So my novel, Stormin' Mormon, is now available as a Kindle download for a dollar. Please, please, please buy it and command all your friends to do the same. Here's chapter one:
The rabbits became strange in many ways, different from other rabbits. They knew well enough what was happening. But even to themselves they pretended that all was well, for the food was good, they were protected, they had nothing to fear but the one fear; and that struck here and there, never enough at a time to drive them away.
Richard Adams, Watership Down
Jerusha awoke from a midafternoon nap to the jolt of icy fingers sliding up her thigh. She squeaked, jerking upright from her couch, startling the chunky, straw-haired man who hovered over her.
“Your hands are cold. What the hell, Jared, you think that’s romantic or something?” Jerusha’s bemused live-in boyfriend of three months recoiled.
“Come on, now, baby,” he said. “Don’t call me unromantic. It’s cold out there. I was just trying to warm up inside you a little bit.”
Jerusha giggled and pulled Jared on top of her, kissing him with fury before guiding his head down to her breasts, then between her legs. Jared submerged beneath her skirt, pulling her thong off with his teeth, then lunged to suck on Jerusha’s neck. He sunk in, Jerusha’s hands caressing his suddenly shirtless back, then released a moan that morphed into a scream.
“Owww!” Jared yelled out, jerking upright as he pawed the fresh fingernail scratches on his back. “What the fuck are you doing?”
Jerusha flipped into recovery mode, pulling her underwear back on and scooting
herself away, twisting her head a quarter turn away from Jared, hoping to shield a quick wipe of her eye.
“Oh, come on,” Jared protested. “Are those tears? I’m the one who should be crying. We’re about to have sex when you rip out my fucking spine like Mortal Kombat and shit.”
“I’m not crying,” Jerusha retorted. “Get over yourself. It was just something in my eye. And don’t try to put the blame on me. I’m not the one who stopped.”
Jerusha and Jared bickered back and forth for 20 minutes, volleying the blame for the failed sexual encounter. The argument was less about sex than leaving the toilet paper roll on top of the commode rather than affixing it to the dispenser. Buried passive-aggressive resentments channeled their way to the surface until the disagreement escalated into a full-blown shouting match. Jersuha took the opportunity to wail on Jared’s insecurities, chastising his lack of ambition and minimum-wage job at the copy shop. Jared shot back that Jerusha didn’t know how to show affection, and accused her of flirting with every dude she met.
“Maybe I do flirt, but at least I’m not an antisocial 30-year-old freak,” Jerusha screamed. “At least I know how to talk to people! You’re lucky I’m this way, otherwise we never even would have met!”
Jerusha was right, at least about the latter point. It was she who had first approached Jared at the lonely karaoke bar in what seemed like years ago but was actually only a few months past. She pondered this as she locked herself in the bathroom and called her friend, Dena. She’d understand.
Jerusha’s former roommate – and technically her present roommate, according to the lease they still shared to keep Jerusha’s mom off the scent – formed the closest bond with her due to like upbringing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As Mormons, the girls had grown up in a rigid, puritanical manner, ever wary of their own sexuality and raised to aspire to become Stepford babymaking machines. Now that they were away at college in Tucson, they were free to make their own choices, and both girls relished the opportunity to rebel against the draconian rules they’d grown up to despise. They drank coffee and booze – both forbidden by the church – all they liked. They refused to sit at home solemnly on Sundays, the holy Sabbath. As Mormons, they were expected to tithe – meaning hand over 10 percent of their income to the Lord. Oh hell no. It was tough enough for a college girl to get by on student loans and a meager monthly allowance from her parents. Moving in with random karaoke guys was a big Mormon no-no, which made it all the more appealing to Jerusha. Dena wasn’t as big a fan, because the move-in meant she didn’t see her best friend as much. Since the move-out, Dena and Jerusha did most of their communicating on the phone, often in situations such as this, when Jerusha was lamenting on her living arrangement.
“I feel ---“ Jerusha paused. “I feel like…”
“What is it, sweetie?”
“I feel like I skipped dating and went directly into marriage.”
Saul ambled into his two-bedroom apartment to a familiar site: His roommate, Brad, was stuck to the TV screen, wireless controller in hand and headset affixed. He was button-mashing through FIFA ’08 Soccer on the Xbox 360, engaged in a battle of smack-talk with his online opponent.
“You are my son, beyotch,” Brad spoke into cyberspace with a cool matter-of-factness. “Just ask your mother. I broke into your house 15 years ago, threw your dad off her and knocked her up. Afterward I think she paid me. I don’t remember.”
“Geez, Brad, don’t you have anything better to do than harass teenagers?” Saul said, grabbing the other controller.
“What up, son.” Brad said. To him, it was the funniest thing in the world to call people his son. If you ever challenged the notion, perhaps on the grounds that such a circumstance were physically impossible since you were the same age as him, Brad would counter with an elaborate story of how he had seduced your mother when he was only a fetus, and since he hadn’t yet gone through puberty, he’d impregnated her with piss, thus “impissinating” her. The only way to battle this sort of illogic was to throw his nonsense right back at him, claiming that it was he who was actually your son.
Saul took no offense at being called Brad’s impissinated offspring. He saw it as a sign his best friend had completely returned to normal, following the bizarre, zombified state Saul had found Brad after he returned from his two-year Mormon mission six months previously. Most good Mormons head abroad at age 19, often to Third World countries, going door to door in hopes of converting impoverished people to their faith. Brad wasn’t a good Mormon. His two favorite pastimes were drinking and fornication, two vices highly discouraged by his church. His father had nonetheless prodded him into going on a mission at age 21, but in a pre-mission sit-down with his bishop, Brad had admitted that he had recently received oral sex.
He was commanded to repent the blow-job and abstain from sex and alcohol for two years in order to become purified enough to start his mission. Brad did no such thing, but when he met the bishop again at 23 he remembered to lie about his extracurricular activities, and was thus allowed to waste two years of his life living in Argentine shacks. When Brad came back, he no longer cussed, drank or lusted, but within weeks he was showing signs of his old form. After three months of living back at home, Brad moved in with Saul and reverted completely back to his original self.
“What’s going on, hooker,” Saul said, switching the game off online mode. “Time for you to take a slapdown from someone your own age.”
“That’s if my daughter-in-law allows it,” Brad said. “I thought you’d be at Shannon’s by now.”
“Right. Yarrrgh,” said Saul, realizing that he’d forgotten he’d promised his girlfriend he’d meet her for dinner. “Son of a bitch. I’m so sick of going over there.”
“Dude, you don’t even like hanging out with her. You’ve said you’re tired of screwing her. Why don’t you just break it off?”
“I didn’t say that. I would never say something like that, even if it were true. That’s just what you say about Brandy,” said Saul, referring to Brad’s girlfriend, whom he’d met online and converted to Mormonism. Brad shook it off.
“Any time you mention Shannon, you always do it in that beaten-down voice of yours. Just drop her and move on.”
“Easy for you to say,” Saul snapped back. “You’ve never broken up with anyone. You just cheat on them until they leave you. A breakup done through talking is not exactly the easiest thing to do.”
“I know, man. They always cry. There’s nothing you can do once they start crying.”
“I wish she’d cheat on me or something. Then at least I’d have a reason, and it wouldn’t be my fault.”
“Just tell her the truth,” Brad said. “You know, that you’re gay.”
“Hey, just because your mom is so ugly that she resembles a dude that doesn’t make me gay,” Saul said.
Brad started to reply but halted as Saul jetted out the door.
“Let’s do the CD thing again soon,” Brad called out. I’m running a little low on cash.” He was referring to the Buymart return fraud scam he and Saul ran with unopened CDs he snuck home from his job at the radio studio. Saul was afraid the habit would land them in prison.
“I don’t know, man,” Saul said. “Maybe. Hey, are those dudes coming over?” he asked, referring to the home teachers – members of the Mormon hierarchy who visited the homes of wayward members in order to make sure they were on the right path. With his penchants for vodka swilling, gambling and womanizing, Brad was an intensive case study of wrong pathfulness, and the home teachers made their visits biweekly.
“Yeah, they’re coming over,” Brad grumbled. “They should be gone around seven.”
Saul nodded and started for his car.
As Saul drove to Shannon’s apartment, a few miles away, he pondered Brad’s idiotic, if poignant words. Do I really talk about the woman I love like that? Saul wondered, chastising himself over the possibility.