My lovely wife Rebecca is very proud of my recent success writing entertaining, creepy and dark crime and noir stories. She shows them to her friends, co-workers and family members and for the most part she gets a very positive response. I think the fact that many of the stories are set in our town of Modesto and often based upon people, places and incidents of which her friends are very familiar makes them especially fun for them to read.
Now, these stories are not meant to be highbrow literature. They are meant to be fun reads like most pulpy crime and noir stories. There is story-telling and writing skill involved, for sure, but, you know what I mean, the subject matter is either criminals doing horrible things or normal people doing criminal things and, hopefully everything goes very very wrong. You, know … fun. It’s literature, but it’s not literary.
And that is fine with me, I like it, it’s what I want to write. It’s what I like to read.
One of my biggest supporters is Rebecca’s friend Kim. They usually hang out together on Wednesday afernoons when they are both off from their jobs at Costco. They have been friends for many years and have spent many many days off together hanging out, talking, joking, playing cards. When I started writing last summer Rebecca would show Kim the stories and to my great delight and surprise, she really liked them. And, once they started getting published online, boy, she was really happy for me.
So when Out of Gutter 8 came out last month both as an ebook and in print, this was a big deal for all of us. It includes my story Hot Cups, which is based upon a place in Modesto called Bottoms Up Espresso, a kiosk with several locations in which sexy young women wearing bikinis and lingerie serve Red Bull and coffee drinks to horny men. All day long the women post photos of themselves in their sexy outfits on Facebook and men post crude comments in response. The submissons call for OTTG 8 asked for stories about love in the digtial age. So, I wrote a story about a man obsessed with one of the Bottoms Up workers who began stalking another man who he felt had insulted her virtue in his Facebook comments. And, lucky for me, it made the cut. Great.
Today at their weekly get-together, Kim’s sister visited with her new fiance. Kim and Bec, apparently, talked about all my stories and OTTG 8 with great enthusiasm. Then, Kim brought out her signed copy of the book for her sister to read.
The sister however, got to the first sentence of the second paragraph in which someone is described as a ‘douchebag.’ At that point she put the book down and said, “yew, I don’t think this is for me,” and handed it to her fiance.
The fiance read the story. When he finished there was a long pause while he was holding the book.
“Oh you finished the story” Kim said, “what did you think?”
“It’s garbage,” he said, his face turning bright red as he threw the book onto the table. “I’m just going to be perfectly honest. It’s garbage. It’s junk lit- no, I’m not even going to call it literature.”
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