9 Mar 2013

Crumple Zone - Edith Parzefall

Photo file and excerpt from Edith Parzefall's latest release,
 Crumple Zone
set in Chile:

They reached Caldera early in the afternoon, where they visited a museum of natural history and marveled at a gigantic whale's jaw excavated somewhere nearby. They looked at shelves upon shelves of minerals and fossils. She thought about the pretty little ammonites, the spiral-shelled ancestors of modern octopus and squid. Lives cast in stone to be dug out of the earth a few hundred million years later. She imagined a gigantic mudslide petrifying her and everyone else around. A rock-Lara. In a pose of terror? She'd prefer a stance of proud defiance.

At closing time they ambled back outside into the low sun. Not many tourists seemed to stop in this town, so conveniently close to Ruta 5. They drew gazes from locals as they walked down to the pier and looked at the red and yellow fishing boats opposite the gray army vessels with cannon mounted on deck.

A young man approached. “Did you like the museum?” he asked in Spanish.
He'd been watching them? “Yes, it's great.” Lara nodded toward Rick. “My friend knows a lot about minerals.”
“Oh, I've got many at home. Found them myself.”
Rick's ears seemed to prick like a hunting dog's as he fully faced the Chileno. He understood Spanish well enough but replied in English. “Really? Cool.”
The man's face brightened. “Want to look?” he asked in English.
Lara didn't like the way his gaze dropped to her breasts and flicked away.
“Sure,” Rick said.
The man touched her arm. “You come, yes?”
Lara shook her head. “No, I'm not interested.”
“Hey, come on,” Rick said.
“Nope, I don't feel like it. You go if you want. We aren't chained together.”
“Too bad.” He smirked.
“Oh, you have to come, too,” the Chileno insisted and pulled her arm.
Lara shook him off. “Thanks, but no.”
“Scared?” Rick asked her, with that familiar challenge in his eyes.
Certain now that both guys were hoping for a threesome, she glared at him. “That won't work, buddy. I'm not a little girl anymore. Go play.”
He laughed and pecked her on the cheek. “As you wish.”
Lara walked toward the beach and sat on a bench, the hard wood pressing against the bruises on her back from Rick's caveman act. High time to get rid of him. She didn't want this. Just more acting—and by now they had perfected it.
She and Rick shared no common interests except that they both wanted to explore the same country. And their academic fields overlapped in the area of fossilized maritime life. Not a good basis for...any kind of relationship. She hadn't learned more about him than the little he’d told her in San Pedro. An Aussie geologist with a Ph.D., enthralled by domination games.
She watched Rick walk away with the Chileno. Rick, the mystery man. Maybe he didn't want anything personal to interfere with their little affair; no risk of getting too attached. She couldn't blame him. That's what she'd wanted: a bit of fun and goodbye. She rose and strolled toward the hotel.
Sitting on the terrace, she watched the sun sink and paint the sea orange. The fishing boats glowed in brighter colors as she drank a beer in solace. Her dream of a house on the coast had turned into reality, if only for a rented moment.
This would be their last night together. She needed firm ground under her feet.
All her life she'd played along. Someone set rules and she followed them, most of the time anyway. Parents, school, university, employer. She'd better come up with her own rules soon.
Lara drained her second beer, still staring out at the dark ocean now streaked with reflections of city lights. She never wanted to be this way. When she decided to study biology, she wanted to find out more about the miracle of life and what it meant to be human, the crown of creation. Disillusionment hit her full force as they dissected human emotions into the works of neurotransmitters. She never really recovered from the blow. She'd become like Rick, settling for fun without commitment, short-term happiness without complications, sex without compulsion. And she knew it sucked, left her empty and drained like the glass on the table. Time to stop this bullshit. She grabbed the bottle, laid it on the table, and spun it. But where to go? What to do? The spinning slowed. The bottle came to a halt, neck pointing at her. Lara smiled. Yeah, right.
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Edith and I wrote the post-apocalyptic series of Higher Ground together. I've found her to be a wonderful writer and I'm sure you will too.
See Edith's books. Click here.


  1. I remeber this part. This is where I began to doubt Rick. Great photos of the sea. Nice contrast to the desert in the novel. I'm enjoying the read.

    1. The photos are really good. I'd love to visit some time.


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