Do or Do Not.

Dexter (Part I)

with 2 comments

In the interest of kickstarting our little writer’s group, I present a little something I came up with last night. Nothing here was planned out before I opened my journal, and I sure as hell don’t know where it’s going from here, but I’m hoping that my compadres will take some inspiration from the fact that I’m actually sticking this out here for the world to see and post some stuff themselves. Here’s to public shame and humiliation! Huzzah!

His name wasn’t really Dexter, though that’s what everybody who knew him called him; he was really a “Stephen,” but some thick-headed sack of shit in middle school hung the “Poindexter” tag on him once and “Dexter” he’d been ever since. Easier to float with the stream than fight against the current, his father had always told him. But his father had also told him “the only thing a man can count on in this life is family” right before Dexter’s uncle Vernon, his father’s brother, shot him to death for fucking Vernon’s wife, so Dexter had come not to think of his father’s advice.

Dexter was a little guy, five-six and a buck forty soaked to the skin. He wasn’t much to look at, all ruddy complexion and big ears. He carried himself as if he were a matinee idol a foot taller and made of iron, though–he had the confidence and swagger that came from knowing he was smarter than everyone he met.

Dexter was quite the brainiac, all right: he’d turned down offers from a good number of the top universities in the country out of high school. He could’ve had a free ride to Duke, to Stanford, to Cornell, and surely to any state school he’d have as much as glanced at, but he told all of them to go blow so he could pursue his dream of doing as little as he possibly could with his life.

He knew he had the horses upstairs to do pretty much anything he wanted in life, or to expend minimal effort and still get by comfortably. He knew that there was no shortage of people dumber and lazier than he who would be willing–eager–to give him money to do that which they wouldn’t or couldn’t, things which would have taken those poor sons of bitches to the ends of their mental abilities but which would barely take Dexter’s concentration off the Red Sox game.

Sometimes what that meant was writing papers for the spoiled rich kids down at Brown. Sometimes it mean gambling, either for himself or giving out tips to the guys down at Mookie’s Pub (for a percentage cut, of course).

Dexter lived cheap, had a small apartment in a triple-decker just off the interstate in Pawtucket. His friends were constantly amazed at just how little Dex ever actually worked, but he knew they just didn’t get it. When you stripped all the unnecessaries out of your life and pared it down just to what you actually needed instead of worrying about all the shit you really just wanted…well, it didn’t take all that much work at all to provide that.

But the afternoon Nevada Tremont rolled into Mookie’s on legs long enough to stop a man’s heart cold in his chest, Dexter’s life of slow and easy nothingnes evaporated like snow in a mid-winter heat wave.

Written by Allen

May 20th, 2005 at 9:52 pm

2 Responses to 'Dexter (Part I)'

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  1. I usually don’t even know the questions to ask of my own work, much less the answers. Show me someone else’s work, however, and I’m bursting with observations and suggestions, generally conceived and delivered in less time than it takes Ben Affleck to propose to somebody.

    Speaking of quickness, the first thing that came to me when I finished reading was how speedy you were in establishing a lot of what we need to know about Dexter: who he is, what he looks like, where he lives (but not quite the when–more in a sec) and even what he wants (Nevada, it seems). You’ve also subtly let us know that the narrator is basically Dexter, or at the least we’ll see and hear mostly what Dexter would want us to, that we’re going on Dexter’s ride:

    “…thick-headed sack of shit…” “…told all of them to go blow…” “…they just didn’t get it…”

    The inevitable “however

    timmy b

    23 May 05 at 12:11 pm

  2. Timmy, you nailed exactly one of the biggest problems I myself with it so far: voice. The thing is, you sort of nailed it in reverse, or I guess I did–I’d intended the voice to be a little more hard-boiled from the get-go. If it took that long before you found something that sounds hard-boiled, then I might need to revisit the wording.

    Dead-on about any New England bar called “Mookie’s.” That’s the kind of sports-minutae-related details I need you for, my friend. :)

    And indeed, Dexter’s dad was dispatched by his brother pretty soon after dispensing said wisdom to Dexter–I’ll make that a little bit more clear in revision 2.

    I’m still not quite sure where I’m going with it, but I’ve been advancing the story a little here and there. When I get a decent amount more, I’ll post that here. Not quite sure when that’ll be yet, but hopefully soonish.

    Thanks for reading and for commenting! :)

    Allen

    23 May 05 at 1:25 pm

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