Snarklings versus the Snarkometer #35
First, you had to make it over the nine-foot metal fence with its sharp finials. Then you had to jump past the jungle of honeysuckle vines that was so dense that it swallowed blue jays and carpenter bees, and small children could get lost in it and not be able to find their way out until they were teenagers. Then you had to walk through the lavender and the nasturtiums and the anise hyssop and the chicory until finally, finally, at the back of the Waverleys' yard you could see the old apple tree, cranky but mostly self-sufficient, like an elderly house cat. If you could manage to get to the tree and steal an apple before someone saw you, you still had to make your way past the flowers and the honeysuckle and the over the fence again. But then you could eat your apple at your leisure.
Why go through all of this? Because if you ate an apple from the tree in the Waverleys back yard, you'd see what the biggest event in your life would be. Local legend had it that, fifty years ago, Seth Bagwell saw himself making the winning home run the first and only time Bascom High made to the North Carolina state championship. And Janice Ramsey said she saw her wedding day. Junior Martin claimed he saw the time he was skinny dipping in Lunsford's reservoir and a bear chased him out of the water and right into old Mrs. Norton's yard. Though she'd never eaten a Waverley apple, this was probably the biggest event in Mrs. Norton's life, as she had been married sixty years to a fundamentalist and had never seen a naked man in the daytime before.
The irony was that the Waverleys themselves were all born with a severe dislike of apples, thus the old saying that Waverleys knew where to find the truth, they just couldn't stomach it.
This violates every rule I've been yapping about...and it's great. First, the second person "you" ..shades of Jay McInerney's Bright Lights Big City. Second, nothing really happens, and technically it's all backstory...and it's great.
Notice the wry humor, the telling details, the crisp pace. Even the long sentences work.
I'd read on for sure.