Geoffrey Long


The Kingdom is the story of two brothers living on the West Coast. The younger brother, in San Francisco, has fallen in with a group of guerrilla artists who take the "guerrilla" bit a tad too far. The older brother, in Seattle, is trying to get over his ex-girlfriend and failing miserably. When the younger brother gets into trouble and heads up the coast to seek refuge, chaos ensues.

Work in Progress

This is where I'm posting excerpts as I'm going along, so keep in mind that everything on this page is very Rough Draft. --G


Chapter 3


Bookwyrm Books

Seattle, Washington


This is where she goes in the downtimes,

Hanging out as days slip in between,

There's a girl somewhere between Harvard Square and Berkeley,

She's the girl I saw in every girl I've seen.


The way she moves is like a stageplay dancer,

The way she holds her head shows nothing in her way,

The way her hair comes down gives the Bacchae room to fly in,

And if she'd ask, no way for me to stay.


'Cause it'll be three days before we hit New Orleans,

Two more sunsets 'fore the Memphis sun goes down,

One more night 'fore the stars come out in Texas,

This time tomorrow we’re runnin' out of town.


Secret, secret Juliet is walking through the garden,

Lost in miles and miles of blinding neon sky,

Cause Juliet’s all butterflies, daffodils and pretty things,

Snowbound in the dead of winter, but she’s still got her wings.


This is where we go in the downtimes,

Hanging out as days slip in between,

There's a girl somewhere between Harvard Square and Berkeley,

She's the girl I saw in every girl I've seen.

She's the girl I saw in every girl I've seen.


            As the last chords of the final chorus faded away, the coffeebar in the bookstore burst into quiet applause and finger-snaps, all quiet and contained except for one. The girl on stage beamed at us all, leaned forward into the mic and pointed her finger at me. “Thank you, thank you, you’re all too kind. Rafe, please sit down. I see you back there, and so can everybody else.” Maria Castello’s laughter echoed across the room, picked up by the mic and broadcast over the speakers loud enough that it echoed off the windows at the front of the store. She waved a hand at her audience and then pulled the strap from around her neck, laying the guitar on the floor. “That’s enough for tonight. Thank you all for coming.”

            I sat down, beaming with pride, and elbowed my friend Pi St. John in the ribs. “Wasn’t she great, man? I mean, wasn’t she just fuckin’ great?”

            “Hmmm.” Pi nodded, his blonde dreadlocks swinging gently back and forth in front of his mirrored sunglasses. “Stellar.”

            “She is, isn’t she?” I grinned and shook my head. “Aw, man, you don’t know...”

            “I know, man,” Pi replied. He leaned back in his chair and smiled thinly at me. “I thought you two broke up two months ago.”

            “We did, man. But things have been different between us lately, you know? Closer, somehow.”

            “I thought that she told you she was a lesbian.”

            “Well...” I trailed off. “Maybe she’s decided she’s bi now. Hell, I don’t know. All I know is that lately things have been... Better.”

            “Judging by the sound of those lyrics, it can’t be that much better.” Pi shook his head. “Jesus, I know this game.”

            I looked at him, doing my best to maintain a look of innocent confusion. “Game?” I asked. “What game?”

            “Cat and mouse. Man and woman. Good and evil.”

            It wasn’t what I had expected. This time, the confusion on my face was genuine. “Are you implying that women are evil?”

            “Are you implying that men are not?” Pi scowled. “It’s all just versions of the same game, man. The big chase scene in the lifelong novella. A bit of romance. Life is just one big, really badly written novel, and the plot is always more or less the same. Same game, same rules.”

            I looked at him. Pi was never like this -- typically, he was really off-beat, witty and good-natured. “What are you yabbering about? What rules?”

            “The rules of loving, man. One of you will play the good guy, the other sthe villain, but neither of you will ever admit to each other, or yourselves for that matter, what role it is that you’re playing. On top of that, neither one of you will really win, because one or the other of you will not really be in love. Or even more specifically, the two of you will never be in love at the same time.”

            “You’re on crack.”

            “Think about it,” he replied solemnly. “What is it that drives a man crazier than being left? What is more alluring than inattainability? The man will always want what the man cannot have. It’s the big game. It’s cat and mouse, man and woman, government.”

            A beat passed.

            “And?” I asked.

            “And what?”

            “Cat and mouse. Man and woman. As ridiculous as this theory is, I want to hear the end of your analogy. Government and...?”

            “Government needs no ‘and.’ It’s like saying God and. Or everything and. Government and government is just saying A and A, man, which is logically equivalent to A, so why bother saying A and A? So I just say A. Government, man. Government.”

            I shook my head. “Why the fuck did you ever take all those philosophy classes?”

            “It gives a bartender something interesting to talk to his customers about.” Pi took another drag off his cigarette and blew out a smoke ring. “Heads up, man. Yo’ woman approaches.”

            “Before she gets here, man, I gotta ask -- what’s with the sudden tirade? What’s with all this conspiracy stuff?” Suddenly something dawned on me, and I dropped my voice a couple of notches. “Sarah dumped you again, didn’t she?”

            Pi looked at me and said nothing.

            “What are you two guys going on about now?”

            I felt the soft touch of a hand on my shoulder, and suddenly Sarah was forgotten. I stood up, put on my most serious face and solemnly golf-clapped. “Bravo, dahling,” I drawled in a fake British accent. “Absolutely smashing.”

            “Thanks,” she grinned. “Honestly, you don’t think I did too many Led Zeppelin covers?”

            “Ain’t no such thing, bright eyes,” Pi said, and took a drag.

            “Yeah, well. I’m glad you liked it.”

            “Of course we did,” I smiled. “Pi here was just telling me that he thought it was...”

            “Stellar,” he said.

            “Really, Pi?” Anna beamed. “Coming from the jazz king of West Bank, that comes as quite a compliment.”

            Pi lowered his sunglasses and flashed his bright blue eyes at her. “Absolutely. Stellar.”

            “So, hey,” I said, putting my hands on the table. “Do you guys want to get out of here, or do you want to hang out a little more, or...”

            “Actually,” Maria said, cutting me off, “I’m supposed to be meeting somebody here.”

            “Meeting someone...?” I asked.

            “Yeah.” Maria looked away, and glanced around the store expectantly. “We were supposed to meet right about...”


            The cry came from across the room. I looked up to see a young woman with a buzzed haircut and everything pierced running towards Maria. Maria’s face lit up and she opened her arms wide to catch the newcomer.


            Sierra fell into Maria’s arms, and there, before my dismayed eyes, the two began to kiss each other passionately. Embarassed, I looked at Pi. Pi looked at me over his sunglasses, then pushed the glasses back up his nose, leaned back in his chair, and said “I told you so” in absolute silence.

            “Oh, Rafe, I’m sorry,” Maria said, a bit flustered. “Rafe, this is Sierra Franklin. Sierra, this is Rafe Jessen, the guy I was telling you about.”

            “How you doing, Rafe? Great name, by the way,” she said, sticking out a hand.    

            “You too,” I said, shaking her hand. I could feel the blood draining from my face.

            “Maria has told me all about you,” Sierra continued.

            I could feel my face grow redder by thte moment. “Um, great,” I said, flustered. “Sierra, this is my friend Pi.”

            “Pi?” Sierra asked.

            “I’m sorry, Pi,” Maria apologized quickly. “Yeah, Sierra, this is Pi St. John. He’s a bartender down at the Elliot Bay Café, in Pioneer Square.”

            “I’ll have to check it out,” she said. “I just got out here myself, so I’m still figuring out where all the cool stuff is.”

           “Oh, yeah?” Pi asked. “Where you from?”


           I brightened. “Oh, yeah? I have relatives there. What part are you from?”

           “Middle-Of-Nowheresville,” she laughed. “Ever heard of Orrville?”

            “No,” I said.

            “Well, it’s sort of by Wooster.”

           I stared at her blankly.

            “It’s kind of by Akron,” she suggested.

            “Akron, Akron,” Pi rolled the name over his tongue a couple of times. “Is that on Lake Erie?”

            “No, that’s Cleveland,” Sierra laughed.

            “Geography was never my strong point,” Pi rumbled.

            “Well,” Maria put in, “Sierra and I were planning on going to dinner. You two are welcome to come along, if you want...”

            “No, no,” I said hurriedly. “Pi and I have our own agenda this evening. In fact...” I glanced at my watch. “...If we want to make the show, we’re going to have to get a move on.”

            “Oh, really? What show?” Sierra inquired brightly.

            “The, uh...” I trailed off.

            “The Inflatable Sheep,” Pi put in.

            “The Inflatable Sheep?” Maria asked, incredulous.

            “It’s a new group, up from the Bay,” Pi replied, his face absolutely deadpan. “I’m supposed to be checking them out for a friend of mine. You remember Tony, from the talent agency? They sent him some free tickets to check them out, but he had plans so I’m supposed to go see if they deserve any air time.”

            “Well, I’m sure it’ll be a good show,” Maria said, taking Sierra by the arm. “Good night, guys. Have fun!”

            “Yeah,” I said, trying to smile brightly but failing. “You too!”

            “Nice to meet you!” Sierra called back over his shoulder, and then Maria was all but dragging her away from the table. I watched them go.

            Pi gave a little snort of amusement. “Inflatable Sheep,” he chuckled.

            “Jesus,” I said, rubbing my forehead as I sat back down, then I looked at him. “Hey, I thought you grew up in Cincinnati.”

            “I did,” he replied, grinning. “But I figured, what the fuck, Maria was going to mess you up, bringing in her new lover, I thought I’d fight back for the home team a little bit.”

            “I’m sure she didn’t do it on purpose,” I said. “Did you see how uncomfortable she was?”

            “Yeah, yeah,” he said. “Anyway. You want to get out of here? Go roam around a little bit? Best way to get over a girl is to get under another one.”

            “I know, I know.”

            “And it’s really not healthy to go swimming in your own little Jacuzzi of self-pity.”

            I shook my head, but I couldn’t help myself. I broke out laughing. I looked at him, but once again Pi was absolutely deadpan. “Jacuzzi of self-pity?”

            “Hey, man,” he shrugged. “You laughed.”

            “That I did,” I said. I sighed, and then I brightened again. “Hey, I know. Do you want to run down to that coffeshop just opened up over in Fremont?”

            “You mean Auberon’s?”

            “Yeah, that’s the one. The one with the barista that’s so gorgeous.”

            “That’s more like it,” Pi rumbled, grinning. “The man is back in the game.”

            “Yeah, whatever.” I stood and began to pull my windbreaker on. “And on the way, you can tell me what happened with Sarah.”

            Pi stood and silently shrugged on his jacket.

            “Come on, man. Jacuzzi of despair.”

            “I should have kept my mouth shut,” he grumbled as we headed for the door.