HH Com Rd 2 - #22 (364)

Hook here

The 21A Westbound is always four to seven minutes late on Tuesdays. I find that this route generally runs on time during the other six days of the week; but, on Tuesdays, this is not the case.

Today is a Tuesday. Tuesdays anger me. Tuesdays anger me in the same way twisty straws anger me – the inevitability of their existence beyond tomorrow is always guaranteed.
I notice that there is an unusually large amount of people waiting for the 21A Westbound today. It’s exceptionally large for a Tuesday.

“Suckers!” I think to myself.

I scan the crowd, looking for one of the unsuspecting commuters to angrily check their watch, and then glance at the posted route schedule with a dissatisfied squint.

Come on, fishes. Bite. Bite my hooked worm. You know you want to.

“Aha! Got one!”

I accidentally say that part aloud. Some old lady looks at me. What a bitch. Don’t look at me old lady. Look at your floral designed purse that is probably filled with pills and pictures of children and grandchildren who consistently disappoint you.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes. My fishie. He’s a young one. Early twenties: a yuppie guppy. Wow! – He is pissed off, and the bus is only two-minutes late thus far. This could get good!
He probably doesn’t ride the bus that much. Probably drives a Lexus. No, never mind. His shoulder bag isn’t leather - it’s burlap. A business suit paired with a burlap shoulder bag.

I got it! A Volkswagon Golf. Yes... That’s it. That’s his chariot of choice. Foreign. Semi-chic. Good gas mileage. Business in the front, sensible storage space in the back for weekend warrior gear (Snowboards, boogie boards, and the like.)

This guppy is really mad! Awesome! Stupid fishie. The 21A is always four to seven minutes late on Tuesday. You don’t know that though, do you? That’s cause you’re a fish.

The old lady is still glancing at me. What’s her deal? So I accidentally said one of my thoughts aloud. Big deal? Hasn’t she ever thought aloud? Maybe I should ask her. No, she’s old and stupid.

I have to pee. I should have peed before I left work. Stupid pee. I hate peeing. I wish people didn’t pee. I wish they could just be. No eating, no peeing, no pooping, no sweating, no nose blowing. Just being. Like that Beatle said.

Maybe I should pee on that old lady. No, then she would never stop looking at me. I’ve only peed on someone in public three times. It never ends well.

I look at the fish again. He is really pissed off now. A vein bulges in his neck like a worm trying to escape a fishing hook. Fitting. I wonder if I could catch a pike with his vein? I bet I could.
Except, maybe I don’t want to, they’re so bony and hard to filet. Dammit I hate pike, they—-
The bus is here. Five minutes and thirteen seconds late. I get on the bus. The bus driver has loose and floppy jowls that jiggle when he talks. I always have to resist the urge to play with his skin like it’s fresh, fluffy bread dough.

I survey my seating options. There is a seat open next to the old woman. I shudder. I think about peeing on her face again and smile. I sit next to a man with caramel skin and a dark chocolate colored suite. I could really go for a Milky Way right now.
The man is fidgety and smells like cottage cheese. He shuffles his brown, pleather, velcro shoes. They look arrogant. I hate people with arrogant shoes.

The man’s stench is making me sick. I force a film of bile back down my throat. I cough on the man’s shoulder. He grunts and tries to scoot away from me. I lean over and cough louder, directly into his ear. Little droplets of saliva shimmer on his caramel colored lobe.

“What the hell ya’ think ya’ doin’, man?!” the Werther’s Original says in disgust as he wipes the side of his face with his Hershey sleeve.

“Sorry,” I mumble, “I haven’t felt so great since that monkey bit me in Congo last week.”


oh dear dog, what indeed.

I'd read all the pages with a query and probably a partial. I'd be looking hard at the synopsis to make sure all the elements are in place and there's a narrative arc I can actually describe to an editor.

What works here is the voice. It's utterly compelling and loathsome at the same time. The pace is in keeping with what's being said..there's an impatience to it that we feel, not just read.

This is good.


Anonymous said...

Wish I'd written this.

A Paperback Writer said...

Very realistic. I think I know this kid.

Anonymous said...

This definitely had energy, but I think it might just exhaust me over the course of an entire novel. I think I'd enjoy this as a short story but not as a full book.

dana p said...

This narrator needs to get together with the narrator of #15(183), and they can cough on each other, punch each other in the face, and just have an all-around jolly good time.

This didn't grab me the way #15 did, though. While I laughed out loud at I’ve only peed on someone in public three times. It never ends well, you lost me at I think about peeing on her face again and smile. Too gross -- too hateful -- not funny anymore.

But hey, that's just me. I was still intrigued enough by the excerpt -- and the hook -- to be willing to keep reading, albeit warily.

A Naughty Miss said...

This character is a real kick. I love the "I accidentally say that part aloud" bit. And OMG, that last line.

Yeah, I'd keep reading this. I hope the story begins to unfold real soon, though, or this character's antics could become more tiresome than entertaining.

Zany Mom said...

I liked this -- to a point. I'm not sure I could read an entire novel in this voice. Over the long haul I feel it would be too much. I agree with the other commenter about the 'peeing on her face again.' One too many times.

But then, it just may be a matter of taste.

xiqay said...

A paperback writer--we must ride the same bus. I definitely know this guy.

So why didn't I write this? (please don't answer that)

Nice job, author.

I agree with Dana P though-the second peeing on the face bit was too much. The monkey bit me in Congo bit is hilarious and starts to make this character almost likeable (at least to me).

Katharine Swartz said...

This is good writing, but I agree with some others that I could not read a novel in this voice. It would be exhausting. I also think less is more--don't show us the character's quirks all at once--I'm thinking of Camus' 'The Stranger' and how his character was revealed as the book unfolded.

Tattieheid said...

It's good, I'm just not sure how much of it I could read. If it goes over the top it will ruin it, though I suspect this author knows that. Well done and good luck.

Diana Peterfreund said...

my favorite so far. (I'm not sure I want to know what that says about me.) but oh so compelling.

LindaBudz said...

I'm not usually into dark and crazy, but this is good stuff.

Two things:

(1) I didn't get that this was a kid until after I'd read it and then went back and read the hook. Maybe it's just me, but I would have liked to have something in there hinting at his age.

(2) I didn't get the "fish" thing until the second reading ... I was thinking he was going to somehow prey on the guy that "bit," and when that just got dropped, I was like WTF? Then I reread and realized (if I'm not mistaken), he just wanted to see someone check their watch and the schedule, sort of like an internal mind game he was playing. (Right?)

As I said, I'm not usually into dark and crazy, so maybe I'm just being a little slow on the uptake here.

Dave said...

What a nasty character. Well written. I almost want to see this waste discover a body and a killer.

Anonymous said...

Read American Psycho. It's exhausting to read, but terrifying.
This is one of the best-no, it is the best-thing I've read here.

ntn@cc said...

brilliant. and consider killing some 'that's?

good luck, author. I was looking forward to these pages. Great fun!

McKoala said...

Hee, hee. Outstanding style, but wtf? I'd read on to see if I could figure it out, though. Scarily awful, even more scary when you remember that some people really do think like this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you author and snark. THIS IS GOOD.

angie said...

I LOVE this. Okay, okay, maybe a little heavy on the pissing, but I absolutely loved the voice. I'd fork over hard-earned cash for this book.

Rhease said...

This is the sort of novel that you pick up in a book store with the intention of scanning the opening after reading an interesting jacket to check the writing is as good only to find yourself already sat on the bus home a half hour later slyly glancing round at the other passengers with a big grin on your face.
I like this. A lot. And I'd pay good money to read more. Well done, author.

Me Be Free Someday... said...

This is well written. I especially like the part about wanting to play with the bus driver's doughy face. Great visual.

He sounds like a serial killer to me. Way beyond anti-social. Like the antagonist in an Elizabeth George novel, maybe.

Anonymous said...

Well written (although I would prune some of the "pee" stuff). I think this would exhaust me over time unless I started to see the narrative arc kick in pretty soon.

I hope his attitudes and actions end up making some sense in the end. In Mark Haddon's "Curious Incident...." (the solving the mystery part of the hook reminded me of this book) , the voice was utterly convincing and compelling because the character had autism and Haddon had worked with autistic individuals. The ecccentricities of the voice were not there just for the sake of having the character be different. He also started at the beginning of the narrative arc -- the mystery itself -- and not just with establishing the voice, which got me right into the story itself more.

Good luck.

writtenwyrdd said...

Ooh, a vitriolic and self-aware anti-hero. I love that voice! YOu do it exceptionally well, Author. I sure hope that's not the place you live in when you aren't writing such good stuff. (If so, seek help NOW.)

Wow. Can't really critique anything here, it just yanked me along, unable to stop. I did really love the description of the man as a Werther's, though. Highly unusual descriptions.

Keep it up, please!

BernardL said...

Good writing, except for the man wearing a suite instead of a suit. If I thumbed through this at the book store, it would be back on the shelf. I don't have to read about self-centered twits like this, when I have to deal with my share on a daily basis. :)

thraesja said...

Hmm. I didn't like this one. I liked parts of it. The mind game to see who would check the watch was good, as was the protag trying to figure out what type of car the yuppie drives. But I found the rest of it repetitive. I had a hard time figuring out who the main character was supposed to be. I thought OCD for a while with the train timing and hatred of Tuesdays, then I thought maybe mentally challenged with the pee and the fish distraction, then I thought just plain evil with the faking a foreign disease. I'm guessing at this point a teenager?

Just my opinion. So many other people liked it that I'm sure you'll do just fine author. Way to go.

Heidi the Hick said...


I have no idea what's going to happen in this story but I have to keep reading and find out.

What a voice! What pacing! What big eyes you have!

I can't wait to find discover this in a bookstore!

Anonymous said...

LMAO - I wish I had written this. THe problem is, I'm hungry for some more. Paperback writer - I don't think you know me - LOL...j/k...I think I am this kid. I think like this all the time...though I never act out my thoughts (like coughing in someone's face & eluding to some exotic disease...). I think this has some pinache...
Good job author. Can't wait to read more.

Richard Lewis said...

Good stuff.

Twill said...

Wow. Wish it had gone long enough that we could see what he was going to do to Mr Golf fishee. Whimper.

Anonymous said...

You've gotten some comments worth heeding. I'd read a short story of this, but no more.

It's good. Strong. Wearying. A bit repetitious. You might win a prize with it.

Really, a little of this goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

Loved the voice, reminded me of the main character in the booker prize winner "Vernon God Little".

I think many kids have such thoughts floating around in their heads, thoughts which the majority don't act on - until they discover alcohol.

Crystal Charee said...

I absolutely love this. I liked the hook too, but I this surpassed that by miles. I was laughing out loud. I love the way the narrator switches thought threads all the time.

The first time he (or she) mentioned peeing on people was funny. Repeating it, not so funny.

"Arrogant shoes" is hilarious.

The character is far more intelligent and relatable (sadly) than I thought it/he/she/they would be from the hook.

Anonymous said...

Comparing this to Vernon God Little is overly optimistic, but allso probably realistic. Vernon God Little has a Brilliant star and gradual stagnates before it is resolved through Deus Ex Machina.

I see no real story here except a lamely self aware eccentirc with an overwrought vocab.

Katie. said...

I'm one of the few who really didn't like this entry.

My first problem was with the repetition of "Tuesday" (six times in two paragraphs!) and I realize that repetition can be a useful literary trait but I don't think this use of repetition served the story well.

If I had picked this up in a bookstore and began reading, I would realize by the end of the first sentence that, yes, today in the book is Tuesday. Then I would put the book back when I realized that the author felt the need to tell me (when he'd already shown me in the first paragraph) that the day is Tuesday. I'd worry that the rest of the book would be filled with explanations for things that require no explanation.

I also thought that it was heavy on the cliches, even though other commenters loved the "accidentally said that part aloud" bit, it's actually an extremely common phrase in romance/chick lit books. (Arrogant shoes also feature prominently in romance/chick lit. Honestly. Women are always commenting on men and their shoes in chick lit.)

Although this part was rather funny: "Stupid pee. I hate peeing. I wish people didn’t pee. I wish they could just be." If only because it made me think of a dirty Dr. Seuss book.

Yup. Just couldn't get into this one and am not sure what I am missing because I would never buy this in a bookstore. (Before you all start yelling that "Of course she wouldn't buy it! She reads CHICK LIT!" I read a whole lot more than just chick lit. Such as the aforementioned brilliant Mark Haddon book.)

Although the writing in the entry is good, so maybe all the manuscript needs are some beta-readers and copious amounts of editing.