Saturday, May 26, 2007

Current Novel Excerpt: Returning to work

Here's another little chunk of the first draft of the novel I'm writing. Baranatalo has been fired from his job, but returns the next day in an attempt to restore his routines. The following takes place shortly after he is noticed by Lemont, his former coworker in the mailroom. I thought it might be nice to include a piece from one of the few times in the novel where someone is talking to Baranatalo.


“Go, man. Please. You don’t work here. Not anymore.” Lemont looks like he himself might cry now, as though he were shooing away a beloved puppy at a roadside.

A single envelope drips from Baranatalo’s hand as it begins to shake.

“Not anymore,” Baranatalo echoes.

“That’s right, man. Not anymore.”

“I don’t like English muffins. Not anymore.” This is the first time he has given voice to the thought that has been beating against the side of his skull for the entirety of his morning, if not longer. He replaces the envelopes on the table and bends down to retrieve the one he has dropped.

“I don’t like English muffins. Not anymore,” he says again as he stands and puts the errant mail on the table. This time he says it more urgently, as though this were the one thing Lemont needs to know about him. A small cackle breaks forth from his lips in a spasm.

“That’s cool man. No English muffins. No problem.” Lemont’s eyes have lost their pitying quality and gained something harder. He has spread his arms out and lowered his center of gravity. He is preparing himself should Baranatalo attack him, should the situation require physical intervention or restraint.

“My name is not Barry,” Baranatalo says in a loud voice which startles them both. Another cackle escapes him and even he is starting to feel like he has taken Lemont hostage somehow. He is not used to so much eye contact, but Lemont does not look away.

“Yeah, okay, man. Not Barry, no English muffins. We’re all good here. Check on both counts.” Lemont is attempting to sound soothing, and moving back and forth on the balls of his feet.

Baranatalo stares into Lemont’s eyes for a long moment before lunging toward the door. Lemont flinches but holds his ground, proud of himself for having sucessfully averted a crisis. He feels this way in spite of the fact that Baranatalo has not moved toward him at all, but rather fled the room in a rush.

Lemont peeks out from behind the door to check Baranatalo’s passage through the office, wondering if he should call someone, wondering if Baranatalo is planning to attack someone else. Baranatalo is already at the elevator, pressing the call button repeatedly. A man stands next to him, also waiting for the elevator. He does not see the look of horror on Baranatalo’s face, just watches the jabbing finger and chuckles.

“I’m not sure hitting it again makes it come any faster,” the man says.

“My name is not Barry,” Baranatalo replies, darting to his left to take the stairs instead.


Liz Dwyer said...

Very nice. Keep it coming. You are very brave to post your writing. I haven't gotten that brave yet.

Unknown said...

Lovely Maht - good writing. This gives another aspect of your very intriguing character Baranatalo.

Sharing is good if we wish to improve, Liz. Offering the baby up to the lions is always scarey stuff but one that must be suffered if publishing is the ultimate goal. The blog is such a good arena to do this because of the support that is offered by like-minded people/writers.

Unknown said...

I wrote a big comment this morning and blogger ate it! Grr...

So, if memory serves me well I really liked the line about dripping envelopes and I also liked the way you developed Lemont and that he ends up peeking from behind a door after being so aggressive.

Anyway, keep posting, because I am so intrigued by Barantalo.

The Moon Topples said...

Liz: Well, Minx is spot on, I think. Trickling out pieces here on my blog has been a good way to prepare me for the possibility that someone might eventually read the entire thing.

Minx: Thanks.

Ver: Glad you like Lemont. He shows up a few times. Baranatalo has much more to do before I am through with him, so I expect I'll be posting more before too long.

Reading the Signs said...

Really good stuff, Maht, truly. Nice diaglogue, tone seems just right, beautifully observed.

I would be interested to know how you eventually decided what the subject and focus for your novel should be (or if you've talked about this before refer me there). Did you just plunge in and see where it led or did you have a sense of what you wanted to do before you started?

Liz Dwyer said...

Well, today I put a sonnet on my blog. Baby steps, I know. ;)

The Moon Topples said...

RTS: I think the answer to your questions will likely make more sense in a post of its own. Should have that ready in a day or two.

Liz: A sonnet is an excellent way to go. You shouldn't feel pressure to post fiction to your blog. I do it because I do not belong to a proper writing group, and I believe that sounding against people if helpful.