Funny, neurotic, absurd--all describe my heroine, Monica Baker, a 33-year-old single professional with more baggage than a Boeing 747.
Fears? Monica has plenty--strangers, elevators, hot tubs. As a result she’s cautious, overly cautious. But life can get so damn boring when you’re always worried about something…anything. Just once, she’d like to say the hell with it and brave a Port-a-Potty, take a hot air balloon ride or talk tomatoes with a guy in produce.
But change is tough, so what’s the hold up? Ex-boyfriend Sammy is a Fruit Loop-eating drummer with a talent for making women hum. Teddy, her father, camps on his Laz-Y-Boy and buys tulip bulbs and steak knives from The Home Shopping Network. Duffy, her mother, can’t be bothered as she gambles, downs gin and amasses a collection of gnomes to rival Tolkien.
In the end, forced by a depressive episode to confront her failures in life, Monica discovers the strength to create a new self--confident and fearless.
Me? I’m a published poet and former reporter for Nation Publications. I hold a B.A. from the University of Iowa.
I would be happy to submit Caution Ahead, my completed 75,000-word manuscript, upon request. A stamped envelope is enclosed for your reply.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
four words: is there a plot?
I hate that I’m cautious. It holds me back. I don’t take chances. Wouldn’t you rather err on the side of caution?--my aunt loves to say. Well, I guess, but life can get so damn boring when you’re always worried about something--anything. I’ve got to get over it. That’s my plan, my resolution, my mission.
And in an effort to crawl out of my safe hole, I’ve decided to do things differently. Ideas: take a hot-air balloon ride, talk tomatoes with a stranger in the produce section, use a Port-a-Potty at a sleazy carnival, buy a whiskey sour for a gentleman in a bar.
I walk to the window. In the dimming light, I see cars parked in the lot, but no red GTO. I slip my fingertips under the rubber band around my wrist. Where is he? My fingers squeeze the band.
It’s Saturday, late afternoon, and I’m waiting for Sammy. We have a date, and he’s late again. Not surprising at all. I hear garbled tones over my intercom. Finally. I move to the foyer, buzz him in and open the door. He sings in the best nasally, Sonny Bono voice he can muster--a classic about how he’s got me and I’ve got him.
He rounds the last turn of the staircase and stands before me, all six feet, two inches of him. Wheat colored hair curls around his shoulders. Low slung Levi’s settle on his narrow hips and round sunglasses perch at the end of his nose, rock star chic. He grabs me like a bear and stuffs his paw in my back pocket.
“Ready, babe?” He whispers in my ear. I’m momentarily stunned, a wide-eyed doe in a meadow. I haven’t been pawed in three days.
“You’re late, as usual.” I pull away. A spicy scent surrounds my face, something musty and alcohol tinged. Definitely not pleasant. “What’s that smell?”
“English Leather. You like?” He steps forward, tilts his head and gazes at me with his robin-egg blue eyes. Must admit, he’s mesmerizing at times.
“Sammy, the ‘70s are over.” I close the door behind him.
Like I said, I need a new life.
It's really hard to make neurotic people interesting. And most neurotic people think they are the normal ones: "Grandma, not everyone shops for vegetables in latex gloves!" "They should!"