Tollbooth Serialized

So, I’ve been running my new novel, Tollbooth on this site, serialized, and I’ll continue it until the entire novel is posted. I love giving stuff away for free.

Below, I will post chapters 5-7, there’s a link in there to start at the very beginning, as I post each section of chapters, I am llinking it to the next set (Tuesdays and Thursdays I post new segements.) If you fall behind, or would like to read a lot in one shot, you can go up to the search bar and click on “books” then, beside “Tollbooth” there should be a drop down menu that opens up with all the current chapters posted there for convenience.

I’m also, selling the book on Amazon and on Kindle and still mailing out signed copies if anybody would like one.

amazon

I am also signing copies
and snail mailing direct to you for
$12.00
follow the paypal link below. I’m only shipping to America though. Thank you.

images-5

Here it is, Tollbooth chapters 5-7

*** continuing the serialization of Tollbooth***
click here to start at the beginning

5

There was a man in a silver Cadillac immune to the laws that governed the rest of the world. He appeared as a mirage up the highway traveling super sonically, darting through shadows, cutting sharply to avoid the other motorists who struggled in their low performance vehicles as if wading through glue.

The man in the silver car always had exact change. Everyone else had to slow down for the toll, he accelerated. His sunroof opened automatically, his hand appearing out of that opening. In his fingers, perfect coins. With a delicate flick of his wrist, he’d hook shot the change into the change basket.

Every time, as he zoomed away at high-speed, I’d sit there thinking about how absolutely dead-on his precision was. Looking down that highway at the fading thought of his reflection, his tail lights shrinking and his sunroof closing . . . I knew he wasn’t thinking about anything behind him.

He was in flux. I was not.

I imagined that the things he passed through were either parts of my dream or parts of his dream that I was inside, or that we were just parts of someone else’s dream and that none of it mattered—least of all how we are impressed by motions and precision and quality.

It was hard to gauge reality from inside the booth.

6

I went in to check my order, again. No Gena. Two of the stock boys were leaning against the shelves. They looked at me as I came down the aisle, unimpressed. I didn’t command much of an impression. They kept on with their conversation, hoping that I would continue to shuffle past and keep my stupid question to myself.

“Beethoven was no way deaf, dude. Just no way,” the tall blonde kid with the nose spike said to the stock boy with the missing arm.

“How you figure?”

“Back then they didn’t have any of the devices to like, uh, prove that he was deaf.”

“I’m not so sure about your logic,” the armless kid said.

“And think about it, dude: if I was a kinda OK composer back then, back in the day, I would definitely try to work some kind of gimmick to try to get noticed. It’s like how KISS dressed all in clown makeup to get music executives to notice.”

“Awww shit.”

“Beethoven could hear shit, he could hear all of it. Don’t believe that vibration bull crap. That motherfucker had ears like a hawk.”

I laughed like a creep, they turned to look, “You guys know if Gena is working tonight?”

“Nawww,” said the nose spike historian, “she ain’t here on Thursdays or Tuesdays.”

“Or Wednesdays or Fridays,” the one armed boy said. “But she’s so hot I wish she was here all the time. That girl has some tits, oh man, the kind to just suck on all day. Troy, you sucked them tits before, right?”

“Naw, I wish, oh I wish.”

Silence.

“Yeah, I wish too,” the stock boy with the missing limb said.

“But what about Tommy’s party? I thought you sucked her tits at Tommy’s party.”

“Nawwwwwwww, somebody else was sucking those tits at Tommy’s party. But man, I would have loved it to be me sucking those tits at Tommy’s party.”

“Do you guys have a bathroom in this store?” I ask meekly.

Really, I just had to use the bathroom. I wasn’t going to go in there to unleash some porno movie from my mind into a tissue or anything.

“Do you guys have a bathroom in this store?” I ask meekly.

“Not for the public,” Troy said.

“Oh.” I started to shuffle off, defeated.

“Dude you can use our bathroom,” the stock boy with the missing arm yelled, punching the other kid in the shoulder, saying to him, “Don’t be a dick.”

He led me through several doors to a metal door tucked between piles of cardboard boxes that said PRIVATE. “Oh, yeah, and take it easy in there OK?” he requested, “I just had to clean this thing up yesterday.”

I wanted to ask him so bad how he lost his arm. My guess woodchipper. Or . . . woodchipper—that’s all I had.

I walked inside and sat down, there were magazines on a little table: I scanned through them. Foreign cars, import cars, import foreign custom cars, tailpipes that sounded like lawnmowers. Of course those shelf stocking idiots would drive little shitty cars, the kind that came through the tollbooth—sounding like chainsaws at their arrival and departure, a skateboard with an engine, a mouse sized joke for the race lane  that made my head ring. I got so pissed that I wished I could do something cool like punch the mirror and knock holes in the wall. Why couldn’t I do something like that?

I shifted my weight on the bowl, lifting my leg, pushing my safety steel toe shoe into the little table. It stood on its side legs momentarily, before dropping back into position, wobbling.

I could definitely raise hell. I knocked the magazine table over. It crashed to some triumph. “Haaaaaa!” Then, I stood up and wiped. Fuck these kids. I was tired of taking everybody’s shit. I threw the dirty paper in the sink; I didn’t flush. I picked a few of the magazines, poised to chuck them into the back of the toilet tank, when a photograph slipped out from between them. It was my little sex machine, Gena. A prom photo of her that one of the kids had been whacking off to. The photo was crusted up.

These perverts. I decided that I had no choice but to walk out there and show the photo directly to their manager. It was the only honorable thing to do.

But instead, I took the photo, put it in my pocket, left the store as quick as possible.

7

I flipped on the switch, the cars came at me on parade. When they saw that the red X above my booth became a green O, the people were filled with such delight.

“Can I have a receipt?”

“Can I have a receipt?”

“How much is the toll?”

“Can I have a receipt?”

“Can I have a receipt?”

“Can I have a receipt?”

I was a stand-still robot with simple math skills who knew the change for a dollar.

A blue Ford Escort pulled up to the booth. I turned to face the driver, saw a clown head. Grease paint, bubblegum hair, blue stars for eyes. A yellow Joy Division T-shirt. There was a person with a stocking over his head in the passenger seat filming us with a camcorder. We were the stars of some epic showdown between good and evil. I wasn’t sure who was good and who was evil.

“HEY, MOTHERFUCKER!! SEE HOW YOU LIKE THIS SHIT!!!” the clown screamed.

“Like what?” I said, like a dope.

“THIS!!!”

Laughing maniacally, the clown leaned forward and started to spray some kind of substance into the coin basket. It was bright yellow and growing. I made no attempts to stop him; I just gazed ahead in some haphazard triumph. Finally, a member of the populous had broken the spell. I wanted to give the kid a hug.

“YOU LIKE THIS??!!!” he demanded, twisting the can, sticking out his tongue to mock me, “YOU LIKE THIS, UNCLE SAM?!”

When he was done shooting the goop into the basket, he threw the can against the booth. It rolled under his tire as he peeled off in his blue car. A photo of the license plate came up on the screen, I hit delete.

I will save you, anarchist. I don’t think you deserve the whipping of the state. I applaud you. I commend you.

I put on the red X, indicating that my lane was closed. I stepped out of the booth, picked up the crushed can. The print was still legible: “WONDASTUFT: QUADRUPLE EXPANDING MEGA FOAM SPRAY INSULATION FROM THE MAKERS OF CRACKZAP AND WINDOW GOOP.”

The change basket was quickly becoming an impenetrable dome of plastic-like foam. Then, HOLY SHIT, a car was zoomed at me. I tried to move my feet, almost fell over them. An orange Honda Civic doing at least forty-five through the toll; a red headed chick, window down. Change smashed against the booth—pennies and nickels sliding down into the foam, lost forever.

I went back in the booth, the red X steadfast, and stayed there until my lunch break. When I walked into the break room, I looked Larry in the eye. I knew that he didn’t want to be there any more than I did. I nodded at him, put seventy cents in the machine, got a PayDay, opened it, took a bite, and chewed. Then, still looking at him, I said, “Hey, I don’t know how it happened, but somebody shot Quadruple Expanding Spray Foam Insulation into my change basket.”

“Huh?” he says.

“I wouldn’t know,” I explained, “but I think it’s the same stuff that contractors use to seal up doors and windows.”

“Oh shit.”

“Yeah.”

“Will change still go in?” he asked, scratching his head.

“Well for a little while . . . ‘til it’s solid,” I explained.

“Then no?”

I took another bite. The wrapper made a joyous sound.

“Yeah, definitely not after solidification.”

—–thank you for reading.

Warm regards,

Bud Smith

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2 Replies to “Tollbooth Serialized”

  1. This is very cool. One of my friends at work who specializes in new media has often suggested I serialize one of my books on my blog. Have you enjoyed the experience so far? Have you gotten a good readership going. I love the idea of a serial novel.

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