Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Eco-Rehab - an opening excerpt
Eco-Rehab - an opening excerpt
The median over-compensated for my lack of judgement, and the BMW curbed the median’s enthusiasm. My crumpled Tercel found itself staring down oncoming superior models, smoke rising from its 300,000 kilometre engine, me half-conscious at its wheel, my power bill glued by my blood to its windshield.
Of all the ways I’ve ever abused my body, trying to read my power bill while driving was the stupidest. I was in an ongoing struggle with Nova Scotia Power at the time. After I moved to Creighton Street they kept sending my bills to my old student address on University. Somehow, when the bills went unpaid, they managed to send their threat to disconnect to my new address. It arrived about a half-hour after my power went out.
I controlled my January shivers long enough to open their nasty letter and pick up the phone. When a pubescent customer service drone picked up I had to force the words through my chattering teeth. "You in-comp-et-ant f-f-fucks!" I shouted, my rage compounded by the ten minutes of elevatorized Coldplay jammed into my ears while I was on hold.
The customer service drone hung up and I looked down at the letter of threat again. A thousand-and-twenty bucks they wanted. "F-fuck!" I shouted to the dark, crumpling the notice, trying not to wonder how I didn’t notice that I’d gone half a year with no power bills, trying not to remember all the drugs I’d been doing since I got my own apartment.
I worked out a payment plan. Two weeks later my power was cut again, without even a note this time. My first online payment somehow went to someone else’s account, and I had to talk them into restoring my power again. I couldn’t wait to get the next bill, just to see that little dent I’d made in what I owed. It was the same with my student loans and my credit cards. Nobody liked getting bills as much as I did.
I grabbed them all from the mail-woman on my way back to the office after a quick supper and a toke to get me through what promised to be another long night. My real-world job as an investment banker was harder than I’d expected, as hard as my old man had predicted. "You have no fucking idea what you’re in for, sonny," he used to tell me, back in high school when I was voted most likely to be a welfare bum and love it.
I wanted to prove my classmates wrong - didn’t know I’d prove Dad right in the process. He was a grade-school teacher so I don’t know how he got so clairvoyant about banking. It was on his advice I bought my 15-year-old Tercel, the one I was rushing back to the office in, those bills staring up at me from the passenger seat. I was chugging at an extra-large Timmy’s triple-triple, trying to balance out the joint I’d smoked with my two-whopper dinner.
I geared down to accelerate onto the 102, whipped by a boomer driving a BMW and cut him off with a wave of my hand. Everything in that moment was too fast - I’d gone home specifically to take in some online porn and masturbate, and didn’t even have time for that. It came down to food and marijuana, or sex and marijuana. No time for both, and my tummy growled harder than my balls ached. I wouldn’t even have time for my purest pleasure: peaking at those ever-so-slightly decreased numbers.
Finally I buckled, made my greatest mistake, grabbed the phone bill and ripped it open, two-handed, and took a peak. Then a stare. Fuckers! My payment was barely more than the interest they were charging me for their mistake. That’s when I hit the median.
Great writing -I also like your writing because your fiction writing is "gritty"-and believable-sorry I couldn't come up with a better adjective than gritty btw. this very much wanted to me read the rest which walking man also referred to. All the best to you and your family!!
Enjoyed the read tremendously. The beginning had me gripped straight away. Next please!
X: I've always been an advocate of fair trade. Sorry I haven't been by to learn more about Lennon's death - I'm stoked to read the series but have been swamped. Soon tho.
TC: Thanks - too many of our kind know debt these days.
MD: I owe I owe. Not sure how much more of this I'll post as I'm seeking publication and some of those printers get picky about online predecessors.
Toast: Notice the new ending eh? Btw did you get my comments on yer most excellent book?
Your over-wordy and somewhat mixed metaphor lead paragraph might scotch your chances with a publisher.
Great story, but the problem is with your lead and the subsequent flashback.
I had meant to email you on this but my (hopefully) constructive criticism somehow ended up in the comment space in my own blog, instead of a email to you....I gotta stop drinking...
Should you be interested, I have tinkered with your lead parapraph of "Eco-Rehab", though it somehow ended up in the comment space on my blog. Blame the computer. Aagh.
Best to ya.
Ivan, I commented in detail at your blog on that - so let me just say I'll play with the beginning a bit and see if I can come up with something more straightforward that achieves the same effect. I do appreciate the feedback.
It might just work. Er, use judgment. Spell it that way too. That's ten per cent of the problem solved. Picky 'ucker, ain't I.
Well, as they say in Law school, and you'd know, "Without prejudice."