Monday, November 5, 2012

The Narrator of 'FUBAR' says...

'In all innocence, Francine Pefko now spoke a simple sentence that was heartbreakingly poetic to Fuzz. The sentence reminded Fuzz, with the ruthlessness of great poetry, that his basic misgivings about Francine were not occupational but erotic. What Francine said was this: I came here straight from the Girl Pool. In speaking of the Girl Pool, she was doing no more than giving the proper name to the reception and assignment center maintained by the company for new woman employees. But when Fuzz heard those words, his mind whirled with images of lovely young women like Francine, glistening young women, rising from cool, deep water, begging aggressive, successful young men to woo them. In Fuzz's mind, the desirable images all passed him by, avoided his ardent glances. Such beautiful creatures would have nothing to do with a man who was fubar. Fuzz looked at Francine uneasily. Not only was she, so fresh and desirable fro, the Girl Pool, going to discover that her supervisor had a very poor job. She was going to conclude, as well, that her supervisor wasn't much of a man at all.'

The Narrator ('FUBAR', Look at the Birdie: Short Fiction, Kurt Vonnegut)

Note: This short fiction anthology was published in 2009 after Vonnegut's death. I wish I knew when the story itself was written, but even the powers of the internet can't help me there. 'FUBAR' is one of my favourite pieces of short fiction, using only two characters and setting to pull off an engaging character study. No gimmicks or plot twists, no monsters or aliens, no violence or sex, just two polar opposites, a self-deprecating sadsack and an naive wide-eyed optmist, stuck in a building together by pure chance. Fuzz and Francine still are a major influence when I craft a male-female dynamic, and Vonnegut will always be one of my biggest influences when it comes to any sort of character description.

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