My first love


I've written four novels, and sent none of them out with queries for publication. One is a western, one is near-future sci-fi, one is chick lit (immature barnyard fowl, not women), and this one is literary fiction. (Pbthpthtphthtpphthtph.)


Excerpt from Whistling Dixie, a novel:

On the stuffy third floor of an ugly brown building on an ugly brown street, the Sumter County Council was finishing up a meeting in which they’d discussed the pressing issues of flagpoles (permitted case-by-case), dog license fees (raised), and redistricting (punted). They’d listened to an insane man rant about fluoride and then discussed water quality (meets standards), opened the floor and heard a frazzled woman rant about high dog license fees causing more strays (which drove up the cost of animal control), thanked her and then reminded her that the motion had passed and she was wasting her time and, frankly, theirs as well. The council also recognized a young boy for writing a letter to the President which got a response they and everyone else thought was personal, though it was a form letter signed with an autopen. The TV crews in the back were fidgety, all of them doing something other than paying attention to the business of the council. The medium-sized room looked foolish, crowded as it was by inattentive people. Mrs. Valencia H. Montgomery, spokeswoman for the Sumter County Police Department had cheerfully called each television station in the state with a hot tip: the Sumter County Council meeting would feature an important announcement from the police department. This Mrs. Valencia H. Montgomery was the same Mrs. Valencia H. Montgomery running for county supervisor in the upcoming election. Her face was plastered on cheap, faded plastic yard signs littering Sumter’s most traveled thoroughfares (illegally, as it happens—that sort of signage was made illegal within the city limits as part of a notoriously failed beautification campaign “Let’s Give ‘Em Sumter to Talk About”). Everyone at the news stations figured the police had found out what happened to that poor little boy from an outlying town who’d wandered out of his parents’ home years before wearing nothing by a diaper and t-shirt. The public clamoring for an arrest led to the apprehension, humiliation, release, ruin and cirrhosis-induced death of a local handyman, which satisfied most people. But the news channels were always looking for a way to remind the public that they’d been on top of things, never forgetting the forgotten, keeping vigil for the wandered-off toddlers of the world. And so they waited while the tired voices of the councilmen and women droned on about things that truly did not matter to anyone except the people sitting behind the raised, semi-circular desks. Perhaps someone remarked in his boredom that this was, after all, the proper exercise of government in its proper execution. Dog licenses, flagpoles, and water quality were indeed local issues, though in recent years, people like Mrs. Valencia H. Montgomery stirred a desire in the citizenry to have marginally less absurd national characters making such decisions on the hope that they would not treat the issues with the sanctimony only found in the trivial legacies of trivial people. All of this, naturally, was lost on the councilpeople, who were glad to have an audience besides the fluoride man for a change. Someone finally recognized Mrs. Valencia H. Montgomery, who went to a podium affixed with at least a dozen puffy microphones and began a long string of platitudes that, through the use of the royal ‘we’, insinuated she was responsible for all the good work of the police department. The camera people leapt to their equipment just as the doors opened in the rear of the room and a parade of sharply-dressed policemen began, all crowding in front of the raised desks at the front. One couldn’t help but wonder who was policing Sumter at the moment.

roll the dice

tawk to me

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