WITH THE MORNING SUN WARMING HER BACK, Candace pedaled her light blue Huffy past the bars on East Sixth Street and began coasting downhill toward her destination just the other side of the I-35 overpass.
She was headed for work at Eve Bonner, the black sheep of Austin’s contemporary gallery scene. It anchored this end of an eight-block stretch of lounges, music clubs, and tattoo parlors known as Dirty Sixth.
The bleaching, low-angled glare reached deep into the concrete canyon beneath the overpass, giving her a clear view of the tiny bivouac of homeless people that slept there every night. She’d often say they were the ironic legacy of UT excess from the 60s and 70s: burned-out psych majors or starry-eyed hopefuls who’d expected, by now, to own rewarding careers as social workers. It never occurred to her that the same could be said for her dreams of a future in the world of fine art.
But now she could only take a deep breath and prepare herself for the verbal onslaught. Reaching into the basket on her handlebars, she retrieved a spray bottle, knowing their lascivious greetings this fine spring morning would be especially frisky. It was a little trick she learned raising a new puppy.
“Hey, darlin’, I got a–”
She hit him in his open mouth with a well-aimed squirt and, middle finger held high, continued pedaling out of the shadows toward the sidewalk and number 707. Traffic roared two stories above her, and she hummed a Helen Reddy tune.
The above passage is an excerpt from the first draft, working manuscript of The Butterfly Myths, Book 3, now in progress and planned, optimistically, for release late in 2017. It was originally posted here so that subscribers to my email list could comment on how I described the setting, giving their input via email and my corresponding Facebook page. If you yourself experience joy in getting involved in such nerdy activities and would like to follow my progress in writing this series (as well as understanding why I’m writing these novels in the first place) please submit your email address by completing the fields below or by clicking the black button at the top right of any page of my site. Thanks!
“Scene on East Sixth Street, locally known as Dirty Sixth” (2014), by Carol M. Highsmith.