excerpt / by laurel

The following is an excerpt from an as-yet-untitled piece of fiction I've been working on. Enjoy.

"I'm back at my apartment now, the apartment situated unhappily below Koreatown. Sorry, Jan. I think she'll still move in, though. She's desperate enough, after all. The thing with Jan, see, is that she'd like you to think that she came from somewhere really far away, too, like me. She'd like you to think she's a blueblood Harvard-educated Connecticut girl, or even a Jersey thoroughbred who managed to escape her yap-jawed future working at a department store returns desk. I suspect she'd even settle for the fantasy that she came from somewhere in the middle, America's bloated, overweight middle section, a starry-eyed Republican patriot who shed the religious proclivities of her Baaaaihble-thumpin' parents and hitched a Greyhound West with nothing but Kerouac dreams and a ten dollar bill to her name. 

Or maybe, maybe she wouldn't want you to think that far back, who cares about childhood, anyway? Everybody had one, let's move on, shall we? Maybe, all Jan cares about is that you think she went to an over the moon pretentious art school like RISD, like Otis, like Art Center. There she subsisted entirely on 2 hours of sleep a night, American Spirit menthols, post-Dada-post-Structuralist ideals, and enough blow to kill a Clydesdale. There she shed her inhibitions, shed her little-girl-lost demeanor and replaced it with a wizened perspective, a knowing look, a been-there-seen-that-nothing-new-under-the-sun Agnosticism that still manages to catch Easter Sunday service at Hollywood Presbyterian. Hard, but not too hard, you see where I'm going with this? Little girl isn't lost, but she'd still like a savior, if there were one offering a ripe enough deal. 

But Jan never went to RISD. She never went to Art Center. She visited Connecticut, once, when her great aunt died and her parents threw a hissy fit when she ventured to say she didn't want to attend the funeral. Jan grew up in Orange County. Behind the Orange Curtain. Amidst the Orange Crush. She dreams in Orange, sees in Orange, fills in her life's blanks with "Orange.""