After years and years of mulling over something I lived through in my twenties, yesterday in the shower, a plot came to me. It was so clear and well formed that it’s quite obvious my subconscious has been working on it behind the scenes since about 1985.
Have I ever mentioned that I love revenge plots? This has to do with the fact that I have always taken a peripheral position in just about everything; I’m never with the majority. If I try to be with the majority just for the sake of fitting in, I get heartburn. I am contrary by nature, and yes, I realize this is no big surprise to anybody who knows me or reads my work. When I get fed up with watching the good guys lose or losing myself, a revenge fantasy is a balm. So for example: imagine a stage with television cameras focused on two chairs. Dick Cheney is strapped to one of them, hooked up to a (fictional) truth drug, and I’m in the other much more comfortable chair, asking the questions that he must answer truthfully.
But the revenge fantasy that came to me in the shower is about something in my own life, something personal. It’s so good that the very idea gives me gooseflesh. After all these years I could address something that struck me as unfair and unkind, and make it all come out differently. Not in a happily-ever-after way; I don’t think that would be possible. But there would be significant satisfaction in it, even so.
Basically this would be a novel about the person I might have been, if I had allowed my darker side to rule. But oh, it would be fun to write.
Does that sound like something you’d read, or something you’d run away from? Consider novels like The Count of Monte Cristo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (the third book in the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo series), Different Class (Joanne Harris), or one of my favorite Stephen King short stories, “Dolan’s Cadillac” — the audio recording is fantastic, if you have a chance to listen to it. And great revenge movies: too many to name.
There are, of course, darker revenge fantasies. Glenn Close, the Fatal Attraction bunny boiler, was seeking revenge and (I would argue) not unreasonably. She just went a little overboard.
I don’t intend to go that far. Really. Or at least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.