Nobody, really, likes you.
A Guide to Insouciance.
Lorna Tollison with
M. Saylor Billings
This is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictiously, including the other authors. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, businesses, organizations, events or locales is purely coincidental. So back off.
And another thing. This is a satirical self help book meant for entertainment. So if the voices are telling you that by reading this book everything is going to be okay then seek professional mental help.
Nobody, really, Likes You. A guide to insouciance.
Copyright © 2009 Billibatt Productions
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2012911957
Coming Soon from M. Saylor Billings
Red, White, and Scotch: Book 4 of
The O Line Mystery Series
Writing as Lorna Tollison:
Nobody, really, Reads You
A Guide to Self-Publishing.
For Claude LaFayette
Table of contents
Chapter 1 There Will Always Be
Chapter 2 Nice People Suck
Chapter 3 Your Pet Does Not Love You
Chapter 4 We All Lie to Ourselves
Chapter 5 Nothing Ever Changes
Chapter 6 Do Unto Others first
Chapter 7 You Control Nothing
Chapter 8 Nobody wants you to Succeed
Chapter 9 You're Doing Everything Wrong
Chapter 10 Eat Enough Shit
Chapter 11 Why Bother?
Chapter 12 Circling The Drain
This book is not dedicated to Sally, and she knows exactly why. So this dedication must be shared by backup dedicatees, two great stars in the insouciant galaxy, Queen Elizabeth of England and Tina Turner of Earth.
Above all else...
“Nobody, really, Likes You” is a publication of fiction written in a fictional author’s voice. No living person should ever replace the professional mental health services with the reading of any book, self-help or otherwise. This publication is designed to provide entertainment and is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor publisher is engaged in rendering mental health, legal, accounting, or other professional advice. This publication is intended as a work of art and like all art reflects the worldview of the observer-narrator. The fictional author, Lorna Tollison, exists in that reflected world of fiction.
For some time, Lorna has witnessed commerce from the fictional world become personalities in “reality” based entertainment only to return humorless, confused, and dejected. Now homeless and plot-less, these unfortunates need resuscitation and guidance to ease themselves back into the action-packed, thought-provoking, and clever world of fiction. this publication should not be used as a basis for new religions, for financial advice, nor for the purpose of inciting peasants to riot.
“In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.”
~ George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant
If you have been touched by randomness and left with the gift of desperation then perhaps we can work something out here. You may not know exactly what is wrong with you but clearly you are looking for some kind of solace if you picked up a book called “Nobody, really, Likes You.” Solace can be found in these pages; misery likes company. That said, humor, the oft-overlooked accomplice to healing and understanding, is featured in this book. We can use this humor to voice our rage at the ridiculousness of our humanity so that we might move through our narratives moving our plot forward.
Welcome to OFUCA!
You are FUCA and this, the Orientation for Fictional Unfortunates Cast Aside, is your reentry guide to the fictional world. Your conclusion that no one is cheering in your corner, no person has “got your back,” and certainly nobody, really, likes you, is correct. This book is designed to recapture and to rebuild your character. By reading it, you will strengthen your ability to identify entertaining plots and to develop characters. Despite the satirical nature of the text, some of the content may be enlightening and useful, and some of it might even be true. If you were looking for OSHTA—Orientation for Self Help for Terminal Allegories—you’re in the wrong book.
Several familiar devices have been created to help you recognize what you will want to take away from the experience. Every chapter explores a theme such as humility, absurdity, isolation, or control that supports your conclusion. Chapters begin with a vignette portraying Margaret, a young financial analyst, and her grandmother, a woman from “the greatest generation.” Fictional research shows that readers are more receptive to vignettes, which provide flexible and comfortable metaphors for life lessons.
“Theme exploration” under the chapter subheadings lay out helpful information, ridiculous concepts, or benign pondering.
The Character Enhancement concludes each chapter with “Chapter Pearls” recalling the chapter’s finer points; along with "Character Rebuilding Exercises" to inspire confidence; and "Character Enrichment Reading" lists that highlight the chapter themes.
There will always be someone smarter, bigger, faster, or better looking than you.
THE WISDOM OF OUR ELDERS
Margaret carefully pulled the straw from it’s wrapper, slid the straw into the red translucent tumbler filled with soda and flattened the wrapper. As she began folding the wrapper over and over into little triangles she listened to the slightly choking sounds of the gulping next to her.
“Aaahhhh, first one of the day.” The woman next to Margaret slammed the mug down on the table and slipped her teeth back into her gape.
Margaret looked at the oversized clock, hanging on the red brick wall, which read eleven am. She unraveled the straw wrapper and flattened it against the condensation on the tumbler and watched it absorb the moisture.
“Grandma, you were telling me about how you first met Grandad.” Margaret said to the woman next to her and smiled reluctantly.
“Oh, he was such a pip-squeak, but all muscle, not an ounce of fat on him. Not like these fat kids today. Look at that.” Grandma gestured to the teens eating pizza across from them and against the brick wall. Margaret didn’t look over but smiled again at her Grandmother.
“Disgusting,” Grandma continued, “We met him at a USO dance, just as the war was breaking out.”
“Your Aunt Max and I. Who did you think I meant? Who else would I have gone to a dance with back then?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”
“Do you want to hear the story or not?”
“Look at that, that kid just ate that whole slice in three bites. Didn’t even chew. Look at him.”
Margaret glanced over her shoulder and smiled nervously in case the boys were watching them as well, but none of the boys looked up.
“If they had to hunt their own food they wouldn’t be that fat,” Grandma said.
“Well, that’s probably very true.” Margaret agreed hoping to end Grandma’s current obsession. “So you met Grandad when you went to a USO dance with Aunt Max.”
“Where the hell are our slices?” Grandma looked at the pizza counter.
“Grandma,” Margaret jumped, “They said they had to make fresh, so the pizza’s are cooking. Do you want some water?”
“I’ll take another beer. If that waitress ever gets around to us.” Grandma rolled her eyes.
“It’s self serve; I’ll get it.” Margaret jumped up and moved to the counter before Grandma finished her eye roll.
When Margaret sat back down she changed her seat and tried to block her Grandma’s view of the teenage boys. Adjusting the placemats around as if she were making room for their plates, Margaret asked, “Was it love at first sight, you and Grandad?”
“Maybe, but not with me!” Grandma hurled herself into her hyena's laugh slapping the table.
Margaret joined in the old woman’s laugh and began tearing the straw wrapper to small bits.
“I had my eye on a tall dark fella over by the punch bowl,” Grandma gave a wink and a head nod as if the tall dark fella was in the pizza parlor with them, “and your Granddad was asking every girl to dance, like a fool. He thought he was being charming, I’m sure. Then I made my way over to the punch bowl and your Aunt Max was dancing with your Granddad.”
“So what happened? How did you end up with Granddad?”
“I tried to dance with that fella, but he was all left feet, so we went outside for a smoke, the dance was breaking up and your Aunt Max came outside with your Granddad. They said they were going out to get something to eat and asked us if we wanted to go along. So we all went out to a diner and ate.”
Margaret stared at her Grandma for a moment longer. The old woman seemed to have floated off into her memory. Margaret looked behind her Grandma to see a pizza being pulled from the oven. The teenage boys behind her let out a series of long belches to announce their departure, bringing Grandma back into the moment.
“Just look at them.” She sneered. “Like little Pillsbury dough boys.”
“Here comes the pizza.” Margaret felt relief prematurely. The pizza was boxed up and sent out with a driver. She looked down at the pile of torn paper and began rolling it tightly together between her finger and thumb.
“Where’s the pizza? I thought you said it was coming?” Grandma stared at Margaret accusingly and pulled her teeth out to take another long pull on her beer. Margaret calmly pushed her seat back, rose from her chair, and walked over to the pizza counter.
“How much longer?” She asked the pizza maker.
“It’s coming right now, sorry about the wait.” He said and opened the oven, plopped the slices on the plates and handed them over to her.
“Here Grandma, be careful they just came out of the oven.” Margaret put a pizza plate in front of her grandma and sat herself back down.
Steam rose and fogged the bottom of Grandma’s glasses. “That’s too hot to eat.”
“Just let it cool.”
“He ate spaghetti.”
Margaret looked up from her plate to see her Grandma digging deep for the memory, staring at the salt and pepper shaker’s on the table. She continued, “Your Aunt Max and I split a pork chop and the tall fella, Marvin, had eggs. Your Granddad didn’t know Marvin so they talked for a while and we left and they took us home.”
“So Granddad dated Aunt Max first?”
“Let me finish the story!”
Margaret gave Grandma a closed lipped smile.
“The next night your Granddad comes to the door. And wants to see your Aunt Max, but she had run out to the store and I told him she was working tonight so it was me or nothing.”
“What about Marvin?”
Grandma stabbed the air with her index finger and raised an eyebrow, “Marvin couldn’t dance. It was your Granddad who paid for our pork chop the night before. So I decided I would go out with him.”
“Was Aunt Max mad?”
“She didn’t know, see I was dressed and ready when your Granddad had come to the door so I just left with him. And I told your Aunt Max when I got home that he had asked for me.”
“Grandma! You tricked them both?” Margaret took a bite of the pizza and sucked in air to cool her mouth.
“Your Aunt Max didn’t have annnny problems finding dates back then, she had the face of an angel, but I had to use my smarts. And I – got – the - boy.” Grandma made a clicking sound with her mouth and winked at Margaret.
“But what happened to the tall dark fella, Marvin?”
“Oh, he went off to war and got shot.”
“Well,” Margaret shrugged, “so did Granddad.”
“Marvin got shot in the ass.” Grandma nodded knowingly.
“So you kept up with Marvin too?” Margaret was somewhat astounded at her Grandma’s prowess.
“No. But I found out about it on the T.V. He came back from the war and became an actor. Lee Marvin.”
Margaret started laughing. “Grandma, you dated Lee Marvin? You’ve never even said anything.”
“Because I dated Marvin Lee, that was his real name, and he was too cheap to pay for a pork chop.”
Margaret looked at her pizza and smiled.