So. I know I need to cut it. And yet... it's so fun to write about men behaving badly. I feel weirdly attached to this scene. I enjoy it more than the alternative "pissing contest" I've set up over a game of pool. And I also feel bizarre and slightly naked posting it on this blog, but I wanted it to exist somewhere in the world, if only for a little while.
Soon I will feel self-conscious and paranoid and ashamed of taking up so much space on DSW. At that point, I'm sure, I'll remove it from the blogosphere. But in the mean time... here's an excerpt that won't make any sense to anyone but the Flitgirl. With that warning, please feel free to wade through my prose. And if you manage to get through to the end, riddle me this:
What's an author to do when an alien chunk of cut text feels more fun than the rest of her draft, but would spin the final third of her (much beleaguered) manuscript in a wholly new direction?
* * * * *Revising Mr. Right
by Kate Diamond
Jessica Jo Carter, the heroine, tells her story (excerpt):
Bad things happen when I feel generous. Case in point: Walter sitting in the cab of Jude's truck, his knees not quite relaxed because he doesn't want his khakis making any more contact than necessary with the old, duct-taped bench seat.
I'm literally sitting between the two of them, wishing I could be anywhere but here--except not really, because then they'd be alone in the vehicle without my specialized supervision. Perish the thought.
I never should have said yes to this. It was supposed to be just like old times, a birthday camping trip--leave the presents in the trunk, hike in enough cupcakes and Ramen to last us the weekend. The only difference was that now we were actually old enough to bring beer. Oh, and Becca was on her cell phone every five minutes making sure her deadbeat husband hadn't managed to lose, mangle, or kill their kid in her absence.
And Walter. Walter was suddenly there, too, an outlier with his oatmeal colored Eddie Bauer sweater and barely concealed hostility. Why my ex thought it so important to join us--to the tune of $800 in new camping equipment--was beyond me. Personally, I could have done without the Cape Cod contingency.
He didn't really love me. I think we both knew that by now. When I'd told him to get over himself and go back to Boston, I think he was just annoyed to hear the word "no." I mean, let's face it: we were never the best match on earth. He spent countless hours drilling me in etiquette and railing against my aversion to pantyhose and high heels. And from my point of view, no true romantic should ever marry a guy who thinks faxing a prenup counts as proposing.
He knew all this. I'm sure he did. But Walter? Walter hated to lose. For that reason he refused to leave without a fight, and Jude seemed more than willing to give him one. This left me on horrified standby, wondering why men's logic seems to drop as their testosterone levels rise. Suddenly, my childhood best friend felt the need to pose and beat his chest over me--would probably drag me around by my hair if I let him. It was creepy. More than that, it was obnoxious. After all, thanks to Jude's lack of maturity my nostalgic birthday trip was about to turn into some sort of nature boy pissing contest.
If he'd listened to me, we'd all be spared some heartache. I'd told him he'd win any kind of contest against Walter, hands down. I'd said that he was my choice, that I was staying the Northwest for good this time, and that I wanted to make things work between the two of us. But apparently Jude didn't believe me. Either that, or he felt the need to test my love by goading my ex in the great outdoors.
I'd tried to change his mind that night at the bar, when he first issued the invitation--or was it challenge? I'd made another effort when we were packing up the food supplies and adding extra rations for Walter. This morning was my last attempt. By mile twenty, I'd realized that Jude refused to hear anything I'd try to say to him. He was too busy being macho, singing along with Johnny Cash to the "Cocaine Blues."
"Don't you have anything else we could listen to?" Walter practically hissed.
"Sorry, Walt," Jude laughed, not sounding sorry at all. If we hadn't caught the insincerity in his voice, the fact that he then turned up the volume was a big tip-off. And I couldn't believe he had the audacity to glare at me, as if this was somehow my fault.
I crossed my arms over my chest and hoped he could read my mind: no sleeping bag nookie for you, Neanderthal Boy. Finished glaring at my annoying beloved, I stared out the windshield at the car up ahead of us.
Hmm. All things considered, maybe I should have ridden with Becca after all.
* * * * *
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