I've sometimes contemplated writing a novel. This could be the first chapter, which I started last year:
The 20th century killed the romantic. Capitalism vanquished socialism and then proceeded to elevate the twin values of starvation and survival. It didn't matter if it was real starvation, the kind that took place in Africa, what Robert Kennedy saw in the South--or high-class starvation, the kind that newly laid-off fathers with families understood. Choosing survival, the men in the modern world, tempted by luxuries of beauty and bare bellybuttons, reached back into Biblical times and remembered the fable of the apple. Women, not happy with being demonized, decided to either cut down the tree or plant their own gardens, further confusing Adam’s progeny.
Meanwhile, modern men branched out into three realms: one, the creature that refused to conform, saw political correctness as an affront to his being, spawned The Man Show and the Coors Twins; two, the blessed kind, that saw equality and self-control as either entitlements to Beemers or, perhaps more appropriately, to responsibility; and three, the other, the nerd in the corner, never popular in high school, now older, taller, appealing, but the holder of the modern apple of fear–scared of commitment, of falling behind, of starving and of losing the motivator of starvation. It was the last camp that Rustem Mahdy fell in, and his stomach rumbled as he took the elevator to the sixth floor of the law firm, where he played an attorney, propping up partners with wizened faces and dusty knowledge. He had contemplated stopping on the second floor to flirt with the office manager of a process service firm but decided against it. It was too early, and besides, work had to be done.
Women, of course, defied any easy description, but branched generally into several camps: the kind with strong, loving fathers (who of course had strong, loving mothers) and either chose to emulate their fathers professionally, or, having been given faith in man, gained the knowledge of how to identify men who would not let them down. Flannery O'Connor aside, it would be one of the surprising features of the modern world that the women who could identify a good man, even if lacking all other skills, would somehow be better off in terms of love. In the third camp were women who knew they were not as smart as the men they wanted, or as attractive as the women men wanted, and decided to gain security through the unifying force God had given all women. It was an interesting trade-off, and those women--once married--did seem to be quite happy. There was another camp, slowly dwindling in numbers, of women who had spent their lives raising children, ironing and cleaning, only to see Proctor and Gamble and the microwave culture passing them too quickly to give thanks (or even their condolences).
But Michelle Mosi, Esq. wasn't wondering what camp she was in. Born and raised in the Midwest, she was too practical for those kinds of questions and was more intent on getting opposing counsel to submit to her very reasonable demand of scheduling an independent medical exam in September rather than October. "It's all so simple," she thought to herself--"just get Plaintiff to the the exam, and I'll make my billables and keep the client happy. " Love-wise, Michelle was married with a reasonably-sized diamond ring--it wasn't a Tacori, but at least it was from Borsheim's. Michelle stopped looking at her ring and re-focused her attention on work. "Left Message for Client re: IME, 0.2."
This was the new world that God had to play with, and He wondered how to manage marriage and love in a culture suspicious of sacrifice and unused to thinking in terms of centuries rather than seconds. The Devil cackled, egging on his right-hand man, Materialism, and informed him of the pullback. The news from the front came soon enough: Cupid had been shot and was D.O.A.
God, never one to appreciate losing a round, sent one of his most trusted angels, Bryan Gabriel, back to America to assess the damage and to help restore faith. Gabriel, after surveying how he could be most effective, decided to apply for a law firm emphasizing employment law. If it didn’t work out, Gabriel thought, he could always become an investment banker and hear what this Soros character had to say. Gabriel decided to set up an office on the second floor of a tall commercial building in downtown San Jose. There was work to be done, and not a second to lose.
[In later chapters, Milton Black aka the Devil, will send down a man named Mark Lusy, who will apply for and be accepted at a law firm called Nicholson, Lytler, and Reese.]