In 2010 Mark Baumer walked across the entire United States (from Georgia to California) which he documented on his tumblr, The Baumer. This year he’s writing 50 novels. On Sunday he asked Tom Hanks for $50,000 dollars to cover costs for that project. Tom Hanks declined. So now he’s asking the rest of us for $50,000 on Kickstarter. He sent me this exclusive excerpt from his novel I Only Hang Out With International Couples, which is one of the fifty, to share with you.
The heat in Richard’s bedroom turned everything brown. He put on a beige raincoat and walked to a tanning salon.
Richard did not feel comfortable going inside the tanning salon so he pressed his face on the tanning salon and looked inside. His breath fogged up the window. Richard drew on the glass with his finger. The drawing began to wrinkle and bubble. A woman came out of the tanning salon and told Richard not to breathe on the windows. She had nice fingernails.
A bus stopped near the tanning salon. A man and a blond woman climbed off the bus. The man pulled a piece of gum out of his arm pit. The blond woman was already chewing gum. The two of them chewed each other’s gum for a few minutes until the man said, “I have to pee.” The blond woman said, “You should pee on that man in the beige raincoat.” The man asked Richard if he could pee on him. Richard shrugged and looked away while the man peed on his beige raincoat.
The man who peed on Richard ended up going to the movies with the blond woman. Richard followed them and watched their faces be tender to each other inside the movie theater. After the movie the man and the blonde woman went to an amusement park and played inside a room filled with the thought of children laughing until they made bad smells. Richard ate some cotton candy and watched the man and the blond woman make bad smells inside the thought of children’s laughter. When the man and the blond woman got home they ate hummus and sat on the couch. They watched the evening news, three episodes of an old sitcom, and a television court drama before they went in the bedroom. When they were both naked the man pointed at Richard who was standing outside their bedroom window, breathing on the glass. The man opened the bedroom window. Richard began to crawl inside, but the man peed on him so Richard stopped climbing in the window and went home.
A few weeks later Richard saw the blond woman at the fitness center. He waved at her. She was touching a machine that Richard didn’t know how to use. The blond woman stopped touching the machine Richard didn’t know how to use and walked over to where Richard had been laying on the ground doing his stomach movements. The blond woman said her name was Jenny and that she was married to a patent attorney who liked to pee on other men. Richard apologized for standing outside of her bedroom window while he husband was peeing. Jenny laughed and said, “My husband probably wouldn’t like it if he knew I was talking to you.” Richard tried to think of something funny to say, but couldn’t so he said, “I would like to eat your husband’s vegetables.”
When they got to Jenny’s house she said her husband would be home late and showed Richard a green pepper that her husband probably would have eaten. Richard asked if he could wash it off before eating it. Jenny pointed at the kitchen sink. Richard washed the green pepper and then went in the living room. He took off all his clothes and sat cross-legged in the middle of the carpet while he ate the green pepper. Some of the green pepper seeds fell on the floor. Richard asked Jenny if her husband would be mad when he found green pepper seeds in the living room. She ignored his question and asked why he was so pale. He didn’t say anything and put his clothes back on. Jenny asked Richard if he wanted to see her husband’s collection of mannequins. Richard said he didn’t because he was tired and wanted to go home.