This is a continuation of yesterdays post addressing comments brought up in a few beta readers surveys for the Closeout Kings. If you are a beta reader and you have not taken the survey, I urge you to stop reading now.
More than one beta reader commented that Kenny wasn’t as dumb as he should be at times. He used words and language you wouldn’t expect a hickbilly from the backwoods to use. I never really meant for Kenny to be stupid just curious. I know he’s a strange mix of not knowing and knowing. I guess my thinking on Kenny is that he’s not completely closed off from the world. His curiosity (misguided at times) does lead him to explore and seek out information. This is all done outside of the view of the reader, so I can understand how his character seems a little inconsistent. He has a lot of information that you wouldn’t expect him to at times, but sometimes he uses that information out of context which makes him sound really stupid. I wrote a short dialogue between Step and Kenny to give the reader a hint to this off-story behavior of Kenny’s. The danger of doing this is that it can some times come off as unnecessary exposition, so I tried to tread lightly.
This dialogue occurs in the truck after Step and Kenny meet Dani for the first time and it opens here with Kenny speaking:
“Human beings are what’s called pack animals, Step. Means we need others to bond with. Helps us get along better. Even adds years to our lives being with others. Ain’t nothing more important in a human pack than what they call physical communion. Means sex with an emotional tinge to it.”
“Goddamn,” Step said with a laugh. “Did you grow a vagina somewheres along the way?”
“Laugh all you want, but that don’t change the fact that I don’t just need a hooker to hump. I need a lady that I can exchange emotional wherewithal with.”
“I don’t get you at all, Kenny. You’re dumb enough to think there’s such a thing as a nobility prize on the one hand, but on the other, you come up with this pack animal, emotional communion bullshit that makes you sound half-way smart.”
“First off, I’m sure as I can be about that nobility prize. Folks have been winning that thing almost every year for a few years now, and second off, I read up on things.”
“Read? What the shit do you read?”
“Stuff that was writ to be read.”
“I got my daddy’s collection of magazines and the like when he died. It feeds my mind on various topics.”
“Magazines? You mean Playboy?”
Kenny smirked. “I seem to recall coming across an edition or two in his collection, yes.”
Step shook his head. “So in between cranking off throughout the day, you read up on emotional wherewithal and other such nonsense in these pornographic periodicals?”
Kenny shrugged. “I got a curious mind. I ain’t ashamed of that.” He fiddled with his cap. “Do you got that with Bones?”
“Got what with Bones?”
“What I got with Bones ain’t none of your business.”
Once again, thanks for the feedback. It’s really helping see the problem areas.