old book

Novel excerpt: untitled, fiction

old bookSummary: She’s horrible. She’s a loud, abrasive bully who is also a drunk and a chain-smoker.  Court-ordered to therapy in lieu of jail time for assault, it’s when she finally goes under during an intense hypnosis session that she wakes up in her pre-adolescent body – two years before the car accident that killed her mother.  

Excerpt (first draft)…


“Watch your breath. Simply let it move, up and down, in and out, as it will, Sarah.  Do not try to control it.  Just watch.  Breathe and watch.  Let the busy-ness of your mind fall away with your breath.  Just watch.  Just watch.”

Sarah Brinkley actually tried to do as she was directed.  She tried to just watch her breath, not to control the ins and outs that were necessary for, you know, life and stuff.  She didn’t like the suspended feeling when she just “let it go”.  She didn’t like that her body wasn’t taking a sharp breath in when her breath was out for an unnatural period of time.

“Release control, Sarah.  Let the Universe, the one-ness, inside you guide the way – guide you to the answer.”

Oh for fuck’s sake.  Sarah lost what patience she had, and opened her eyes, blinking the dark brown, knotted wood ceiling into focus.  She sat up, turned, and looked at Dr. Geary, PhD.

PhD in what, she thought, quacka-fucking-nomics?

Dr. Geary smiled at her, no touch of annoyance in her kind eyes.  How cliché.

“It’s OK, Sarah”, she said, oozing non-judgment and acceptance.

“I’m not really getting anything out of this”, said Sarah.

Well, what she was getting was a sense of what-the-fuck, really, lady?  And her shrink had actually referred her to this PhD-certified quack.

Hypnotherapy will be really beneficial for you, Sarah. 

Let’s get to the bottom of this, Sarah. 

Dr. Geary smiled and turned to the little table beside her chair, pulling up her notepad and uncapping an old fashioned fountain pen.

“Tell you what, Sarah,” she said as she dropped her eyes to the paper and started to move the pen across the page, “Let’s pick this up again next week.  I think we are making progress already”.  Sarah rolled her eyes.  Dr. Geary was looking at her notepad, so she missed it.

“Yeah, I think I’ll skip it, Doctor,” Dr. Geary stopped writing and looked up again at Sarah.  She put the pen down and crossed her hands together on her lap, over the notepad.

“Of course, you aren’t required to be here or to come back, Sarah,” she responded. “But you know, you can change things here. And it’s not about changing your outlook, and it’s not about changing your pattern of thinking.  I mean that you can really change it.”

The two women sat in silence long enough for Sarah to start fidgeting and think about a cigarette.  Dr. Geary kept her calm eyes trained on Sarah.

“Yeah, I’m not getting anything out of this” she repeated – blurted.  She felt that familiar snake sliding to the surface – the one that lashed out when she hadn’t had a cigarette in too long.  It was the same one that lashed out when it all came too close.  In this instance, the combination of Dr. Quack and her ridiculous new-age practices, Dr. Quack’s lack of reaction to her, and of course her staggering nicotine addiction came together to a simple conclusion: time to split.

“Okay, Sarah.  I’ll connect with Dr. Brady and you guys can take it from there.”  She smiled while putting her notebook aside and rising out of her chair.  Sarah popped off the couch faster than she would have liked.  She wanted to leave with a cool, collected and in-control-of-the-situation air about her, not popping up and scampering out, which is how she felt it was going.  Dr. Geary extended her hand, smiling, and told her is was so nice to meet her, she saw so many wonderful things in Sarah just immediately, and that Sarah was welcome to come back any time if she changed her mind: because they could change things here.

What does that even mean? Sarah thought.  Changing it, the good Doctor had insisted.



She walked out to her car, reminding herself of all the ludicrous things the prestigious Doc of Rock had gone off about.  It was the same crap she’d heard from any number of tree-worshipping, universe-praying, new age nut jobs she’d come across – and crushed – in her time.  She hadn’t crushed Dr. Geary though.  That woman hadn’t been phased one bit by Sarah’s sarcastic, underhanded bullying that typically tore down the wafey subtypes of society.


She reached her silver Honda Civic, parallel parked in the loosest sense.  The corner of her rear left bumper jutted out into the street enough to force traffic to swerve around her.  She had her keys in her hand and pushed twice on the car lock remote.  Her car blinked twice and chirped its consent.  She opened the driver door and sunk heavily into her seat.


She fumbled her cigarettes out of her purse, a white and brown soft pack of Winston Full Flavor Tobacco – because Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.  She popped the unlit cigarette into her mouth, and fished around again in her purse until her hand felt the familiar, cylindrical shape of the Bic lighter.  She pulled it out, leaned back in her seat, and flicked the Bic.


She flicked it again.


She shook the blue lighter furiously up and down, the car grumbling on its rusty shocks as she did.  She flicked it again.  Eureka! It started strong and quickly wilted to a tiny, fluttering flame.  The lighter was dying, but it had enough fuel to light her cigarette.  Immediate needs met.   She tossed the lighter on the passenger floor of the car.  It made a clack sound as it hit one of the other empty Bic lighters littering that side.  She sat for a moment, taking a few long, glorious drags off her cigarette, holding it in one hand and tapping the steering wheel with the other.  She was lost in her head, but not really in thought.

After a few minutes, she started her car and jerked the wheel to the left, accelerating and pulling out faster than was sensible.  Ash fell from the end of her cigarette, and she just missed the rear corner bumper of the car in front of her, but she never realized it.  She might not have realized it if she’d hit it.

Comments are welcome…

But please keep in mind, this is a first draft. 🙂

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