Sunday, October 16, 2011

Transmat World Excerpt

Chapter 1

Vince’s index finger and thumb closed on a sheet of smart paper containing his calculus book. It disappeared into a slot on his backpack as Bert approached, splayed sandals slapping industrial linoleum with lazy aggression. Locker doors slammed as other students pretended to be in a hurry to get somewhere.

“Vince, you can’t spell worth a dried up piece of frog shit. Use Spel-Rite when you’re doing my homework. I pay you good money and I get a letter grade off for spelling because you have that stupid dysplasia, and now it’s made me look stupid, and now I’m thinking maybe you’re stupid.”

If only 25 percent of Bert Millsap’s body was muscle instead of the normal forty-two, he might have the edge on Vince in sheer strength. His T-shirt expanded into a bell-shaped curve above his waistline where it formed a significant bulge; a 360 degree, nipple-free breast sitting on top of a belt screaming “IMMINENT FAILURE!” Maori-style shapes, brightly colored instead of the traditional black, covered the backs of Bert’s hands. It was all the rage for omni controls to be tattooed directly on the body. Bert was half a head taller than the swimmer’s body with wide shoulders and narrow hips standing poised in front of the open locker.

Vince didn’t have to be psychic to suspect trouble. Bert was a known bully but had never taken aim at Vince until now. Vince knew he had faster reactions. He could win a scuffle if Bert didn’t fall on him. More importantly to Vince, Bert hadn’t paid for the last homework deal and was always whining when he wasn’t blustering. Here Vince was a freshman doing homework for a senior. He felt Bert must go through the hired help pretty quick for that to happen. Rumor was Bert had been doing this since grade school. Vince was tired of dealing with it.

“You’re right,” Vince said. “I must be stupid because I thought you had enough sense to run a spell check on your own after I took care of the hard stuff but never mind that. It’s dyslexia, Bert, a very mild case, and just what the hell’s wrong with you? You’d have failed that paper without my help. Do you call Andy a cripple to his face because he’s got one leg?”

“Yes, I do. What of it?” replied Bert.

Vince had created the dyslexia rumor so that if he ever did make a mistake on anyone’s homework, they would cut him some slack and pay anyway. Some people just had no empathy. Vince suspected a mutually un-empathetic relationship between him and Bert. Vince was getting steamed as he spoke, letting emotion spit bullets out of his mouth, the empty hot cartridges settling down around those parts of his brain responsible for anger and aggression, warming them for a fight. He spoke calmly to his open locker as if he was still looking for something.

“You got family problems, Bert? They still want you to be a proctologist? You can’t find your own asshole, Bert. Your old man beating your mom again after getting wasted?”
Vince ducked the sucker punch coming out of the corner of his eye. Bert’s hand met the locker door with a metallic clamor. Vince spun on one foot to place an elbow in Bert’s gut but the door bouncing off the wall caught him across the eye socket mid-spin.

“Damn you, Vince. I’ll get you for this,” Bert muttered, walking away with his right hand cradling his left like a stricken baby bird.

“Bozo Hair,” Vince managed, tenderly checking the eye for blood. Holding his omni up in talk-video mode he could zoom in and see that the fine blood vessels crossing the ridge of his eye socket above and below his eye had been damaged; there was no hiding it. The doc-app recommended ice. Heading for the double glass doors, the bike rack,Crescenta Valley sunshine, and home; Vince felt vaguely unsatisfied and anxious about the exchange. It didn’t help much to know that Bert would hurt every time he used his omni for the next few days. It resolved nothing and now his folks would find out.

End of excerpt - go to Amazon to read the first couple of chapters.
Link to Transmat World on Amazon

No comments:

Post a Comment