010 :: Chat, Sludge, and Ceramic Clay

 

joplin photonovel chapter eleven1

“I just don’t see my mother rolling around in chat, that’s all,” Lee said.

joplin photonovel chapter eleven2

“Old women can get bored and desperate for some inspiration, you know,” Maya said.

“Really?” Lee said.

joplin photonovel chapter eleven3

“Yeah,” she said.

joplin photonovel chapter eleven4

“Tell me:”

joplin photonovel chapter eleven5

“Where are all of the old ladies?!”

joplin photonovel chapter eleven6

Maya said, “Oh come on, I didn’t—“

“No seriously,” Lee said, “I see my mom doing a lot of things. Certainly no kid wants to imagine their mom as a prom queen, but even considering all that she could do and be, I really can think of no scenario that would end with her slathering up in something sticky and rolling around in chat for an afternoon before tea time. Especially just to get inspired, give me a friggin break. And Thulani, what’s that jar of dirt they took from him? They swab stuff like that in customs, you know?”

joplin photonovel chapter eleven7

“He knows that a bit too well, I think,” Maya said.

“So why—“

“He says it’s the most important soil he ever sampled.”

joplin photonovel chapter eleven8

“And?” Lee asked.

“And that’s all I know.”

“Fine,” Lee said. “I’m telling you, my mom would never come here. I’d come here to play, but not Mom. How’d she get sick?”

joplin photonovel chapter eleven9

“The air?” Maya asked.

joplin photonovel chapter eleven10 joplin photonovel chapter eleven11

“Come on, we’re not in some Stephen King dystopia, I’m not buying it. What happened to my mother?”

“Ground water probably,” Maya said.

joplin photonovel chapter eleven12

“Yeah… but didn’t this all come from the groundwater in the first place? Why here? Why now?”

joplin photonovel chapter eleven13

“That’s why I said the chat,” Maya said.

“I need to think,” Lee said.

joplin photonovel chapter eleven14joplin photonovel chapter eleven15 joplin photonovel chapter eleven16 joplin photonovel chapter eleven17 joplin photonovel chapter eleven18 joplin photonovel chapter eleven19 joplin photonovel chapter eleven20 joplin photonovel chapter eleven21joplin photonovel ch10 chat_0011joplin photonovel chapter eleven25 joplin photonovel chapter eleven26 joplin photonovel chapter eleven27 joplin photonovel chapter eleven28joplin photonovel ch10 chat_0012joplin photonovel chapter eleven33 joplin photonovel chapter eleven34 joplin photonovel chapter eleven35joplin photonovel chapter eleven36cjoplin photonovel chapter eleven39joplin photonovel chapter eleven40

Lee shouted, as his foot suddenly went out from under him…

joplin photonovel chapter eleven 42 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 44cjoplin photonovel chapter eleven 46joplin photonovel chapter eleven 48joplin photonovel chapter eleven 49joplin photonovel chapter eleven 51joplin photonovel chapter eleven 52bjoplin photonovel chapter eleven 54 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 55 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 56 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 57 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 58 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 59 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 60 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 61 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 62 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 63 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 64 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 65 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 66 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 67 joplin photonovel chapter eleven 68

“It’s okay! You’re okay! I’ll get you to the car and call Thulani.”

joplin photonovel chapter eleven 69

She could tell immediately that Lee was not okay.

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 1

“You’ve noticed this anomaly too, then?” Thulani asked.

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 2

“Makes it hard to fire the ones from the deep clay,” the owner said. “Granted, we import most of our stuff but it’s good to go local whenever you can.”

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 3

He was quiet for a moment, walked around and then said, “Ice crystals. So it is here.”

“What?” the owner asked.

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 4

“Have you talked to any of the stonemasons in the region?”

“Stonemasons? This isn’t medieval Europe, man.”

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 5

When he stopped laughing, he said, “I heard of a quarry that still runs.”

“The marble factory?”

“Yes.”

She walked back over and grabbed her coffee.

He sat.

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 6joplin photonovel chapter twelve 7

“Yeah, they’ll run into a pocket of ice now and again. Deep. Heavy as sin.”

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 9

She went on. “Have to bring tar roof torches in to melt the stuff and when they do it sublimes immediately.”

“Anything strange among the men who do this task?”

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 10

“Not as far as I can tell, but I hardly see any of them,” the owner said. “They all seem fit as The Fiddle Shop.”

“Healthy,” Thulani said.

“That’s what I said, yeah.”

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 11

“There is the sludge.”

“Sludge?” Thulani asked.

“Well, there’s two waters. There’s the ice crystals they mine and whatever its source is — you’ve probably heard people talking about that myth or whatever it is.”

Thulani smiled.

“Well when you suppress a force as good and creative as that, it starts to build up. And when it builds up long enough it either turns hard.”

“Into ice.”

“Right, or the other option.”

“This sludge.”

“It’s like when someone tries to tell you something good by way of ten gossips. Never ends out okay. All of that water seeps up and it changes the soil, sure, but it also gets twisted. The sludge’ll heal people, but some think it’s addictive, that it’s as much of a curse as a balm.”

Thulani thought and said, “Can you show me the clays?”

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 12joplin photonovel chapter twelve 13

“I’ll show you whatever you want,” she said.

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 14joplin photonovel chapter twelve 18 joplin photonovel chapter twelve 19

“See the anomalies?” she said, pointing to one of the ceramic jars.

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 20

“The ceramic clay we use comes from a local source. Let me show you what it did to the kiln the first time we cooked it untreated.”

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 21 joplin photonovel chapter twelve 22

“See the impact scars?”

Thulani’s phone rang.

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 23 joplin photonovel chapter twelve 24 joplin photonovel chapter twelve 25

When he answered it, he heard Maya screaming.

joplin photonovel chapter twelve 26 joplin photonovel chapter twelve 27

lance schaubert mark neuenschwander joplin CVB

next chapter
previous chapter

chapters
credits

Click here to learn about the next project

brought to you by the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau

photographed & directed by Mark Neuenschwander

written & directed by Lance Schaubert 

produced by Carrie Puffinbarger

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s