Happy Saturday! I hope you enjoy this short, hot off the… processor? This is the prologue for my new novel, and I’d really appreciate your feedback.
Prologue: Holy Inland Empress
Summer 2016 was one day of orange-hot liquid languor, a mysterious right-side pain that foreshadowed things to come. There was the college algebra assignment that hung on my phone calendar — not a priority by any stretch of the imagination — and my skin welded to the surface of a black leather couch at my childhood home. And there was the idea —not new but suddenly stark — that I was truly a fool. Then, the counterbalancing force, in the form of a text message from Rick. I’d asked him two hours before if I could have a ride to Sandi’s party, and I was sure he was ignoring me. As I changed the channel, it chimed with gentle assurance, awakening me in celery-green abandon. It said: “Sure! What time?”
“You know, I don’t even believe in God anymore. Isn’t that great?” I shout at Rick.
It’s not clear that he has even heard me, as he continues looking straight ahead.
“I always knew you would come through,” he says, pivoting the wheel with three fingers.
We’re on the 10 W, and he follows the ramp for the 215 S. We climb up and curve towards the pale blue sky, three levels high. LA is at a comfortable distance to the West, Joshua Tree to the East. And the barren brown hills, looking small from here, bow and greet me, their Holy Inland Empress. My crown: the hot wind tunnel in Rick’s Chevy truck that never had AC since I could remember.
I laugh inside because I know I’m no queen. I’m a goddamn INFP. And Rick’s an ISTP. I’m buzzed, and he’s indulging in one of his inferior cognitive functions: extraverted intuition. We accept these facts as we merge onto the new freeway. I want to tell him about so many things, like the essays I’ve been writing about Nabokov’s secret man crush on Dostoevsky. But I keep quiet because I know that this will be the last time that I ever see Rick.