All romantic comedies are different, yet the essential story remains the same. When humans, in loving union, are paper-clipped together – there is comedy. The joys of the big O our ill luck. The hubris of our muscular-gum bedroom acrobatics a constant punchline. No pretzelian logic or Ex Deus Machina can save us. We continue making the magic happen, and the ancient gods must have their due. Human sexuality is,...
All romantic comedies are different, yet the essential story remains the same. When humans, in loving union, are paper-clipped together – there is comedy. The joys of the big O our ill luck. The hubris of our muscular-gum bedroom acrobatics a constant punchline. No pretzelian logic or Ex Deus Machina can save us. We continue making the magic happen, and the ancient gods must have their due. Human sexuality is, and always will be, an active yowling mystery. And humour will always strip away our fig leaf.
Atom & Eve is a modern retelling of the chuckles of Adam and Eve. Atom Clemens and Eve Christmas are two astronomers who find each other in 1966 Hawaii while enthralled with a solar eclipse. Like the original two lovebirds from the special garden, their lives become defined by the beauty and exquisite pathos of their “love-connection”.
Chrome-laden cars tootled along the Hawai’ian blacktop. It was the summer of 1966, before the hotel boom. Plantations of sugar cane, pineapple, and other assorted moneycrops crisscrossed the countryside.
A canary-yellow XKE roared along, its crackled ragtop bundled up on the back deck. Atom, in his late twenties, a little bookish-looking with a pen-stroke physique (‘I’m a man of my own page’, he would say) sat in the driver’s seat. He had just won the car the night before in his first ever high-stakes poker game, and still couldn’t believe his incredible luck. Driving flat out, the sunlight bursting through the rows of coconut palm trees kept making eyeblink slashes of dazzle-then-dark. Dazzle-then-dark.
He shifted his weight in the butter-soft leather seats, threw the shift lever through its paces in the crash-bang gearbox. The car was full of scratches and dents, primer showing through all over the place. Even a bit of corrosion and rust. But all it cost him was a good bluff and then a great hand. And now here he was, in a V12 with its sneer curls and birdcage grille.
The ocean wind pushed back his long hair, made it collapse behind his collar. The sky was partly cloudy, and he hoped it wouldn’t get any cloudier. That would be horrendous.
He checked his watch. Swore to himself beneath his breath as he fixed the stiff collar below his adam’s apple, and above his striped palm beach suit.
He turned another corner and had to suddenly pull hard on the steering wheel. An animal lay in his path on the road. He veered the Jaguar onto the shoulder, but wasn’t quick enough to stop the car from smacking a large rock perched there. As the jag’s steel monocoque careened off the rock, he heard the ugly complaint of metal grinding.
His foot hard on the brakes, the car finally skid to a stop. The engine hacked twice, sputtered once, then died. He turned the ignition key, but didn’t even get a clicking sound.
The hands on his watch told him he was going to miss the whole astral event if he didn’t get his butt in gear soon.
A few more gray-black clouds rolled onto the scene.
He reached behind the driver’s seat, lifted up a large brass anchor, and threw it a few feet into the grassy field. Yellow rope tied between the anchor and the car spooled out behind it.
I wrote this novel before going to Harvard for my master’s degree. While in Cambridge I had the good fortune to fine tune the story in a creative writing class at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. I hope you enjoy it!