San Andreas Fault

Below, and on the following pages, is the full version of San Andreas Fault. I spread it out over 8 pages because I hate reading long pages myself.

She had talked him into taking this trip to celebrate his break from the grind of working for a corporate law firm. Once he decided a few months earlier to leave the firm, she thought his moods would improve. Instead, they got worse. She hoped a vacation like this – a road trip to the northern California coast, staying in bed and breakfast inns – would get him out of L.A. and make a clean break from his old routine. But everything was wrong for him. The beds were too small and the walls too thin; he got carsick on the twisty roads up by Fort Bragg. After a while, it was just easier not to say anything. She had really wanted to share today’s drive more than any part of the trip. But now she realized that John wasn’t interested. So she focused on the road. Her silence worked on John’s nerves more than the noise did. Tension built in the car. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore.

“Look, I was trying to make a joke. A pun. San Andreas’ fault; possessive, not nominative.”

“Adjectival,” Tanya said, “not nominative.” She paused. “I get it. I just couldn’t hear all of what you were saying over the wind.” They were quiet for another minute, then she added, “Is that it?”

He nodded. “Yeah. It was just a bad joke.”


John rubbed his hands on his thighs, frowned, scratched his forehead. Four hundred miles to go before they got back to L.A. Not the best time to start a fight. But he knew she wouldn’t let it go. She was a prosecutor. Her world was all about not letting things slide.

He started hesitantly. “I meant it as a pun.” He paused and looked out at the bay again before going on. “But now that I think about it, it’s kind of a good analogy. The plates touch each other here at the fault. One’s moving north. Most of the time, it moves along with no problems, but occasionally there’s a hang up, then some scraping, and after that an earthquake, then everything’s quiet again. It’s not the fault’s fault, so to speak. It’s just the nature of a fault.”


[…] First, I knew we had to meet Dean before the verdict in the Rodney King case was announced (Wednesday), and that we had to stay with him until he decides to join the Koreatown peace march (which takes place Saturday, the day after the story ends). I also knew I needed quiet time in the series of events to get some background in on Dean, Jun, and Ron. Dean’s friend John appears in the beginning and end of the story as a constant by which to measure Dean’s emotional change. John and Tanya are both in this story because they are also in the novel I plan to write. (You may also recall that John and Tanya appear as a couple having some issues in “San Andreas’ Fault”.) […]

I loved your story and am very happy you are writing again!

Such familiar terrain; felt as though I were traveling along with Tanya and John (though glad not actually to be; been an unwilling witness to enough of those uncomfortable, awkward situations).

really really great….

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