This is the opening of something I wrote 15 or so years ago.
It was published in "Sniper Logic" (University of Colorado)
It's about a writer working night in a supermarket to make some money and going crazy!
So again, show or tell?
Not only is there an answer WITHIN paragraphs, but there's also a lot going on in the contrast between paragraphs
Jack Sherman's word today is miasma. He is thinking of the morningfaint stench of misplaced semen, pussy, of feet and toenails and armpits, visitors, paper, print, of red wine drying to a sediment in glasses by the sink, the tiny ozones of television, carpetmites and spilled coffee, aerosol-dampened shit, wash'n'go, exhaust fumes, tyre-slick, colours of sirens, CD residue, atoms.
Yesterday - (milieu) - Jack had thought of lies, protestations, fabrications and confabulations, of subtle underdigging, of sexgame alluding, of hurt and scathe and fluttering, the words first. He thought of proximities, knees which parted, pale hamstrings flashing, of stretches, openings, arms, mouths, legs (briefly), fingers flexing, intellects and raw ape.
The supervisor tells Jack put two gross of Heinz special-offer four-packs out. It's eleven o'clock. Outside the shell of light that's the supermarket car-park the sky is so black it throbs, and Samson Akibile drives the cleaning tractor in and out the shopping trolleys, the stainless proletariat, files, aisles, serries, straightened snakes of silver glinting in dark yellow sodium nitelite.
Jack wheels the loader out into the shelving, into the flourescent white which is blueyellow, the silk-finished beige floor, the semi-naked store. He works out fifty-seven times two-eight-eight as he stacks. "Sixteen thousand, four hundred and sixteen," he says as he comes in.
"How many beans?" the supervisor says.
Jack puts out a hundred and thirty six packs of Tampax Lite, six dozen regular Li-lets. Femfresh hasn't moved. It's not quite midnight. He realises there are no sanitary towels here, only tampons and slips to catch drips. So, he thinks, where will the good catholic girls shop?
Milieu was a good word. Now Jack wonders about milieu with miasma and is miasma, marsh-gas, a milieu of olfactions. He thinks of Scrabble and words like zo, qi, jobe. He seelooks a board and imagines some way of getting a treble-treble with the z on a double letter and all seven letters gone, a score of maybe three-fifty in one hit, like a snort of coke.
Tea-break. One of the girls is looking at the pictures in a book on Diana. He sighs secretly. A year and a half before the murder he sent out 15K and a synopsis for a thriller - MI5/6 Oxbridge grinfucks out to sanitise an author who had stumbled on info concerning - Jesus Christ! - predicting, the neat removal of a royal irritant, a car-accident in France. Not believable, they said. His agent wasn't keen either. This sigh is faintly audible. Had he sold a thousand hardbacks then he'd be a millionaire now. He wouldn't be stacking shelves on a nine through seven shift to stay alive, to stop his wife leaving.
"But she was beautiful," someone says.
Someone else says, "On a scale of one to ten, I'da given er one."