the Revenge Novel
First thing’s first. Did you know that you could google “kitten in a cupholder” literally any time you want? Save it for emergencies, but just know it’s there if you need it.
Now that we got that out of the way, I want you to go back in time with me to somewhere around a decade ago. Before we lost Kony. Or found Kony. Whatever we did with Kony. Back when we were all doing the Cinnamon Challenge and the Harlem Shake on Vine. Just before the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby and after the invention of the Cotton Gin, I believe.
In any case, around that time I got dumped. Like, SUPER dumped. I believe the words used in the phone call were “I’ve decided I love someone else and I can never speak to you again." *click*
And I did all the usual things one does when one gets dumped —I moped; I cried; I quietly plotted the perfect murder (an icicle! but also you wear gloves! that are also icicles!) But I also did one other thing: I wrote a Revenge Novel™.
That’s right, for a full month, I put all that pent up anger and confusion into writing a very terrible novel that I was never, ever going to allow people to read. And until this very day I have not.
But here’s the thing.
These are unprecedented times. I know that because every single commercial tells me so (we get it, Hot Pockets! You love nurses!) And unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, like trying to put red wine in your Soda Stream…
…or perhaps releasing the first two chapters of your Revenge Novel™ in your newsletter.
So, ahem. Below I have attached the first two chapters of a novel I wrote entirely in the 30 days after I got dumped a decade ago. Will there be more in future newsletters? I do not know. Truly THE ENTIRE WORLD IS UP IN THE AIR AND WHY SHOULD I BE ANY DIFFERENT.
I adore each and every one of you and think you are doing a GREAT job.
Jill “Doodlebug” Twiss
p.s. This novel has swear words in it. So if that’s not your thing, you have been warned!
———-THE REVENGE NOVEL™—————-
by Jill Twiss
“I just want you to know I don't love you as much as I used to.”
That's how Matt starts the conversation. No “hey how was your day” or “you'll never guess what happened to me on the G-train.” He goes from “hello” to “maybe we should break up” in less than a second. In a car that sort of acceleration would be awesome, but I'd like break-up conversations to be a little smoother. Up until this point, I hadn't realized I had a boyfriend with a lead foot.
“Wait, what?” I say, not understanding. Or, rather, not wanting to understand. There's obviously nothing complicated about what Matt is saying. If I were doing second grade math, the equation for his statement would look something like this:
HIS LOVE FOR ME NOW < HIS LOVE FOR ME IN THE PAST
My second grade teacher, Mrs. Clam (I know!) would explain that the less-than sign looks like an alligator's mouth and the alligator is hungry, so he eats the side of the equation that is bigger. In this case, since the alligator is eating Matt's love for me in the past, which means that Matt loved me a lot then and not so much now. Easy peasy, but Matt says it again anyway:
“When I saw you yesterday, I realized that I don't love you as much as I used to.”
This time he sort of crinkles up his nose at the end.-- a look that he has given me before when he accidentally forgot about our movie date or ate the leftover Chinese food he knew I was saving to eat while I yelled at America’s Next Top Model. I used to find that look adorable. Now it makes me want to punch that adorable nose till it bleeds little drops of adorable blood.
See, something in Matt's comment has sucked all the air out of my body and it's as if I'm suddenly two dimensional. I imagine it's a bit like being inside one of those vacuum packing machines that suck all the air out of plastic bags so you can store food in your freezer for centuries at a time. In this case I'm the squishy piece of chicken breast who just got all the air sucked out of her only to spend eternity in a tight plastic covering sitting next to a box of unwanted freezer-burned pudding pops. It isn't a pleasant feeling. Right now, I wish that alligator that eats the bigger side of the love-equation would eat my boyfriend instead.
“So does this mean you want to break up with me?” I ask Matt.
It is a fair question, I think. Because, “I don't love you as much as I used to” doesn't really tell me much about the next step in the process. You see, if Matt used to love me a whole, whole bunch and now he just loves me a whole bunch, maybe it is less that he wants to break up with me and more that he is grouchy or tired or hungry. I know I love everyone a little less if I haven't eaten in five hours.
“I don't know,” he says.
Word of advice for people who are not me: If you decide to make dramatic statements about the specific quantity of your LOVE for someone, you damn well better decide if you want to end the relationship before you share that information. Because if you haven't decided...well, you know that person whose soul you're crushing? She might just punch you in the face. And don't say your girlfriend's not the punching type, 'cause we're all the punching type when someone's just stomped all over our heart-cockles.
Matt keeps talking: “I want you to know that I've fallen in love with someone else. I've fallen in love with Nancy.”
Oh. Well that certainly makes the math make a lot more sense.
When he says he loves me less, it's because his love is a finite resource – you know, like oil. There is only so much oil to go around so when Exxon or whoever accidentally dumps some of it in the ocean, then that means there's less oil out there for the rest of us. Apparently Matt only has so much love to go around, and since he's obviously dumping love into Nancy (oh God,) then he doesn't have as much left for me. Am I supposed to be grateful that there aren't any love covered birds being killed in Matt's love spill?
Nancy, by the by, is the receptionist at Matt's office. The blond, vacant, superhot receptionist with a speaking voice like a wounded baby bird who is really into the Kardashians. I just thought you should know. Welcome to Cliché-ville—population: me.
Have you ever noticed that the word “malignancy” ends with “Nancy”? Because I have.
Matt looks at me as though it's my turn to talk now. He's said his piece and now he's decided that I should respond. I think about this carefully. It is critically important that I choose my words correctly since what I say may determine the entire future course of our relationship. I pause, making sure the words I choose are exactly the right ones for such a precarious situation.
CHAPTER 2: WHEREIN WE LEARN A LITTLE BIT ABOUT NANCY
At the very moment that I am getting awkwardly dumped by Matt, Nancy is sitting in her apartment talking animatedly to her two best friends.
“Ohmygod I can't believe I ate that entire burrito bowl! I've probably gained like 12 pounds. Ugh, I feel so fat.”
Nancy says things like that all the time. Not so much because she actually thinks she is fat, but because she believes that saying she thinks she's fat will encourage her friends to tell her how thin she is. Nancy loves to be told how thin she is. She also likes to be told how pretty she is. In fact, Nancy has friends she believes to be less attractive than her just so everyone will notice how pretty she looks next to them. I'm pretty sure it is all part of her larger, diabolical plan to dominate the world by subsisting entirely on celery stalks and Xanax.
Nancy and her sycophant friends are doing what they do most every day after work: sitting around Nancy's apartment and talking about Nancy. Sometimes, when that gets tiring, they talk about what other people think of Nancy or they make itemized lists of people who are less attractive than Nancy.
“Oh nooooooooooooo Nancy, you look liketotallyamazing! Like a celebrity. Well, like a celebrity right before they get caught shoplifting and have to go into rehab, which is when they look their best because they’re so THIN from the drugs but not TIRED from the paparazzi following them around all the time. You look like that.”
That was one of her let’s-call-them-friends talking. I wish I could say that Nancy surrounded herself by borderline brain-dead girls to make herself look smart, but that would mean that Nancy values intelligence, which is untrue. She values gel manicures. And Real Housewives. And, above all else that is holy, glitter eye shadow.
To be fair, like the borderline brain-dead girls tell her every day, Nancy does look totally amazing. Her hair is platinum blond and, well, large. If you took any Tiger Beat magazine from 1983 and look on the cover, I guarantee you it would feature Nancy's hair. She is tall, incomprehensibly thin, and doe-eyed -- an alarming combination that generally only occurs in 16 year old fashion models and malnourished baby giraffes. Her tiny waist is somehow balanced by enormous breasts — fake, of course. But why shouldn’t the outside match the inside?
“So Nancy, what ever happened with Matt?” asks one of the borderline brain-dead girls breathlessly (I've never been able to tell the BBGs apart. I'm pretty sure they have different Chinese characters tattooed on their ankles, but other than that they appear to be the same person.)
Nancy laughs. Giggles, really, in that “Boy do I have a story for you guys” sort of way. “Wellllllll......”
The BBGs hold their collective breaths as though Nancy is about to share the cure for cancer or the recipe for calorie-free bacon. They are salivating.
“Matt and I did it last night.”