote. His new writer friend from yesterday.. he couldn’t remember her name.. saying how she “only wrote in a diary,” and how Mike assured her that such writings had value from their unfined truths, that she should develop them, send him a page or two if she were comfortable, wanting ever a reader. After she left, he wrote ten lines in his makeshift tablet, in the back room next to the kitchen, where he wouldn’t be bothered. But today, he’d write while in the trenches, while the people were right in front of him, asking their colorful questions, that always, nearly every time, either made his eyes roll or core untie a giggle.

He took a second to think, gather what fragments of poise he could assemble before his leave, before going there to clock in. He went to the New Yorker’s website, started reading, whatever he could. Then, to the History Channel’s site.. see what happened this day in history, just to see if there was something there to push him. Civil War begins.. okay… FDR dies, first man in space– “AH!” Mike said, “Galileo guilty of heresy… Beautiful!”