** Bring me your tired, derivative, overwrought dead manuscripts, yearning to be erased from memory… This is the seventh in an ongoing series where authors get to share a piece of a novel/writing project that died long before it ever could have proven its worth to its parent, its master: the author. Instead of letting the maybe-horrible, maybe-unbearable Word doc remain untouched in some far off and forgotten file folder, why not let the readers at ENCLAVE have a look? Think of it as closure. They won’t laugh, I swear.
This time we have JS Breukelaar, author of American Monster, with an excerpt from a novel entitled “Viper.”
If you are interested in having an excerpt featured in the “From the Grave” series, be sure to email me at michael @ coping mechanisms dot net. **
1. KILL NOIR
Dean’s mother tells her book club that San Diego has never been her final destination. She’d leave in a flash and be back in Brizzie before you could say Margherita. Leave Chalmers, she tells book club, with nothing but memories of his sun-kissed trophy-bride from Down Under that he can choke on or wank on — makes no difference to her.
“Not to mention the old folks. He screwed them over good and prop-pah,” Mackenzie would say sounding, or trying to, like a Guy Ritchie gangsta. Mackenzie with her physiotherapy certifications and shoe fetish.
Pop and Gammy—Pop was a natty little dresser who came to America from some Hungarian schletto to end his days scuttling around a peach-toned twilight home at the edge of the Pacific. Lost to the silent winding hallways and views out faux-bevelled picture windows onto the wrong crashing blue, crows rising out of the aspidistra. Dean riding shotgun on Pop’s Little Rascal, loving the way it glided silently to the dining room where the Mexican valet would reach for the keys and soberly park it in the lobby. Dean loves that bit. Residents’ soft-shoe shuffle to plates of steamed sole on the arms of blow-up nurses. Ah, Southern California.
Aaaahhh…blow-up nurses. In the bathroom Dean goes to work on three glow-in-the-dark pimples, a volley of blood-pus to hurl onto his canvas — the volcanic red and seeping yellow of cave art. He is the remote hunter of the Kimberlys painting prayers on the walls of his mirror cave. He brushes his teeth. Practices his smile, basic variations on a soul-train theme.
Dean has Mackenzie’s green eyes but definitely a little too close-set. In the centre of a narrow forehead above a single eyebrow, a scar where there was once a large mole that looked a little like a mouldy-looking eye until Mackenzie had it removed. Kinky alien hair inherited from Pop, and a wide nose scheduled for surgery. Bad hair like the grocer’s nephew at the market who went to Dean’s last school, packing up the grapefruit and string beans every Saturday afternoon. A raft sailing darkly off to one side of his head.
But here’s a thought: Dreads.
Heavy hair that looks good in a hood with lips soft and moist like a baby animal. Hung. He practices his stance: eyes half-closed, now open wide and stricken and now downcast in terminal sorrow. Dean flails his arms against the speed of pain. He bowed his head against the onslaught. Prepare to dive or is it die?
The bathroom sink starts to overflow.
Dean drifts into his mother’s room. Showered and shaved, but not well. Softly closes the door on a cool white space, vast Chinese rug and wall-to-wall Sony and Pacific glimpses out a humongous window framed in amber waves of drapery. He sinks his hands into her panty drawer, withdrawing, it doesn’t quite close. He elbows a pile of bedside paperbacks onto the floor and finds her Xanax, one/two of which he ritually pops while listening now to the front door softly close. She’d approached it silently from her office, like a cat burglar in six inch Manolos, hadn’t wanted him to hear her leave and try and stop her, not that he does that any more.