An Excerpt from my novel, The Clubber

An excerpt from my novel, The Clubber: A Tale of the Eighties, available now on

   He looked in the mirror, concentrating…
   His nose was a little too big. It could stand to be just a bit smaller. Not very much smaller, just a smidgen smaller. Then it would be just the right size.
   He couldn’t decide if his eyes were too bright or not. All in all, he liked his eyes well enough, but he thought it would be better if his gray eyes were just a tad darker. But, then again, maybe it was better that they weren’t too dark. They might look too much like typical eyes then.
   He looked at his chin and felt that it stuck out just right and was just the right size, but the overall shape of his face was a bit too oval. He liked his mouth. His lips were not too thin or too fat, and his mouth was not too wide nor too narrow.
   He also liked his ears, but he wondered if they might be a bit too big. His lobes were just right, long enough for a few post earrings on each side, but not so long that they looked brutish. Turning his head to and fro in the mirror, he decided his ears were just a little bit too big. They should have been slightly smaller.
   His hair was a bit on the fine side. It took a bit too much hair gel to get it just right. He would smooth in the gel, right after washing his hair, and then comb it just right, making most of it part to one side. He would then carefully fringe it, leaving just a lock or two wisping down the side of his face. He was so careful about displacing the one or two rogue wisps of hair that it usually took him a while to perform the operation. They had to appear as if they were truly rogue wisps, and not intentionally placed. He finished off his hair with hairspray, using more where he wanted to keep his hair steady, and just a few spritzes where he wanted it to be more loose and casual.
   He had to look away for just a moment. The gap between the top of his head and the top of the mirror was a space that he quickly pushed out of his mind. He usually avoided thinking about his height through a strong regimen of denial, though if he ever let his dissatisfaction with his altitude firmly lodge itself into his consciousness he would wish, most of all, that he were taller. 
   He looked himself over in the mirror again. He had shaved on Thursday morning so he would have just the right amount of five o’clock stubble for this evening. It was not going to be too formal a night. He was going to the Das Treffen club. Some of his scruffier friends would be there, such as Steve the flamer, Jack the junky, and Savin the punk, as well as many of his much more refined friends and acquaintances. He chose to try and find a medium between the two, trying to cultivate just the right amount of rough elegance.
   He was wondering who else was going to be there. He knew he would probably run into at least three or four more people that he knew at Das Treffen.
   He went to his dresser. Luckily, he still had some clean black bikini briefs. That would be especially important if he ended up getting lucky. He always reserved his best underwear for nights such as these.
   He pulled out some black dress socks, the ones that were almost brand new. He was thinking about which shirt he should wear. He thought for a moment about wearing a black T-shirt, but that was too pedestrian for this evening. There was his black button-up, but that was probably too formal.
   His dark gray hatchwork button-up was just right. It was the kind of shirt that he could just let hang loose, which would be perfect for this evening. It looked proper enough, but he could also get away with wearing it casually. 
   Thinking about pants, he considered his jet black slacks, but they had the same drawbacks as his black shirt. Too formal. He thought about his black jeans, but it might set his shirt to looking a bit too rough.
   He settled on his second-hand pair of black slacks. They were cool enough. Not too formal or too egalitarian. He pulled them out of his dresser.
   He looked over his lineup of shoes. Although he had earlier decided on wearing his docs, he wondered if he shouldn’t wear his shorter leather boots.
       He settled on the short black boots. He knew he would have to wear his Docs to the Thrill Kill Kult show next week. It was best not to be seen with the same kind of footwear too often.
       But now he faced his hardest decision: which coat to wear. This would be the most important decision of the evening. The coat would define him so much more than anything else he would adorn.
   His old leather was a tad too rough. His new leather was too formal. His vinyl leather was out of the question.
   Then there was his other leather jacket.  It wasn’t that old, but it wasn’t brand new either. He dug around in the deep end of his closet and got it out. Looking at it in the mirror, he decided it was perfect.
   He had gotten his clothes out of the way. Now he had to pick out his jewelry.
   Two rings on his left hand were probably enough.  He sorted through his skull rings, and decided to wear the flat silver polished one, the one that reminded him of Keith Richard’s skull ring. He wore his tribal design on his middle finger.
   Standing back, he wondered if he should go with just one ring. He decided he could just put one in his coat pocket if he felt it looked too awkward. He didn’t have a hard time choosing his earrings though. Two very small hoops in his left and one in his right. Simple, yet classy.
   Getting dressed and looking at his hands again, he saw he had washed off almost all the paint from his fingers when he washed his hair. He wondered if he should put some more random speckles of paint near the tips of his fingers. He had to do it soon, because the paint would have to be dry by the time he got there.
   He decided against any more inadvertent paint. He had enough small flecks as it was. He would make sure there were more speckles for the Thrill Kill Kult show.
   Setting aside his leather jacket, he sat down next to his dresser. His window was open and the cool dusk air wafted against him as he looked casually out onto the street below. The lower Haight was fairly busy in the sunsetting light. It wouldn’t be dark for at least an hour. That’s when he would make his way to Remington’s to meet Serge and Edrea.
   He had gotten himself where he wanted to be fashion-wise and now he had a few hours to kill.  He always did this, getting himself fixed up way ahead of time. He thought about stopping by Optictrauma and checking out some of the new books and videos, but he didn’t want to get ahead of himself and leave his place too soon.
   He wondered if he should have invited Jen to Das Treffen. He decided it was a good idea that he had not. He didn’t think she should be getting too acquainted with him just yet. It usually took a while before he was willing to let people get very close.

Author: termberkden

I am a writer, a software engineer, and a refugee from the punk/metal/new wave/my-God-what-did-we-do-last-night daze of 1980's and early 90's San Francisco scene. I write, I run, I actually stop and smell the roses, I meow back at cats, and I pet strange yet friendly dogs.

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