novels update: this is hardcore has been printed up; well, at least the first draft, and it has been tossed about between my friends who are eagerly (some of them) hacking away at it. we'll get some reviews soon. in terms of my next project, i have managed to get through a bit of my block and i've written a little bit. only a little bit. my problem has been that i've planned maybe ten or twelve scenes, but they all take place halfway through the book. it's reaching that first eighty pages which is the tough part. so i have decided to just try and write something, just based on what i'm feeling, and it's slowly getting out. here's one of the opening sequences to my next novel, cooler than the millions. I've been takinig a less-is-more attitude with all of this. Elmore Leonard, the famous pulp crime writer of books like get shorty and kill shot once said that when writing diologue, all the writer should have to write is "he said/she said." Anything beyond that is unnecessary. If the writer has correctly worded his dialogue, there is no need to use adjectives like "he exclaimed" or "he cried." I have taken it further and simply not bothered to write "he said/she said" at all for the most part. i think it still works. see for yourself... (forgive the odd formatting. i'm too lazy to reformat the work, so all i did was cut and paste from my word processor.)

Sean takes a sip of the champagne, sparkling golden hues with frothy, bubbling head. Alien nation. It’s the theme of the event, the art show. People wander through and around and beyond the photos that display faces, some overexposed, some underexposed, all black and white, all displaying one emotion: apathy. the photos are headshots, blown up so large that one can see every single visible pore. Heads, blown up six feet tall, four feet wide. This one, the one with the young blond girl with the slightly long nose and wet, slicked back hair is called grace under pressure. Another, a black and white of a young man with a patchy beard is fire it up. Another, a man wearing a toque, is called head space no space. And so on and so forth… In the background, the music of Interpol plays, with the echo from Next Exit’s droning vocals and hymn-like rhythm slowly filling the empty spaces of the gallery. Going all over. It’s killer filler.

Sean folds her slender arms and turns to Norm, who admires the photo for all it’s worth through a pair of thick, large lens, black Rayban sunglasses.

- What’s the deal with this one?

- What do you mean by that?

- It’s torn. The corner. – He touches the bottom right corner of the image of an elderly woman.

- Oh, that. One of the interns dropped it. – She leans over. Anyone asks, it’s a statement on the breakdown of civilization. Even empires crumble.

- You smell good.

- I know. – She leans over and kisses Norm on the cheek. Don’t kill me, but you look sexy.

- Shouldn’t say such things, babe.

- I can’t see your eyes. Don’t wear your sunglasses at night.

- It’s so I can, so I can see the light that’s right before my eyes.

- That’s funny, Normandy.

- Don’t call me that. Only my mother calls me that.

- I’m naming my first child that.

- Where’s John Doe?

- Oh, he’s around. – She brushes her fingers over his shoulders, flicking away a few pieces of lint on his navy blue suit.

- Yeah?

- He’s preoccupied with his own history. Just stay away.

- Beware of dog, ha ha.

- Fucking rabies, baby.

She turns back to the photo and takes another sip of her champagne. She picks at her dark blue dress that fits close and strapless against her frame. She pretends to watch the photo stand still but really has her sight on Norm by the corner of her eye. Norm tilts his head to the side and sniffs and she offers him her champagne which he finishes. He puts the glass down on the floor and walks away. She asks him something but he doesn’t respond. Sean doesn’t watch him go. She hugs herself. She stands there until a blond walks up next to her and asks – What’s the deal with this one?

Going. Along the wall, the beetle crawls. Going. Into the corner the beetle scurries. Going. Down the crack it squeezes through. Gone. Legs and blazing armour and all. A long way down town. Absolutely gone. John rubs the back of his neck as he watches Sean lean over and kiss Norm on the cheek. This is a wasteland now, he thinks. A girl comes over, decked out in a white blouse with black vest and slacks with a black bow tie, carrying a tray flat against her upturned palm. She’s got his scotch on the rocks. He takes it and watches her walk away in her heels. John takes a whiff of the sweet vanilla liquid before taking a sip. The ice presses against his upper lip, contrasting a chill against the warmth and eventual burn of the scotch. He watches her, Sean, a sleek and sexy blue waif. She’s wearing the silver ankle bracelet he likes so much. Taking it off her ankle. Hand rubbing down the calf. Slowly.

She chats with a blond, a hard body. No doubt someone who’s here just because. Because is the perfect reason these days. Because I want. Because I can. Because… just because. She glances at him from over her shoulder and smiles at him, giving him a childish flick of her wrist. Sometimes he forgets just how young she really is. But talent and looks sometimes intersect, sometimes in someone young, and when it does, it’s tough to let that ship pass by. Get on it. Especially if she’s willing. Hungry. Naked, she’s a peach. A lifeline when she finds her way into his bed. Smooth. It’s how she does it. Those fucking lips. He often wonders how it is she found her way to this windy city. Because you can see California in her hair.

All the others, suits and cocktail dresses, emphasis on cock. Meander on by. Not a care in the world. Like this world is better than the next, like the next doesn’t even exist. Like werewolves. Or vampires. Phantom planets and phantom pains, but with real, real death. Baked on existence. A yuppie gang-bang.

She sits herself down on the couch next to John who manages a smile at her. She sighs and puts her arm around his neck, drawing her legs up. She’s slight and curved. She mentions to John how much she likes the charcoal suit and emphasises this by tugging on his collar. She thanks him for wearing it and he smiles like he means it.

- So what do you think?

- It is possibly more vacuous than the last collection.

- Baby tell me what you really feel.

- I’m sorry.

- No you’re not. – She turns away. Ever not impressed, that’s you to a T. At least I created something. Can you say the same? You work in a fucking shipping bay.

- I thought this is about you, not me. Now you’re gonna pick me apart?

- You know what I mean.

- It’s good. It is.

- That’s almost the perfect compliment.

- I love you.

- Now you’re being an ass.

- I mean it.

- Don’t tease me.

- I never tease you.

- You do too. You can suck your own dick tonight. – She gets up off the couch. I hope you choke on it.

John watches her make her way across the polished white floor. Imagine that, he thinks to himself as she laughs at a comment an admirer makes. His eyes pan away from her to the other end of the couch where Norm has taken residence. He leans back in his seat and turns his large black shades at John and smiles. He looks like an insect. What with the glasses all dark and large and metallic. Shiny.

- Way to go, kimosabe.

- You look ridiculous.

- Should be careful with her. She’s likely to flit on.

- Is that a threat?

- Just saying. – He takes a sip from the bottle of red wine he’s got in his hand. Gotta ask yourself if you’re up for it. ‘Cause she’ll be gone.

- That is a threat.

- Gone baby, gone.

- I wouldn’t blame her. She can’t help it. From her heights, you’re bound lose sight of the ants around you.

- You know, when we were graduating from highschool, she was just learning long division.

John laughs.

- You-sick-fuck.

- Don’t cause a scene, John. – Norm’s attention wanders. John follows his gaze towards a red head that’s wearing a thin brown dress that is slightly see-through under the bright white lights. You could see she’s not wearing any underwear.

- What are you looking at?

Norm touches his tongue across the front of his teeth and says, Dinner.