1.07.2007

HH Com Rd 2 #15 (183)

Hook here

Willis laughs, so I punch him in the face.

Maybe it’s a mistake, but it still feels good. Inside, I mean. The actual feeling of his teeth gauging (gouging) into my knuckles is not pleasant. It’s still worth it, though. That's the last time anyone will laugh at my fluffy Bunny slippers. But Willis is an okay guy, so I help him to his feet.

He's actually my best friend. Sort of.

"What the hell?" he asks, rubbing his jaw.

"Sorry, I got carried away," I say. I didn’t even hit him that hard. I couldn't because of my Pixie Stix arms.

"Sometimes I wonder why I even hang out with you," he says.

I wonder that too. Sometimes.

We take a seat at the bar.

“I just can’t believe you wore slippers to the bar, man,” Willis says, shaking his head.

“Yeah well, I want to be comfortable,” I say.

“What can I get you?” the bartender asks. It is still early, so we actually get service without having to wait for an hour. The bartender looks annoyed. That annoys me.

“Bud light,” Willis says.

“Boddingtons,” I say.

After the bartender walks away, I assault Willis.

“What the fuck?” I yell at him.

“Jesus, what now?” he says.

“You just ordered a BUD LIGHT, that’s what. Now you look like a total fucking douche bag. And now I look like one too just for being seen with you,” I say.

He shakes his head. He doesn’t get it. That’s why he’s a tool and a douche bag. And he’ll never even know it.

“Look, first you show up wearing embarrassing pink bunny slippers, pajama pants, and a fucking bath robe, and now you’re making fun of my beer? I should just leave, you jerk,” Willis says.

See? He’s a sausage. But I still don’t want him to leave.

“No, no stay. I’m sorry; drink your fucking tool shed beer. And about my attire,” I say, “I happen to be quite comfortable. Who do I have to dress up for? Like I care about impressing all the stupid skanks who come here? They can't even write their own names. And when they sneeze, they get syphilis everywhere.”

“I can’t believe you,” he says.

“Whatever, let’s just let it go, yeah?”

“Fine.”

We leave it at that.

The bartender brings us our beers. Willis tips him a dollar. I don’t tip at all. That’s what you get for looking annoyed, you bastard. If you don’t like your job, then quit.

We sit in the bar and shoot the breeze. I’m kind of bored. I wish I hadn’t agreed to come with. But Willis can be such a nag.

“You need to get out, man,” he had said.

“Fuck you,” I said. It seemed appropriate at the time.

“Listen to yourself; you’re a jaded, whiny loner. And you don’t ever leave your shitty apartment. I mean, look at this place. It’s a pig sty, and it smells like ass,” he said.

“Do you even know what a sty is?” I asked.

“Who cares? This place is disgusting and so are you. You’re coming out tonight! It’ll be good for you, you’ll see. Now I’m going to go bring Sophie her dinner at work, and then I’ll meet you at Dempsey’s at eight, okay?” he said.

“Whatever,” I said. I just wanted him to leave; I was trying to watch a goddamn infomercial.

“Alright, see you there,” he said with a corny smile.

Sophie was his girlfriend. She was a bitch. She hated me because I was a “lazy asshole.” The truth was that she hated me because I was too honest. In my opinion, if a girl asks how she looks, you tell her the truth. Lying is a bad habit. I don’t ever do it. So when she looked like a whore in her bar-hopping tube top, I said so. Now she hates me. Girls who say they want honesty in a relationship are liars.

So hear I am, at this Godforsaken pit of vanity and arrogance called Dempsey's. And it hasn’t been good for me so far.


I'm not sure what it says about me, nothing good probably, that I really love this. It's fast, unexpected, and has a main character who is loathsome. I'll find my stiletto bunny slippers and read 50 pages.


What works is that there's no set up, no backstory, just wham, you're in. It's a bit like British noir movies (Guy Ritchie stuff) that just fling you into the soup and say "swim".
.

35 comments:

Katie said...

This reminds me of "A Confederacy of Dunces", and that book is brilliant, but I wonder if I would be able to shake the feeling that this writer just finished reading that book and sat down to write his. I'm curious to know if it's an influence. Maybe I'm just paranoid. But I like this, too.

Anonymous said...

This is just excellent writing and characterization. very well done.

That said, I probably wouldn't read it much past these pages. I don't think I could take an entire book full of this guy.

Anonymous said...

I like it, too, but the guy better start showing some redeeming qualities or his attitude is gong to get old fast.

Anonymous said...

Reminded me of Charlie Huston. I like Charlie Huston. Good job author.

dana p said...

My guess is that if you enjoyed spending time with Ignatius J. Reilly, you'll enjoy spending time with Reese Sampson.

I had three LOL moments in 750 words. A pretty promising ratio, I would say. So, although I have no bunny slippers, I'm ready to settle in for a nice long read. And unlike the commenter above, I do *not* want redeeming qualities to intrude. Hey, the guy's honest -- what more do you want? ;)

Dave said...

Ya know, I read the 750 words and hated the character. He is ignorant, stupid and a wastrel.

Then I went and read the Hook...
This piece of horse-doo-doo is going to get the ability to read minds?

Ohh, fun - a reluctant, wastrel hero with a bad attitude and a drinking problem. AND, it starts in the middle so we don't have to know where he bought the bathrobe and the fuzzy pink bunny slippers.

Sounds like a good read to me. YOu see, A long time ago, I saw CHINATOWN where a silly detective chasing skirts and gigolo husbands discovers the plot to create modern day Los Angeles. Then he falls in love with a woman and destroys her life. Then it ends. And I fell in love with noirish mysteries like that.

I like an author who assumes his readers have a brain and throws them into the story.

Anonymous said...

I like this except that I am sick, sick, sick, sick of the homosexual thing. I can't listen to the radio or turn on the news without hearing about it. Do I want to slosh through 100,000 words of brilliant writing about it? Even if it's brilliant? Even if you are a genius? Are you kidding?

I mention that because I don't think this is just a private reaction. Others with whom I have spoken are as tired of it as I am. Which means that may be commercially relevant. You can only have your nose rubbed in something just so many times before wanting to end it all with vapo-rub. Maybe if they give us a break for twenty years it will seem interesting again.

Subjects may wear out, but talent does not. And you have that. Keep writing, son. Find something else to write about and I will be buying your books. I may even be studying them to find out how to write myself.

overdog said...

I just tried reading "A Confederacy of Dunces" again, and it's like slogging through mud. I loved it years ago, but I don't like it anymore.

Still, this is bouncy. I'm with the first two anonymouses, though. Not sure I could take too much of him without some redemption.

Anonymous said...

Whatever floats your boat.

Fuchsia Groan said...

I'd read this. Kind of like Indecision with a worse attitude. I haven't read Confederacy, but I think there are a lot of pissy narrators like this in American fiction.

A Paperback Writer said...

This is absolutely weird. I'd have to keep reading to find out what the heck is going on, so you probably would have me buying your book, author. I'm not sure I like it, but I couldn't leave it alone.

Bay Dog said...

This starts out present tense, and then switches to past. Stay consistent; one or the other.

Anonymous said...

Okay... well, to each his own.

You lost me at "Willis laughs so I punch him in the face."

Um, huh?

Yes, I know everyone says it puts you into the story with no boring backstory and explantion, but I was already bored with the MC's attitude after a few paragraphs.

I still have no clue (or reason to care) who the MC is.

Bay Dog said...

This starts out present tense, then switches to past. Pick one or the other.

Anonymous said...

I have heard this be compared to A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES a few times now. That worries me.

I have NOT read that book yet. I've been meaning to, but just never got around to it. I don't even know what it's about, I just heard great things, and so added it to my list.

I do appreciate all the kind comments. (I think I'm going to go pick up DUNCES now, and also maybe some Charlie Huston.)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Wow. So far I'm the only one who, without re-reading the hook first, thought that this was a YA until I discovered we were in a bar.

There's good stuff here, but some scene setting would be appreciated. And an attitude adjustment, just a bit, for our narrator. He's got balls, walking into a bar dressed like that.

Grendel's Dam said...

Why does Anonymous 4 go off on that pointless homophobic riff? Because the protag wears bunny slippers? Gay guys don't wear bunny slippers (unless maybe they're from Prada.) And according to the hook, the pov character is stalking a girl.

Besides, Hate speech has no place in a blog like this. Clean it up, people.

Anonymous said...

This is great! I want to read more, so the author needs to get this to an agent asap!

dana p said...

I have heard this be compared to A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES a few times now. That worries me.

Is that you speaking, author? If so, don't worry. ACOD was published in 1981, but written in the (mid? late?) 1960's. The world is ready for a new embodiment of the spirit of Ignatius Reilly. (Well, at least my little corner of the world is.)

Jeb said...

Good work, to get me interested enough to read this whole segment. Not sure I'd read the book, though - I knew someone who went to a bar in pajama pants, a bathrobe, and fat yellow Homer Simpson slippers. And I don't like to be reminded of that time in my life.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but no. There is nothing about this writing, character, or the scripted dialogue that would keep me reading. The pages have a decent voice, but it's not interesting enough to paddle the canoe alone.

good luck.

McKoala said...

I liked it and hated it in equal measure, and believe it or not that's a compliment. I liked it because it was lively and unpredictable. I hated it 'cos the guy was such a...I have no words. Ick. However, thanks to Dave reminding me of the hook, I'd read on to see how things change for him.

When it went into past tense, that was because your mc was, um, looking back into the past, wasn't it?!

Karen said...

God, I love this. Not sure what that says about me, either. The voice of the MC grabbed me right away "drink your fucking tool shed beer" hilarious! And the part about telling his girlfriend she looked like a whore in her tube top just killed me. This is fucking great and I would definitely buy it if (when) it finds a publisher.

Zany Mom said...

This just isn't my cup o' tea. Like the f-word-using Tim in the previous entry (#16), I think this is overdone.

Again, this is where I think it's a matter of taste, because this turned me off completely. A couple of loser doofuses in a bar. Not interesting, not in the least (to me).

Obviously some loved it, so good luck with it. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Dana P, thanks for the reassurance about CONFEDERACY.

And anonymous 4: What's up with your homosexual rant? As far as I know, I didn't mention anything relating to sexual orientation at all...

I'm confused.

Georgiana said...

I'm curiously intrigued and repelled at the same time. I'd keep reading for sure.

As for anon four - maybe they thought they were in another thread? Or at another website? Or in another universe?

Georgiana said...

Writer - I just read this aloud to my 22 year old son (the art student at Pratt) and he laughed like mad. He loves it and can't wait to read it.

I especially liked how your protag gets annoyed with the bartender for looking annoyed. So true!

And at the end where you say "So hear I am" - please change hear to here. Thanks!

Zappadong said...

I love this. It's direct. It's fast. It's straight forward. Good writing, good dialogues.

Zappadong

thraesja said...

Do guys really still call each other douche bags? Sigh.

Not the sort of thing I would read as the protag annoys the hell out of me, but the voice was strong and consistent, and the characterization seems good so far. I'm getting a kind of Holden Caulfield feel. Angry at the world, and just kinda pathetic.

I liked that he was annoyed with the bartender being annoyed. Isn't a person who comes to your table to see what you want to drink a waiter, rather than a bartender? Quibbly point, and maybe it's early enough in the evening that the actual wait staff haven't started yet?

I also liked the image of telling your best friend's girlfriend she looks like a whore. A good insight into why he's a loner.

Not my thing. But as significant numbers of people seem to like it, well done author!

Carolina said...

Anon thought it was about a homosexual because of the one line saying "you're coming out tonight" is my guess. Wow - talk about looking for something that isn't there! Sheesh!

As for the writing, I actually stopped reading and skipped to see Miss Snark's comments. Just didn't feel like I was getting anywhere. But I also think I'd give it more time if it were published cause then I'd know that someone vetted it. Lame, but true.

Heidi the Hick said...

I love this!

And if Reese has no redeeming qualities, please don't invent any for him! I just finished writing a character like that and was so tempted to start liking him and fix him up but it would have ruined everything.

I can't wait to see what rotten Reese does with his new telepathy.

And the tool shed Bud Light. Oh man. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I was rooting for this one in the hook round, and I wasn't disappointed. Those who don't like your main character probably aren't your target audience anyway.

Two books for you to look at, anonauthor: Home Land by Sam Lipsyte, King Dork by Frank Portman. Reese reminds me a lot of the MCs in those books. But neither has magical realism, so you're definitely onto something...

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Wow, I thought of A Confederacy of Dunces right away. And I didn't like that book. Ignatius was so godawful it was painful to read about him. If your character isn't quite so painful to read about, I'd probably read and enjoy your book.

Anonymous said...

I dozed off pretty quickly. Too much blah blah about nothing.

I do like a little substance, or plot, or something--anything!--in my reading material. Bar yammering is dull. The danger in writing about bored people is that you bore your readers.

You have a couple of good tropes, though, and facility with words. When you have some content/depth, you'll write good stuff.

Anonymous said...

"Two books for you to look at, anonauthor: Home Land by Sam Lipsyte, King Dork by Frank Portman."

what kind of idiot writes this? The last thing authors want is to be told to read people 'who write like them'! If you were an author*, you'd know that! Idiot. That's precisely why the poor guy is worried about the CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES mentions.

Author: it's great. Keep going. You'll sell this for sure.

Homophobe: don't come near this list again. Really. Your paranoia is most unpleasant.





*by which I mean someone earning a living by writing