In this week’s Character Column, multi-published author S.S. Hampton, Sr. joins us to introduce his favorite character, from his short story Second Saturday, published by Musa Publishing. Take it away, Stan!
Asking me who my favorite character is among all of the stories I have written is like asking me who my favorite grandchild is. It’s impossible to say. However, for the purpose of this column, let’s focus on Ms. Patricia Renner and the short story “Second Saturday.”
Now, without giving too much away, Patricia is “a lawyer in her early thirties” and is a “tall woman with a ready smile, green eyes, brown hair, and an athletic figure.” She already sounds like an interesting character—in spite of the fact that she is a lawyer—but there is more. At times she also has a “steady gaze and secretive smile.” For her to utter “a low, possessive growl” is not unknown. And, in “moonlight her lithe body” resembles polished marble.
Nonetheless, I suspect that crossing her would be unwise. Not that she would go off the deep end so to speak, but she is a confident and no-nonsense woman who “does not suffer fools gladly.”
Yes, I like Patricia Renner—aside from the fact that she’s a lawyer (can anyone tell I don’t particularly care for lawyers?). I believe most people, if they met her, would like her.
What is also attractive about her is that she has a secret—not your ordinary secret, but one that most definitely won’t be found in the history books. Or even archaeology and anthropology books. Her secret is one that whispers of the unknown and the undiscovered; her secret is one that was once fearfully whispered of around campfires by those closer to the earth than we are today.
And for that reason Patricia is my favorite character. How can one not be fascinated by such an intriguing and mysterious woman? Perhaps we’ll hear more from Patricia in the future. Or perhaps we’ll hear more from…her kind.
Thank you, Stan. You do leave me wondering…what is Patricia’s secret?
Sharon Rogers is a young university student in Las Vegas, working part-time at a nearby donut shop. She is hard at work one morning when Patricia Renner enters the shop–and Sharon’s life. Not long after meeting Patricia, she begins dreaming. Sharon turns her dreams of male and female warriors with wolves’ heads into sculptures. When Sharon and her fellow art students band together to host an “art crawl” for the public, she invites Patricia to attend, hoping to seduce her. However, Sharon discovers that Patricia is intent on seducing her; not only that, Patricia is very territorial and will not permit rivals for Sharon’s hand. Patricia has a secret, though, and Sharon must accept it if they are to be together forever.
Sharon Rogers opened her eyes and stared at the darkness of her bedroom ceiling with the echo of the tremulous howls still ringing faintly in her ears. Many times before, she had dreamed of powerful warriors; men and women, who ran with giant wolves across moonlit steppes. With the fading of the dream she felt an unexplained pang of loss.
As a matter of routine, Sharon woke very early; when she wasn’t a starving university student, she worked part-time at the Mom and Pop Donut Emporium not far from the university. Baking and icing trays of donuts and serving coffee was her momentary purpose in life.
Though she had the day off, she grumbled about having such an early rising job—in spite of the Ground Zero recession with so many Las Vegans out of work—and went back to sleep. When she finally awakened, she lay naked in her large bed and stared at the whirling ceiling fan.
It was Saturday, the first “Second Saturday” for the Maryland Parkway Salon, as the local group of university students called themselves. The students who lived in the weathered apartment buildings had spent two months planning this art crawl. For a few hours, the public could visit apartments where art work was for sale, help themselves to refreshments in the sandy lot between the buildings, and visit with the artists in their workshops at the back of the lot.
If Second Saturday was successful, they planned to hold more art crawls every couple of months.
But for Sharon, Second Saturday had the potential to be much more than an art show.
First, there were the more than a dozen foot-high clay figures that she had sculpted and fired. The figures were of naked men and women with wolves’ heads—warriors armed with shields, spears, and swords. As an artist, Sharon appreciated the human male and female form, and she loved wolves. The two subjects complemented one another, reinforced by dreams she’d had. She was hoping to sell one or more of the figures.
Second, was the boorish Rodney Boatman, a sometime-patron at the donut shop. He was a delivery driver for a local company. He hit on her frequently, never taking no for an answer. When he saw the flyer announcing Second Saturday, he had promised to show up and take her out for dinner and drinks afterward. She dreaded his possible appearance.
Third, was Patricia Renner…
SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, and a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). He has served in the Army National Guard since October 2004, and holds the rank of staff sergeant. He is a published photographer and photojournalist, an aspiring painter, and is studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in underwater archaeology. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories, and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, Ruthie’s Club, Lucrezia Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. As of December 2011, he became the latest homeless Iraq war veteran in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Stan, thank you so much for stopping by at the Column, with Patricia….and wishing you all the best with your wonderful array of pursuits. I hope to see ‘underwater archaeologist’ after your name soon!
Second Saturday is available from Musa Publishing here.