Thursday, December 16, 2004

Hey, a real excerpt!

Chapter 1.

Fade in on me, on the bus, going to class. Then focus on the look of shock in my eyes.

It can’t be her. Can it? Old classmate, new body, new face. Among other marginally-cute-girl-to-drop-dead-stunning girl enhancements. Right in front of me – I’ve got only the briefest of seconds before the recognition flashes in her eyes – I’m struggling to come up with some sort of line to say to her when—

The bus comes to a screeching, unexpected almost halt, throwing me into her, rendering any line moot.

“Kurt? Is that you?”

Oh great, here we go. “Oh…hey Vikki.”

“Wow, it’s been a while hasn’t it?”

“Well, if a couple of months is ‘a while’ then, yeah.” You can obviously see how witty I can be in the presence of females—especially really hot former dates.

“Well, a lot can happen in a few months Kurt.”

A lot indeed—good lord she must’ve gotten the whole upgrade. “That’s true. So what have you been up to?” Damn, her plastic surgeon does GREAT work—if I’m not careful I could be “up” to an embarrassing situation right here.

“You know, classes, getting used to the heat—the usual. How ‘bout you?”

It’s a very “life imitating art” experience—all the conversations around us is reduced to background noise, but the figurants are still noisy. “What? Oh, just, you know, going to school and stuff.” And stuff. My dad would kill me for being so nondescriptive.



Whether I like it or not, in my mind’s eye she’s already half naked, clothes coming off in a blur, 70s funk music playing; there’s a waterbed…

“So how’s that going for you?”

And we flash back to reality. I’m not sure how long I was out, but it doesn’t seem to have gotten to her. Better respond—quick. “Good. I like most of my classes.” Yeah, that’s the best I could do under the circumstances. You want witty repartee, go rent My Dinner With Andre.

“I bet they seem easy after all that extra work you got from your parents.”

“Yeah, but I can’t get overconfident. Just because I wrote a screenplay in High School is no guarantee that I can write 5 pages on some depressing Bronte Sister novel.”

“Well, you look great—”

“—You too—” Words don’t adequately express. It’s like she’s a different—hotter—person.

“I can’t believe I bumped into you.”

You can’t believe it?

“You remember prom?” Vikki continued.

Porn? Did we videotape—oh, PROM. “How…how could I forget something like that?”

“Well, given the amount of alcohol I had in me, it’s a wonder I remember anything about that night.”

“Really? I’d hate it if I was so…forgettable.”

She moved closer. “That’s not what I meant.”

What have you been UP to indeed.

This could be a nice moment.

But the idiot bus driver hit the brakes again, this time it’s not an almost stop, but a real stop, stopping HARD, sending me spiraling away from Vikki onto a nice-looking, but decidedly not Vikki girl, and generally sending all of us standing bus riders into a more-or-less supine pose on the aisle floor.

And it was my stop. “This is where I get off.”

She arched a perfectly plucked (or waxed, or whatever the hell women do to keep the unibrow away) eyebrow.

“I mean, it’s my stop, gotta get, y’know, lunch.”

“Well, here, take this—” she handed what looked like a business card.

“You have a card? We’re like 19…” this way she won’t register my eagerness to get her number—and I quickly scanned the card to make sure she wasn’t just fucking with me, “this is just your number and name—shouldn’t you have a job in order to have a card?”

“Ass—they’re from the student union. Call me sometime, Ok?”

And that was that—me off the bus and once again baking in this accurséd Georgia heat. The local colloquialism “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” can kiss my pale, white ass. It’s both, damnit, and they both suck.

Such pointless bitching is my body’s way of saying it’s time to eat, so I headed south, towards Snelling, the only dinning hall still serving lunch, to grab some grub. In my mind I conjured up an image of high-school Vikki—kind of large nose, uneven, thin lips, cute but not beautiful. Kind of funny how the longer adjective is the better one—a semantic correlation between the Hot 1-10 scale and words I guess. She was the kind of girl you call petite in a sort of derogatory tone. Next to that I imagined the Vikki I had seen on the bus—lips that could swallow my tongue whole (among other things), perfect breasts and perfect tan, perfect nose. Then I superimposed “college Vikki” over “high school Vikki.” It did not compute.

But I had “college Vikki’s” number, so I didn’t care.

A heavy hand slapped down on my shoulder.

“What up, bitch?”

It was JT. My sidekick, if you will.

“Going to get some food, you fat fucker, what about you?”

“I’m not fat, I’m festivly plump—more cushin’ for the pushin,’” pats his gut, “it’s not a six pack, it’s a gas tank for my love machine!”

It’s a comment that elicits some snickers from two Tri-Delts walking past—whether derisive or just amused, I can’t tell.

“Ladies, you know you want it!”

Like I said, sidekick.

“No, I meant fat fucker as in you have sex, with fat people.”

“I see, using that grammar stuff against me, huh? Now, do I have sex normally or you implying that I just grab some rolls and go at it.”

“Hey, you’re catching on—course I could mean it in the purely literal sense.”

It takes him a minute.

“You sick bastard, you’re making me hungry.”

“You’re always hungry.”

“Still with the fat jokes…any way, want to eat or not?”

“Sure, I was heading that way. Ran into Vikki on the bus coming over here.”

“The girl you took to the prom? She was kinda cute in the picture.”

Yeah, I’m one of those guys with old prom/high school photos in his dorm room—it’s not something I’m proud of. I suppose that’s one of the embarrassing things you should hide from your roommate, but what do I care? “She’s all kinds of HOT now. I think there was a little pre-college surgery.”

“Her tits?”

“The whole fucking thing got an overhaul I think.”

We were inside Snelling now, with the wondrous miracle of recirculated air practically freezing beads of sweat to my arms—not to mention the nice side effect the contrast of the heat outside and the cold air inside has on girls in tight tank-tops. The line was a bit much though. I stood in the line and waited (call it my good deed for the day) while JT did some sort of shimmying “please think I’m handicapped” gait and cut through the handicapped entrance. We met back up in the line, grabbed some food and found a table.

While JT started devouring some truly nasty looking Philly cheesesteak, I’m thinking about Vikki again. JT starts talking and I’m sort of drifting in and out. He’s wrapping up his what-I-expect-will-become-daily rant about how classes are bullshit when I try and deftly steer the conversation to the Vicki situation.

“Yeah, yeah. Anyway, this thing with Vikki is kinda weird. I mean, yes, she’s absofuckinglutely, drop-dead HOT now, and she didn’t used to be, but that’s not all.”

“What, she suck you off on the bus?”

In all honesty, JT isn’t the best person to talk to about these things. This sort of cute, likes me in the platonic sense girl in my Psych class would be ideal, but I don’t have class with her til tomorrow. Which leaves me with JT. For now. “Don’t I wish…no, thing is, I asked her to Prom as a…how to put this…she was a fail-safe date.”

“The last resort, huh?”

“Pretty much, yeah. The girl I wanted to go with was dating this idiot—”

“Women do like the idiots.”

“So THAT’S why you’re getting so much.”

“Fuck you—go on.”

“ANYWAY…didn’t talk to her much before prom, but I knew she liked me; she was my fail-safe date to prom—where I got so fucking hammered, I remember virtually nothing—and basically I resumed hardly ever talking to her after prom and pursing-slash-pining for the idiot-dating girl. We go all summer without seeing each other, I see her today and not only does she say ‘hi,’ but she’s flirting like crazy and gives me her number.”

“Just…out of the blue…gives you her number.”

“Totally unprovoked. On her ‘card’ no less.”

“Her card?”

“That’s what I said. And, while I’m flattered and horny over the situation, the whole thing does seem a little strange.”

“Nah, not that strange. She’s like that chick on Felicity.”

“Please tell me you do not watch that show.”

“Dude, Keri Russell is hot, I had a girlfriend in high school that made me watch it with her.”

“Whatever…I know the basic premise though: sorta hot girl stalks high school boyfriend at college, right? So you’re saying, Vikki came here because of me?”

“Maybe…did you know she was coming here before you saw her today?”

“No, I thought she was going to one of those vaguely lesbian female liberal arts schools, or BU or maybe go to Amherst and bug my dad.”

“You said he teaches up there didn’t you?”

“Yep, I think he’s up for department head next year too.” Gladly, I won’t be around to deal with that mess. “Reason number 23,569 for why I’m not there.”

“So, if she had the grades for Amherst…”

“She was 3rd in our class, so she defiantly had the grades…”

“She could easily get into UGA. Did you mention that you were coming here to her at all?”

“Maybe. Again, I don’t remember much of that ‘enchanted evening,’” which I accentuate with a little finger-flexing thing Chris Farley satirized on SNL, “but she knew I was thinking about it at least. Probably knew how much mom and dad were against it too.”

“Didn’t you make some deal with your dad over coming here?”

“Why, you remembered! I think I love you, JT, you sexy bitch!” maybe a little bit of sarcasm here, “Yeah—I had to prove to him that I could already write at the ‘Amherst level’” finger flexing again—I hope this doesn’t’ become habitual, “so I wrote a screenplay.”

“A screenplay?”

“Yeah, originally Pops scoffed at the idea, said only a novel would do, but I loaded that screenplay with all that metafictional, self-referencing crap that’s in all the stuff he teaches—John Barth, Pynchon, Gaddis, Wallace—all those guys, and it was good enough. He actually hooked me up with some agent friend of his out in LA. They’re supposedly ‘shopping it around’” no fingers this time, just voice inflection “to major studios as we speak.”

“Wow, you could be rich.”

“I doubt anything will come of it personally…getting back to Vikki, that Felicity theory does make sense…”

“Alright, what about the body, are you absolutely SURE it was surgically enhanced?”


“OK, her tits, you’re sure it wasn’t just one of those Victoria’s Secret supermiracle, tit-enhancing deals?”

“There is not a bra in existence that can achieve that level of…uh…growth.”

“Are you sure? I mean, you’ve seen that email forward about Britney Spears—where she goes from B cup to D cup in the space of a month?”

“I’m sure. Vicki wasn’t flat in High School, but she was damn close, and now she’s more than a handful—plus, she fell on top of me when the bus stopped too quickly.”


The whole picture was getting clearer. Then flash to my cellphone, stowed away in my backpack, going off. I didn’t want to answer it, but I check the number.

(213) 555-5478

“Shit, I’m gonna have to take this, it’s ‘my agent’” damn, back to the finger flexors again. Maybe it is habit forming.

I pick up the phone and take the call. The sound is pretty damn clear to be coming from a thousand or so miles away.

“Kurt! Hey, this is Wiley, calling from LA. I just got out of a great meeting with the nice folks over at Miramax, and they want to option your script.”

“What? You’re kidding, right?” And what does “option” mean?

“Nope, I pitched it to them a few hours ago. Called it a ‘brilliant amalgam of gritty noir detective fiction and college sex comedy’ and they bit. They were hooked from the first scene—where that jackass protagonist runs into his old flame on the bus. Their head producer called me not fifteen minutes later—they want a deal. Honestly, I’m surprised, because it’s got some PoMo, Kaufman-type stuff in it and they’re usually skittish about that kind of ‘high brow’ stuff—but hell, they loved it. Guess I worked a little magic on them. Anyway, they need your sig, do you have a fax machine at school?”

“Yeah, I do.” I gave him the number.

“Great, I’ll fax over the deal memo now. Look it over, you should agree—not that I’m pushing—but the money they’re offering for a first-time writer like you is really, really good.”

“O K…” So “option” = $$$.

“Alright, look it over and call me before you send anything back alright? Bye.”

I press end, trying to keep calm.

“Any big news?” JT asks.


“Dude, you look like you’re about to splooge in your jeans.”

Normally, such eloquence would bother me.

“They want to buy my script and make a fucking MOVIE out of it.”

“Holy shit man, that’s awesome. How much are you getting?”

“I don’t know, they’re faxing over the contract right now. I probably should get going.”

“Kurt,” JT starts, as I get up.


“Can I mooch off you once you’re rich?”

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