“Sunlight Like Honey” is one of the stories in my collection THE KING OF CHEROKEE CREEK. The stories are mostly literary (which does NOT mean “nothing happens in them”, by the way), with a maybe-fantasy to begin and a definite fantasy to end. “Sunlight Like Honey” is the story I wrote after my grandfather died. Cosmo fans will be glad to know that Cosmo appears in this story.
Excerpt from Sunlight Like Honey:
The bivouac tent went up just as advertised. So far, so good. Bethany unfolded the sleeping bag and wrestled it into the tent. It barely fit–it was like stuffing a sock, toe-first, into the short end of an envelope.
She was sweating and swearing by the time she finished. In a minute, she would circle the cabin and rinse off in the creek. Now, she slumped next to the tent, knees up, arms draped over them, gazing at the empty cabin, wiping salty rivulets from her face with the backs of her hands. By evening, this spot would be in the shade and the porch would be bathed in yellow light. She and Impaw had spent many a summer evening on that porch, watching fireflies rise out of the shadows.
Birdsong and bee-buzz surrounded her, and the luxurious whisper of wind in the trees. A long way away, a duck raised hell with a bunch of other ducks.
This time last month, she and Impaw had been here gathering morels and wild onions. They had cooked a mushroom feast on the wood stove and had made dandelion salad with oil and vinegar and salt and pepper, had toasted each other with sassafrass tea sweetened with wild honey. This is livin’, Impaw had said. Just last month.
A flash of brightness caught her eye. She looked up and blinked. Cosmo squatted on the edge of the rise behind and above the cabin, staring at her, his shaved head shining in the sun, the metal in his face piercings glinting like cartoon sparkles. The long, gray, lightweight coat that he called a duster hung open, pooling around his scruffy brown boots.
What’s he doing here? He was an intruder, just a coffee house acquaintance, not even a classmate or a certified friend. He was uninvited, unexpected, unnecessary, but she raised a hand and waved for him to come down.
He disappeared into the woods. Not long after, heralded by snapping twigs and a growled, “That was my eye, Mr. Tree,” he joined her in the clearing.. He was in long sleeves and jeans under the duster, so the only tattoo that showed was the blue and red snake around his neck. Silver studs lined the rims of his ears and ornamented his nose, eyebrows and lower lip.” Hey, B.”
“Hey, Cosmo. You stalking me, man?”
“Needed a laugh. When you said you were coming out here to camp, I had to check it out.”
“How’d I do?”
“Looked like all three Stooges at once. It was great.” His grin said he knew she wasn’t in the mood for jokes, but that she’d been damn funny, anyway.
WRITING PROMPT: How would you have a character who has never camped before prepare for camping?