The Castle is Sean’s book that he started writing for Nanowrimo which is National Novel Writing Month back in 2006. The book is based on a 1996 idea that Sean started scribbling down on a piece of paper after a dream one night.
Enjoy a mere sample of “The Castle”
Chapter 1 – My Invisible Life
“Are you listening?”
“What? Were you talking to me?”
“You seem to be lost in your own little world.”
“Sorry Brian, what did you need?”
“I need 1st quarter numbers for the projected takeover percentage of market share in London.”
“Um, let me check on that and I’ll get back to you.”
“Keegan, do you want to come with us to the Shadow?”
“Um, I’ve got things to do.”
“What do you have to do? Your laundry? Watch another repeat of a television show that you’ve watch for the tenth time? You’ve got to get out Keeg. If you don’t you are going to end up alone. Do you want that? If it wasn’t for me pushing you no one would ever bother you. You sit here and do your job and hide down here in the basement. Don’t you want to be more than an analyst?”
“I don’t know how to talk to a woman let alone ask her out like you do Brian.”
“But you can’t meet a girl if you just walk home every day.”
“I’m going to find the woman of my dreams.”
“Blow up dolls don’t count Keeg. You have to step out into the world, take some chances.”
“Can’t or won’t Keegan Donnally?”
“How about I join you guys later at the Shadow?”
“Is that a promise? I know Amanda Kay has a crush on you. All you have to do is go up to her without tripping and you’ve got it made.”
“I have to go home and feed Emily.”
“If you don’t get out of this life long rut of yours that cat will be the only pussy you ever know.”
Brian is right. I’m in a rut, nothing I can do about it. I come in, do my financial projections for Jamison, Stevens and Partners and I go home. Very few people know anything about me. I guess that is my fault. I surround myself with outgoing people and I just blend into the background.
Why can’t I open up to people?
Maybe it was foster home after foster home. I couldn’t get close to anyone because every time I ever got close to a foster family I was moved away. I can remember each of their faces and I can remember each of the happy days when a family finally allowed me to be considered one of them.
I don’t want to remember some of the nightmares of Mr. Ian Woon. He was the first foster father I had. I can remember the beatings that he gave me for not writing neatly enough. My t’s were too slanty and I never dotted the I’s the way he wanted. He demanded perfection.
Tahnee Chambers was my birth mother. I wish I could know something about her, but all I know of her was leaving me on the stairs of the firehouse when I was a baby. I don’t blame her though I want to sometimes. I just wish I could get her to understand how much I wish she was in my life. I never knew my father’s name; by the time I found out Tahnee was my mom she had already passed.
I have a very simple life. I go to work, I go out and play poker with Brian and the crew sometimes but mostly I go home and read with Emily. I know that Emily has heard most of my complaints. I wish I could talk to a woman like I talk to my cat. She’s a beautiful orange scruffy kitty that refuses to ever let me give her a bath. I know she’s out with the Tom’s in the neighborhood. That’s just Emily. Sometimes I think she is actually listening to me while I am talking to her. I wonder what she would say to some of the questions I pose to her.
“Keeg, you coming” Brian said with urgency?
“Yeah, I’ll see you there.”
The Shadow is the ultimate in dives. It has the usual suspects as regulars with the preppy college student trying to scam some of the elderly into playing pool while watching the strippers. It’s ironic that you have anything like televisions or a pool table at a strip club but The Shadow seems to pull it off. It sits in the middle of a neighborhood where the city limits used to be 50 years ago. Now it’s in the middle of an aging neighborhood with school right down the block and always up to the ears with protesters angrily reminding all who enter that they are sinning.
Hell, sinning sometimes is necessary in the grand scheme of things.
I walked in looking for the usual suspects. I see Jeni on the pole working it like it was her boyfriend. Funny thing was she was gayer than a three dollar bill. She would take all the johns money and get them to buy her drinks, furs and diamonds but would never sleep with them. That’s what Emmy Jo was for. However Jeni’s blonde hair and 36 DD’s were the hit of The Shadow. She had them lined up for days just throwing fives and tens at her. But in my opinion her best attribute was her eyes. They were greener than grass and seemed hollow. But she could stare right through me and all I could do was blush and walk away dropping the dollar in front of her.
“Keegan! The boys told me you were coming,” said Amanda Kay. Her baby blue eyes caught my embarrassment at her impending jump. She jumped into the air and her taut body was caught almost by instinct by me. I could smell the combination of sweat, oil, perfume and money. Amanda Kay didn’t have to strip anymore. Her jet black hair came down to the middle of her six foot body. She had it made, investing her money and just came to the club to tease the lesbians who tried to get her into bed. For some strange reason she wanted to be with me. But I didn’t know why.
“Hi Amanda Kay. Um how are you?”
“Hot, horny and ready for you to take me to dinner. Wine me, dine me, sixty nine me honey” she said as the blood ran to my face.
“One of these days I am going to take you home Keegan Donnally. I will give you the best night of your life. All you have to do is say yes” she said while running her fingers through my tussled brown hair.
“Um, um” I stammered.
“Keegan, dude you are going to have to get a drink or you are going to explode right there” Brian said with a laugh “Look who finally decided to show up, pull up a chair with Paul and Scott and have a smoke.”
“That’s ok, I’m going to get a drink” I muttered as Amanda Kay took me to the bar.
Jeni was finishing up her set grinding the pole and causing the crowd to go wild, her sweat pouring down her taut body. I thought I saw her wink at me when I passed the stage being guided by Amanda Kay. What does she know that I don’t?
I ordered my drink and Amanda Kay’s and sat back down with the guys. It was a night like very few in the past. The crowd was hopping and all the girls were making money. Even the Cerebral Palsy dancer was having the money thrown at her.
“Do you mind Keegan” Amanda Kay asked me from my daydream.
“Do I mind what Mandy?”
“I think I’m going to take a set. I can’t pass up some of this money.”
“I thought you were retired from dancing Amanda Kay?”
“Pretty much I don’t need the money, but I do love the attention. I’m going to dance right now for you. I’m going to put on your favorite costume.”
“How do you know what’s my favorite costume Mandy?”
“I know,” she said as she grabbed my crotch.
All the guys had the usual dancers around the table. I just didn’t fit in. They were all laughing and drinking as I nursed my seven and seven. I came just so the guys wouldn’t harass me anymore and maybe to see Amanda Kay. Brian was right; there was something electric about her. It wasn’t her great body or her personality. It was her kindness. She made me feel like I wasn’t invisible.
“Keegan, when are you going to hit that” Scott asked?
“When he stops hiding and starts living” Brian said.