Category Archives: Val

Mitchell and Daniel Fiction: Sleepyheads


Note from Susan: I had to cut this from the follow-up to Trevor’s Song, but I like it. So I’m sharing it with you guys.

“If Val knew you were here, she’d say we’re both on the rag or something,” Daniel said as greeting. His eyes were only half-open, he had no shirt on, and he was wearing green plaid pajama bottoms. Or sleep pants or whatever the fuck you called them. They were all creased up, too, like he’d actually been sleeping in them.

In all the years Mitchell had known Daniel, he’d never once seen the guy wear sleep pants. If you’d asked, Mitchell would have answered that Daniel either slept where he dropped, fully dressed, or stripped down to bare skin. That’s how it went when they were on tour.

And then there was his hair. This might be the only time in the guy’s life it wasn’t perfect. In fact, it stood up in spots, like Val had been using it for something to grab onto. Which was way more than Mitchell wanted to know about Daniel’s night so far.


Daniel Fiction: Val’s Choice


Daniel was trying to get away from Stan the Stud when Val ran over to him. She grabbed his forearm and kissed his cheek. “You’ll never believe what I just found out!”

Stan leaned in. “You’re pregnant?”

Val curled her upper lip and drew away from Stan, closer to Daniel.

“Maybe this isn’t something I want to say in front of jerks.”

“Ouch. Color me wounded,” Stan sneered.

Daniel turned away, not caring if he was rude to Stan. He’d be forgiven; after all, he had something Stan wanted. He had a drum set. And there was nothing more that Stan wanted than a band. Stan and His Studs. They’d wear black leather jackets and jeans and play good old-fashioned rock and roll — which to Stan meant songs like Johnny B. Goode.

It was a good song, but Daniel wanted to rock. His drums were a way to…

“Why aren’t you listening to me now?” Val asked, still holding his arm. She’d planted her other fist on her hip and if Val could look angry, she was there.

She was still pretty cute, though.

Daniel bent his knees to kiss her. “Sorry. What did you find out?”

“There’s these vocational classes I can take. They’ll teach me how to be a chef.”

“A chef? Val, I thought you wanted to …” Daniel paused. What was it she’d wanted to do last week? Zoo keeper? Model? He couldn’t keep up anymore, it changed so fast.

Him, he wanted to play drums.

“But think about it,” she was saying. “If I’m a chef, I can feed hungry people.”

He eyed her.

“I can maybe open a restaurant, one where all the people with too much money go. And I can charge a lot of money and use the extra to fund a food pantry or a soup kitchen, and then people like us. It’d be okay. I’d make it okay. I’d make it so it’s not so bad when we have to go there. But of course we won’t have to go there. We’ll be rich from it, only we’ll actually give back and try to help out and–”

“Val, not here,” Daniel said. He glanced around, hoping no one was listening. It probably wouldn’t be news to anyone, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t be something worth talking about. The last thing he wanted was to give anyone a reason to talk about him.

She seemed to understand, taking a step back and looking down. “It’s… It’s not just you, Dans. It’s us, too. My family, I mean. There’s been times and … oh, never mind!” She stamped a foot, tossed her hair over her shoulder, and ran off down the hall.

Daniel watched her go. Actually, he thought a chef was the best idea she’d had so far. When his band got big, she could come work for them as their personal chef. And they’d be together forever.

He liked that last part the best.


ShapeShifter Fiction: Val’s Tantrum (Trevor’s Song era)


Warning: this outtake contains sexual inneundo and abuse of cookware. Please do not read further if this will upset you.

They could hear the crashing from where they stood outside the practice studio, across the driveway from the house. They’d actually congregated to listen; it was that loud.

“Sounds like your woman needs to get laid,” Trevor said, bobbing his head like he knew it all. Then again, when it came to tantrums like this, he did.

“Hardly,” Daniel said with a snort.

“That time of the month?” Eric asked. Like he knew about those things, Trevor thought. Mr.-I’d-rather-be-their-friend. His girls got one boringly chaste week on the bus with the band and then forever bought him dinner whenever he blew through town.

Come to think of it, having women buy him dinner wasn’t such a bad thing. But that lack of getting off? For-get it. Trevor hadn’t formed a band to keep his pants on. Or zipped, for that matter.

“No,” Daniel said with a sigh. He hung his head and shook it, looking like a dark brown mop. Trevor snickered, wondering what sort of shit he’d have to clean up later on. Val was not a happy woman in there.

Lately, she’d been like that a lot.

“It’s her fault, really,” Daniel said. “She told me to make dinner, and I did. No big deal, right?”

Trevor wasn’t so sure about that. Part of Val’s miserable mood had started when she’d quit the restaurant. That’d been years ago now, but her mood wasn’t even a bad wine — it hadn’t even tried to improve with age.

“So what happened?” Mitchell asked. He crossed his arms over his chest and gave Daniel a look like he wanted this to hurry along.

“I told her it was time to clean out the freezer. Maybe reorganize it. I swear, there were twenty pounds of chocolate in there. Candy bars, those big bricks for baking, bags of chips, you name it, it was in there. I swear, it took up half the freezer and didn’t leave room for the extra sauce I made! Gram would kill me if I let it go to waste; that’s her secret recipe!”

“And the frozen margarita mix took up the other half of the freezer?” Trevor asked, bored with the story of the spaghetti sauce. He’d been hearing about how wonderful Gram’s sauce was for years, but every time he had it, he thought it wasn’t much better than the jarred shit Mitchell’s mother would stock his apartment with.

“She didn’t care when I said that ought to go downstairs, too!” Daniel half-whined. Trevor cringed, but when Daniel continued, it was in a better tone. “You know, maybe we could put some food in that freezer? Food, kitchens — you know what I’m saying here?”

“So now she’s throwing things because–” Trevor asked. He needed to hear this. To make sure it was real. And to laugh his ass off when it was.

“You heard it,” Daniel sighed. “She’s pissed because I asked if she’d move the chocolate.”

“Oh, Dans,” Mitchell said. He scratched his arm, his face screwed up like he was in pain. “That’s harsh. I think if I did that to Kerri, she’d take my head off. Along with other choice parts of me that I’d rather keep.”

Trevor couldn’t get a word in before Daniel said, “That’s our roasting pan she’s throwing around now. It better not go through the windows.”

“Let’s go make some music,” Mitchell said, putting a hand on Daniel’s shoulder to turn him in the right direction. Eric jumped eagerly for the door of the practice space. Trevor took one last hit of his cigarette and ground it into the gravel.

“Music soothes the savage beast,” Mitchell continued, reaching above Daniel’s head to hold the door open.

“The only thing soothing that beast is her chocolate,” the drummer said, giving the house one last, mournful look.

“And you fuck-ups tell me how great your monogamy shit is,” Trevor grumbled, resisting the urge to provoke Mitchell more severely. This would have to do for now.

Sure enough, the big idiot cuffed the back of his head as he walked by. “It is great, you loser. Just sometimes… you gotta take the bad with the great.”

“And keep the chocolate upstairs!” Eric laughed.

It didn’t escape Trevor that neither of the stupidly attached men in the band laughed along. In fact, Trevor thought, they sorta looked like they wouldn’t mind if Eric joined Daniel’s head in that roasting pan of Val’s.

Just so it wasn’t his, Trev thought as he picked up his bass. He had more important things to do.

Thankfully, a steady woman was at the bottom of the list.


Thursday Thirteen #29 — What’s in Daniel and Val’s kitchen?

In keeping with the theme I began two weeks ago, when we looked at Mitchell and Kerri‘s kitchen and its contents, this week, let’s take a look at Daniel and Val‘s kitchen. For those of you too lazy to follow the links, Daniel is ShapeShifter‘s drummer and Val, his long-time girlfriend who trained as a chef but quit the restaurant business when it got too much.

Look for a new outtake featuring Daniel, Val, and their kitchen over the weekend. And for you meme lovers, another one I’ll let the band answer.

Thirteen mostly food-type things in Daniel and Val’s kitchen

1. A sourdough starter

2. a windowsill herb garden (that overflows onto the patio, in ever-expanding pots)

3. A wide variety of teas

4. Phone numbers for three butchers

5. ten kinds of chocolate and/or cocoa, not counting hidden candy bars

6. A variety of wines, ports, and other highbrow alcoholic delicacies that you wouldn’t expect a rock star to know a thing about. Mostly, he doesn’t. Val, however, does. She’s not a rock star, so your expectation here was met perfectly.

7. Locally produced clover honey

8. chick peas, tahini, lemons (for juicing), and garlic

9. Phone numbers and schedules for the local CSA

10. Ping’s Soy Sauce. Lots of it.

11. Bodacious Sauce. Not quite as much of it.

12. organic cranberry granola bars (Daniel’s favorites. Eric‘s too, come to think about it)

13. One of those undercounter TVs that’s hooked up to the cable in case Daniel starts to go through CNN withdrawal.

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Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Thursday Thirteen #21 — More Soy Sauce Story


For those of you who haven’t been here all week, one of you groupies reminded me to tell the Soy Sauce Story. So I did. But then, I realized that I could envision my friends in the fictional city of Riverview having experiences with soy sauce, and that it could be an interesting way to show you guys the inner workings of my writer’s brain. So I let Val and Mitchell star in their own short outtakes, about soy sauce. This week’s Thursday Thirteen ties up all the loose ends — including some that I bet you hadn’t thought of.

Thirteen Things about The Variations on the Soy Sauce Story

1. Ping’s Soy Sauce doesn’t exist, as far as I know. Since very little of Riverview resembles brands and things we’re familiar with, I figured I’d create my own soy sauce, too.

2. I named Ping’s Soy Sauce after a friend. She’ll probably never know this, but I am quite sure that if she finds out, she’ll be embarrassed.

3. Oh, well.

4. I’m not really sure if the couple in Mitchell’s outtake are me and the Tour Manager or not. Yeah, that sounds like a conversation we’d have. But how can we exist in fiction?

5. Following Mitchell’s outtake, he asks Val if he bought the right stuff. She confirms that he did.

6. Since many of you don’t know Val very well, she is the granddaughter of a Chinese national who married an American woman, who then had a son. Thus, the rusty Mandarin.

7. I always thought I’d write about her mixed heritage, but I’ve read so many books about first- or second-generation Americans who struggle with their dual ethnicity, that it’s been done to death.

8. Besides, the current WIP gives her something much more interesting to struggle with. I hope.

9. Why do you want to know what Val and Daniel are doing going out to sex clubs? Don’t be a perv!

10. Anyone else curious to know why an Asian food market is on the way to a sex club?

11. Yes, Val bought her clothes at Lyric’s store. Want more of Lyric?

12. For those who don’t remember, are too lazy to investigate Val’s history, or whatnot, Val is picky about her soy sauce not because of her Chinese roots. She is a graduate of the Riverview Culinary Academy.

13. What do you know. Riverview Culinary Academy’s initials spell RCA. And what do you know, but that’s the name of an old-time record company. See how it all gets back to music? Rock on, my friends.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


ShapeShifter Fiction: Smoke Break


Trevor almost ran smack into Val when she stopped in the doorway. “But … it’s raining,” she pouted.

Trevor sighed and itched for the smoke they were heading outside for. Val was always pouting anymore. He wondered how Daniel could put up with her. He wanted to know why Daniel put up with her.

“So?” he asked, raising his eyebrows like he was expecting the back of her head to see his imitation of her own perfect bored-by-the-drama-queen airs. “You’re hardly about to melt,” he sneered, shaking his head and itching even harder for that cigarette.

“Says you,” she shot back, not looking at him. That didn’t surprise Trevor in the least. He knew he was an ugly motherfucker. He didn’t blame Val for not looking. Shit, he went for days without looking. Good thing his beard grew in so fucking slow, or he’d have to do it more often. Look that was, not blame Val. Trevor Wolff did not blame others for his own issues. Not that being ugly was an issue; issues, you could fix somehow. Ugly, you were just stuck with.

“Yeah, well, look at it this way,” he said, changing his stance to a more comfortable once since he had the feeling they wouldn’t be going anywhere so fast. “The Wicked Witch of the West is the only person we’ve ever known who’s melted, right?”

“Right,” Val said warily, turning her entire body sideways, but letting her head turn to look at him.

Trevor was half-surprised that she didn’t shudder. But then again, this was Val. She’d been around with Daniel since the drummer had joined the band. That meant she’d had a whole year now to get used to his face.

“And you’re in that snobby-assed chef’s school,” he continued as conversationally as he could. The itch for the smoke gnawed at him; he told it to take a hike.

“So?” She arched her perfectly-plucked eyebrows at him.

“Wicked Witches can’t cook. It’s part of the job description.” He took a deep breath and plowed on. Anything if it’d get her out the door so he could get his fucking smoke already… “I mean, they can cook gruel and brussels sprouts and beets and shit like that that nobody likes. But anything that’d get them into snobby-assed chef’s schools?” He shook his head as slowly and dramatically as he could, making himself count to five as his head moved from one end of its arc to the other.

“You’re not going to melt,” he told her again, wishing she’d listen and go outside already. He needed that smoke and here was Val, plugging up the door and stopping him from getting his nicotine high. Bitch.

Yeah, I guess you’re right,” she said and took that first step into the drizzle.

Behind him, Mitchell came up and gave him a companionable slap to the back of the head.

“What was that for?” Trevor asked, giving him a reproachful look. He hadn’t needed it. Hadn’t particularly wanted it, either.

“One good deed deserves another,” Mitchell said with a shrug, reaching for his own cigarettes as he followed Val outside and left Trevor standing there, gaping.

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