I don’t usually like posting my fiction writing here, but this time I felt like posting this excerpt from the revised version of OVERWORKED AND UNDERPAID, that story I wrote for NaNoWriMo this past year. It’s the very beginning of the story, in which a young woman called Virginia experiences a slight mental crisis. One day, her voice came through my head as if it was some kind of radio signal, and it prompted me to change the beginning of the story to this. I didn’t really look at it much after I wrote it, and I didn’t change anything, so it’s pretty raw. Enjoy, comment, critique, whatever you like. 🙂
I spent years being thoughtless. I hurt people, I used people, and I never really thought about it that deeply because when I tried to, it hurt me. But I guess now is the time to think about everything. About mistakes I made in high school. About Shiv. College and how going there felt like a victory for me. My family and how I failed them.
Most of all, music.
When I came down to Jekuvia from Sylva, I saw my past life flutter in front of my eyes like it was on a movie reel, maybe with a sad country song playing in the background. Maybe the Dixie Chicks song about the girl who leaves home for the first time. That’s definitely what I felt like… but the upbeat sound of the song doesn’t work. It’s not exactly… sad.
I can’t exactly meet my old dream. It’s been buried in the ground, ever since the incident with Shiv.
You give it to them, but you can’t give it to me? What’s wrong with you, Virginia?
And that’s still painful to think about. Now, after all that hassle, I’m ready to make my way, doing whatever I can. My parents did it before me. My dad worked so many hours it was like we never had a father at all. He sent me to college.
I wasted the opportunity. They all hate me now. I let my parents down. Let my little brothers and sisters down. I used to be the one they all looked up to.
That Virginia, she’s going places. Virginia’s going to go to Tennessee to sing country music, make an album, and make us all rich.
Sorry about that. I’m so very sorry. I can’t control where life has led me, not after it’s all happened. My decisions have been made, my actions have been done. I can’t take them back now.
So here I stand, in front of Pico’s Pizza, a building with a faded pink roof sitting in the center of a parking lot, beside another chain restaurant called the Chipper Chicken. The Pico’s Pizza logo rotates slowly on its pole, as if it tires.
I get tired just looking at the place. I pass a hand over my face and catch the whiff of marijuana on my clothes. I can’t walk in there smelling like this… or looking as tired as I’m sure I do. They’ll know. And they’ll judge me.
I turn from the building and begin to jog away, listening to the wind whistling in my ears. For September, it’s still pretty hot. Dry breezes like out in the desert. Something stings my eyes. It could be ashes from a cigarette, but it’s a tear.
Now you’ll never make it. You fucked up. You’re a fuck-up.
They leer at me from the windows of the battered white truck idling by the Chipper Chicken. Jesse and Guy. One with crooked teeth, the other with a crooked nose. Music blasts from the truck, the worst kind. Obscene rap.
“How’d it go?” Jesse pokes a toothpick around in his mouth, then holds it up to the light, examining it. He flings it onto the ground beneath the truck’s tire.
“I didn’t go. I smell like pot.”