The Secret Society of Sh*tty First Drafts


As part of our paid readership perks, I’m introducing unfettered access to The Secret Society of Sh*tty First Drafts where I share early peeks of my next novel This is Going to Be Hard For You. It is a dark comedy in the spirit of some of my favorite writers: Carl Hiaasen, Grant Ginder, and Nora Ephron.

The Story: An early investor, a woman now ostracized from her peers, profession, and New York high society exacts her revenge on a celebrity wedding planner-Ponzi schemer acting as The Bernie Madoff of Matrimony. Things go too far when he fails to plan for the perfect storm of rage, wisdom, and eye for detail of said midlife woman. (That he was also besties with an infamous sex trafficker and got his start catering her parties doesn’t help!)

Content Warning: While it is a comedy, the book does contain sex, violence, coarse language as well as references to domestic abuse.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination or are used facetiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental, or because it’s genuinely funny.

For Marina... This is going to be fun for you.


“This is going to be hard for you,” said the Chechen, blow torch in hand.

Naked and quivering to the bone, Cormac looked down and regarded his cock with nostalgia. How it bent to the left like an heirloom gourd. Martha Stewart would be proud. He felt it now retract into his scrotal nether regions. Regions he only contemplated as a single entity when death was close and cold.

This is what you get for letting Teddy cosplay Wolf of Wall Street at the Yale Club, you stupid Reno fuck.

They never should have come to Miami. Neither of them.

The last time Cormac saw Teddy, the Chechens were hauling him away with a dead gator clenched to his groin. Still clad in his treasured Brioni, Teddy’s horrified screams seemed to be more about the suit than any injury to his person. Somehow Cormac sensed Teddy would be getting neither back.

Now, here in the buff with the Chechen, Cormac recalled a conversation with a lover at Yale decades earlier. How odd it was that a person of his stature—Cormac was six foot four inches—would have such an insignificantly sized member relative to his height and strength. The lover, an Econ major, had been a fellow oarsman on the varsity crew team, though they had first met in Art History class. The Art of Dionysus: Drink, Drama, and Ecstasy. Art History had been Cormac's reluctant major, a means of postponing life decisions. A mere elective for the senior oarsman.

Unsettled by his lover’s remark, Cormac had argued that in ancient Greece, smaller penis size was highly coveted, and considered more desirable and aesthetically pleasing. He knew he was biding his time with the oarsman and with Art History. Neither was what he truly wanted. What he wanted to do with his life didn’t exist. Not yet. Or not anymore, at least not in any profitable way, his advisor had counseled him.

He was far more transfixed by the theatrical tableaus of the art of celebration, of ritualized catharsis, the bacchanals of the ancients then, the bacchanals of billionaires now. But how to make an industry of it? An empire. Life was a blink in the end. Too precious not to celebrate every nanosecond. A point made all too clear by the Chechen before him now.

“If you just give me the day, I can get you the piece.” God, how had he become such a cliche? Fucking pitiful.

“Celebrity show and tell?” The Chechen raised a sliver of an eyebrow and leaned in. “We both know she is only interested in liquidity event.”

And Cormac did know.

The Chechen twisted the valve. With a hiss, the torch menaced to life.

Just then, the Chechen’s cell phone rang a ridiculous techno-pop acapella version of the song from the film Pitch Perfect. It was Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign.” The solo trill of the soprano’s pure declaration echoed across the empty warehouse as if to mock the blowtorch.

It was her. It had to be her, Cormac thought, feverish with hope. Maybe she would give him more time. Maybe she had an extra condition, or a caveat, or some way. Some weird Yelena-specific loophole.

All of this he knew. In his party-planning life, all of this in his rich vocabulary of client-management-speak was addressable if only he could get dressed and speak to her one-on-one.

“What do you mean?” Disappointment frothed in the Chechen’s tone, “They can do that now? Transplant the whole thing?” He looked over at Cormac and sighed. “Even the balls? Well, I'll be damned. That must cost.”

Cormac thought he was going to faint.

None of this was worth the money he owed. He could pay the money now. Why didn't they understand that? Where was Google Translate when he needed it and why didn’t it speak Chechen Gangster?

The Chechen spoke again. “The rest of the organs are good, apart from the liver. Clearly, martinis for this one...”

Oh, this was about much more than straight-up debt and death. Cormac could see that now. He had made a grave international error of etiquette. He reeled through all available options, outcomes, and consequences. Once he gave up the collateral, they could still do all of this gruesome business anyway. Maybe if they could just kill him first? Maybe that was the best and only option if they wouldn't take the art as collateral.

“And you want us to do his eyelids first, so he cannot close them? As punishment for Jeremy’s girls? Hoo boy...”

At this sentence, Cormac felt his whole body involuntarily begin to quake with such force, that the chair legs began to scrape against the concrete. So, he would be compelled to witness his own demise without so much as the ability to even close his eyes against the agony. The Chechen shot him a look to be silent.

 “Yes, I had Yevgeny pick up the cake... I still don't understand why you want him to have a pastry... OK, OK, Madame...” The Chechen heaved a disappointed sigh and switched off both his phone and the blow torch.

He muttered something unintelligible in Chechen to a slight man with a jaw that reminded Cormac of two ill-fitting puzzle pieces that had been jammed together. And within minutes, the man reappeared before Cormac with a pink box.

Link to the next chapter.