The Novelist’s Due – #7


After picking up the latest rejection from my PO box this afternoon, for Rapture, I stopped into the Body Shop on Union Square to get some shaving cream. There were two chicks and a big bad ass security guard hanging out at the front door. Slow day…?

rejection: new yorker, oct 2009 - Rapture

rejection: new yorker, oct 2009 - Rapture

I was still slightly reeling with delight that my rejection slip actually had a human being’s scrawl on it: “Thanks for the read” it said—my god, the electrons of a living body transmogrified through an inkpen into the manifestation of a sentiment…Body shock.

Then I went into that cursed store.

Of course I knew what I wanted and I wasn’t there for idle chit-chat or to run up my bill, so I grabbed a container of Maca Root shaving cream (shameless, almost unworthy plug) and turned circles looking for the register so I could pay. Just then a sales clerk appeared in my face: Those are on sale. Buy two get one free.

This one will last me an eternity, I told her.

So get something else. Moisturizer, facial cream…they’ll last for three years and you don’t have to come in next time you run out. Stock up. Get two or three. Why not.

This is all I want.

Judging from the disgruntled look on her face she didn’t comprehend the notion that I only wanted 1 of something. I’ll help you over here, she said in a surly tone. She headed toward a cash register in the corner of the room. She was still talking. I ignored every word until the brusque, rapid, “Got your birthday buyer card?” (Or whatever it’s called.)

No, I don’t.

When’s your birthday?

I don’t want one.

Your birthday month you get 10% off every purchase. Even if you don’t have—.

I left it at home. I’ll live without it this time. Thanks.

Through some divine intervention she took my 20 and gave me change: Want a bag?


You can keep everything in it, she said (ie hate mail from the bill collectors and my latest rejection).

Thoughtful, I told her. Thanks. Seriously. Thanks.

Where Rapture ends a Ravenous desire kicks in

When I got home and filed the rejection for Rapture in my folder I realized I’d been clinging to another rejection, unsure of how to package it. It wasn’t a difficult one; it came over a month ago, just as we were in Honolulu changing planes to head home to SF. It was the Esquire fiction contest. Ravenous. No go. Not even the finals.

What is it about a disgruntled 80 year old lethargic that editors find so unappealing? Truth is mighty and it comes in unexpected packages.

Like shave cream in an ultraviolet light-resistant, dark green plastic shopping bag??

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