Well, it's our first in four years if you don't count the regular trips to India. But seeing as those are family visits and we really only do one little side trip each time -- generally a day trip, at that -- we don't count them. Convenient, no?
I'll have net access in Florence, so I'm sure I'll buzz around twitter and tumblr as usual with the old iPad, but to keep the blog content hopping, I'm setting up some WiP Wednesday posts. I've been super happy (and a little surprised, I admit) to get a lot of questions about what's coming next and when, lately. Unfortunately I don't have the answer to either, but I can share some of what I'm working on -- and what I'll be working on while vacationing. So that's what April will be about!
I'm gonna start with Malory Claremont, since people seem interested in where that's going. You might remember him as Brady's screwed up cousin and sorta-antagonist from Riot Boy. At the moment this book has the working title Reentry Burn (haha yeah, I know, I can't help myself). It's mainly the story of what happens to him after the big Riot Boy clusterfuck, but also him coming to terms with his past before he can get a life of his own. So as not to spoil Riot Boy for anyone, I'll use an excerpt from one of Mal's flashback bits, in which teenage Brady also features. Please bear in mind that although this has gone through trusted beta readers, it is in no way a final product. Rated R for adult situations and language -- and as a trigger warning, there's some hate speech going on too.
I don't know why Dad went down there that night -- he and Uncle Vic almost never bothered unless they wanted one of us to take out the trash or mow the lawn or some shit. Brady had this guy over, a sleeper from school, this big closeted jock type, which was his thing back then. I noticed Dad going downstairs and tried to catch him, but he was already at the foot of the stairs when I got through the door.
I could hear Brady and this guy. They weren't being loud, exactly, just weren't being quiet. And I guess that's why they didn't hear Dad coming, because he went around the corner, and Brady's bed would've been right there.
Dad said, "What the fuck?"
And that's when the fight started.
By the time I got down there and around the corner, Brady's jock boy was halfway into his pants and pushing past Dad out the basement door. Fucking coward.
Brady was sitting there with his arms crossed over his chest and the sheet pooled in his lap, rolling his eyes. "Don't act fuckin' surprised, Jim. Jesus, coulda let me get off, at least."
I don't think Dad knew I was behind him -- or I didn't at the time. Looking back, I don't think it would've made any fucking difference. He said, "You better not make my kid into a faggot, Brady, or I'll shove my boot up that slut hole so far it'll come out your throat. See how you fucking like it, then."
Brady spotted me behind him. He made this face, like he was sorry I got wrapped up in this. That stupid big-eyed puppy dog face he worked like it was going out of style.
If Dad really didn't know I was there, that's when he figured it out. He turned around, grabbed me with a hand so hot my shirt started smoking under my nose. His face was bright red, his eyes already permanently bloodshot. I tried to shove him off, but he just pulled me closer, burning a hole right through my clothes. "You're moving upstairs."
"The fuck? You think I come down and watch or something? Jesus, gross." I mean, we both contributed to the stash of stolen condoms on the top shelf, he always had some new boy-sex tip for me, and he was curious about girls even if he didn't want to fuck 'em himself; but neither of us needed a demonstration.
Porn isn't that fucking scarce, if you get my meaning.
"I ain't scared about you watching, boy. It's the doing that worries me." Dad gave me a shove that sent me backwards into the wall, and then stormed up the stairs.
Brady's boytoy had gone out the back. We were alone, and the basement was dead quiet but for both of us breathing a little hard.
I just kind of sat there, looking right through him as the pure fucked-up-ness of what my own father had just said sank into my head. Back to the wall, ass to the ground, a big old hole burned through my shirt right over my heart.
Brady yanked on some underwear and came to me, tried to pull me up. "Fuck, I can't decide who's more of a cunt: him or Dad. You okay?"
I stood, then yanked my hand out of his grip.
I still remember the way he looked at me, that bastard. Like guilty and sorry and surprised all at once.
"Get the fuck away from me," I said.
His mouth snapped shut with a click. Then, "Mal, come on, he didn't mean anything. He's drunk and stupid. Don't be like that."
I shoved past him and followed my dad upstairs.
I'm not proud of that particular reaction, but the fact is that I was sixteen, and Dad can still get to me today. And that's why I'm glad he's not getting out of prison any time soon.That's why sometimes, I know some of that irrational anger I felt for Brady came from envy. Not that he was talented or better looking or more loved or any of that shit he always was, and always will be. But envy that his old man died young and didn't get to finish fucking him up.
Family, right? Boy, Brady has his issues, but Mal takes the cake. (Even scarier than that: Mal's future boyfriend is worse off than both of them put together.)
So yeah, Reentry Burn is currently in its final grooming stages before I ship it off to my editrix, which puts it in the pipeline. Whether or not it comes out the other end is another question -- but it'll find life one way or the other. Some day.