This excerpt is from Dave Lundy’s new novel, “Zero F*cks Given” (still in development) — the prequel to the bestselling comedy “Squish the Fish: A Tale of Dating and Debauchery”.
The day before…
Tracy Cohenstein’s real first name was Tirza. She went by Tracy so she didn’t sound quite as much like — in her words — “A super-Jew.” Not having classes on Friday, she spent her day engaged in, again — in her words — “Doing happy stuff.” That morning, she served breakfast at a homeless shelter, and in the afternoon she finished knitting a sweater and completed some extra-credit homework for her Investigative Journalism class.
Now, with her roommate Nicki O’Shea not around and the place to herself, she was enjoying her favorite guilty-pleasure — watching a romantic-comedy. As the final scene in Pretty Woman began, Tracy sat on her living room couch with a box of tissues in her lap. Having watched it nearly a dozen times, she could quote practically every line. She’d been told she looked like a younger, and perhaps even more attractive, version of Julia Roberts, the female star of the movie. Tracy’s chocolate-colored eyes were the kind that pulled you in and could’ve been Van Morrison’s inspiration for “Brown Eyed Girl” had she been born when he wrote the song. She looked stunning, even in baggy-sweatpants, a t-shirt, and no makeup. Her appearance was unblemished, except for one flaw. One embarrassing, yet well-hidden, flaw.
Tracy watched intently as Richard Gere’s character stood out of a limousine’s sunroof while he was driven through a rundown L.A. neighborhood. With Verdi’s La Traviata opera playing for all to hear, Julia Robert’s character went out onto her fire escape and saw him below holding a bouquet of red roses. As he climbed the ladder to her top-floor apartment, she couldn’t wait and rushed down. When the love-crazed couple met in the middle, their lips inches apart, Tracy pulled out a few tissues and spoke along with the dialogue.
Richard Gere asked, “So what happened after he climbed up the tower and rescued her?”
With a half-smile, Julia Roberts answered, “She rescues him right back,” and they kissed like they meant it.
Tears ran down Tracy’s cheeks — just your average day in Hollywood where a rich businessman “saves” a prostitute. Not feeling the least bit odd about longing to be Julia Robert’s character, Tracy’d gladly turn a few tricks to have a fairytale like this one come true.
While the closing credits rolled, she wiped her tears and wished that Chad Stanwick, the president of Sigma Alpha Mu and her ex-boyfriend, would’ve been her “knight in shining armor.” Ironically, if the rumors were true, Richard Gere and Chad Stanwick shared the same fetish — a rather peculiar one satisfied by prostate-tickling gerbils.
Tracy clicked-off the television and double-checked that her roommate wasn’t around as she moved to her office. Once in the room, she shut the door for additional privacy. She went to her desk and opened the bottom drawer. Waiting for her inside was a package that had been delivered two days before and she knew it contained her dirty little secret. She ripped it open and pulled out a videotape. After reading its label — a play-on-words for what happened to be her favorite romantic-comedy — she was immediately intrigued. Before putting it in her VCR, she read the blush-inducing title once more and sincerely hoped it would live-up to expectations.