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This Design
Why Not Write to Sell? Part 5, The Reason for the Short Novel This Design is Called Paisley
“...while the other side stands upon the
shores of clear waters waiting fortunately
the return of their alien creators.”
-Brian William Jewel, Sanity's Edge, lines 4-6, from page 36 of Meditations on Madness
I wrote This Design is Called Paisley to force me to engage the world of seduction through the prism of a man less fortunate then myself. I chose to link this story to The Sunset Saga for two reasons:
I did not want to do the extra work to come up with a handful of hyper-violent jocks, who I had originally envisions as a lacrosse team out to lunch at the diner where the story was scheduled to wrap up, and
the story was placed in Ashland Virginia, where I had conducted a stick and boxing clinic in 2008, a setting I had already used as a time travel drop zone for Jay Bracken at the end of Ghosts of the Sunset World, where he would be picked up by his evil older brother Randy Sterling Bracken, Bruco, a 15th century Canary Islander and Charlie Robinson, their ostensible supervisor but actual cargo.
The story itself was entirely based on meetings with various people in a weeks time. First there was Shay.
Two years earlier, Shay, my darling assistant, a 5 foot, 100 pound chocolate drop who looked like Beonce and spoke standard English, noted that I was exhausted from working 20 hours and then coming back in for another 12, and that half of my free time was taken up taking buses and walking, which was beneath my station as the General Manager.
Shay made it clear that she drove past my bus stop and could give me a ride. I told her that I would not consent to any of the people who worked under me to provide my transport, as I had to be to work early and guaranteed to arrive under my own power.
As we stood next to the bag dogfood looking out the window and she pushed her clipboard with write ups for me to sign clipped to it, up underneath both of her stupendous caramel breasts popping out of her polo shirt, the buttons of which were giving way, she said, “Well. Mister Jimmy, I would be happy to be on top and you know me to be a hard worker. Unless you insist on doing some missionary work. Of course”—and she paused and let another button pop as she drew in more air—“that would be after your full body massage and before breakfast...do you like bacon and eggs, Mister Jimmy?”
In my mind's eye my bank account became a gas tank punctured by a speeding chocolate kiss, the indicator falling from full to empty at a shocking rate.
I was facing moral and economic extinction as I caught the heaving of those wondrous globes and she guaranteed me that she was disease free, discrete and could use some help with her “student loan issues.”
I side stepped, suggesting that she would feel terrible f I died of a heart attack under such excitable conditions and she didn't miss a beat, “You would finally smile, at least, Mister Jimmy. You always seem so lost in your troubles and I just want to make you forget them,” so said the greatest possible trouble that could have confronted me.
Fortunately for me I was dating Miss Ezz, Megan, Nancy and Puppet at the time so was not overflowing with an excess of sexual energy. Even then, it was difficult to say no. I quite patted myself on the back over that one morning two years later when one of the big negroes who had worked as my assistant, and who hated me, was dropping off Shay at her house around the corner form my rental, as I limped home from a long night making $10 an hour stocking Mister John's dairy case.
Wew, I might have been fired and fighting that big buck in an alley over a spot in Shay's bed! Good call—man of iron!”
One way I had avoided falling for this temptation as Shay would up the ante—and she did by bringing me an even prettier friend [basically Hallie Barry] and offering a package deal—was by telling my girlfriends, so that they would remind me to resist those risky temptations that were beneath my own dignified age bracket.
So, that afternoon, after limping by Shay and Jason, Miss Ezz came over to see me and we made love. Then, as she raised on her tiptoes to kiss me goodbye on Sensie Steve's porch, she grabbed the collar of the designer leisure shirt that she knew dam well Nancy had bought me and whispered, “Well Mister Slickery [one of her dozen pet names for me] I know you don't know, but this design is called paisley.”
Then, as she roared off in her jet black 454 Charger, and Sensei Steve came out on the porch and noted that she was the third woman to bring me a covered dish that week and leave with a satisfied smile on her face and said, “Mister Jim, why don't you just cut to the chase and post a sign on the street, 'Will fuck for food?'”
It hit me like a punch in the stomach delivered by that big alpha male, that I was not so strong as I supposed, and that if Shay had not been under my moral obligation not to engage in relations with that I would have certainly done so, and that even so, if she had been a bit older and likely to keep her mouth shut, and/or had that beguiling charm of Miss Ezz, that I might well have broken my pledge not to have sex with any of the cashiers on her darling account.
It was time for me to walk up to Jim Frederick's Kenpo School to give lessons to a sight-unseen student in boxing. Jim had scheduled this for me and he would be taking the fee, as I did these lessons to pay for my fighters and I training their for free on off hours. When I arrived he patted me on the back and said, “You ought to be paying me for this,” and pointed to the most beautiful, golden-skinned, Korean babe I had ever seen in person. [She looked like the actress from man with the Iron fists that Batista's character kills.] She was a student at Towson State University and she was stunning, intelligent, coachable, poured into a full-body ballet outfit with out the skirt and smelled like ambrosia.
I knew right then, as I held the mitts for her and spoke in boxing dialect, that if she smiled up at me anymore and said, “I will be your lover, coach. All I need you to do is go down on Lanvalle Street where they broke into my father's liquor store, and bring me the heads of the three negroes that dishonored him,” that I would have been a mass murderer or a dead dumbass within the week.
Miss Huan left after her hour with a charitable grace about her smile, indicating that she had hoped the boxing coach was a good deal younger than he was and appreciated my professionalism. I stood at the back of the school and thought to myself, as I saw this nerdish librarian try to touch his toes in his ill-fitting Gi, what if Shay had the style of Miss Ezz and the grace of Miss Huan, and I was not only not getting laid, but I was this poor guy?
That became my writing assignment, to write myself as that awkward giraffe of a librarian, approached in a seductive manner by a darling of petite form like Shay, adorable mien like Miss Ezz and cultured grace like Miss Huan the ballet dancer who fortunately only ever took that one boxing lesson.
That short novel was an imaginative exercise in self criticism subtitled The Seduction of Mister Slickery, which I was additionally well-equipped to write as my former land lady of eight years, Ajay was a librarian and spent hundreds of hours over our twice-weekly dinner discussing the tragic plight of the postmodern American Public Library. The story is freely available as a post on this site, about as far back as you can go on the fiction page.
Another reason it fit the Sunset Saga as a side story, was because the characters were patterned and composite versions of real Baltimoreans I had met in numerous circumstances. Also, I had been maintaining a general rule of only writing current time frame scenes in places I had been, and the necessary support characters, who would have been looking for a librarian to consult on Virginia history, had already been placed there—hence the lacrosse team was replaced by a team of time jumpers.
Overall, this story was one confused and self-dissappointed man's attempt to use subjective, narrative fiction as a tool to explore our human design.
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