Book Excerpt # 3

Note: I make a ton of pop-culture references in the book. Led Zeppelin makes several appearances. Vika is a big fan.

Vika looked for thrills by traveling to exotic destinations during her mandatory two-week vacations.[1] While traveling through Cambodia and Vietnam, Vika, wearing white silk pants and Tod’s moccasins she purchased for $400 during the layover in Hong Kong, fancied herself to be a sort of female Captain Willard. Locals didn’t cooperate. On a boat tour of the Mekong Delta, she tried to entertain her local guide and a couple of hippie German tourists by quoting Apocalypse Now, only to be met with blank stares.

“Charlie don’t surf,” she said in frustration, as no one around seemed to appreciate her wit.

“Who is Charlie?” her confused guide inquired.

On a tour through Scottish castles, Vika’s plans to enjoy the pastoral scenery and contemplate on medieval culture and epic battles by listening to the Lord of The Rings soundtrack were ruined by her accompanying girlfriends, who insisted on playing Russian pop songs nonstop in the car. She attempted to deal with this grating dichotomy by enlightening them on the narrative and significance of the book, its powerful allegories, and how it’s not about elves and orcs at all. Despite her best rhetorical efforts, her words didn’t have the desired effect.

“They just walk and fight, walk and fight. Where’s the sex? And maybe shit wouldn’t get out of hand if they all just stayed home,” was the overwhelming verdict.

She eventually managed to talk her girlfriends into letting her play the “Battle of Evermore.”[2] “A good gateway drug,” she thought of her choice. Given the chance and hoping for greater effect, Vika sang along — about the Queen of Light and the Dark Lord  — missing the notes, but compensating for it in passion. Still, she failed to generate any interest, just a lot of giggles.

“Let’s find Vika some nice Scottish goblin for tonight,” someone suggested. “Let them play Mordor!” Everyone burst into cackle.

“Fuck you guys!” Vika gave up. “I should have just brought my headphones,” she brooded.

[1] A trader must take an uninterrupted two-week vacation once a year for compliance purposes.

[2] A Led Zeppelin song from album IV that makes references to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

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