The Shift – Part 1

Now everything is starting to come around. This is my outline process really – just fumbling around the plot with a bunch of characters thinking that they are going to lead me somewhere. Perhaps it’s not all that insane that they lead me back to the Cliff House and the mechanical pieces. It suits where the story is going I think. Let’s shift focus a bit because it’s critical that this not turn into another love story. That should be at the core, but the core of that is shaky and we need to keep it that way. Eventually, that’s going to implode and when it does, the main characters universe will come crashing down. Yes. So then, onward with that.

Let’s move downtown for now. Where can we pick it up.

Downtown San Francisco. The bike messenger’s wall. There is an apostrophe there for a reason. On this still heavily foggy Monday morning, there was a horrible feeling that something had shifted. Francis Leon, a tell kid with a shaved head, a lazy eye, and thick rimmed glasses that were strapped around his huge head, sat waiting for a call to come in over his radio. The newspaper he was reading had a headline that read: Electronic Mail: The end of Human Delivery?

“The calls are coming less and less,” he said to the girl sitting next to him, herself waiting for direction. “They just laid another few people off. This could be the real thing. Times change kind of like that.”

The girl ate a bite of her sandwich, keeping the entire  bite in the left side of her check. He bangs were cut perfectly straight, contrasting the random bruised on the left side of her calf.

I enjoyed sitting on their wall and reading before I made my way to work. These, to me, were the construction working blue collar class of my day that listened to punk rock and dated girls who liked a tough guy with brains. The conversations went on.

“There’s not going to be any real shift,” the girl said. “How else are architects and designers – even lawyers and accountants – how else are they going to deliver the giant stacks of papers. They’ll need us forever, bet that. The city is lost without us. We’re the veins.”

Francis drank from his giant cup of coffee and didn’t flinch when his radio came on, sending him for his next pick up.

“We’re not gone today, at least,” he said, finishing his drink and peddling deep down Market street, now the with stream of MUNI trains and cars mixing together. He was the odd fish out no doubt, but when he died, maybe somebody would make a song about him. The girl, let’s call her Jessica for now, watched her man peddle quick through the city. Somewhere in her past life, she was in school studying to be something, but she gave that up to be outside with Francis. They were a cute couple and went to shows together. They ate burritos at Delores park and slept in on Sundays before going out to breakfast together. They read the newspaper parts that the other didn’t bother while biting on pieces of toast before the sun came up.

She was in a dream and he was in the middle of life. A cute couple without much other than each other. No hard drugs really – no more than anyone else to keep going in the city. I guess these two are the cleanest in the story, so let’s make them dirty with bruises and bumps. We can bring them around more in the start of the tale and then show them breaking apart as it moves along. Francis, he could fix anything.

Maybe he’d open his own shop at some point down the road, a bike repair shop. He’d be more suited to take over for Vince at the Mechanical Museum. He would be more suited as the main character as well. Right? A bike messenger that is being phased out of San Francisco as it shifts from the analog to the digital age. Oh yes! See, this moment right here, there are more and more of them if you just keep on pushing through with the story – it really does start to present itself to you. These two would be the love story. She would be the girl perhaps, but the second girl. The best friend kind of girl that he doesn’t see. We can work that out later, but I think that this works out. He is more of a driving character and if you make him someone on a bike – well, it might just work out. What do I think?

Yes. Yes. Oh man – cannot wait to go back and get at this.


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