Intermission: Excerpt from Lookout Butte


Since Chickenshit: Or How a City Girl Does Country All Wrong has reached its halfway point, I am taking a break this week to share a brief excerpt from my novel, Lookout Butte.

Lookout Butte is the story of a young lesbian couple in the mid Ought-Thousands who are just learning what it means to be a couple. There lives are complicated by guilt, jealousy, demanding work schedules, families of origin, and that bug-a-boo so many of us suffer from, lack of communication.

This scene is one where Alex kind of loses her shit. She has taken on a weekend job in addition to her social work program, so she rarely gets to see her partner, Kat. Alex has always struggled with accepting Kat’s job as a bartender and her fan club of bar skanks, with their overt gestures towards her girlfriend, despite Kat having sworn them off for good. But being gone all the time has Alex’s paranoia cranked up full blast.

… Alex was at the library, tying up loose ends on her coursework. She found it hard to concentrate, so she decided to take a break and see Kat. She could finish up in the morning.

Alex scanned the bar, and not seeing Kat, she sat down at a table and tossed her bag on the chair next to her. She crossed her legs at the knee, placed her arms on the armrests, and shifted her dangling foot to and fro. She glanced around the room again. The usual crowd. David was in his corner behind the bar, pouring some sort of complicated drink for a slightly balding gentleman, making conversation the whole time. She fished her phone out of her bag. No messages. She drummed her fingers on the table and glared at two women on the dance floor. One of them was sloppy drunk and gyrating against the other whose face was crimson with embarrassment. Alex hopped up and gathered her bag and traded her phone for her keys. She checked the bathroom and exited through the alley. No Kat. She walked back around to the front of the bar to get to her car, glancing where Kat usually parked her bike, expecting to see a bare pole. But the bike was there, locked neatly in place.

Her fingers tightened around her keys, as she stood, motionless. Her face was blank, as if waiting for an emotion to register. She plodded back to her car and got in. A white-hot energy flamed outward from her gut and engulfed her whole body. Her face contorted as though she were going to cry, but, instead, her right fist came up and slammed into the car’s ceiling, then onto the steering wheel and dash. “GODDAMMIT, GODDAMMIT, GODDAMMIT!” Tears welled in her eyes, as she continued to curse and punish the car for the imagined sins of her girlfriend. Nothing existed now but this pain, a riptide grabbing hold of her rational thought and dragging it from her grasp. Her eyes were open to the view of the street and the dark sky before her, but all she could see was Kat mounting some drunken woman from the bar, maybe in a car on this very street. Or maybe she was going down on her in her apartment right now. Will I ever be enough for anybody? She cradled her right wrist in her left hand, and, after a time, her eyes could focus again, and she put the keys into the ignition.

Alex arrived home about 11 o’clock. The place was quiet, but when she reached the bedroom…


What do you think happens next, and why? I will post the end of the scene next week, or sooner if there is enough interest.