'Ten Minutes Late for Reality' by Lou Morris (c) 1988, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2015. Nine:


   "A little childish, don't you think?"

                                 - Katrina Morris--my little  
                                  two year old niece,        
                                  commenting on my book.

   "No!" Lou whined.  "I already explained the whole
thing..."  He frowned at the dust on his dashboard.  His car
dash looked big enough to eat a full course meal off
of--slightly dusty, but a full course dinner none the less.  
"It's not my fault you switched chapters and didn't tell me
about it."  He frowned again.  The dust failed to go away.
   Books do that, you know--
   "I felt like an idiot," Lou explained, wiping the
dashboard off with his hand then wiping his hands off on his
pants.  "There I was, sitting here in the parking lot of a
11-7 convenience store, explaining my entire life story..."  
He frowned at his dusty hands, pants and dash.  "Explaining
it to you and me--I still don't get that."
   It's simple.  I'm writing this novel.  I put myself in
this book as the main character--that's you.  As the author,
I know everything about this book.  You, on the other hand,
as the character, know only what I want you to know.  
Otherwise we are one in the same.  Got it?
   "No," Lou said as if asked if he had seen a peanut butter
sandwich fly by.
   Oh, forget it!  Just go with the flow, okay Lou?
   "Whatever."  Lou flopped back into his black leather
bench seat and pulled a paperback book (inferior; not even
worth mentioning) from the glove compartment.  He began to
   "What now?..."
   You still haven't finished your little story.
   Lou sighed for a full half minute then looked up to the
sky and shook his head.  "Okay, where were we?"
   I think you left off with you and Mary and a little bout
of impo--
   "Now then!" Lou burst in, "Hmn..."  He shoved the book
back into the glove box and slammed it shut.
   "Mary and I had some good times together," Lou
reminisced, "Three months of love, laughs and weirdness.  A
few fights but mostly good times."
   "Mary had the nicest smile..."  Lou stared at a
wallet-sized photo of her; "dirty blonde hair--rarely washed.  
Around my height--five foot six.  Hazel eyes..."  Lou wiped a
bit of drool off her picture before continuing, "Really nice
firm breasts--"
   Ahem, Lou.  Try and keep the book PG-13, okay?
   "Whatever."  He put the photo of Mary back into his
wallet.  "She did have her quirks, though," Lou continued, a
bit farther than where he left off.  "A lot of them."
   "Quirk number one--she had a habit of eating salt.  Well,
most people eat salt, you say.  Mary eats salt a bit
differently than your average human.  She'd walk right up and
grab a salt shaker, tilt her head way back, and pour away.  
Right out of the salt shaker..."  Lou gagged at the thought,
   "Okay; quirk numero dos--she doesn't wear a bra."  Lou
smiled, thinking back.  "Not much really wrong with that.  
But..."  Lou adjusted his rearview mirror to reflect the
image of a cute junior high girl walking up the parking lot
toward 11-7.  Cute, he thought.  Young and cute... He slapped
himself.  "In certain situations, though, a bra can come in
handy; such as having dinner with my parents," he continued
abruptly.  "Or attending one of my friend's high school
   "Quirk number three--"  The cute junior high girl walked
by Lou's Riviera.  His mouth fell open... she turned out to
be a cute elementary school girl.  Oh.  He slapped himself.  
Harder.  "Hmn..." he continued once again, "I guess this one
is a combination of tacky clothes, bad manners, poor taste,
and the fact that she embarrassed the hell out of me wherever
we went.  Yelling and screaming incoherently is one thing but
walking like a gorilla on the Seaside boardwalk is another
   "Quirk numero cuatro--her car is a piece of shit."  He
frowned slightly with the thought that some people could call
his car a piece of shit as well.  He quickly recovered with
the thought that pieces of shit do not have stuffed monkeys
hanging in their windows.  He smiled at the stuffed monkey
suction cupped to the rear driver's window.  "Here.  Let me
describe her car to you..."  He leapt up out of his car and
popped open the trunk.  He rustled through a blue bookbag (a
distant cousin of Mongo's bookbag) and then flipped through a
red notebook.  "Ah, here it is.  This is a descriptive
paragraph I had to write for a Prose English course last
semester.  Ahem:
   "There is nothing worse than, that I have yet to
encounter, that I could possibly hate to do more than to have
a look at my ex-girlfriend's Dodge Dart.  Her automobile, if
you can take extreme artistic liberty to call it that, is a
sickly shade of greenish brown much like the green slime
shown on the syndicated television show "Super Sloppy Double
Dare."  A peek into the badly dented trunk reveals items one
would usually only hope to find underneath one's bed rather
than strewn around in a trunk.  Items such as an old pizza
box--still containing some half-eaten slices of moldy pizza,
a bag of unmentionables--much too disgusting to mention, tons
of candy wrappers--and she wonders why she's getting fat,
and, of course, the total absence of a spare tire--which
really doesn't make a difference either since she'd most
likely put the spare tire on backwards if she ever got a
flat.  A look inside the car itself would make even the most
tired of hitch-hikers decline a ride.  It would take a whole
roll of duct tape just to keep the seat covers on the seat,
although the stereo system is well beyond that sort of
repair.  A turn of the knob produces a sound very similar to
what is heard when you pour milk onto your breakfast cereal.  
Wires hang from the dilapidated dash as the one lone speaker
lies pitifully on the floor underneath an ashtray, which is
filled to the brim with cigarette butts and candy wrappers.  
Now I fear that her Dart has taken over my mind, for
everywhere I turn, there is a Dodge Dart to be seen."
   Lou sighed and took a deep breath of relief after
reciting that entire passage.  He flopped back into his seat
and caught a glimpse of something green and Dartish pass by.
   "Aaaa!  See what I mean, there's another one!"  He spun
around and watched Mary's Dart drive out of view.  He
shuddered, "I hate that car!  I hate her!"  He looked up to
the sky for a moment and then said, "I hope she gets a
speeding ticket."
   We'll see...