Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - The Conductor

Today I welcome an incredibly talented writer who goes by the name of DgenRetEliteRabbit online.

"Rabbit" is one of the best unpublished writers I've discovered. Her style is gritty, tough, and raw, so it's not for the faint of heart. However, she conveys an incredible amount of feeling and description in just a few short sentences.

She has numerous works, but today I feature an excerpt from her novel, The Conductor. Please visit her site DgenRetEliteRabbit for more chapters and other works.

The Conductor

The middle-aged secretary was staring at me from her desk, I could feel it. I took a deep breath and looked at the shining steel toes of my boots, thinking maybe she’d get bored of me and look at her typewriter or the fresh coffee stain on the front of her shirt. But she didn’t stop. I glanced up to cloudy sapphire eyes with red lines in the whites peering at me over pearlescent-rimmed reading glasses on a rainbow-beaded chain. The scrunched expression of dislike on her puffy face was palpable enough the moment I stepped into the offices, but now, she was just being rude.

My head jerked up and I sneered at her disdainfully. Her face twitched in response and her eyes planted themselves on the desktop. Her cheeks flushed red. I snorted and adjusted my position on the short difficult wood bench.

Barely the second Monday of the fiscal school year, and the Powers That Be already had me queued up for the shrink. Set one dumpster on fire your freshman year and they never forget! Geez.

I sat in the tiny waiting room that served the counselors offices in the administration building. These offices were right across the narrow hall from the nurses station and the Office of Administrations, whatever that meant anymore. Seems they just kept packing the kids in without a thought as to where and who and what anymore, accurate file keeping be damned.

This place was always so depressing. Grey and grey-green glossy paint, terrible foe-marbled mold-green tiles from the Fifties I guess, sound-buffering boards with a specific number of pinholes for the ceiling coupled with really old neon lights. Rust on the painted steel and long frosted bulbs flickering every few feet. The school board really went out of their way to make this place a definitive institution. Impressive.

Yeah, institution of learning. What a joke. Reminded me of jail or bedlam.

Building A1-AL, they called this particular structure of double decker cells posing as offices and to a lesser extent classrooms for the French course and the numerous Spanish classes. I still don’t know why the building was called A1-AL. None of the other buildings had such alpha-numeric names. Someone once posed that it was the first building of what used to be known as Abraham Lincoln High School. Except the school had never been called Abraham Lincoln. Just Pacific High. Another mystery of modern day high schooldom. Who cares.

I kicked out the heels of my boots, stretching my legs out straight, and crossed my ankles. Why on earth every single seat in any school had to be hard and uncomfortable–made out of injection-molded plastics that snapped like twigs under the influx of different weights and frames or out of what I could only figure was what happens when you deli-slice wood–why they had to be so cheap and blistering was beyond me.

However, the wooden ones left behind a bit of history; I would give these torture devices that much. Many students before me had left there mark on the bench I was planted on, and I couldn’t help tracing some of them. Kind of like cave paintings in a way. Graffiti dating back to probably the 1970's, if one looked hard enough for the ‘Disco Sucks’ or ‘Bay City Rollers O.K.!’ carved into the worn seat. Funny stuff. Bad jokes. Old prank phone numbers and disses. History unraveling in dead varnished wood.

Looking at the scrolled armrest, I could make out the name of this really nice guy from my freshman English class, carved almost Old English style into the dirty wood. Daniel Sanchez. Kid was a phenomenal comic artist. Could replicate James O’Barr’s stuff effortlessly. Did some amazing gear of his own too. Gave me a really nice copy of an Interview With The Vampire comic once. He was really nice, kinda cute too. Liked my stupid poetry and short stories, even wanted to ink some of my scenes into a book. His mom hated me though, thought I was gonna corrupt her son, full-on bible-beating Christian she was. Called me a heathen of Sodom or some such religious spunk. I only laughed.

I don’t know what happened to Danny, though. It seems he just disappeared one day, middle of sophomore year. I miss him. He understood me, in a way only certain teenagers understand other teenagers. Probably the only one who did in the entire school.

I traced my fingertip over the intricate D of Danny’s name a few times, absently smiling at it, thinking about his face and the ink-stains on his fingertips.

The secretary, Miss Cathy I think her name was, sighed heavily and squirmed in her hard little desk chair. Greying old mare, she was rather bulbous in certain parts of her physique, like all the fat accumulated in only these places and nowhere else. Namely her hips and ass. She could’ve used this bench I sat on better than my bony little butt could’ve. I snickered a little to myself. She didn’t look up but her hands adjusted her bra beneath her arm through the thin K-Mart pink t-shirt that showed too much of her armpit hair. Her hand just manipulating the underwire around like no one was there at all. The look on her face said the bra was pinching her. The look on my face surely said ‘I’m gonna barf.’

Third Period late bell rang and I jumped a little, lifting my eyes to the wall clock, ticking steadily like a bomb up near the ceiling.
Annoying sound, school clock ticking. Like everyone else in the world who ever met the public school system, I swore that second hand would skip backwards and force time to last for an extra five to fifteen minutes of this dreariness every day. Slowly bleeding life and energy from every kid what ever stumbled across the thresholds of a campus.
©2008-2009 *DgenRetEliteRabbit
Original version and remainder of this chapter of The Conductor can be found here:The Conductor


  1. I like her style. Gritty, tough and raw, yes, but flat out good writing. :)

    The Old silly

  2. I enjoyed this excerpt - great descriptions. It sounds as if it was written by someone who has been there and done that.

  3. Nice excerpt from one of my favorite dA writers.

  4. She may not think she's a good writer, but Rabbit blows me out of the water every time!

  5. What a compelling detailed venue Rabbit has painted for the reader. Very good.

    Straight From Hel

  6. AnonymousJuly 16, 2009

    Thanks for introducing us to different voices and people. Always fun to stop by.

    Allyn :)

  7. Diane, you continue to bring us news about books we should know know about, want to know about.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Website pick

  8. thank you Diane! and thanks to everyone who read this excerpt from Conductor. i really appreciate it. and thanks to everyone for being patient with me.