The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 7
The manuscript fell from her left hand on to the table by the computer. “Just take it into third person narrative.”
Me: (Disbelieving, then absorbing the suggestion) You’re serious.
Michele: Yeah. It’ll give you a whole new perspective. Promise. It’ll also throw way more focus on the antagonist. And…
She picked it up again and leafed through it. “I was thinking these scenes that foreshadow the end, or the near end? Instead of anthropomorphizing the critters, rocks, trees, what if you tried second person?”
Me: Wait. You mean give the reader a “cloud” experience? (Pondering further) You’re saying… slip the reader’s brain inside a snake body, for example?
Michele: (Smiles, eyes widen) Um… interesting, eh?
Me: Beyond that. Experimental. Wild.
Michele: Let me have a cigarette.
Me: Right. You’re clean for seven years then I show up and inside three days…
Michele: Oh who cares? C’mon.
Me: (Shaking one loose from the pack, lighting it for her) You know only Simone Signoret smoked sexier than you.
Michele: Um, oh GOD this is good!
Me: Shit. Well, your friends already hate me, so…
Michele: (Teasingly) Not all of them.
Me: Let’s drink too. Let’s smoke, drink, screw, wake up all stupid.
Michele: Um… OK.
Hell. I wasn’t serious. She had, I’d forgotten, an impenetrable, built-in sarcasm wall. So we drank, smoked, screwed for like a week as this odd little community of fellow faculty members snooped around her tiny two bedroom cottage wondering how to undo the wicked spell hanging in the thick late February buzzing bug infested air:
the hottest Texas February on record.
One day she came home from class with a big paper bag full of groceries, dropped it just inside the front door, dashed off head down into the bathroom.
“Michele?” I said, emerging from the study. “You OK?”
Seconds later she came out, slid past me as if I were invisible, grabbed the bag and went into the kitchen. I’d been here before. Decision time. Two options: go back to the computer as if nothing was weird, or follow her.
“Listen,” I said, “you can talk to me, you know.”
So I went back to the computer. It was her turn, but she didn’t take it until the next morning when I woke up. She was staring at me.
Michele: People hate me when I’m happy.
Michele: Did you answer the phone yesterday?
Me: Uh, yeah.
Michele: And they hung up, right?
Me: I said hello, then… dial tone. Why? What’s going on?
Michele: (Reaching over me then rolling on to her back, lighting a cigarette), People don’t think academics and bohemians are a good match.
Me: (Taking a drag from her smoke) Do you know what happened to the last guy who called me an academic?
Michele: (Laughing wildly) Um… a shallow grave near Waco?