Natural Complexions

By accident, I started working on a condensed novel called Natural Complexions. Here's an excerpt:

L. Ron Hubbard’s White House Tapes

For the photograph, the author did not merely rest his chin on the shelf of his hand and stare to one side of the lens with casual purpose and resolve. On the contrary, he extended the thumb and index finger into an L-shape and slid the hand up his face, cupping the chin with the thumb and pressing the blade of the index finger into the cheekbone. In effect, he redefined the wizened wrinkles of his good eye. It was not until the flashbulb went off a sixth time that the cursing struck a meaningful pitch. Parents shielding their children’s ears only made the author more incensed and hateful, and yet somehow he maintained the pose, notwithstanding the movement of his flytrap lips and the vibration of his vocal cords, even when his face turned purple and a mask of veins inflated on his face and neck. This could only go on for so long. Eventually he lost consciousness, tipped sideways and slammed into the floor with the force of a girder from the sky. Nobody knew what to do; even the resident pediatrician stood there dumbly as a final hiss of air escaped the author’s lungs like an evaporated prayer. Inspired, the photographer took several more pictures, moving around the author in a wide arc, then closing in with brisk and flamboyant two-steps, as if the author were a fallen disco ball that would not give up its spinning, glittering ghost. Finally he ran out of film. As he skipped back to a tripod to reload the camera, the author awoke with an eerie roar, and he resumed cursing precisely where he left off, nostrils flaring to the size of quarters. Bystanders on the periphery slipped behind curtains and out exit doors. Getting to his feet, the author returned his hand to his face, locking the L-shape back into place, but the effort threw him off balance. He fell down again. Writhing and screaming, he beat his ham-fists against his chest and pounded the heels of his penny loafers into the floor. His agent stepped forward to deliver an invective on behalf of the publisher of his latest book, but he hardly broke silence before the author belittled and shamed him for being no better than a lawyer or a politician or a road whore, the latter of whom possessed far more worth, not to mention brains and balls. Moments later the author stood over the unconscious body of the photographer. The room was clear, and so was he.