The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1 / Scott McClanahan

 

 

요새 미국 독립출판사들이 내는 단편소설 모음에 빠졌다. 읽고 있다 보면 딱 그 짤... 몰겠음... 몬가 일어나고 있음... 이 느낌이긴 한데, 대체로 작가가 느긋하게 쓴 것이 잘 느껴져서 너무 힘 꽉 줘서 멋져 보이려고 쓴 단편들보다 (단편이건 그냥 일기건 간에 내가 자꾸 이렇게 쓰려 들어서 돌겠음) 훨씬 진솔한 글이 많다. 

요 책은 표지를 얼핏 보고는 펭귄클래식에서 요새는 이런 인디느낌 나는 단편들도 내나 보구나 하면서 샀고 뒤늦게야 낚시인 걸 알게 된 케이스다. ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ 작가가 실제로 거주 중인 웨스트 버지니아를 배경으로 하고, 주인공의 이름은 작가와 똑같은 데다 다른 인물들도 여러 이야기에 거듭 등장하는 걸 보면 작가가 실제로 겪은 것들에 양념을 쳐서 소설로 낸 것 같은데 전체적으로 데이비드 세다리스의 수필과 느낌이 비슷해서 술술 잘 읽혔다. 한마디로 말하자면 단편들 특유의 심오하고 우울한 느낌보다는 실없고 우스운 분위기가 강하다.

+) 가장 좋았던 글들은 The Homeless Guy, The Prettiest Girl in Texas, The Couple, The Last Time I Stole Whitman's Sole, The Prisoners, Suicide Notes, The Future Teller였음. 

 


 

 

There was Robert the cussingest man at the mill who never said a complete sentence in his whole life that didn’t contain the word “shit” or “fuck.” There was the Pregnant Man and this guy named Holiday who used to go to the shitter so much they put this sign up above the toilet that said, “The Holiday Inn.”

 

 

*

 

 

I asked again, “Why is that guy carrying a chainsaw?” My mother just shook her head and said, “I don’t know. I really don’t.” And by this time we were driving on down the road, and I couldn’t see him anymore. I knew there was something about him that meant something, and if I ever found out what it was—then maybe I’d finally know the meaning of my life.

 

 

*

 

 

I went through this weird period about ten years ago where every time I went outside, I saw somebody get hit by a car.

 

 

*

 

 

I was going to dress up like a football player too, but then Ammie, this cute girl in our class, said, “Why don’t you dress up like baby dolls? It’ll be funny.” A couple of the guys laughed about how funny it was and then my buddy Jay said, “Yeah why don’t we? Why don’t we dress up like baby dolls?” My friend Mike said, “Yeah let’s do it.” Ammie’s friend Nicole went, “Please, Please.” Then Carrie said, “Please, Please.” Then Jay said again, “Yeah let’s do it.” And then they looked at me, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to dress up like a football player. I knew you had to be careful doing these kinds of things. I remember my 5th birthday party when I asked for Barbie dolls and the Barbie doll swimming pool (not because I wanted the pool but because I wanted to drink the water from the pool) and all of my uncles just shook their heads when I opened up my Barbie.

 

 

*

 

 

And then on our bear hunting walk the next day, I told her that I wished my favorite episode of Reading Rainbow would come back on. A few months earlier, I had watched the episode with the dinosaur bones and I wanted to see it again. She told me that she talked to Levar Burton that very day and she asked him to play that episode again—just for me. So when I got home and turned on the TV... it was the Reading Rainbow episode where Levar Burton went searching for dinosaur bones. I sat and watched the show and I said, “It’s the dinosaur episode.” My mother said, “I told you.” And then she laughed and I thought that she was the most magical woman who ever lived. 

 

→ 그닥 재미없던 단편의 마지막 문단이었는데 유독 아름답게 느껴졌다.

 

 

 

*

 

 

“You got the shit pains don’t you boy?” she said. I smiled and shook my head like everything was okay and went into the bathroom all bent over and shut the door behind me. There wasn’t a lock. There was a hole in the floor someone had stuffed a bunch of trash inside: cigarette packages, used tampons, candy wrappers, old newspapers. “You’re fine. You’re fine,” I kept saying to myself, and I could hear them talking outside.

 

→ 이건 트레인스포팅의 화장실 씬 다음으로 보는 내내 내가 괜히 쫄리고 비위가 팍 상해서 밑줄쳤음 ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

 

 

*

 

 

It was this old guy who looked like he was about forty and he had a trach scar. He was with this pretty girl who couldn’t have been any more than twenty. They were the type of couple that makes you think, what the hell is that girl doing with that guy?

 

 

*

 

 

He kept putting his fingers to his lips like he was trying to see if he was still bleeding. Fingers. Blood. Fingers. Blood. Yep, he was still bleeding. And so Kim and I sat and ate their pizza and we drank their pop and we watched it all because this wasn’t our life being destroyed.

 

 

*

 

 

Of course, I should have known the trip wasn’t getting any better when we sat down with Kim’s dad that night at this fancy Italian restaurant and he proceeded to order a drink. He was this little red-faced, Billy Joel looking Irish guy. He didn’t really say anything to me except something about how if I ever hurt his daughter, “Maggots would eat out my eyeballs.”

 

 

*

 

 

He took my keys and left them at the control desk saying, “We keep your car keys so if there is ever a hostage situation, they can’t put a gun to your head and have you drive them off the premises.” I couldn’t tell if he was joking.

 

 

*

 

 

He pointed to a red button on the top of it and said, “Now if anyone’s ever attacking you, just hit this red button and it will probably save your life.” But then he just laughed and said, “Unfortunately this one is broken, so the red button doesn’t work, but I’ll try to get one for you next week. So if anybody tries to kill you this week, we’re screwed.” Was this a joke? And then we both just laughed, nervous. Was this joking?

 

 

*

 

 

Kincaid, the prison guard, said, “You see that guy there. That guy is smarter than shit—probably the smartest fucking guy in here. He goes around like a fucking gang banger, but the truth is, he’s just a spoiled ass rich kid from the suburbs what I hear. Look, doesn’t even have any tats on him. Look at his face. His face is smooth. From what I hear he ended up killing somebody.”

 

 

*

 

 

And so I sat and wondered if this is the way the world works. I knew you couldn’t trust anyone in this life, not even yourself. I wondered what murder was waiting inside of me to commit. I wondered what murder was waiting inside of the person who was reading this.

 

 

*

 

 

It was like a fever almost. It was like a fever of some kind that you could catch and once you caught it—you couldn’t do anything about it. I started telling Sarah, “We like to think of ourselves as complicated. But we’re not. The whole world is just a virus.”

 

 

*

 

 

I whispered, “Now don’t you talk like that.” He looked at me and I saw he didn’t have any answers. He couldn’t solve anything. He tried to reassure me, “Don’t worry Scott. I’m not going to do it.” And then he said in another voice, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to do it.” And then he started laughing a laugh that wasn’t even a laugh but a cackle. He kept rocking and saying, “I’m not going to do it. I’m going to do it. I mean I’m not.” So I just slowly started backing away. He kept laughing. And so I left. I walked out of his office and kept on walking. It was a fever. It was a fever, and I didn’t want to catch it. It was a fever I prayed wasn’t inside me at that very moment. 

 

 

*

 

 

My mom had been teaching for thirty-three years and it was starting to get to her. It used to be she came in all smiling and happy and telling funny stories. Now it was different. She was worn down and tired. One day she walked in through the door carrying her school books with this tired look on her face.

 

 

*

 

 

There was chalk dust on his nose and he had a rolled up piece of paper he was snorting it with. R.J. looked up with his 4th grade eyes and said, “I’m taking my medicine like mom.”

 

 

*

 

 

Every time I left her house she said, “Oh Lordie Todd, don’t you get killed in a car accident on them roads.” I told her just like always, “Grandma, my name is not Todd. My name is Scott, but I’ll be careful.” I guess if you have thirteen children like she did, grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends, neighbors, secret enemies, and every one of them gets ready to leave and you tell them to be careful because they might be killed, at least one or two of them are bound to find tragedy along the way.

 

 

*

 

 

the next day I had to go to the Rainelle sporting goods store and take a movie back. It was a sporting goods store, but like most local businesses they had about three different things inside. For example, you could rent a movie, buy a thirty-thirty rifle, get your twelve point stuffed by a taxidermist or even get a tan in the tanning bed if you needed one bad enough (NEW BULBS!).

 

 

 

*

 

 

I just left. I clamped my change into my twisted fist, and I started walking towards the door, past the new kid who whispered sorry one last time, past Bobbie B., who waved at me, past Ulysses Phipps who everyone called “useless.”

 

 

*

 

 

He started doing CPR like a crazy man, even though the top of the kid’s head was gone. He just kept right on doing it, even though every time he did—blood shot out of the top of the kid’s head like a water fountain flowing red. One one thousand. BLOOD. Two one thousand. BLOOD. He kept doing CPR until the cops came and pulled him off. That evening Bobbie B. went home and tried to hang himself behind the locked door of his bedroom. It didn’t work.

 

 

*

 

 

So this is the end of the book. You should throw it in the trash and get up. Quit checking your Goddamn e-mail so much. Flush that cell phone down the toilet. There’s a whole world outside. Let’s break into blossom.

 

 

*

 

 

It is at this point in my reading of Scott’s work that I resolved to kill him if I ever met him. To put my hands on his throat and choke him to death as he stares, confused, into my emotionless face. No, actually I never thought that about Scott. I’ve never thought about killing him until I wrote that sentence. Then, when I wrote that sentence, I went off into a staring fantasy where I kind of envisioned it up until the moment he dies. Shit, now that I wrote that, I actually imagined him dying. And you know what, I’m a lot sadder than I thought I’d be, having fantasized in vivid detail about choking tens, nay, hundreds of dozens of people, both faceless and recognizable. 

 

→ 책 끝부분에 있는 Sam Pink라는 다른 작가가 써준 후기인데 이것도 재밌었다. 이 작가 소설도 곧 읽어볼 예정.

 

 

 

yunicorn