The Honeymooners are, 150 pages later, still assholes.
I read pretty heavily yesterday and the day before, so I’m about three-quarters through Kinder’s book. Although I probably should have seen this coming, it’s been interesting to see the characters of Kinder and Carver continue to spiral inexorably into a deeper and deeper pile of shit for the last three hundred pages. At first, I thought their infidelities and drunkenness would be their major flaws, mined slowly but surely throughout the book for material. It turns out that by a little more than halfway through the book Kinder and his characters are all sick of judging one another for drinking too much and fucking any vaguely warm flesh, and it becomes like white noise in the background.
At the beginning of the book there was a couple mentions that Ralph and Jim were desirous of fame, of huge and towering success, but at the time they were so far from the possibility that I ignored it. I’d forgotten that Kinder had twenty years to work with. Eventually Ralph, the Carver character, gets his first book of stories published, and so precipitates a chain of anger and malice that makes for very good reading.
The extent of Jim’s jealously of Ralph is astonishing, and for him the solution is the needle, lie to, and abuse Ralph in every way he can. This of course is after he married Ralph’s former mistress. Ralph falls apart big time not to long after this. He loses everything and is drinking vodka 24/7 in a seedy motel room; eventually he calls Jim for help. He’s at the end of his rope. Jim responds that he’ll throw a party for Ralph’s birthday, and that he should come stay with him. Jim has recently published a book, so I figured this was a good sign.
Jim turns the party into a coming out fest for his book. He makes Ralph a cake with a file buried inside, so that he can break out of jail when they catch up with his debts, but assures him he won’t have time to get out before at least one “buggery.” He even arranges to have Ralph’s estranged wife show up and let him know he has a court date in the morning.
That’s some real fucked-up shit.