Authors: Ron Currie Jr.
Also by Ron Currie, Jr.
God Is Dead
Ron Currie, Jr.
For a sense of the way I hope the word “true” to be understood here, take a moment to consider the phrase “based on real events.” Specifically, consider the level and quality of your interest when reading something “based on real events,” and contrast that with how you feel reading something that purports to be entirely fictional.
And then please
consider how every piece of art ever created is, to a greater or lesser degree, “based on real events.”
I'd even venture to suggest that your life, or at least the narrative you have of it in your head, is “based on real events,” rather than objectively true.
In any case, if you, like me, get goose bumps whenever you encounter those magic words, I encourage you to keep turning pages, because I promise, on my father's grave, that that is exactly the sort of story you'll find in this book.
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First published in 2013 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright Â© Ron Currie, Jr., 2013
All rights reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Currie, Ron, 1975â
Flimsy little plastic miracles : a true story / Ron Currie, Jr.
1. Man-woman relationshipsâFiction. 2. WritersâFiction. 3. Missing personsâFiction. I. Title.
Designed by Carla Bolte
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This is the page upon which an epigraph or two would be found, if I decided to use them. Personally, I have an ambivalent relationship with epigraphs. Though I understand that the ostensible point of an epigraph is to complement the book that follows, to illuminate its themes in some way or else lash it to the canon, too often the actual function of an epigraph seems to be to provide the author an opportunity to be pompous. To indulge in a little high-lit posturing. Because let's face it, I'm no Nabokov, and if I were to swipe a line from Nabokov to use here, as I'd originally intended, wouldn't I be placing myself next to him in some way, inviting you to think of us in the same context? And also, besides that, trying to give the impression that I read a lot of heavy deep smart esoteric shit, e.g. Seneca, whom I also considered including here? Trying to give the impression that I am, by association, heavy, deep, and smart myself? But here's the thing: I haven't read Seneca. I found a quote of his online, more or less by accident, and I cut-and-pasted it onto my original epigraphs page, and that somewhat disingenuous act was the thing that got me thinking about all this in the first place. I am much more intimately acquainted with the oeuvre of Rocky Balboa than that of Seneca.
It occurs to me, now, that they're both Italian. So that's something, I suppose.
The whole enterprise sort of stinks, epigraphs, is what I'm saying. But even now I'm still trying to impress, you understand. Trying to demonstrate my cleverness and authenticity by pointing out at length how epigraphs are often pretentious bullshit. Trying to disavow my intellectual vanity while simultaneously giving it a nice, long stroke. I've got other thoughts on this, thoughts involving contemporary advertising, among other things, and how it's a sort of winking anti-advertising aimed at a demographic (namely, mine) weary and jaded from a lifetime of relentless sales pitches. But I can't really carry this off, I've decided. It's devolving into a possibly juvenile metafictional stunt that I'm likely to be made fun of for. And now I'm ending sentences with prepositions. For God's sake, I don't even know how to pronounce “oeuvre.”
Fuck it, here you go:
“Women weaken legs.”
t's important that you understand, from the very outset, here, that everything I'm about to tell you is capital-T True. Or at least that I will not deliberately engage in any lies, of either substance or omission, in talking with you here today.
hat you understand, in other words, how I've learned my lesson when it comes to trafficking in anything other than the absolute facts. And though I still don't believe that the absolute facts are of primary importance, at least when trying to convey how something
as opposed to simply how something
, the lesson I've learned has been enormous and painful enough that I now have a sort of reflexive fear, almost a phobia, really, of allowing anything but the facts to escape my lips. So rest assured: if you sit there long enough to hear the whole story, there will be no embellishment or revisionism, and I will make no effort to appear any better, or indeed worse, than I actually was in all of this.
he first thing you need to know is that I am a writer. Or at least, I was a writer. I haven't written a word since the book that you'd most likely know me for, the book that made me famous posthumously, and yet more famous post-posthumously.
quit writing for one reason, then stayed quit for another.
The first reason was I killed myself, which obviously makes it tough to go on writing.
The second reason was I decided, after being exhumed, to never again speak anything but the facts, a resolution wholly incompatible with being a novelist.
he next thing you need to know is that I was once a skilled and successful seducer of women.
This is not braggadocio. Remember what I said a minute ago: I will not lie to you. It is simply true. I've always loved women, and been good with them. I grew up with three sisters, overheard countless conversations, listened to the music they listened to, studied the objects they coveted, even pondered their eating habits. I was the only straight teenage boy in the history of the world who read
cover to cover. I absorbed an ineffable understanding of women's rhythms, an understanding that I'm pretty sure can only be gleaned from exactly the sort of estrogen-rich environment I was reared inâyou can't achieve it through study, for sure, and you probably can't achieve it through any means whatsoever after the age of, say, fifteen or so. At that point you have a well-defined biological agenda vis-Ã -vis women, and can no longer interact with them in a way that confers genuine understanding. In other words, if by that age you haven't got it, you never will.
rom my eldest sister Pamela I learned about female ambition, and why some women favor bangs, and about the quietly vicious rivalry that often takes root between mothers and daughters, like a shoot of crabgrass in an otherwise lush and unsullied garden.
From my younger sister Cat I learned all the clichÃ©s: that women are fickle, and navigate by emotion rather than reason, and worry about their bodies, and shop tirelessly, and say it's up to you then complain about the choice you make, and are best surrounded by an obliging silence right before their periods.
From my youngest sister Molly I learned the opposite of everything I learned from Cat.
So yes, I understood women. All the women who came into my orbit, save one.
his one woman I refer to. The one I loved but did not understand. The one who ended up arguably more famous than I am, as a consequence of that famous last book of mine that I never finished. The one who dismantled me not once but twice.
Yes, the thing about her is.
After she dismantled me the first time, I became a seducer of women, and I sought alternately to fuck her away and take gentle revenge on her, using every other member of her gender as proxy.
After the second dismantling, years later, I became the man sitting before you now.
I could try to explain to you the difference between those two men, but I'm more interested in what you see. Tell me, who am I now? Do my eyes shine? How is my posture, and what does it imply? What is the ratio of black hairs to gray on my head? In my beard? How do my gums look, and what does their appearance indicate regarding my overall health? I'm asking you sincerely, here. I have no idea myself.
mma, is her name. Maybe you knew that. Emma, the object of my tireless, timeless, even-I'm-sick-to-death-of-it affection. Emma. A regular and common name. Attached to anyone else it carries no significance for me whatsoever. But some nights, even now, I find myself rolling those two syllables off my tongue as though they contain some great and wonderful secret, and then I feel silly, and rightly so, when the sound escapes from my mouth and dissipates.
One thing you can never understand, from reading the book or seeing the movie or even me sitting here telling you, is the scope of her beauty. Her loveliness, witnessed, exposes language for the woefully limited mode of communication that it is. Nevertheless, I am always compelled to try and explain: she's objectively and undeniably beautiful. She's self-possessed, successful, whip-smart, often an enigma, which of course I can't resist. She laughs with her whole body, but you've got to work a little harder to make her laugh. And her eyes: clear, flinty orbs that reveal as much as they take in; more, perhaps. You'll never learn who she is from anything that comes out of her mouth. It's the eyes.