If you read this, please comment. I am still tweaking, especially the dialog towards the end. This is my first novel, and only the second thing I've really written, so I could use some guidance. I am looking for any constructive criticism you can give. Please be brutal. Okay, not brutal, but at the very least be honest. I'm not looking for a wank here, but I'm not looking for a kick in the bollocks either. :)
It had been a long day for Jeramy Scragbat. Well, no longer than the usual, if you want to get all literal about the subject, but that would be rude and just a bit boorish and you know it. Jeramy was rather tired. Not exhausted, mind you, just a bit worn out. He had spent the best part of his day, just as he spends most of his days, arguing with stupid, feeble-minded, short-sighted, and obnoxious people. The money was quite good though, so he slept very soundly most nights. He chose this profession for one simple reason, Jeramy is a bit of a bastard. He loves to wind people up, arguing with anybody about anything. He figured he might as well get paid for it. Now, why people pay for this service is another question entirely. Jeramy usually played the Devil’s advocate in these matters, not getting too involved with his clients. They primarily wanted to argue about subjects that Jeramy had very little to no interest in, which made it easy for him to do his job without exerting too much energy or thought. Today, however, the argument was about a personal favorite subject of his.
Restrooms. Specifically, the nicest, cleanest, most beautifully kept restrooms in the universe. Jeramy was, and still is I suppose, a bit of a connoisseur of water closets. He has always had a strange infatuation with them, ever since he visited the one in Flaglemoore’s Rest Stop and Sushi Bar on Beta Ghibli RU486, in the outskirts of the Yuggoth Nebula, when he was just a lad.
It was a fantastic, yet bewildering place. It was much, much larger than any restroom had any right to be, yet seemed so cozy and inviting. There were elaborate fountains, and famous works of art from all over the universe adorning the black, marble walls. Breathtaking, hand made rugs from the Windsor Province on Giger’s moon, Shimura, were placed delicately under foot as you walked, and then burned to ash to never be used again. Every customer had their very own roll of only the softest, yet most durable, toilet paper available in any of the nine hundred thousand and six known systems, as well as their own stall and steward, which were all ejected into space immediately after use. Each patron is massaged and anointed with delicate oils and petals from the rare and beautiful Scaris Celestia blossom, by the six armed Courtesans of Cleef, while they do their business.
Flaglemoore’s knew how to treat a weary traveler, to be sure. Jeramy had never, in his young life, felt so special. It was the first time he cried, a single tear running down his cheek, coming to rest on his lapel before being completely absorbed by the fine silk. Jeramy has never washed, or worn, that shirt since. It lay in a box full of other precious keepsakes, like his first edition book of death sonnets signed by it’s author, Rygel Emerson Finepants III, in his attic, in a corner all by itself.
Where were we? Oh yes, Jeramy’s client was trying, very ineffectually, to convince him that the restroom in the sky mall on Antares 3 was in fact the nicest in the universe. Jeramy, as well as anyone with an IQ higher than that of a dust mop, knows this is simply untrue and a quite laughable statement. Antares 3 USED TO have the nicest washroom in the universe, at least according to Galaxy Basin magazine, until the new owner decided to use substandard bog roll. Since then, Galaxy Basin magazine, and anyone else with half the brain of an Onsolenese Space Worm, has given this prestigious status to the lavatory inside the gift shop of the Royal Canadian Embassy on the planet Albion Minor. Jeramy was becoming more frustrated with this particular client’s special brand of stupidity with every slowly passing moment. Then, just as Jeramy couldn’t stand anymore and was about to launch himself across the table, closed fist at the ready, the client stood up, bowed, thanked him for a wonderful session, and calmly walked out the side door into the night.
Once home, Jeramy had his usual dinner of a double Strontium Bollocks, which is a lot like a whiskey and cola that kicks you in the throat on the way down. His head began spinning almost immediately, and he lay down on the little faux leather love seat in the corner, and tried to put the day behind himself. He grabbed, almost blindly, for his remote control, and began mashing buttons until the Holovision finally turned on. Jeramy began listlessly flipping channels, stopping only for a few meager seconds on each one, just long enough to see it was crap, then moving on to the next. He finally set the channel on INN, the Interstellar News Network, a subsidiary of Fox Galactic Broadcasting, out of pure boredom, and closed his eyes. He lay there for a few minutes, half listening, half inside his own head.
He was so lost in thought that he just barely heard the announcer mention the word “Flaglemoore”. It took a few microseconds to sink in, but once his alcohol soaked brain processed the information, and he realized what was being said, he shot up! He rubbed his eyes with both hands, let out a yawn, and strained to find focus. He flailed in the dark for the remote, knocking his beverage over right into his left shoe. Jeramy turned the volume way up, to the disgust of his neighbor who began pounding madly on the wall they shared. “Will you shut the fuck up, you daft bastard! I’m trying to hear the news!” Jeramy screamed at his stupid, stupid neighbor.
Jeramy couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “So this will be the last week Flaglemoore’s will serve it’s devoted public. It is a very sad day for this quadrant indeed. This is Harmonica Asshat, live from Flaglemoore’s Rest Stop and Sushi Bar. Back to you in the studio, Bill.”
Jeramy leaped off the love seat, nearly tripping over his laundry basket ,which he kept meaning to move to the bedroom, but never quite got around to. He knelt in front of the Holo, right in a puddle of something sticky, and stared at the image before him. “This isn’t right,” he mumbled to himself. He pressed a button on his neck, to activate his phone plug-in, and grunted, “Work”. The phone rang three or four times, as Jeramy waited impatiently. Just as he was about to hang up and try again, he heard a gruff, “Hello?”
“Hey Steve, it’s me, Jeramy. I’m going to need a few weeks off.”
“Jeramy? This is sort of last minute, don’tcha think?”
“Steve, listen to me. This is important. I’ve got at least three weeks vacation time saved up, and at least a week of medical leave.”
“Jeramy, this is simply not like you. I want an explanation. You know we’re a family here, right?”
“You just wouldn’t understand. I’m sorry to spring this on you last minute like this, Steve, but I need at least four weeks, maybe more. I’ll see you soon.”
“Just wait a second here! I can’t replace you on such short notice. Jeramy, be sensible! If you do this, I’ll be forced to fire you!”
“You know what, Steve? Fine! Fire me! I have to do this.”
“Steve, I’ve got to go to the bathroom.”
My Holiday gift to you!
1 day ago