Fiction,  Novel-In-Progress,  Outskirts of Heaven


“There is nothing in the world more powerful than water,” Honor Caswell thought as he watched the glittering streams of water spray out of his hose as he watered the garden. He liked to put the setting on “sprinkle” and think of the soft, warm spring rains he used to run in as a boy. He felt like God giving his garden a five-minute shower. His zinnia flowers, robust and plentiful were sneaking out of the garden plot but he hated to reign them in. His cherry tomatoes starting to turn orange and soon red, the weight of them beginning to pull the branches down. The strong leaves on his squash were glistening with the water. The droplets landed on them noisily. He turned off the water and put the hose back on the rack, winding it back into place neatly. Sipping his coffee, watering his garden and having that first cigarette of the day was the only time he felt peaceful and relaxed. As soon as he went inside there were dogs to feed, calls to return, appointments to call on and he would stay busy until early evening.

The power of water wasn’t just in the life it gives. There is nothing more destructive, corrosive or dangerous than water. Except for women, he thought. Gritting his teeth. Except for ex-wives. And that was the end of his peaceful morning. The thoughts he could never escape came back. He was still angry and sad and frustrated, after all these years and any moment of joy or peace he had was always eventually interrupted by the thought of what he didn’t have anymore: his daughter Penny.

He hadn’t seen her in nine years and every day without her hurt. Every day he thought about her and what she might be doing. And every day those thoughts of Penny made him think of Kristi and his anger would boil back up. Anger at Kristi for taking Penny from him, but anger at himself as well for the part he played in losing her, in losing both of them.

He had to quickly push those thoughts out of his mind or they would hold on to him all day, following him from job to job, haunting him in the car as he drove, spoiling the flavor of the lunch he ate, giving a bitter taste to the air he breathed.

He’d never learned how to bury the thoughts completely but he did learn how to keep them at bay and that was through work. So that’s what he did as often as he had a chance. Work.

There was never enough, or too much work. If anyone needed help with nearly any kind of job at all, they could call on Honor.

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