I was re-reading Jordan Castillo Price’s most recent PsyCop novel, GhosTV, today and was reminded that one of the things I love so much about the series is the narrator’s voice. Vic, the narrator, is an intriguing combination of bravery and cowardice; he’s spent a lot of time and energy making sure that’s he’s not noticeable or pinging anyone’s radar — both anti-Psych people and the government, of whom he is justly suspicious after his early experience with institutionalization. He’s both without vanity (careless about hair and dressing) and ridiculously vain (wanting to be athletic for his hot boyfriend even though the boyfriend is clearly pretty happy with him as he is).
This passage near the end of GhosTV tickled me. It’s just so Vic.
I stood up, grabbed the bag out of Lyle’s hand and started rifling through it. I was so enthusiastic the paper tore. There were chips in there. Warm, crunchy corn tortilla chips that stained the bag dark where the oil wicked out of them…and there was probably extra salsa in there too, but I’d shoved a whole handful in my mouth without even checking for those little plastic tubs. Salt. Grease. Corn. Really good, even with a pointy triangular corner digging into my soft palate.
Jacob looked at me sideways. “I’m starving,” I said. A few flecks of corn chip blew out of my mouth as I spoke.
“You don’t say.”
Lyle flushed a bit—no doubt vicariously embarrassed for me—but I couldn’t stop eating. I jammed in another few chips. Also pointy. He started to back toward the door, unsure where to look: at me, eating like I’d developed a sudden and profound tapeworm, or at the seventies-style TV in the middle of the room.
I sat back down on my bed, tore the bag the rest of the way open, and pulled out one of the burritos. It felt like it weighed a pound. I unwrapped an end and briefly considered swallowing it whole, boa constrictor-style, but supposed it would be less of a choking hazard if I chewed it first.
I looked down and my burrito was gone. I finished the chips. Then I pulled the lid off the salsa fresca and drank it.
Jacob didn’t say a word when I finished his burrito, too. He did watch me, but he held his tongue. And when I was done, I felt like I could have eaten more, but the sheer pain of my stomach being stuffed to capacity would’ve prevented it.