Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Story

I love that moment when I fall in love with a story. My newest, tentatively titled "Narco-Klepto" is hitting that point.

Crazy people falling in love is nothing new, so I wanted the disorder to be original. As far as I know, there isn't any link between kleptomania (addiction to stealing) and narcolepsy (falling asleep in random places). What's more, I didn't care. Part of the fun of fiction is telling reality to fuck off.

Here's the beginning. A link to my 99-cent short stories follows. Happy new year to all.


                The boy is a narcoleptic kleptomaniac. This presents problems. He studies a store’s security infrastructure. He finds answers to many self-generated questions. Guards or no guards? Beeping machines by the exits? If so, do they bother to change the batteries? Or, like so much of his country, is it merely security theater?

                He goes to all this trouble to steal. The object is not the objective: it is often something as trivial as a pack of gum. Sometimes he steals tic-tacs because they make noise and it’s a challenge.

The thrill of crossing a perceived line: that is the kleptomaniac’s objective.

                This is where the narcolepsy becomes an issue. Sometimes the thrill of stealing is too much. Sometimes his mind will shut his body down. The boy will fall asleep standing up in aisle five, and when a guard or clerk checks to see if he’s alive, he’s busted. Sometimes they pat him or poke at him, discovering his ill-gotten gains. Other times, he wakes, forgetting the merchandise in his pocket. He walks rather than runs through the machine and beep-beep-beep! He’s caught.

                So, at fifteen, the boy has a record.

                You wouldn’t know it to look at him. His hair is long and heavy metal dark, but he maintains it well – he shampoos and conditions daily. He wears jeans, but none with holes. He does not scribble band names on their legs or allow others to do so. He wears button down shirts, exclusively. Though he will not tuck them in, they are always ironed, impeccably so.

                This is how he looks when he meets the girl.

                She dresses like a mall mannequin. Jeans and t-shirt. Tasteful makeup. A redhead but not head-on-fire. Not goth. Not prissy. No band shirts. Simple lines. Sometimes dots. Color but nothing nuclear green or orange. Nothing overdone. He guesses she isn’t shallow, just planned. This is a costume. She’s built to blend. It’s all by design.

                The first time he sees her, she’s reading US Weekly on aisle four in the local Walgreens. Her other hand pockets a stick of men’s deodorant. Her eyes never leave the page. The boy stands there, watching, in awe of her technique. It takes him a while to realize her eyes are closed. He hears her lightly snoring.

                He falls in love.