Those weren't diet pills...
and a little bit of holiday mixup
Around Halloween, my daughter devised a plan for how she will someday hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Picture this: She’s grown, no longer a spunky nine year old but an equally spunky twenty-something with that same glint in her eye. She’s excited for the holiday and has invested dedicated thought to what she will stock for the children. Kit-Kats, Snickers, Reese’s… All the Halloween staples are there.
She’s picked out a large bowl, something festive and orange, and fills it to the brim with delicious spooky treats and sets it on her porch. And to top it off, she includes a handwritten note that reads: Don’t Touch. For Display Only.
That gives some insight as to what I’m dealing with.
You’ve been so warned.
Let’s start here:
“He understood the cost at which this came…that made his actions worse; that he knew what he was doing, but chose to do so anyway. It added to the guilt; made it more damnable.”
Given that we are about to celebrate our thanks by consuming vast quantities of food, it seems fitting that I should write about Lucas, the glutton. I didn’t want to make it overly obvious and play up his eating habits. Instead, I opted to have his gluttony represented through chemical abuse. He desires more and more, even when it comes at the expense of another. His motto is something like “more is never enough”.
“His relief came at the expense of someone else’s pain; his salvation was only at the loss of another’s.”
He’s cruel and selfish, thinking only of where he can get his next meal, so to speak. He steals from his father, rationalizing his actions in the process. Once he has the pills he craves, in they go into that obnoxious fun-dip bag he carries everywhere. When he feels guilt, he pushes it back down. He takes everything too far. There’s real addiction there - he’s struggling, and it’s obvious to those around him. Rachel saw it first and brought it to Tommy, hoping he could help his brother. But being the sloth, Tommy neglects his duty to his brother and the pattern continues.
I made an attempt to use specific language with Lucas, always trying to lean in toward food or consumption phrasing. There’s licking of lips, impulse to indulge, his mouth waters. When he gets angry I describe it as “boiling”. At his end, smoke and flame “swallow” him. I’m not sure how well I succeeded in this goal, but it’s what I was shooting toward.
One of the things I discovered through the writing process was there’s more overlap in the seven deadly sins than what I thought at first glance. It got tricky trying to make sure each character stayed true to their motivations. Gluttony can feel quite similar to greed and lust, or whatever combination you can come up with. Envy and pride mixed together nicely. I tried to keep the character’s motivations true to what they represented, but there’s overlap. Real life isn’t ever cut so cleanly. People are complex, often not understanding ourselves, let alone others. I hope this didn’t make the characters too one-dimensional. That wasn’t the intent.
Lucas never did beat his demons. If my phrasing continues to hold, they ate him alive.