These fragments are from a very early draft of Summer of a Doormouse in which the main narrative followed directly after the Prologue instead of going into a flashback as it does in the version of Chapter I posted on this blog. You may notice some discontinuity between these fragments and the other posted parts of Summer of a Doormouse. This is because they come from two different drafts. I do not have a copy of my original draft of the prologue on my computer. I’m missing it and other pieces of the first draft, though I believe I have them in storage somewhere. If I locate them I will post them.
29 December 1979
His delicate, somewhat attractive, feminine features are now drawn, shallow, and sickly. The light build that I’d once found strangely alluring is now repulsively frail. The over sized nose, which I had once defended as being aristocratic, now seems swollen and bulbous. Eyes that once transmitted so much emotion, be it laughter or tears, are now glassy and bloodshot. His hair hangs long, stringy, and unwashed. I don’t think he’s shaved or bathed in at least three days. It would seem that he’s turned destroying his life, among other things, into an art form.
I try to make myself comfortable in his easy chair as he rummages through his record collection trying to find something to listen to. Finally he grabs something, with the hand that isn’t in a brace, places it on the turntable and presses ‘play’. Now he’s making his way across the room to sit down. Time to act cheerful and pretend that he’s not insane. My God, he smells like a winery.
“I’m tellin’ ya, Ang, it was great.” He takes his place across the coffee table from me and pops a couple of pills into his mouth and washes them down with a glass of wine.
“I can tell,” I say indicating his hand, “What’d you do to yourself there?”
He seems a little surprised that I noticed the brace. “Oh, that’s nothing, I just. . .Uh. . .tripped over my amp cord and. . .eh. . .got my hand caught in the strings and twisted it a little.” He forces a smile, “Um, the Doc says it’ll be fine in a few days though.”
“Well that’s good, I guess.” I reply with a smile, trying to remain bubbly
“Yeah,” he pauses to light a cigarette with his step-dad’s Zippo lighter. “Doc says as long as I wear this brace I’ll even be able to play in the tour”
“Tour?” What in the name of Bob Dylan is he talking about? “What tour?” I smile my sweet and innocent smile for him.
“Oh, didn’t I tell you?” Flicking the ash off the tip of his cigarette he pours himself another drink, “Donny got us a gig opening for Vermin on the last month of their U.S. tour.”
Donny, the little son-of-a-bitch, should be shot. “That’s great, congratulations.” I can’t tell if he’s staring at me or if he’s just zoning out again, “When do you leave?”
“Oh, not ‘til next month.” He pauses to take a final drag off his cigarette before snuffing it out. “Anyway, Don says that we can all bring along our girlfriends or whatever, and since I don’t really have one or anything, I was wondering . . .I mean, I was gonna ask you if. . .”
“But I thought. . .”
“No, Kat’s going with Donny.” For a brief second his eyes seem to transmit an overwhelming sadness, then it’s gone.
“Well I don’t know, Jack, this is kind of sudden.”
“Oh no, no. That’s not what I meant.” I’ll be damned, he’s actually blushing, “We can get separate beds, separate rooms if you want. I just wanted some company, not. . .”
“I think I understand. I’ll think about it.”
Lighting another cigarette he begins searching the room for his stash. While he’s rummaging from one pile to the next, I leave gracefully saying that I have to meet Hilary for lunch (Actually that doesn’t sound half bad, I’ll have to call her when I get home). As I let myself out, I hear him exclaim that he’s found it. This is soon followed by another exclamation, and a few invocations, concerning the disappearance of his pipe. It’d be a shame if someone accidentally walked out of his flat with it in her purse. Damn shame.
29 December 1979
“I just don’t understand him sometimes.” Angelica pauses momentarily to brush her blonde locks out of her eyes. “I mean he’s just killing himself. Slowly. And for what? For that little degenerate, skanky. . .” her ivory skin begins to take on a fiery tone as she searches for an appropriate adjective.
“I think his latest defense is that his in Love” she just glares at me in disbelief. “Well, I was just. . .”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Hilary” she smiles as she begins searching through her pocketbook for a stick of gum. “I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just that I can’t understand what he’s trying to do.” Pausing for a second she inserts a piece of cinnamon flavored gum into her mouth. “Between the booze and the pills he’s gonna kill himself. It’s disgusting.” Stretching back in her chair she starts to yawn.
“Not getting enough sleep again?”
“Still.” She smirks bit, brushing her hair out of her eyes. “I guess that’s what I get for trying to do twenty things at the same time.”
Some things never change. For as long as I’ve known her Angelica Wilde has been running herself ragged trying to do everything (As opposed to Katrina who’s been trying to do everyone).
“You really should slow down, you know. Take a vacation, or something.” Yeah, that’s it, and it might get her to stop worrying herself to death as well. “Why don’t you take Jack up on his offer?”
Her blue eyes light up as a smile spreads across her lips. “Yeah, and that way I can keep an eye on him at the same time.”
“At any rate, Ang, don’t you think you’re being a tad bit hypocritical with him? You drink and. . .”
“That’s different, Hilary.” She smiles her I’m-right-and-we-both-know-it smile. “Jack’s drinking is self destructive. When I drink I’m always in complete control of myself. “She pauses again to brush blonde hair out of her face, and smiles. “See, totally different.”