The caller hung up, and a dial tone hummed through the phone. Timothy dropped it to his lap and pushed the end button, causing the phone to shut off with a beep. He breathed deeply first through his mouth and then through his nose. The sweet cotton candy smell was gone. He tasted the red wine from all those years ago in his mouth and smelled its bitter odor. He could almost identify the almond smell from the cyanide, as if that were possible.
The phone rang again and Timothy twitched, startled. This time he was left in a small tremor. He looked down at the phone. The second ring was so loud that it seemed to shake the entire handset in his lap. He cautiously picked up the unit and mobile casino placed it to his ear and mouth.
“Yes,” he answered into the handset softly.
“Timothy? Timothy? Is that you?”
Timothy did not answer the question the first time because he was in sort of a daze.
“Yes, oh, Julieta, is that you, Julieta?” he asked the voice on the phone in amazement. Of course, he knew it was her but he couldn”t believe it.
“It is. Did I wake you? You sound a little tired.”
“No, I think that I”ve been up a little while.” Timothy shook his head attempting to feel a little more normal and sound more natural.
“I”m so glad to get you and…”
“Yes, it is very good to hear from you, especially right now,” Timothy interrupted. He rushed his speech with all the words running together.
“Good, good, well, I wanted to talk with you and to invite you to dinner tonight.”
“Yes!” Timothy exclaimed excitedly. “I mean, of course I will attend a dinner party event. You need a taster and I”m your man! I mean, the FBI hasn”t yet told me where and when to show up, but I will be there.” Timothy was beginning to ramble.
“No, no, you misunderstand. I want to have dinner with you. Just you, you know?” she said.
“I guess, I don”t know. You want to have dinner with me?” Timothy was confused.
So what–you want us to rewrite this?
Drunk or dry?
And you might want to put this behind the password.
I just wanted you to appreciate its … magnificence.
The thing that kept bugging me as I read the book was the use of language to describe familiar instrumental processes. It’s so pervasive and so defeating to the author’s credibility, you want to craft a rubric: DO NOT REPEATEDLY DEVOTE WORDS TO DESCRIBING FAMILIAR ACTIVITIES WHEN A BRIEF REFERENCE WILL DO.
For example: “Timothy dropped it to his lap and pushed the end button, causing the phone to shut off with a beep.” “He cautiously picked up the unit and placed it to his ear and mouth.”
It’s as if the author is seeing these activities happen in his mind’s eye for the first time and wants to give a scrupulous, moment by moment, documentation of it. This is a situation where you want to experience a wordsmith’s talent for economical choice of le mot juste. The moment to moment depiction gives us nothing. This is not a movie. It’s text. Make it work like text. We don’t need a tiresome phenomenological breakdown of the moment. Not in this instance.
That’s precisely why I posted this. You should try reading it out loud. And then try not to laugh. Very hard.
You should try reading it out loud. Really. It’s a great way to spend a few minutes on a dull afternoon.