Thursday, 8 April 2010


This week's sentence was taken from James Ellroy's 'The Big Nowhere'.

It was:

'Claire chain-smoked and drummed her nails on the dashboard.'


‘What the fuck am I doing here?’ he thought.

‘Okay, other than the obvious.’ He looked down at what was left of the bed and the tangled car wreck of his own body and Claire’s.

‘I mean, do I love her? I’m pretty certain she doesn’t love me. I’m just kinda convenient whenever she wants something. The rest of the time she’s out with her screeching harpies or yammering down the phone at them and I might as well not exist.’

He sighed, quietly so as not to wake her, and tried to figure out how the hell he got in this situation in the first place.

Sure, she’s young, sure she’s pretty, sure she’s … er … spectacular in bed, but what else was keeping him here?

Claire grunted, turned over and started to snore like an asthmatic horse, leaving a sizeable pool of drool in the hollow of his collarbone.

‘How do I love thee?’ he mused. ‘Let me count the ways …’

Numero uno: Claire snored. Fair enough, so did he.

Claire spent eighteen hours at a stretch in the bathroom. God only knows what she did in there but it always took him ages to clean up afterwards.

Claire chain-smoked and drummed her nails on the dashboard. Plus she spilled that whole Chinese meal between the car seats that time and he never got the stink out.

Claire chewed her food with her mouth open and all she had to do was walk through a room to trash it like the aftermath of a frat-house kegger. She was dumber than a box of rocks and her voice scraped the surface off the inside of his skull.

And yet …

He closed his eyes, knowing full well that the sight of Claire naked - even with the snoring - would outweigh all his arguments.

‘Men are so fucking weak.’ he thought. ‘One glance of a boob and our brains run out our ears leaving us drooling idiots.’

He looked down at the pool of drool Claire had left him.

‘And don’t even get me started on her inbred fuck-up family.’

Claire’s mother was a bed-bound four-hundred pound mountain of bitter regret who, when she wasn’t yelling and swearing at him was bawling her eyes out and pleading with them to give her grandchildren. Her snivelling alcoholic moron father had run up a debt that would scare a small country. Claire’s brother was the only one with any sense. He’d run away to Mexico with a waiter.

‘Is this what I really want?’ he thought. ‘Am I happy?’

Claire started up a tractor and he shifted a thigh to try to stop the noise, only for her to change to an impression of a yak gargling.

A sudden snort and she was awake, rolling over and giving him the full benefit of those eyes that could give a saint a hard-on for a week.

And he knew he loved her.

‘I’m leaving you.’ She said.