by Trista DiGiuseppi
Greetings. I am working on a new book project, ever since my conclusion of Nails Jane. This book is currently operating under the working title The Chocolate and the Elephant. (Sorry, I’m also an artist, so I tend to add color to my titles. Silly, perhaps.) This book is half written. But I have been working on it for a little over six months. It is not intended to be a children’s book, however it reads very “whimsically.” One might liken it to material by Lewis Carroll, namely his famous “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” as well as “Through the Looking Glass.” My book is not meant to be an adaptation of these stories in any way; it just loosely follows Carroll’s style. However, in my own style, the story is dark, gritty, and adult-themed. I have decided to share the first chapter as a major excerpt. The chapters are rather episodic, so try to imagine each one as its own story, embedded in a main plot, wrapping episodes around itself, creating a full length book. Some flow into one another more as the main plot, while others lend themselves as helping hands.
I do want to add artwork to the book. I am more than capable of providing it, myself, but we shall see. Unsure of what style I want at this point, this may be left on the back burner for now. I have a thick flip-book of concept art rendered earlier in the year, but everything on that front remains up in the air.
Here is the first chapter of the book. Enjoy.
Chapter 1: Girl and Ape
Frog was mad at Girl. He hopped away from her, and her friends, very angrily. Frog wasn’t about to be part of this conversation. Ox spoke to Frog, insulting him, slandering the name of his father. Frog stormed away as Girl was left with Ox and Ape; two very unpleasant ‘friends.’ Ape was the worst friend, thought Girl, watching her sit there, hunched over, and giggling at Frog’s expense. Ox giggled in unison with Ape, they high-fived, and danced around in a circle, punching one another in the arm.
“Come on,” said Girl. “Just stop, okay?”
“No,” replied Ox. “Now let’s call him fat. Hey Frog! Did you eat too many fatty flies? You are so fucking FAT, Frog!”
Ox yowled with laughter.
Hopping away, Frog pretended not to care. Girl felt bad for Frog, but she also felt he deserved it. Frog was quite meddlesome in her affairs. He gossiped too much and wasn’t any friendlier to Girl than Ox or Ape. He followed Girl around, poking fun at her, berating absolutely everything she did. Frog was no real friend of Girl’s. And as for Ox and Ape? Were they real friends? Girl realized it was a complicated relationship between all three of them.
Ox was too attached to Ape. She followed Ape’s every move, copying her ill behavior. And Ape, well, Ape wasn’t interested in pleasing anyone but herself. Often at times Ape sat alone in her house, ignoring Girl’s knock at the door. And even more often at times she sent a Servant to inform Girl that she was too busy to greet visitors. The Servant, regrettably, was forced to tell Girl to “piss off.” Ape’s words, not the Servant’s. Girl knew the Servant didn’t agree with it, but he had to do his job.
“Piss off…” he said, reluctantly. “Ape is too busy with her dolls.”
Oh, Ape and her dolls. How she loved her dolls. They were very expensive dolls, from a very expensive tree, made of very expensive bark, dressed in very expensive clothing. Ape cared more for her dolls than she did for any living creature in the world.
And she made that quite clear.
Now, before you judge Girl for choosing Ape as her friend, understand that she was Lonely. When Girl’s Loneliness got the best of her, she abandoned all logic. Any friendship with Ape was an obvious abandonment of logic and dignity – an excusable act of desperation. Ape was tolerable when she was in a good mood. The problem was that her good moods were few and far between. She was a generally miserable creature, one that had extreme mood swings. One might think that Ape had two different personalities. But her nicer half was buried so deep that she was routinely unpleasant. Ape was rude. She was calculated. Her resentment for Girl was not executed sloppily. Ape thought long and hard about the games she wanted to play. And the only games she played with Girl were Mind Games.
“I’ll give you up as a friend! Aren’t we friends? If you were my friend, you would agree!” These were the typical statements of Ape.
The Mind Games happened one too many times for Girl. And Girl was not a Doll. She could not be possessed. Girl was a Girl. And Ape was, well, just an Ape. Truthfully, Apes should not convince themselves that they have any superiority over Girls.
One day, Ape heard Girl striking up a conversation with another friend.
“Who are you speaking with?” demanded Ape, jumping down from a tree not far from where Girl stood. Girl was, inarguably, hanging out with a Cock. And let me inform you, dear readers, that Cock wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. But we will discuss that later.
“I was talking to a Cock. But you scared him off. He is gone now,” answered Girl.
“No, no,” corrected Girl. “Not that kind of cock. Like a Rooster. But he goes by ‘Cock’, probably because he wants to make that lewd connection to his name.”
“Well…” replied Ape. “Cock sounds like a moron.”
Ape was correct. Cock really was a moron. However, Ape had no basis for jumping to this conclusion – she hadn’t even met Cock. He was off somewhere, most likely chasing down a mosquito.
“Well,” said Girl, “he’s not. And that is very rude.”
Though, in her mind, Girl silently agreed with Ape. Cock was a complete moron. Again, Girl’s judgment was clouded by Loneliness.
“Since when, little Girl, have I ever been polite – especially to your friends?” snapped Ape.
This was indeed true. Ape was impolite to every friend of Girl’s.
“Never,” replied Girl. “But…”
“But you know what, Ape? I am tired of this. I am tired of you. I do not want you anymore. You do not make the Loneliness go away. You make the Loneliness more beautiful.”
And Ape, as proud as she was, replied, “Well that’s perfect! Because I was getting tired of you first. I had already decided – just a few moments before you opened your hideous mouth – that I didn’t want you. Do you know what that means?”
“No,” answered Girl.
“It means you are stupid and slow.”
Girl shook her head and admit, “Alright, Ape. I’m slow. Just please go away. Yes, it must have been your idea, not mine. You have made the decision to end our friendship. You are not my Friend. You are something else. Something that is the Opposite of Friend.”
Ape laughed at Girl, masking her humiliation and self-pity. She said that she cared not and disappeared through the trees – like any Ape would do.
And Girl felt Loneliness once more. At that moment, the only creature to turn to was Cock – the moron.
Copyright 2011 Trista DiGiuseppi