Robin once again smacked us all with the gauntlet, and once again I am giving it a half-assed shot. At least in this one I look less of a bum and the lighting isn't reminiscent of a Bigfoot sighting. These are the words from the first couple of pages of my current work in progress, working title of "Gold Miner's Daughter." (No, she doesn't become a singing star. Ha, ha. That was funny maybe the first nineteen times I heard it.)
Here is the video:
And here is the text that I'm reading in the video:
Gold Miner’s Daughter
The doctor squatted in the golden candlelight next to the cot, sweating whiskey and smelling of mildewed canvas. Andie watched him pat at her father’s forehead with a wet cloth, as if he were tapping time to a spirited camp song. “Gently,” she breathed.
The doctor stopped and pushed himself up with a groan, wobbling as he turned. He rubbed a dirt-smeared hand across his scraggled mining camp beard. While his eyes focused in the dim tent, he smacked his lips three or four times. He was so tall and lanky he had to stoop. “So…” His wheezing voice wavered in the flickering candlelight. “You and your father been here about a month, that right?”
“Yes, sir, only just.” Three months it took them from
The doctor let his gaze rove slowly up and down her. His beard cracked with a wide grin, and his dull eyes seemed not to sparkle at all in the flickering candlelight. “That so, that so,” he mumbled. “How old are you?”
Andie stiffened and clasped her hands together. She had met enough gold rushers to understand that only two types of boys asked that: young boys who wanted to know if she was too old to play make-believe, and grown men wanting to know if she was too young to get married. She measured her reply, looking past the mess of a doctor into the shadows beyond. “I turned fourteen the day we left
He nodded, thinking and sucking at his beard, and finally he winked. “You’re a fine, young woman.” The doctor stepped past her and pushed open the tent’s flap. In swept the cool evening air of August in the
“Wait!” Andie hurried after him, anxious and confused. “What about my father?”
“Nothing I can do,” said the doctor as if she’d asked him to make it snow.
“But… but, you’re the doctor. Don’t you have medicine, or something?” If only that doctor from the steamship, Doctor Albrecht, were here.
“Eh…” The doctor looked down into the starlit camp, gray canvas tents huddled like sleeping baby elephants by the river’s edge. “No medicine,” he murmured.
“What?” Andie thought the idea of a doctor who didn’t have medicine absurd. What good was a doctor without medicine?
“No medicine here,” he added, louder. “All gone. Got… used up. Sent for more from
Andie knew the doctor was also a miner, like the others. She’d seen him out in the river with his washbowl, flinging handfuls of mud and splashing about. Apparently, he was no better doctor than he was a miner. “I have two nuggets,” she offered quietly, wondering if Father would scold her for it.
“Hmm? What’s that?” The doctor seemed flustered. “How big… I mean, it don’t matter.” He glanced at the hulking, dark tents again and whispered. “No medicine, I tell you.”
“I’ll find more!” Andie grabbed at his grimy sleeve, desperation turning her fear to panic. The doctor couldn’t leave. Without a doctor, her father would die. Then who would find the gold to send back to Uncle Timothy? What would happen to Mother if Uncle Timothy turned her out?
“Don’t you get it, little girl?” The doctor hissed at her with an urgency and sudden sober focus that made her gasp. “I ain’t got no medicine. I ain’t got nothing that can help your daddy.” He held her with his glare and corrosive breath a moment more, then turned and loped off toward the main camp.