Excerpt from Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Edgar and Lucy

by Victor Lodato

Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato X
Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato
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    Mar 2017, 544 pages

    Feb 2018, 544 pages


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Hee hee hee, went the doll, as Edgar entered the living room. Mr. S quickly pulled his meaty hand from between Lucy's legs.

"Eddie," he boomed from the couch. "Eddie, my man!"

Lucy tugged at her dress. There was a sweating bottle of booze on the coffee table, the vodka she kept in the freezer (it never froze, to Edgar's amazement).

"What are you doing up? What did I tell you?" Lucy brushed back her hair with her fingers. Her pink lips were slightly smeared.

"I thought you were going out." Edgar didn't look at his mother. He watched the cigarette in the ashtray, watched the forbidden smoke rise in curls of script. "I wasn't spying on you. I didn't know it was you."

"Who else would it be?" said Lucy, standing, putting her hands on her hips like a sixteen-year-old.

How old was she anyway? Edgar wasn't sure. Thirty, maybe, but she looked a lot younger, standing like that, and with her lips smeared like she'd been eating jam.

The butcher stood, as well. Edgar couldn't see any blood on his clothing. Still, he wasn't pleased when the man moved toward him.

"He's all right. Just checking on his mom."

The man touched the boy's head with the same hand that had been between Lucy's legs. As well as inside pigs and chickens and cows. Edgar froze.

"Whoa," the butcher said. "What do you smell like?" He leaned in and began to sniff.

"Na-nothing," Edgar stuttered, taking two steps back.

But the butcher pursued him. "Is that perfume?"

"No. I spilled something."

Edgar suddenly wished he could fart. He had heard that there was a boy in his school who could fart on command. Edgar couldn't even manufacture a burp, a skill that every other boy in the world seemed to possess. Supposedly it was just a matter of swallowing air, but how did one swallow air? Edgar pressed his knees together and prayed for flatulence.

Lucy was sniffing now, too. The boy waited for a snotty comment from a sixteen-year-old, but, instead, his mother smiled. Her face relaxed, as if something important had been clarified. A tiny whoosh of air streamed from her nose. Was she laughing at him? She leaned down and kissed the boy's lips. She stared into his eyes and stroked his hair. Edgar knew she was drunk. They had shared odd moments like this before—moments in which the world dropped away and it was just the two of them, half asleep, with a nervous red thread quivering between their chests.

"Oh, baby," she said, shaking her head. More air came out of her nose, three short bursts of it. Sometimes, to Lucy, it all seemed so absurd. Again, she kissed the boy. Her burden. Her funny little albino fruitcake.

"I should get going," the butcher said.

"Hold your horses," Lucy barked. And then sweetly, softly, to Edgar: "Would you please go to fucking bed?"

The boy nodded, but didn't move. Why was his face burning? Why did he feel like crying?

Lucy turned, put out her cigarette, and grabbed the butcher's arm. "Come on. I want to go to Larson's."

"We can have a drink at my place," he suggested.

"I don't want to be in a house," Lucy said. "I want to be out." She heard her voice—sharp and ridiculous—as if it were coming from a woman standing beside her. Why was she getting so riled up? The man was going to think she was a bitch. She adjusted her dress and, in an effort to get back on track, slipped two fingers between the buttons of the butcher's shirt and caressed his belly.

Edgar watched them as they put on their coats in the foyer. He waited for his mother to look back, but she didn't. Only the butcher looked back. He stared at the boy and offered no discernible gesture of farewell. Edgar closed his eyes, hoping the man could no longer smell the scent that, amazingly, almost diabolically, still lingered upon his skin.

Excerpted from Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato. Copyright © 2017 by Victor Lodato. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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