A Novel Note to self (and the digital other): After this update, below this paragraph, there’s a scene from Adventures of a Dying Young Man that probably won’t make it out of the fourth draft. I’m on the third draft now. The novel just reached 85,000 words. I have an estimated 15,000 words left to transfer from the typewritten pages. I’ve been told by agencies and the Publishing MAN that for a writer like me (whatever that means) that anything over 55,000 words would be stretching it. What this means is that many scenes will have to be edited out. The one within this post is one of those possibilities. And yeah, I was going to end this blog. I was being dramatic. I was drunk. I was pissed off when I said that. I forgive myself. With that said I’m going to be slimming this blog down and removing many of the posts that are directly planned on being printed, especially those in AODYM. I’m trying to form what this blog will be in the future and also how I will use it to promote my work and connect to my peers and readers. Adventures in American Writing will live on… for I have a hunch it’s just beginning. I was becoming stale and bored, so I made a new writing space, I’m working on schedule, and now I type up in the trees without music listening to the sounds of the city. Everything feels good right now. Thanks for reading society. You do inspire both madness and beauty. But yeah, you do inspire. Below is a scene. Warning: There are some bad words. I hope you don’t mind. Fiction, yes this is straight F-ing fiction.
“Henry, what was the name that costumer called you?” And yeah I was working at this store in the mall selling vacuum cleaners back then. My pal since childhood named Adam and I were on our way back home, it was Christmas eve, and I was driving almost three hours back to the west side of Michigan in that ol dead Taurus.
“Dingleberry” I said
“Ha”. You really pissed that guy off.”
“All over a steam-cleaner” I said, “That’s the problem with people these days.” I say, “People will fight another human over anything, over a dang steam cleaner.”
“Dang? You stop swearing or something? Say it…repeat after me Henry: Fuck-ass-shit… Fuck-fuck-fuck. Not this kid’s word dang that you always say now, and where did you get this accent from man…never mind about that, just say those dirty words, free yourself. Ha…”
“I’m good with all that. Trying to get away from those words, unless I really need them.”
“Dingleberry” Adam said
“Shut up man. Stop calling me that.”
“Just a joke dude. Chill. Cool your jets dingleberry.”
“Man…I don’t like the sound of that word, not the meaning, the sound of it. Trash man. That word is trash.”
“Remember those Simpsons t-shirts that everyone had when we were kids?” Adam asked me.
“Bartman” I said
“Yeah, I had this one that said Bartman; it was…man oh man…did you see that?”
“A dear just ran across the road. I can’t see shit with this fucking snow coming down.”
“There you go man. Henry can curse.”
“Dang man, it’s going to take us forever to get home.”
“You say words strangely you know that right?”
“Whatever man” I said “I’m the one that’s driving us home.”
“Yeah Henry, and about that, what the hell is up with your car. Can’t you turn up the heat?”
“No, cause, well, if I do, um, well it will freeze inside of the car, something is wrong with the…”
“No shit man. Obviously something is wrong…This is a death trap.”
“She’ll make it home” I said as Adam put on the furry hood of his winter coat.
“I’m going to try and get a quick nap before we get into town.”
“Alright, I’ll put some tunes on.”
As I turned on the radio and jingle bells and here comes Santa baby were my only options to drive to I said “I can’t stand the holidays” to Adam, but wouldn’t you a’ know it, he’s out just like that, he’s just sleeping and man I’ve always wondered how people can do it; you know, like a switch or something they can just conk out like a sleepin lil ol’ baby.
The visibility was about three to five feet in front of my face, fresh snow layered the highway that led us back to Lake Michigan from the east side of the state. Both hands were on the wheel and the snow that fell looked like tracers that fell in the summertime. I was in-charge of keeping my friend safe, and yeah, we were the only car on the highway.
It was 11:37 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and I said that we were going home, and well I should say that’s really half-true. Adam was going home, and well yeah, my family was falling apart. My Dad was dead. Mom was boozing and just abouts ready to move down south for her retirement, my half-sister was in her early twenties and just got done with college. We didn’t talk all that much, cause well, I think that she thought that I was a freak or something. My sister didn’t want to have anything to do with me. So yeah, this was my family, and naw, this didn’t depress me all that much, because even when the family was together we knew it was only a matter of time before it ended, and ended badly.
I was just driving. I was just thinking. Adam was sleeping. Snow was falling. I was driving and thinking about the mess that the holidays always are with my family, and well, at least there would still be my godmother. Good ol Eitel, she was a rock; she was the only thing holding anything resembling a family together.
“And yeah, so there’s that” I said out loud for some reason, even though nobody was listening, and well sure did, I just laughed while trying to find anything other than those sleigh bell sounds that relayed that fuzzy frequency that like gremlins hid within this straight line path that I kept turning back and forth with a radio knob.
As I was driving I remember thinking about the word combination nuclear-family. And man oh man I laughed about this because what a strangely prophetic concept it was. Yeah, we built up the nuclear family in America, sure did, but oh how the warheads went off and now one by one the bombs that were named not little boy but family, well man, they just were lit up like the northern lights, like fireworks, like pen clicks; oh how that familiar bomb was one by one just ta’ going pop-snap-crackle-pop; man oh man, ha, how those family bombs were just ta’ silently explodin’.
I mean really it was; it was a full out nuclear Armageddon. I pictured the map of the states like one of them old propaganda films from the days when the people were terrified of the color red. You know, those duck and cover and roll if the shelter is full and the b-o-m-b POPS.
I thought of it like a dark comedic doodle, and this concept of family, well yeah, one by one the nukes were going off, you know, not in real life, but in my head, and it was silly how I pictured the aftermath.
In my head the nuclear bang was just like a cartoon or something, and well, huh, yeah, and maybe it’s strange, but as I drove all alone and Adam slept, well huh, I don’t know why but I got a good laugh out of this sick joke and started singing “jingle bells batman melts and robin da-da-ha, well the boy wonder broke his leg”…yeah…I forgot the words…
“Man Henry, cut that shit out” Adam said. “I’m trying to get some sleep man.”