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.

3 thoughts on “Intermission: Excerpt from Lookout Butte”

  1. I liked this part of the book, the bar scene, where the keys get clutched, the bar gets scanned, and the focus of jealously is on the two dancers on the floor. I did find a little too extreme the “punishing her car” part, because, she could not find her girlfriend a bit childish, lesbian behavior, not fitting for her character through the remainder of her book. It just stuck in me.

    1. I agree that is childish behavior. Alex is in her mid-twenties, and this is her first positive long term relationship. She looks upon jealousy as useless and beneath her. In not addressing it, walking all the way through her feelings, as she continues to do throughout the novel, she robs or delays herself of a chance to grow. I take issue with the label, lesbian behavior, as jealousy is a universal emotion, as are the immaturity and inability (or refusal) to deal with it. Regardless of sexual orientation, twenty-year-olds are still working on adulting (see thw series, Girls, on HBO if you think otherwise); maneuvering careers, friendships, parents, general life skills, and love interests. I will think a little more on continuity within her character during the rest of the book and in the next story.
      A.

  2. You are correct in the use of lesbian behavior. Another part that I think I had question about was the introduction to the book you state that women are throwing themselves at one of the lesbians in the book and I did not get that…did not see in my mind by the words that there were women throwing themselves at her. Good book and as I reflect back will probably think of more things to bring up.

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