Effing Feline asks ‘What the heck is a purple cow?’ #wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, have been told to pass along a message from Ed. But I’m a cat. He knows I’m a cat. He should darn well know that cats don’t like to be told what to do. Therefore,  I’m not going to tell you the message until after this word from my brand new sponsor — Never Saw a Perfect Cow. So there!

This unpublished sci fi book is waiting for Ed to make up his @&^%^$# mind what to do with it. Because of its length (132K) and serious content, he considered venturing back into traditional publishing, which he hasn’t done since 2005. However, after garnering the book’s first rejection a couple weeks ago, he realized he doesn’t have the stomach for the New York game. How did he ever stomach it enough to get his first six books trad published?

Purple Cow explores the relationship between creativity and madness. It’s near-future sci fi with elements of romance and more sex than is usual in Ed’s work, though there’s none in this snippet. To set the scene —

Janet Davis, a beautiful 44-year old suburbanite, abandons her husband, her luxurious LA home, even her country to risk madness and death on a quarantined island in the northern wilderness.

Why?

“There’s your tomb, Lady,” said the Indian.

The words slowly penetrated Janet Davis’s regrets, creeping with the insidious stealth of fog slipping around a corner. With a mental pop that seemed more real than reality, she recalled where she was.

On a grimy, reeking gillnetter, alone with this man. Crossing the River Styx to the land of the dead . . . so to speak.

She had to force a deep breath before she could answer: “Pardon me?”

“There it is,” the First Nations boat driver said slowly, as though dealing with an idiot child. He jabbed at the window to Janet’s right without taking his eyes from grey seas that were indistinguishable from the grey blanket of clouds and grey hills covered with evergreens whose color had been sucked dry like a bloodless corpse. He shook his head and made a disgusted clucking sound. “Your tomb.”

Effing Feline here again. Ed’s message, banal as it is — he and all his family are fine and he hopes you are, too. So far he doesn’t know anyone who’s contracted Covid19. Do you?

As messages go, that wasn’t worth waiting for, was it?

Be sure to visit the other great writers in Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday.

Never Saw a Purple Cow

Purple Cow: someone who not only doesn’t fit in, they stand out like a . . .  well like a purple cow in a dairy herd.

Grade-A example: beautiful middle-aged suburbanite Janet Davis choosing to live among the creative but insane quarantinees of remote Gilford Island.

Grape flavored milk, anyone?

37 comments

  1. What an intriguing excerpt, Ed! (Of course, I wouldn’t expect anything else.) Stay safe, you and yours!

    1. Thanks much, Lyn!

  2. Oh, this sounds fantastic! Don’t hold back, Ed. I love your lighter stuff, but I’d also like to see what you can do in a more serious vein.

    1. I hope I don’t disappoint, Lisabet. Much of my humor isn’t intended to be humorous. I just see the world from a cockeyed angle that makes some people laugh.

  3. Cathy Brockman · · Reply

    Great snippet. I’m intrigued. We are fine here too and so far no I don’t know anyone with the virus! Glad your not got it too!

    1. Good to hear, Cathy. Promise me you’ll stay healthy, eh?

  4. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    I wonder if she fully knows what she’s getting herself into. Intriguing!

    1. She has a preconceived notion, but she knows nothing of what’s in store forher.

  5. Intriguing! Ed, it’ ironic that this story will be a little more sex-rated since you’re painting the first snippet in 50 shades of gray. Harharhar. 🙂 I am looking forward to this tale. Something different from you.

    Glad you and yours are healthy.

    I do not personally know anyone with Covid19. I’ve been self quarantining after work for the last (almost) 2 weeks now. My boss was in Europe when President Trump curtailed most arrivals from the EU. My boss was in numerous airports, and flew home 2 days after the crackdown on flights–and he did not self-quarantine.

    My son just had his quarantine lifted after 4 days. His employer notified him mid-week that an employee my son was working with ( and said employee’s wife) had developed a fever of 103 and a cough. Turns out the Covid19 test was negative. We have 30 cases confirmed in our county and are now under lockdown. To complicate things, Flu–type B is making the rounds. One of my bosses and his wife had it (another Covid scare until ruled otherwise) and now another employee at that location is sick with the same symptoms.

    1. As a writer, I practice social distancing all the time, so the pandemic hasn’t made a huge impact on my life. My daughter and son-in-law here in town have continued to work, though their companies are finally starting to think about enabling people to work at home. Better late than never? From what I’ve heard, not so much. When I went out to the pain clinic (bad back), the streets here were fairly full. I’d say 60-75% of normal. I’m not sure people here are taking this thing seriously. I know they aren’t.

      For comparison, BC, where I moved from, is testing people at 175% of South Korea at its peak, and five times the US rate. The Netherlands is seeing a greatly flattened curve . . . and my son and daughter-in-law in Amsterdam have been working from home since the first week of February. My son’s company even bought him a desk and ergonomic chair to work on. I hope things work out well here, but I don’t take that for granted.

  6. the question about the purple cow made me laugh. There’s a chocolate brand in Europe (I think it’s Swiss, could be German) called Milka, best chocolate IMHO, anyway, their logo is a purple cow 😉

    As for your snippet, it’s going to be interesting to find out why on earth she left her life behind for this.

    1. It’s amazing how widespread that little poem has become. The poet came to resent its success and wrote a followup:

      Ah, yes, I wrote the “Purple Cow”—
      I’m Sorry, now, I wrote it;
      But I can tell you Anyhow
      I’ll Kill you if you Quote it!

  7. So here I am with daughter and granddaughter staying far away from me-just in case- because the word is that elderly folks must stay away from everyone in the world. As for me, I hang out with Sadie, my sweet pooch, 3 cats and 2 chickens. AND when the weather is nifty, I read outside with Sadie by my side. Take the best care-I know you will. Hugs, my friend.

    1. This is a lonely, scary time. I find myself worrying a lot more these days about my two boys and d-i-l who are far away in Amsterdam.

  8. nancygideon · · Reply

    Love this! What striking imagery. Those crazies in NY’s loss!

    We’re hunkering down at home (in other words, the usual) with the addition of 12 yr old grandguy and 7th grade math for 2, going on 3 weeks. Enjoying the heck out of it (except the math part!).

    1. What a lovely attitude you have, Nancy!

  9. I love the Indian’s nonchalant attitude with the tomb.

    I’m doing well with the lockdown. I’ve been laid off both my jobs, but we’re starting online classes next week. I was supposed to be out skiing in the Canadian Rockies this week, but had to cancel it for obvious reasons.

    1. Missing out on a visit to the Rockies is a serious loss indeed!

      1. It is, but my ski club does trips every year, so I’ll just go on one next year. We’re all disappointed but at least we’re being reimbursed.

  10. Ominous, much? Love the start to this and hope I get to read it someday.

    As a writer, I’m feeling a touch guilty about how okay I am with staying home and isolating. I’m working remotely part time, going in when I have to, and getting a lot more writing done. It kind of works for me. Still don’t have many cases in my area but it feels like a lurking, invisible threat just waiting for us to let our guards down.

    1. I’d be in much the same position if I didn’t have kids and grandkids. My wife would have to be at death’s door before she refused entry to the grandsons we babysit for.

  11. Writing about tombs might be a hard sell these days.
    Our adult son who lives with us in Atlanta is suffering symptoms of COVID19, fortunately mild so far and he’s feeling better. So my husband and I are staying out of town in our “weekend” retreat. Originally we planned to stay for a long weekend and didn’t bring many clothes etc, but we’re managing.

    1. Think about it, Aurora. One of the great things about a quarantine — you don’t really need clothes.

      Concerning ‘tomb’ being a turnoff — the opposite. Movies like Outbreak, Contagion, and Carriers are more popular than ever. This island is a tomb because it’s the quarantine ares for outbreaks of a new and deadly virus. For some people, that will be fascinating.

  12. julieevelynjoyce · · Reply

    “with elements of romance and more sex than is usual in Ed’s work” – SOLD! 😀 Can’t wait to learn more about Janet Davis. And grape milk…Mmmmm. Glad you and your family are good. We are, too.

    1. You like the idea of more sex, eh? This is a very telling comment, Julie, very telling! 😉

  13. Creepy! I love it. Looking forward to reading more.

    I don’t know anyone personally, but I do know several people who know someone who has passed – in Italy and here in the US. Daughter and I are staying home and I’m grateful we get along so well!

    1. You like creepy, eh? I hope the book as a whole has enough suspense to keep people reading.

  14. Diane Burton · · Reply

    Glad to hear you and your family are okay. I don’t know anyone, either, who has COVID-19, thank goodness.

    I’m intrigued by this new story. I’d love to read more.

    1. That’s the reaction I’m hoping for, Diane!

  15. Loved this snippet. Great description and I liked how it began with tomb and ended with tomb.

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

    1. Too bad my character isn’t named Toomey, eh?

  16. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    Intriguing excerpt with great imagery.

    1. Thanks, Elaine.

  17. Like always, you leave me intrigued to know more.

    I have a day job. I work for a dentist and we are closed right now except if there is an emergency. We’ll be closed until April 15th unless we are told to extend the closure. I’m the office manager so I’m the only one going into work to answer phones, get the mail, make appointments… It’s been tough. The rest of my co-workers have filed for unemployment to make ends meet. So my work schedule hasn’t changed much. Luckily, I don’t know anyone who has COVID19. My sister, her husband, and my brother were in Ireland when the lockdown started. They had planned this vacation over a year ago and were disappointed that everything was closed. They weren’t issued refunds because they took the flight and they had to pay extra to get back home early! They self quarantine themselves. They are fine, which is a blessing. My eldest has her own business she just opened six months ago. She’s a massage therapist so she’s been closed and is afraid her business will fold by the time its safe to go back to work. It’s a very weird and scary time. I’m glad you’re doing all right. On a lighter note, since I’m home earlier now, I’ve had time to write. Stay safe!

    1. It sounds as though your family has been hit worse financially than mine. I’m retired and though I don’t even want to think what the stock market collapse has done to my retirement nest egg, it hasn’t affected me on a day to day basis.

      My daughter here in town is considered an essential service worker, which is both good and bad. Good because she has work, bad because it has to be done in a large office and the company is doing nothing about helping people work from home, isn’t supplying masks or extra cleaning at the end of the day. She’s okay until she inevitably falls ill.

      My son in Phoenix is in the riskiest boat financially. I can’t believe his whole office hasn’t been shut down yet. Today was the first day he’s been allowed to work from home.

      I can’t help but compare their situations with my two sons in Amsterdam. Both work from home quite easily because their companies had the foresight to be technically adept. Scott’s company bought him a desk and ergonomic chair. Daughter in law Vivian’s job ordinarily requires a lot of travel, but although it’s slowed down, she’s been able to meet via computer so far. Soon, though, she expects to be furloughed without pay.

      Is it a coincidence that she works for an American company? Probably not. From this family’s experience, American bosses don’t give a shit about their workers. This is the American dream?

      Sheesh.

  18. Highly intriguing, as always with your plots, and you always take things in totally unexpected directions, much to the delight of the reader! Great snippet, all that grayness really created an aura of dread for me, but inagoodway.

    1. It was easy for me to pull up the grey imagery. Having lived on the northwest coast, it sometimes seems the entire world is monochrome — until the sun comes out, and then it’s like the gates of heaven have opened.

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