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Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights

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Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights

How It All Got Started

Eighties-flavored serial fiction by subscription.
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There’s a lot that came before, and plenty after… but this is how it all got started.

Silhouette of Alex Kent


Silhouette of Lina Porter


Silhouette of Carson Meunetti


Silhouette of Crystal Dubois


Their friendships endured for twenty years and more. Wherever life took them, they carried each other in their hearts, in their memories, and in the shadows of their dreams.

They did their best to live and love and grow through the epic, unprecedented years at the end of the twentieth century.

If you ask Car or Lina, Alex or Crystal, or any of their friends, lovers, rivals and peers, they’ll say their story began in the middle of the eighties, in those hazy days and cloudy nights in San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Dana Cove, Abbeque Valley and all those little beach cities and planned communities in south Orange County, California.

With clarity and perspective earned through time and experience, each would point to their own particular moments when childhood at last began to blend into tentative, stumbling adulthood and their lives got going at last.

Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights is open-ended serial fiction for adults set in Matthew Wayne Selznick’s storyworld The Sovereign Era (Brave Men Run, Pilgrimage). The first story arc, “How It All Got Started,” begins on the first day of summer vacation, 1984.

Sample Selections From Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights: “How It All Got Started”


On the other end of the telephone line, Tess sighed, short and sharp.  “I think we should break up.”

Car knew they’d have to technically break up at the end of the summer, when fortune took them to different coasts and different colleges.  He envisioned a bittersweet couple of months, the slow farewell, driving her to the airport, letters and phone calls to blunt the edge from the inevitable until finally their high school romance became a life-long adult friendship.

Tess wasn’t following the plan.

“What?  I don’t—why now?  We’ve got all summer!”

“I know. But it just doesn’t make sense to draw it out, honey.  It’s, like, taking off a Band-Aide, y’know?”

Car shook his head.  “No, I… what?  Like, some kind of scab, or something?  Is that how you see it?”

“No.  Of course not.”  She sounded a little exasperated.  “I thought you’d get this.  It’s the practical thing to do.”

“Screw practical, Tess!  We love each other!”

They’d said it before in the ten months or so they’d been together.  Carson had never felt it as strongly as he did now that it was being discarded.

“I know we do,” said Tess.  “That’s why I think this is best.  It’s less painful for both of us.”

“Less painful?”  He barked a tight laugh.  “Seriously?”

“Look,” she said.  “I’m trying to do the right thing.  I’m not gonna have any time for stuff like this.  You’d just get pissed at me.”

He shook his head.  “We never talked about this.  In fact, we talked about all the things we were going to do together for our last summer.”

“I know.  I’m sorry.”

The call waiting clicked. Car ignored it.

Tess said, “Car? Are you okay with this?  I think it’s the right thing to do.”

“You think so?  What about me?  What about what I think?  What about what I want, Tess?  Does it matter?  Does what I want make any fucking difference?”

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No Preston in the living room, back yard, or back house.  His room, then.

Crystal went down the hall and opened the door.  Several expectant faces looked up through a cloying haze, including Ian Pinchley and Jeff Hargis.  Jeff waved at her, his smile stiff from holding in smoke from the toke he’d just inhaled.

She let the sweet, cloying fumes come and go through her lungs.  “You guys seen Preston?”

Jeff croaked, “Nope,” and exhaled.

“Thanks.”  Crystal stepped back into the hallway and closed the door.  Might as well go to the bathroom.

The bathroom door opened as she reached for it. Crystal automatically took a step back.

Tall Skinny Gail nearly bumped into her coming out, anyway.  “Oh!  Hi!”

Tall Skinny Gail.  She wore a black sequined flapper dress that fell off her shoulders like a rectangle and accentuated her long, angular body.  Her hair, waist-length, thick, honey-blond, and just about the only thing about her Crystal was genuinely envious of, was out of sorts.  Her make-up was all fucked up.

Gail closed the door behind her.

Crystal sneered.  “What are you doing here?”

“I… oh, you know.”  Gail tried a gracious smile, but it was a soap-opera maneuver. They hated each other’s guts. “Just hanging out.”

Gail brushed past her and made for the living room.  “You got nothing there to hang out, Tall Skinny Gail,” Crystal said to her back.  She reached for the bathroom door knob and stopped.

Gail’s make-up was a mess.  Why would she leave the bathroom without fixing herself up?

Her hair was disheveled.  You’d have to work pretty hard to put hair that heavy out of place.

The bathroom light was still on.

Where the fuck was Preston?

All these thoughts passed though Crystal’s mind in a fraction of a second.  Furious, she opened the bathroom door.

Preston leaned against the sink.  He grinned sheepishly.  “Hi.”

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Lina took another sip and read the title.  “‘The Book of the Law.'”  She drank.  “Which one is Crowley, again?”

“The Great Beast,” Eric said with a smile.  He flipped the pages like a hungry man unsure of where to start on the restaurant menu.  “This book, it’s supposed to be the word of this… angel, demon, entity, thing, whatever.  Crowley just wrote it all down.  It’s interesting stuff.”

Lina took in another small mouthful of vodka.  Ice cubes bumped against her lips.  Her buzz was coming on.  It made her feel cool. Older.

She leaned into Eric.  “Like what?”

“Like how knowing yourself is the only way to really be powerful.  And to know yourself, you gotta do everything; try everything.”

“Like what?” She liked when he taught her things.

He licked his lips and drank.  “Like everything, no matter what the world or the law or anything says is right or wrong.”

“But what if you get caught?”  Lina thought about what her father would do if he found out where she was today.

“That’d just be another experience, right?  But it’d probably be better to not get caught.”


Eric read aloud, musing.  “‘Love is the law, love under will.'”

“‘Love is the law.’  I like that,” Lina said.

“Under will,” Eric stressed.  “Under will.”

“Whose will?”

Eric gave her a dark look.  “It’s not somebody’s name, Lina.”  He shook his head.  “This is serious shit.  C’mon.”

“Not ‘who is Will,’ Eric.”  Lina laughed.  “Jesus.  I’m not a total idiot.  Whose will is the law gonna be under?”

“Oh.”  She could tell he didn’t quite believe her.  “Whoever has the most experience.  The most power.”

He put down the book and ran his fingers down the cover, slowly.

Lina wanted him to do that to her.

“You know who that’s gonna be?” Eric asked.


“Me.  And you’re gonna help me get there.”

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Alex Kent woke up on his first post-high school Monday morning knowing exactly what he wanted to do with his day.

He wanted to see Angel.

He saw her Friday, the last day of school, forever (for him; just for the summer for her).  He talked to her on the phone for a bit on Saturday, like they often did.  There was little risk of losing touch with her over the summer.  She was his closest female friend.

Not a girlfriend.  Just a friend who was a girl.

And yet…

Lately, Alex sensed something shifting when it came to Angel.  Today, for whatever reason, that shift felt more like a fast slide, heels first, ass bumping fast on the grass.


Eleven days away from his eighteenth birthday and still frustratingly without a car or a license, Alex got on his twelve-speed bike and pedaled.  And thought.

Maybe it was the graduation thing.  Granted, it still felt like just another summer vacation, but Alex knew it was not.

There was no more school unless he wanted it, and even if he did, with his grades and lackluster attendance that meant junior college for a year or two.

Then there was his father’s prodding for him to get a job, which went from half-serious to a dedicated assault the moment they got home from the commencement ceremony.

Life was about to begin.  Adulthood beckoned.  Or threatened.

Or… something.

Bottom line: it was in sight.

Maybe it was just Angel. They could talk for hours.  He had stacks of her letters and notes from the last two years.

He smiled and felt a little quiver in his belly that was not unpleasant.  There was no denying she was built… and she had those big, dark eyes.

Alex pedaled down the Abbeque Valley Parkway bike lane and thought.  The miles slid by.  He turned down her street and braked in front of her house.

Angel stood on the covered porch.

Someone was with her.

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Copyright 2003 ~ 2018 Matthew Wayne Selznick.
The Sovereign Era, The Shaper's World, Daikaiju Universe, Protector Universe, Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights, How It All Got Started, Thing, Carson Meunetti, Lina Porter, Alex Kent, Crystal Dubois, Abbeque Valley, Dana Cove, Pinnacle Records, Hagar's and related characters, institutions, situations, and representative depictions in media are trade marks of Matthew Wayne Selznick.
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