Excerpt from INCOGNOLIO by Michael Sussman

INCOGNOLIO by Michael Sussman

Bewildered but lovable author, Muldoon, is trapped in the dreamlike narrative of his own surrealistic novel. Beginning with just a title—Incognolio—he enters a bizarre fictional realm that plunges him into an identity crisis of anguishing proportions. Is he writing a story in which his stillborn twin sister has come to life, or is he the one who died at birth and it’s his sister who’s writing the novel? Guided only by the whims and dictates of his subconscious mind, Muldoon must unravel the mystery of Incognolio and write his way to freedom or succumb to madness.

 

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CHAPTER ONE
Churn the Weasel

Incognolio.
Ever since the concussion, I can’t get the damn word out of my head.
I haven’t a clue what it means. But I love the sound of it. So, I’ll make it the title of my
novel and allow the entire story to spring forth from this mysterious word.
My neurosurgeon, Dr. Noggin, isn’t so optimistic.
“Given the acute injury to your brain,” he told me, “the resulting deficits in planning and
organization don’t lend themselves to the construction of an orderly plot.”
Screw Noggin. If I wanted an orderly plot I’d reserve one at the cemetery.
The best tack, I decide, is to allow my compromised gray matter to dream up the tale as I
go along, placing trust in my pinwheeling subconscious mind.
But where to begin?
In the past, I’ve found creative inspiration in simply walking the streets of the city. Not
knowing what weather awaits me, I throw on a jacket, say goodbye to sweet Yiddle, scamper
down as many steps as I see fit to create for myself, and emerge onto the busy street, which I’ve
named Random Road.
As I head east toward the harbor, the brisk morning air clears my head, and it occurs to
me that I’ve forgotten my janx. But I decide not to go back for it, for the simple reason that I’m

not entirely certain what a janx is, the tendency to make up words being yet another symptom of
my recent calamity.
After strolling a block and a half I spot conjoined twins standing in front of a brick
building, begging for change. They’re male, about twelve years old, each with just one arm and
one leg to call his own. The onrush of people, bound as they are for important meetings and
pressing engagements, fills me with shame for the way they casually ignore the twins.
The boy on the left has a gentle face, almost feminine in its features, and he brandishes an
upturned newsboy cap. I retrieve a handful of change from my coat pocket—perhaps two or
three bucks—and drop it in the cap. Lefty smiles radiantly and says, “Bless you, sir.”
Righty, whose face is mean and insolent, scowls and says, “Cheapskate! How ’bout some
damn bills?”
So I delve into my wallet, finding to my curious astonishment that it contains only rubles.
With a shrug of my shoulders and an apologetic smile, I deposit a crisp hundred-ruble bill into
the cap.
“What the hell’s that?” says Righty.
“Sorry, it’s all I’ve got.”
“That’s cool, mister.” Lefty winks. “Have a grand day!”
“Asswipe,” mutters Righty, and he spits at me.
Wiping the spittle from my brow with a monogrammed hanky whose provenance I
couldn’t trace if I tried, I forge onward. Two vicious Dobermans materialize at the ends of their
leashes, snapping at me, reined in by an elderly woman dressed in a ratty bathrobe. Which
reminds me to pick up some food for Yiddle, although now I’m pressed to recall whether

 

Bio:

Abandoned by a cackle of laughing hyenas, Michael Sussman endured the drudgery and hardships of a Moldavian orphanage until fleeing with a traveling circus at the age of twelve. A promising career as a trapeze artist was cut short by a concussion that rendered him lame and mute. Sussman wandered the world, getting by on such odd jobs as pet-food tester, cheese sculptor, human scarecrow, and professional mourner while teaching himself the art of fiction. He now lives in Tahiti with Gauguin, an African Grey parrot.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelbsussman
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichaelBSussman
Author Site: https://www.michaelsussmanbooks.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/470851.Michael_Sussman

 

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