Donna Henderson looked at the woman in hot pants, and hated her.
Donna didn’t say anything, of course, though she knew the other moms hated the woman in hot pants too. The woman in hot pants came every Saturday afternoon and sat in the bleachers with her legs crossed, her feet sporting a bright red pair of what Donna’s friend Karen called her “fuck-me shoes” and her blonde hair tied back in a silk something-or-other. And one of those macramé blouses nobody had seen since about 1966--as Rupert said, the kind of material that makes you try to see through the mesh--and the woman would sit there with her legs and chew gum. Actually chew gum! It gave a Lolita effect, which was even more infuriating, except obviously--
“Obviously,” said Donna’s sort-of-friend, Michelle, “she’s a little twat."
Donna wiped the white spittle from her leg. This was why Michelle was only a "sort-of-friend."
"Can you believe it?" came a small voice behind them.
Donna turned. Of course. It was the woman in the too-small cardigan who had spoken. The woman in the too-small cardigan was always there. Tagging along with her little smile, her delightful eyes, and her plunging neckline.
Donna hated the woman in the too-small cardigan, the way she would sit there with her Chinese fan and her neck, and that "do me" hat, the kind Rupert said they wouldn't even wear in Indonesia, which was clearly--
"Clearly she's a whore." Donna turned to see who had spoken. It was the woman in the mirrored sunglasses.
Continuation: Pacatrue/Evil Editor
The woman in the mirrored sunglasses who always smelled like cannibus. The woman in mirrored sunglasses that always showed off her tummy where she wore a cuntilingus me naval ring.
"She is obviously a homewrecker."
Donna turned to see who had spoken. It was the woman in daisy dukes.
I don't read chick lit, so I wouldn't get far with this one. I don't like the POV character all that much. Even though I'm as capable as the next woman of hating someone who looks good in hot pants, Donna seems too bitchy and not in a fun way.
But the writing has lots of energy. You use description in a way that says as much about Donna as it does about the woman she's viewing. For example, I liked "the woman would sit there with her legs and chew gum," which gives a great picture of how Donna views this woman. (However, the Lolita comparison was confusing--is this a "woman" or a girl? Is she Donna's age or in high school?) I also liked "sort-of friend," which suggested that Donna is more than willing to listen to Michelle when Michelle has nasty things to say about the hot-pants woman. But it wasn't a surprise that Donna had sort-of friends. So far, it seems like her only conversations would be gossip and put-downs.
I'm definitely interested in this character that Donna instantly hates. My only complaint with the writing is that too many people help describe the woman. My thoughts:
"Donna Henderson looked at the woman in hot pants, and hated her.
Donna didn’t say anything, of course, because the other moms hated her, too. Hot Pants Hottie came every Saturday afternoon and sat in the bleachers with her legs crossed, her feet sporting bright red “fuck-me shoes,” her blonde hair tied back in a girlish ponytail, and one of those macramé blouses--the kind of material that makes you try to see through the mesh. She would sit there with her legs and chew gum. Actually chew gum!
“Obviously,” said Donna’s sort-of-friend, Michelle, “she’s a little twat."
Amen! I'd be like "send me the full, overnight courier, collect!" If I were an agent, that is. I couldn't possibly pass up a book that involves fuck-me shoes.
If the full is as good as this, drop me a line when it comes out in print. I want it.
(Oh, and I think the original is vastly better than Anonymous's revision, which takes all the fun out of it.)
So, how bad a word is "twat" in Americaland?
According to the BBC official rude list it is the 13th rudest word there is.
I do wonder how it gets to be worse than a word which is used to describe carpets and cormorants, but there you go...
HAHA! Although I'm not into chick-lit, I'd read this...it's too freakin' funny to pass up.
Verfication word: sxfld - how appropriate. ;-)
In America, t**t is equivalent to the word that was at the top of that BBC list.
Geez, Stephen, you could at least have given us a beverage alert! LOL
Seriously though, what does "spastic" mean to you people? I can't even imagine how to use it as a swear, and I'm a truck driver. :)
Enjoyed it. I'm into cranky protags with an axe to grind. "I'm not okay, you're not okay." I want to know what's eating Donna (or who isn't). The Lolita mom is a SoCal phenom, too, so it should be fun to read where that goes. And of course I need to know more about the mysterious, opinionated Rupert!
Use Fuck me pumps instead of fuck me shoes. It has a more specific visual.
the follow-up is hilarious!
I put my comments on the original posting (sorry EE).
Basically, I liked this a lot.
It reminded me too much, though, of a very close friend who died of cancer (who used expressions like "fuck me" shoes and "little twat"), so I'm not sure I'd read it.
Congrats on the excellent characterization.
Thanks Stephen for the insight into British crudity.
Obviously, I've got some studying to do. Bollocks? I recall my dad using that word when talking about mechanical things going awry. What does it really mean?
Off to check the dictionary.
(HAHA-my word verification is peuuycz--stinky, huh?)
Spastic was a word used commonly to describe people with cerebral palsy (the main UK charity in this area used to be called The Spastic Society, but is now called Scope). It has now been dropped, the way "mongolism" has been dropped as a term for Downs Syndrome. One reason was because the term "spastic" (or "spaz") was used as a term of abuse, usually by school children, in respect of clumsiness, just as "mong" was used as a term of abuse for general ineptness.
That BBC list is used as a guideline, and no word is actually banned absolutely. Even the word at the top of the list was broadcast earlier this year, as part of a programme about language, in which its status as the most offensive word in the English language was discussed by Germaine Greer, who has a long history of trying to "reclaim" it.
That list is funny. It's amazing how different the curse words are between the US and UK.
Wanker: Pretty inoffensive. As I recall it was Peg Bundy's maiden name on "Married With Children."
Bollocks: never used.
Arse & Arsehole: in the USe arse is thep olite equivalent of ass (which is a curseword).
Paki: Nope, we don't have any problem with people from that region of the world. We reserve our rude words for people from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries.
Shag: Nope, see "Austin Powers." It wasn't really in common use before then.
Spastic: Nope, neither spastic nor spaz aren't used to refer to people with cerebral palsy. If I had been Teger Woods when he got into trouble for using this one in the Uk, you'd have gotten words 1, 2, and maybe 9 instead of an apology.
Jew: As I understand it, only a curse when used as a verb or adjective.
God: Ha ha. Try pulling that one on the religous right and see what happens.
Oh yeah, as for the story. I know lots of people just like that.
Thank you all for your comments, especially EE, whose removal of several bad words in the opening greatly increased the impact of the word "Twat."
There is a town in northern Scotland called Twatt. If you are curious about Twatt, want to spend your vacation in Twatt, or just would like to get a closeup look at Twatt, here is the bus schedule.
Operator: OKC OKC
Service: 97D 97D
Days of operation: M Th
Kirkwall (Orkney), Bus Station 1350 1735
Finstown (Orkney), Village 1405 1750
Harray (Orkney), Burnside PO 1410 1755
Dounby (Orkney), Village 1415 1800
Twatt (Orkney), Crossroads 1420 1805
Birsay (Orkney), Palace 1428 1813
Skaill (Orkney), Village 1438 1823
Stromness (Orkney), Bus Stand 1453 1838
Note that the last Twatt bus is at 1735 on Thursday. If you miss that bus there will be no Twatt that weekend, even if you beg.
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