A note from Dan: I wrote This Book Is Not for You in bits and chunks over an 11-plus-year period, and because of that the book went off all kinds of tangents sometimes. Here are some of those tangents, the ones that got cut out and de-tangented.
The character of Noggin was loosely based on one of my good old Lawrence, Kansas, friends but never made it into the damn book. So here he is an outtake, squinting down at The Replay Lounge. (I love you, dude!) Also, Jimmyhead, at one point, was named the Poopster, and at one point, the character of Marilynne, whose ghost haunts Neptune (our first-person protagonist) owned ferrets:
Marilynne owned those three chittering ferrets.
“I am not a cat lady,” she used to say.
“Bigger lies have been told, but this was all spin,” Noggin said. “The ferrets were signifiers for cats. They represented cats. They were cats.”
“They were pretty fugly cats,” [Jimmyhead] said.
“Cats wouldn’t have fucked her up so much,” Noggin said. “I heard the ferrets chewed off her fingers.”
“They did no such fucking thing,” I said.
“Oh, great,” [Jimmyhead] said, “now he’s standing up for the ferrets.”
Noggin must have looked at me then, squinted through his glasses as I sat next to the ghost and lined up three shots.
“Are you okay, Neppy,” Noggin said, “I mean really?”
He wasn’t just 1.3 times smarter than us. He was 1.3 times kinder.
At one point, Neptune stopped by the home of William Burroughs, who lived in #LFK (Lawrence Fucking Kansas):
I partied once at William Burroughs’ house, just this little red bungalow west of downtown, but Burroughs was long gone by then. I don’t even think I partied in the house. I think I drank a beer on the porch on the way to some other party.
Here’s Neptune observing some Mass St. graffiti:
Up on top of a building on Mass, corner of 10th, opposite of the Replay, someone has painted “Try cursive writing” in white block letters on a brick facade.
I have tried cursive. The same shit keeps coming out, just with curlicues.
Here’s a frickin’ ghost raccoon:
I saw one other thing too. Right in front of The Replay, a raccoon crouched on the sidewalk, gaping and snarling at life. I stopped feet away from it, and it hunched up its back and looked at me. We had a moment of mammalian recognition, and as I looked into its black eyes, like lumps of charcoal that were burning down to gray, becoming hot dust, I knew it was dead. It was a ghost of a raccoon. I felt the sweaty idea of this wrap around my neck, and the raccoon sort of nodded then turned and walked down the street. It was dead and gone, and I wondered how many of those ghost were out there, pigeon ghosts on the roof and cat ghosts dreaming of those pigeons.
I thought about the little death of ghost sex.
And finally, here’s Neptune at the Free State on a Monday night, when they have half-price beers:
At the Free State, the hippie kids consorted with the hippie adults. No one smelled like patchouli. They never did, but a few smelled like musty towels, and a man with a long gray dreadlocked beard wore a three-piece suit and a splendid black beret. He had a pint of beer in each of his hands. A tall woman smiled at me across the room. She had familiar teeth and a long, thin index finger that she pointed at me. Her hand, I noticed was shaped into the international finger symbol for “gun.” I expected more of these hippies. As I approached, she looked less familiar. Perhaps she was shooting her finger gun at someone else. I folded into the crowd, stepped out the door into the small porch on Massachusetts Street. The night chill had pushed most of the crowd inside, with the exception of three college kids with tiny soul patches who were arguing about economics, logistics, even philosophy: there were three of them and, tragically, just two cigarettes. Taken individually, their soul patches would have looked like errors in shaving, but collectively, they must have had some serious facial-hair plan.
“I need a cigarette, man,” one of them said.
“Oh, man, oh, man,” one of them said.
“Just share the fucking things,” I said.
They didn’t seem to hear or care. I drank my half-price beer and let the cool of the night brush up against my skin. I felt a tingle of grief running through my skin. Rainclouds might have been coming in. Thunder might have been on the way. Hail might have lurked with its denty menace.
“It’s got to be like 40 degrees out here,” I said.
One of the soul-patchers looked at me as if he had made a rare discovery.
“Dude,” he said, “got a cigarette?"