Guide Letters From Another Town: A Time Travel Romance (Lavender, Texas Series Book 2)

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You exist in a half-world suspended between two superstructures, one self-expression and the other self-destruction.

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You are strong, but there is a flaw in your strength, and unless you learn to control it the flaw will prove stronger than your strength and defeat you. The flaw? Explosive emotional reaction out of all proportion to the occasion. Why this unreasonable anger at the sight of others who are happy or content, this growing contempt for people and the desire to hurt them?

But these are dreadful enemies you carry within yourself—in time destructive as bullets. Mercifully, a bullet kills its victim. This other bacteria, permitted to age, does not kill a man but leaves in its wake the hulk of a creature torn and twisted; there is still fire within his being but it is kept alive by casting upon it faggots of scorn and hate. He may successfully accumulate, but he does not accumulate success, for he is his own enemy and is kept from truly enjoying his achievements.

A cinch, the Perfect score. Or Willie-Jay. But they had both been much in his thoughts, and especially the latter, who in memory had grown ten feet tall, a gray-haired wise man haunting the hallways of his mind. In the solitary, comfortless course of his recent driftings, Perry had over and over again reviewed this indictment, and had decided it was unjust.

Anywhere but Lavender: A Time Travel Romance

He did give a damn—but who had ever given a damn about him? His father? Yes, up to a point. He drove to Las Vegas, sold his junk-heap car, packed his collection of maps, old letters, manuscripts, and books, and bought a ticket for a Greyhound bus. That much he had learned by telephoning the Reverend Mr. A decent job, and a home with some good people who are willing to help him.


But what, he wondered when the anguish subsided, had he really expected from a reunion with Willie-Jay? Dick returned empty-handed. After they had travelled in silence awhile, Dick patted Perry on the knee. What the hell would they have thought? Clutter uncap a Parker pen and open a checkbook.

Like royalty, he was famous for never carrying cash. When those tax fellows come poking around, cancelled checks are your best friend.

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With the check written but not yet signed, he swivelled back in his desk chair and seemed to ponder. Herb was hardheaded, a slow man to make a deal; Johnson had worked over a year to clinch this sale. But, no, his customer was merely experiencing what Johnson called the Solemn Moment—a phenomenon familiar to insurance salesmen. The mood of a man insuring his life is not unlike that of a man signing his will; thoughts of mortality must occur. Clutter, as though conversing with himself.

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Take Kenyon. Don Jarchow? Vere, too. Vere English—the boy my girl Beverly had the good sense to settle on. Johnson, a veteran at listening to ruminations of this sort, knew it was time to intervene. Clutter straightened, reached again for his pen. And pretty optimistic. The time was ten past six, and the agent was anxious to go; his wife would be waiting supper. They shook hands. Then, with a merited sense of victory, Johnson picked up Mr. It was the first payment on a forty-thousand-dollar policy that, in the event of death by accidental means, paid double indemnity.

With the aid of his guitar, Perry had sung himself into a happier humor. Dick, however, was choosy, and in bars his usual choice was an Orange Blossom. They passed the bottle to and fro. Though dusk had established itself, Dick, doing a steady sixty miles an hour, was still driving without headlights, but then the road was straight, the country was as level as a lake, and other cars were seldom sighted.

He hated it, as he hated the Texas plains, the Nevada desert; spaces horizontal and sparsely inhabited had always induced in him a depression accompanied by agoraphobic sensations.


Never set my pretty foot here again. As though they were barring me from Heaven. And just look at it. Just feast your eyes. Dick handed him the bottle, the contents reduced by half. All that talk about getting a boat?

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  7. I was thinking—we could buy a boat in Mexico. Something cheap but sturdy. And we could go to Japan. Sail right across the Pacific.

    Wonderful, gentle people, with manners like flowers. Really considerate—not just out for your dough. And the women. One place called the Dream Pool. You stretch out, and beautiful, knockout-type girls come and scrub you head to toe. Dick switched on the radio; Perry switched it off. Or go to the movies in Garden City. Always, as long as I can remember, she was pretty and popular—a person, even when she was a little kid. I mean, she just made everybody feel good about themselves. The first time I dated her was when we were in the eighth grade. Most of the boys in our class wanted to take her to the eighth-grade graduation dance, and I was surprised—I was pretty proud—when she said she would go with me.

    We were both twelve. My dad lent me the car, and I drove her to the dance. Clutter may have been more strict about some things—religion, and so on—but he never tried to make you feel he was right and you were wrong. So I drove over there, got there a little after seven. Just old Teddy.

    He barked at me. The lights were on downstairs—in the living room and in Mr. The second floor was dark, and I figured Mrs. Clutter must be asleep—if she was home. You never knew whether she was or not, and I never asked. But I found out I was right, because later in the evening Kenyon wanted to practice his horn—he played baritone horn in the school band—and Nancy told him not to, because he would wake up Mrs. Anyway, when I got there they had finished supper and Nancy had cleaned up, put all the dishes in the dishwater, and the three of them—the two kids and Mr.

    Clutter—were in the living room. So we sat around like any other night—Nancy and I on the couch, and Mr. Clutter in his chair, that stuffed rocker. He had very white teeth; he said apples were why. Nancy—Nancy was wearing socks and soft slippers, blue jeans, I think a green sweater; she was wearing a gold wristwatch and an I. See, a couple of weeks back she got sore at me and said she was going to take off our ring for a while.

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    I mean, sure, we had fusses—everybody does, all the kids that go steady. Some tattle told her I was roaring drunk. About some fellows in the Arctic. Then the news. He criticized everything, and Nancy kept telling him to hush up. They always quibbled, but actually they were very close—closer than most brothers and sisters. Clutter away and Mr. Clutter gone to Washington, or wherever. He seemed to be off somewhere. You never knew what he was thinking, never even knew if he was looking at you—on account of he was slightly cockeyed. Some people said he was a genius, and maybe it was true.

    He sure did read a lot.