Parts of this, my Thomas the Rhymer Story, are here and here. Of all the things I’m picking at, this is in the most danger of ever getting done. I have the clearest idea of where it needs to go, and in what order. And (most importantly) I still like it. It has a bunch of oddball characters, which makes me happy. Here is the main character at work:
“When you’re a nail, everything looks like a hammer.”
John Farutto raised an eyebrow, “I think it’s, ‘When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail’.”
Estel Wolfman had long unkempt hair and a full yeti beard. He was the progeny of two inveterate hippies and it showed. He ran his fingers through his hair and then held it into a ponytail as he talked.
“It works both ways,” Wolfman continued. “It’s all about perception. Maybe you weren’t really qualified for the job. Maybe it wasn’t because you’re a dead white male, but it will always seem that way from your perspective.”
“I’m not dead,” Farutto muttered, turning away. He sprayed some Ready to Use All Purpose Cleaning Solution onto the counter and wiped half-heartedly. The neon sign outside reflected in the surface of the counter. Hammermassig Video. Wolfman wandered away and began re-shelving new releases. Gradually. One by one. He chattered on as he worked.
“What were you applying for again? I can’t keep track.”
The front door tinkled as a customer came in. She was dressed in a blue cotton shirt with her name stitched above the breast pocket, and black cargo pants. She sighed and wandered around frowning at the available movies.
“I’m a civil engineer; I applied for a job with the City.” Farutto answered.
“Civil engineer, huh? What a load. Who needs a degree to say we need new roads? That’s pretty obvious.” Wolfman glanced at Farutto out of the side of his eye.
Farutto knew that Wolfman was trying to get him started on a rant, but it still worked. It was a skill Wolfman had.
“There’s so much more to it than that,” he began when he was interrupted by the store’s only customer. She turned to Farutto.
“Any suggestions?” Blue Collar Woman asked.
“I suggest you read a book. This book for instance,” Farutto said, waving a tattered paperback at the woman, “This book is pure genius. It’s part of a series by Lynn Ash and the final book is coming out in a few weeks.”
Blue Collar Woman wasn’t sure what to make of this, “I’d just really rather just see a movie. I’m tired. I just want to lie on the sofa.”
“Sure,” Farutto answered, “Well they are all pretty much the same, all the new releases are crap. This one,” he offered, pointing, “has a great part where buildings fall down. Or this one is your standard romantic comedy. Happy ending guaranteed.”
He waggled the empty box and smiled encouragingly.
Just pick one and get out, he thought.
“I think I’ll just go somewhere else,” the woman replied frowning.
As she left, the bell on the door tinkled behind her. Farutto didn’t hear Wolfman walk over to stand beside him.
“Good show, moron. You’re going to get your ass fired.”