To All Books by Charles Martin Simon


Another great novel from
Charles Martin Simon

perfect-bound paperback
5 ½ X 8 in. - 305 pgs.

ISBN 1-892489-07-4

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Wasilla, Alaska 99654


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READ ALL ABOUT IT! - What it could be, what it should be, and why it can't happen here

For readers of all ages

"...the ultimate back-to-Nature book...." — Allegra

Sample - from Chapter 1 

Many drops splatter into here. I wouldn't call it home. A few branches bent together and tied with grass, more branches with leaves piled on, arranged to shed the rain. Here, where I am.

You will never read this. I will be dead soon, and these pages will have rotted into the mud, rotten wet mud. All trace of this shelter will have disappeared. These words will all have washed away. There will be nothing but rain dripping through boughs and leaves to earth. 

I feel ridiculous. It is embarrassing to be dying in this sub-hovel scratched into the ground at the base of a tree, with all my earthly possessions reduced to the contents of a sentence: scraps of blankets and rags, a chipped and pitted, rusted knife, a broken bowl, a couple of reams of paper in a large ziplock bag, a few pencil stubs, and the demon typewriter lurking in its case. 

Until just now when I started this, I had been keeping the typewriter in its case in a plastic bag also, a garbage bag, been hauling it around for more than ten years.

It would be many miles to the next human being, if I wanted to go looking, which I don't. They would be hostile anyway. I've been away too long. I'm not entirely human anymore, and too weak to go anywhere anyway. And this is the rainy season besides, so no one will be out and about who might stumble onto me here.

In fact, it is highly unlikely that any other human being will ever find this spot, unless he's looking to be left alone forever. And if it ever should happen, all anyone will be ever able to find will be typewriter bones underneath a tree. Curious.... Unless an earthquake takes care of that too, which in the wash of eternity is likely.

No one will remember me. No one should remember me.   Ridiculous or not, embarrassing or not, here I am. Finally alone and forever, old, toothless, crippled, in pain, dying on my knees in the mud underneath the tree, beating on this typewriter. 

A fat, cold drop of water hits me in the center of the back of my neck. I ignore the impulse to reach up and adjust the leaves, choose instead to squinch up and wait for the next one, which comes. Something then must shift in the order of things because, although I continue to wait, a third does not fall, at least not to that same place. So I begin to relax, but cautiously.

Drops drip everywhere, but none of them hit the back of my neck again. Some new leaks, some old. Some having resisted every effort to stop or divert them, others having been stopped completely by the moving of a single leaf.  The roof has a mind of its own. Although I put it together to serve my purposes, it only behaves when it wants to, and misbehaves whenever it feels like. It leaked on my neck just to remind me that it is not protecting me. I am not worth protecting. And it stopped because I am not even worth leaking on. It reminds me that I am nothing, but I already knew that. 

I am an educated man, somewhat, used to be anyway. I have even been an inventor. I worked hard and lost everything. That is not an unusual story, and there is no reason to hold onto life, no reason or appetite to eat, and so I am writing.  Just something to do. To pass the time.... Or is it more? Do I still have something to understand? I do not like to think I still have any need to say anything.... 

A leak develops directly into my bowl. At first the drops patter much like all the other ones, rapid, chaotic. But as the bowl fills, the tone becomes rich. My attention is absorbed into the rhythm, which progresses from random to patterned, giving perspective to the myriad other drops, rustlings in the leaves, and various wind and other sounds. 

I am pulled back by a centipede dancing across a stick. I consider eating it, immediately give up that idea.  A bird sings out, and I wonder if that means the rain is about to stop. I wonder why I wonder since I don't care. Rain, don't rain. Sun shine, sun don't shine. 

The bowl is full to the broken part just over half-way up, so I take a drink. The water retains the essences of the leaves and wood over which it has passed, a tea prepared for me by Nature.  My shelter has no walls. When the wind shifts a certain way, the rain blows directly in. At these times, which I have come to be able to anticipate by certain feelings, I have developed the silly technique of protecting the typewriter by hunching and spreading my body over it. 

The sky brightens, the rain lessens. It darkens again, and the rain intensifies. Sometimes it stops completely for a while, but nothing has dried out in I don't know how long.  It doesn't matter whether or not I eat or sleep. I ate some worms and grubs and grasses mashed between a couple of rocks a while ago, maybe a week, maybe more. It's hard to tell. I haven't slept much nights either in a long time. I go through the motions: lie down, cover up, close my eyes; but I stay awake, even sometimes if I dream I'm still awake. I don't think much. I just am aware...mostly it is of pain. Parts of my body light up. I am wet and cold, but I am burning too.  I figure I must be near ninety or maybe even a hundred. I remember my fifty-seventh birthday, but I don't remember any after that. It was marked by my having completed the research phase of my most-important invention that very day, March 19, 1987. I remember it. That was the day I knew for sure it was going to work. It's been a long time from there to here. I remember noticing the turn of the century, seems like thirty years ago, but I don't really know. Don't need to know. What's time anyway? 

© Charles Martin Simon