Soda Can

Deleted Scene

The Psychotic Cindy Scene

At the start of the novel, Cindy (a.k.a the model Babe-A-Licious) was meant to be further over the edge; psychotic, even. As her character developed, though, I realized that she wasn’t nuts: she did have a consistent internal logic. Her view of the world is different to Scat and 6’s, but it’s not wacko. I toned her down, but this scene lasted almost until the end, when Carolyn (my editor) pointed out that I probably didn’t want to call her “schizophrenic.”


There are four messages on the machine when I arrive home. The first three are from someone who likes calling answering machines and hanging up without saying anything, and the fourth is from Cindy. Cindy is a friend of mine from High School, and she’s tall, cute and psychotic.

This was a pretty wild combination in High School, when we just thought she was uninhibited; everyone was pretty embarrassed when she was diagnosed as schizophrenic. She’s been on medication since, which usually works, but she’s still pretty cool and perfect date for parties of people who think it’s clever to act incomprehensible.

Cindy sounds pretty rational tonight, so I listen to her whole message, which is about six minutes long. She tells me about her job (she’s a flight attendant), her dreams (she wants to be a model) and a piece of chicken that got stuck in her teeth (I guess you had to be there). Since the dinner with 6 has left me with enough adrenaline to lift a truck, I call her up.


“Hi there.”

“Scat,” she says. “Hey, I’ve been meaning to call you.”

“You did call me,” I remind her. With a sinking feeling, I realize that Cindy isn’t so rational tonight after all. “I’m returning your call.”

“Whatever. Look, I want to tell you that I don’t think we should see each other any more. I’m sorry, but I’ve given it a lot of thought. We’re finished.”

“We never started,” I say.

“Really?” Cindy says, confused.

“You wanted to,” I remind her, “but we never did.” I grab an apple from the fruit basket, which Sneaky Pete unfailingly keeps stocked, and bite into it.

“Who am I talking about, then?”

“I don’t know,” I say through my fruit.

“Son of a bitch,” Cindy says wonderingly.

“You want me to come over?”

“Oh... no...” Cindy says, sounding distracted. “We’ll do lunch some time, okay?”

“Okay. I’ll tell you about my get-rich-quick idea.”

“Oh Scat,” she says, bemused, “you’re such an upper in my life.”

I’m not sure what to say, but with Cindy that rarely matters so I just say, “Thanks.”

“See ya,” Cindy says.

“Ciao,” I say, and hang up.

In the very first draft, right after Cindy tells Scat she wants to break up (“I don’t think we should see each other any more...“), she spends three pages listing his failings in their relationship. I thought it was funny to make readers plow through these long, rambling sentences and then discover it’s all in Cindy’s head. But then I came to my senses.