Today’s sample is from my 2012 award-nominated novella, The Rock Star in the Mirror (Or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life), which is also available as an audiobook narrated by Matt Haynes. I’ve included a bonus track at the end. Enjoy!
Every month, Lynnie drives her rattletrap Ford Maverick up to Portland. She uses her tip money from George’s Place, supplemented by part of what Mom pays her, to get the coolest vintage clothes she can find. She has some guy up on Glisan, in the Alphabet District, who does her hair.
“No way I’m going to the Cut-n-Curl,” she says, which I can totally understand. Most of the women who work there look like they got their beautician’s license during the Johnson administration, and they do hair accordingly. Since most of the year-round population of Rockaway is of a similar vintage, they do a booming business.
On this particular day, Lynnie is wearing a pair of skinny white jeans, a coral blouse (you grow up in a beach town, believe me, you know that color) that matches her lipstick perfectly, and a pair of white sandals. Coral polish on her toenails, too. Her long, auburn hair is held off her face with a white-and-orange scarf, and she has a big pair of white-framed sunglasses in her hand.
“Joe-the-lion,” she purrs conspiratorially, “come with me to Portland.”
“I’ve got to deliver these,” I reply, shoving an unruly strand of brown hair behind my ear. I always feel drab as dirt next to Lynnie.
Did I mention that I’ve got a huge crush on her? And that I turn into a tongue-tied dimwit whenever she’s around?
Well, now you know.
So, Lynnie heads off to Portland. I deliver the breakfast baskets, prep the check-out bills for the day’s departing guests, and go to my room.
I look at myself in the mirror for a few minutes. I’m a skinny guy with a beaky kind of nose, high cheekbones, blue eyes, and longish, straight brown hair that never looks right, no matter what I do to it. Most of the time, I just part it down the middle and stick it behind my ears. I’m wearing my usual uniform of jeans, t-shirt, and sneaks. Lynnie’s always offering to take me shopping, but I never take her up on it.
I pick up my guitar and start practicing this song I want to play for Lynnie. Like I said, she’s totally obsessed with David Bowie, so I’m learning this song of his called Starman. I can sing okay, and I play pretty well. I practice posing in the mirror so that I’ll look just right. I hope she’ll dig it.
If I ever get up the guts to play it for her.