9/23/08

Counselor by Victor Giannini Excerpt

Here's a tiny excerpt from my novel, Counselor.

It's from the end of Chapter 1, Karate Never Works:

“Look, behind that dumpster,” I said, a perfect zombie. “A fox.”

“A fox?” Barry laughs. “Dude, are you serious? A real live fox, right here, right now? In Brooklyn?”

A bottle shatters across the rear windshield. My trance flows away with the slimy glass. Frank is bubbling and fuming, and closing in. I turn the key, then turn my eyes back to the mythic alley. Of course, she’s gone.

“Dude, you’re losing it,” Barry said, half joking.

We spin the tires and peel away, leaving Frank and his sad waitress to their diner. The rhythmic pulse of dirty light bathes us as I follow signs toward the highway. Already the night feels invasive, like the purple, star-swollen, sky threatens to drip down and absorb us. Hapless morons coated in the aether slime, pulled screaming into the cosmos, to be rent and torn amongst hungry, alien gods.

Never mind that.

Like schoolboys losing the cops in a secret trail, we rocketed on. Blissfully ignorant of the strange new lives we were racing toward, unaware that we left something of our once true selves behind.
****
Every moment preceding a cataclysm is significant. You look back and tabulate every instance, every action, every breath taken. Because if you’re less than thrilled with the outcome, you can’t help but imagine what factor you could have changed. Anything to gum up the works, throw the odds in your favor.

Looking back, now aided with the vision of cyclopean fate, I can only wonder how each piece fits in our story. The fox ghost. The angry chef. What could I have done differently? Had I not fallen under the fox’s sway, would things have turned out as they have?

What if I’d stayed and fought? Spent just a few more precious moments, bobbing, weaving, and being battered? Would that small fragment of time have aligned the wheels of fate in our favor?

And what of Barry? Did he act perfectly, or was there some glitch in the system that allowed him to fall onto the path he unwittingly did?

Whatever the variables, and they are terrible and many, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that, taken as a whole, every sentence uttered, every action taken, every thought indulged, had one, undeniable sum.

Whether it was the will of fate, or the absurdly grotesque math of existence, I’ll never know whether things could’ve turned out better, or god forbid, worse. And then of course, there’s that third possibility.

The creepiest of all.

That maybe, just maybe, we deserved exactly what we got.



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