This week’s Teaser Tuesday comes from Wonder Boys, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon. This is a book I actually finished quite some time ago, but which I’ve been saving for after my series about The Event was finished.
Since that series is now complete, here is your long-deferred Wonder Boys teaser.
THE WINDSHIELD WIPERS played their endless game of tag as we sat parked on Smithfield Street, smoking a little piece of Humboldt County and waiting for my third wife, Emily, to emerge from the lobby of the Baxter Building, where she worked as a copywriter for an advertising agency. Richards, Reed & Associates’s major client was a locally popular brand of Polish sausage famous for its generous dimensions, which made writing ad copy a simple but delicate matter. I saw Emily’s secretary come through the revolving door and shake open her umbrella, and then her friends Susan and Ben, and then a man whose name I had forgotten but whom I recognized as the Engorged Kielbasa from an office skit a couple of Christmases earlier.
Yeah, I see what you did there, Mr. Chabon.
The reader who is familiar with Marvel comic books (which the author, Michael Chabon, most definitely is) will no doubt grasp why I was hanging on to that particular teaser. I’m sure their advertising copy is fantastic, but one can’t help but wonder if the Richards, Reed & Associates advertising agency has ever been the target of a hostile takeover attempt by Victor von Doom Development.
Meanwhile, after that little delay back in November in December, I’m back editing Father’s Books! Maybe the little break was good for me; in this last pass, which was just supposed to be fixing typos, I ended up ripping out a couple of scenes that just never quite worked properly. They didn’t really make sense, or they featured behavior that was out of character for the individuals involved, or they were simply too obviously the product of my attempt to move the chess pieces into their proper positions. So I’m actually feeling a lot better about the story now than when I, uh, took an involuntary break from it last year.
“I noticed him dragging you through the backyard and I freaked out a little. I didn’t really mean to bring you here. I just wanted you to wake up and take care of him.”
“Me? Why not you? Maybe pick him up and bash him around a little?”
“I appreciate your confidence, and that would have been really satisfying, but just how strong do you think I am?”
I’m kind of close to the end of the story, editing-wise, which means it’s a little difficult to pull a teaser off the page I’m working on without running into spoilers, but I think I managed it.
The complete lack of names or speaker attributions doesn’t hurt, of course.