Friday, November 30, 2018

Page 69: Chinese Gucci

Disclaimer: The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....

In this installment of Page 69, 

We put Hosho McCreesh's Chinese Gucci to the test!

Set up page 69 for us. What are we about to read:

It’s the end of chapter 11, and takes place at the dogtrack in Juarez. After being fired from his fast food job, and in an attempt to reconnect with old “friends” — the book’s main character, Akira, takes an ill-advised road-trip down to Mexico.

There, he and his friends have met a group of girls, and they’ve all spent the afternoon hanging out. Akira is throwing around money, showing off, desperately thinking the girls will like him if he does. In this scene, there’s a blow up with the girl he has basically just met but likes — who has wandered off in search of a better time. Partly out of genuine concern, and partly out of a ridiculous, stalker-ish mentality, he has gone looking for the her. When Akira finally finds her, she’s at another racetrack bar, drinking shots with some random guy.

What is Chinese Gucci about?

The elevator pitch is: A modern-day Holden Caulfield, in Juarez, Mexico, living out his fucked-up version of the American Dream selling fake designer purses via his dead mother's eBay account. For me, it's a screed against some very prescient America notions (toxic masculinity, globalism, jingoism, flippant sexism and racism) with an unreliable narrator who is both his own worst enemy, and the struggling architect of his own hard-won and lonely salvation.

Do you think this page is a good reflection of the book overall? Does it align itself with the book’s overall theme?

It definitely does. It features Akira and his skewed perceptions…his bullshit, tough-guy delusions; it features fake designer purses — Chinese Gucci — one of many façades in the book; and it is a catalyst for how Akira’s whole lucrative hustle comes about. Throw in the “getting drunk in Juarez,” and it hits on a lot of the books aesthetics and themes in a single page. It clearly shows the character caught in the dissonance between who he wants to be and who he actually is — certainly at the core of the novel. He’s acting out in counter-productive ways, against his true desires — but basically unable to stop himself. And on an even deeper level, I hope the scene addresses the book’s allegorical approach to as Akira as a stand-in or proxy for the American experience.

Page 69

“Hey…how much?” Akira said to the Mexican, “How much if I let you fuck my girl?”
“What?!” Blue Glitter Top said.

The Mexican started laughing.

“No shit, amigo. Two hundred, American.” Akira went on like a shopkeeper, “mira, mira…number one best priiiice.”
“‘Your girl?’” she said. “Fuck you, pal!” She took three steps, stopped, and turned — yanking everything from her fake Gucci. “You can keep your shitty bags,” throwing both at Akira’s feet. She walked a few more steps then stopped. “And you’re fat too!” She stomped away. Over her shoulder she yelled, “And you have awful skin!”

Akira stooped, picked up the purses, and was tempted to say something about the sunglasses. He couldn’t think of anything. He pretended to laugh. He ordered a beer, and drained off half with his first few gulps.

“Putas,” the Mexican at the bar said, raising his Bud.
“Yeah,” said Akira, “putas,” raising his can before draining off the rest.


Hosho McCreesh is currently writing & painting in the gypsum & caliche badlands of the American Southwest. His work has appeared widely in print, audio, & online.

No comments:

Post a Comment