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Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Writer's Life 7/30 - Distinctions

   My thanks to author Bill Brown, who bought Herbert Asbury's Gangs of New York, to Jack of Chase, who purchased a Robin Cook thriller, and to the young lady who spotted Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned as I was closing shop. Special thanks to, which paid me for a May Kindle download that occurred in the UK. Had I not been prompted to set up payment acceptance form overseas, I would never had know about it. If Amazon had kept the royalty I would have been none the wiser. Kudos to Bezos and company.

Here's an excerpt from a short story, Distinctions, part of the Billionths of a Lifetime collection. It was inspired by a raucous night on the town:
   I was unable to resist desert, pecan pie, although I was stuffed. I resolved to work out harder than usual tomorrow. When everyone had finished his coffee, Joey asked for the bill, which was more than $500. The others were surprised it wasn't greater. I was shocked, although I knew it would be a tax write-off. God bless America, I thought.
  "How much would it take to get you to walk around the restaurant in your underwear?" said Bobby to Phil.
  "I wouldn't do it in here," said Phil, blowing smoke over his head, sitting back, legs crossed, an arm around the chair beside him. "Gimme a hundred and I'll do it outside."
   The same $75 was raised. I felt an acute resistance within me. I was sure Phil would do it, and I cringed at the thought of those who would be offended. And I didn't want to see him make a fool of himself, although he was eager to accept the challenge, to prove his superiority to the others, even at the lower rate. As I saw it, he knew he would never match them in wealth, education, or background, so his only recourse was brazenness. None of the others would dare parade about midtown in his underwear, none would ever match him in "sickness." I found it sad, although no malice was intended by anyone except, perhaps, Bobby. I was reminded of a short story wherein an unfaithful wife had her adoring husband masquerade as a fool at a party, where he suffered fatal realization. I doubted the present consequences would be as dire, however.
    We left the place with great anticipation. As soon as we'd gathered outside, Phil began to strip, to the delight of everyone. The temperature was about 50 degrees this April night. Phil stood proudly in his briefs, black dress socks sagging about thin ankles. He held his arms out at his sides, inviting all to behold. "Am I sick or what?" he demanded. Everyone concurred.
    "Look at those socks!" Bobby cried out, beside himself.
     I stood apart, embarrassed yet amused as he accepted congratulatory high-fives. It was a harmless prank. I hoped the public would perceive it as such. Phil handed me his clothes, not trusting any of the others, and set off along 72nd Street, smiling, belly protruding and supported  by spindly legs taking long strides. I laughed so hard I collapsed into a squat trying to draw breath, which was difficult on a bloated stomach. My vision blurred at the force of my mirth. Those he passed were amused rather than offended. And he did not go quietly into the good night. He talked up a storm, avoiding, however, eye contact with passersby.
    I lagged, still in a squat. I did not rise until I noted the amused stares of the people seated just beyond the window of the restaurant. I looked away, irked at my self consciousness, certain it was assumed I was drunk. I slipped into a nook, hiding, intending a practical joke of my own, worried only that a policeman would appear and slap Phil with a summons for indecent exposure. I didn't have the heart to make him wait long, however. He dressed on Lexington Avenue, boasting as he pulled on his pants, assuring everyone he would do it again if the money was right.
    "I'm no fool," he boasted. "I got seventy-five tamatas in my pocket. Go 'head and laugh, douche bags. Who's better than me?"
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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