Thursday, November 7, 2013

Excised Exposition

Here's a chunk of not-awful writing from my novel-length project which has been temporarily excised in order to make a certain passage less like a chunk from a novel-length project and more like a self-contained short story.

Context: After being betrayed by his significant other, Julius is driving down I-95 on the way to visit his aunt and, eventually, his father. He's not in a good place mentally, so there's that. The story is called "Ninety-Five," but we'll just refer to this particular chunk as:

"Dense Prose Which Screwed Up the Pacing" 

He imagines, on either side of the concrete ribbon down which he travels, the expanses of green stretching out forever into mountains, lush and fertile, and forests beyond that. Exit signs of the same hue hanging over stuttering lanes of traffic, blending in, announcing cities and towns unreachable from off-ramps which don’t end; they bend away from the interstate and plunge into that vertiginous verdigris which swallows drivers and destinations alike. As the sun’s parabolic descent swings into view through the passenger window, he traces the fractured effulgence down mountain valleys and up steep ridges, sunlight breaking across exposed acres of rock standing apart from the mountains’ otherwise dappled green skin, like geo-skeletal scabs on the bends of great skinned knees.
           Walled in on either side, tracing the single path bisecting this inimitable vastness, down down down he drives praying that darkness settles before humanity confronts him, before his world is once again industrial parks and commercial districts. At night, by the shadows, he can lie and pretend the imposing park-and-rides, the empty lots with their dejected streetlamps are merely the specters of another sad reverie, but in the yellow shine of wakefulness reality would loom too near.
            In the right lane, he depresses the brake pedal, settles back in his seat, and, by the fading light of the sun-rimmed mountains, he drafts the inarguable map of his world, one in which the Earth is fecund land interrupted by his trajectory alone, miles of road disappearing in his wake and reappearing in his immediate stead; this solipsistic world where the other vehicles are overgrowth, and Julius alone, with buzzing head and desperate heart, traverses the uncharted.
However, temporal canvas forever shifting from light to dark, the global chiaroscuro repeats on a twenty-four hour loop, and Julius crashes into the artist’s all-encompassing shade of black somewhere north of Fayetteville. He flicks through directions on his smart phone plugged into the car charger, eyes darting between screen and road: forty-five minutes until Aunt Payton’s.
           To defend against the dense night outside his midsize, Julius yawns and lets his energy drain accepting that with exhaustion comes reprieve. Not yet, though. He has to make it to the small house off the interstate before succumbing, so he trails cars in the right and middle lanes, tailgating and flashing his high beams until, aggrieved, they move, allowing him passage. The game is enough to keep him alert, or at least entertained, until the exit sign appears, and, engaging his turn signal, he looks back in his rearview one last time ingesting the loathsome vehicles and fading billboards unaffected by his will, standing impervious against his all-consuming disgust.

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