Excised Snippet Number Four
February 6, 2014 by Thomas Wictor
This is the fourth passage from my novel Invisible Idiot, which became Chasing the Last Whale, Volume Two of the Ghosts Trilogy.
It was necessary to remove these scenes, but since I like them, I’m publishing them here when I get the urge.
Mike Albee and Lura Dold of Sandpiper Publicity—who defrauded me of $40,000 by exploiting the suicides of my parents in 2013—praised Chasing the Last Whale. I no longer know what’s true about my writing. Another person said that Whale is the best work I’ve ever done, and the few reviews it’s gotten have been good.
Except for the one by the woman who said my female characters are “preternaturally beautiful.” Both female reviewers who’ve given my work low marks have commented on the writer instead of the book. What’s really happening is that they’re valiantly fighting the nonexistent problem of female beauty in literature.
My mother told me that women could be really catty, which is why she preferred the company of men. Mom was a beauty. She was made to suffer for it in many ways. Why? People can’t help the way they look. Should a beautiful woman mutilate herself or wear a mask so that other women won’t hate her?
Here’s Mom and our informal brother Sandy in Venezuela, doing their version of Grant Wood’s American Gothic.
Sandy always called Mom “Granny,” even back when she was young and cute. He was much older and far better looking than we were, and he was really cool in that hippie, sixties way. The death of his mother in an airliner crash had made him reach out to Mom. We weren’t jealous of Mom’s friendship with this handsome, glamorous teenager. I refer to myself in Ghosts and Ballyhoo as a “pear-shaped flathead,” which is my self-image. Why should others have to suffer because I have wide hips and a flat head?
I don’t get it.
It would be easy for me to be very jealous of Scott Thunes. For a billion reasons. Instead, I gave him a twelve-string bass guitar, which just arrived at his house this afternoon. Photo by Hazle Thunes.
Envy and jealousy are genuine wastes of time. How will being angry at someone else’s good fortune change your life? Besides, everybody has crosses to bear. Scott just got out of the hospital and has to change his life. He’s got a hard road ahead of him.
That’s why he needed a twelve-string bass.
Excised Snippet Number Four: Golf courses
It’s a shame that golf courses are open only to golfers. It’d be nice if I could take my walks on grassy hills, among pine trees, ponds, and flags snapping in the breeze like at a jousting tournament in Camelot. When I used to imagine heaven, I pictured a golf course.
Golfers don’t seem to walk more than about three yards at a time. They ride around in electric carts that look like dune buggies. First they drive to the hotel parking lot, drive the carts down to the greens, drive from hole to hole, and then drive back up to the hotel for a drink before driving home. When one person tees off, the others sit in their carts out of the sunlight, puffing on cigarettes or cigars.
A pair of shoes must last a golfer a lifetime. I told this to my golfing art director Dennis, and he got angry. He was also upset because I referred to golf as a game. Golf is a sport. Golfers are athletes.
Those little dune-buggy golf carts have plastic coolers tucked behind the seats. As they scoot past me on the other side of the fence, the hum of the motors is overlaid with the clinking of empty bottles and the rattling of empty cans. Every now and then, somebody lets fly with a giant belch—keeeeerrrrrrrroip—that echoes across the links.
The newspaper said that public and private golf courses everywhere are reporting more and more disruption. Golfers are destroying the grounds, breaking the equipment, getting into fights, and even killing each other. The story mentioned a guy who kept hitting balls into the group ahead of him. When the course marshals—the “ambassadors”—asked him to stop, he said, “That’s just the way I play. If you don’t like it, too bad.”
That kind of person should be immediately euthanized. There’s no reason to let him go on living. We need a special number we can dial to have euthanizers come out and take care of the problem. I suppose a warning could be given the first time, but a second call would mean instant euthanasia.
The new law could be heavily promoted for a year before it went into effect. Billboards, TV and radio ads, pamphlets, and maybe a commemorative postage stamp.
“We put an end to all pain! So don’t be a pain!”
When the bulldozers were brought in to hack out the hotel complex and golf course, billions of wild animals poured down off the hill, furious at being uprooted. One night I heard this unearthly yammering, twittering, and gasping, as if crack addicts had hopped my fence and were going into withdrawal and trying to sing in my back yard.
I got a steak knife and went out to see what was going on. Raccoons were running amok, knocking over my potted plants. The animal invasion was especially bad for my elderly neighbor Sally. She’d call the cops because she thought someone was breaking in. Sally was terrified of break-ins. During the last years of her life, she was afraid of everything. She spent most of her days peeking through the screen door, paralyzed by all the noise and commotion. She broke cover only to do yard work, and even that was hazardous.
We have Western skinks here, eight-inch-long lizards with lengthwise stripes and very small legs. They’re harmless, but Sally would see one in her yard and scream—short, breathy, high-pitched, very loud “Aa! Aa!” sounds, like a lab monkey having something ghastly done to it. It was absolutely bloodcurdling. I’d be sitting on the back porch, reading the paper, and Sally would scream at her skinks and make me spill my coffee.
I’d have to go and shoo away the lizards while she hid behind me. After dark she’d call me in tears, convinced that somebody was turning the handle on her front door. She’d watch from her windows as I made a thorough sweep of her property with my flashlight, and then she’d invite in me for a slice of lemon cake with vanilla frosting.
She made the best lemon cake I’ve ever had. I wish I’d gotten the recipe.
* * *
A scene from Falling Down, filmed on the route where I took my walks. This golf course features prominently in Chasing the Last Whale.
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