Excerpt #3 From Dave Barry’s new book ‘Insane City’

Avoid gluten, boiled rabbit


The Herald is publishing excerpts from Dave Barry’s new novel, ‘Insane City.’ Here is an excerpt from Chapter 53.

He reached Corliss’ suite and pressed the door buzzer. From inside he heard a shout, which sounded like Corliss, and then a laugh, which sounded like another man. Mike frowned: This was supposed to be a one-on-one breakfast. He waited at the door. Nobody came. He heard more shouts and laughter. He pressed the door buzzer, leaving his finger on the button longer this time.

He heard footsteps. The door opened. Mike’s jaw dropped. It was Marty, wearing only a huge bathing suit the color of a traffic cone, his pasty white belly drooping over the waistband.

“Look who’s here!” said Marty.

“Who’s there?” replied Wendell from inside the suite.

“The father of the bride!” said Marty.

“Who?” said Wendell.

“Mike,” said Marty.

“Ah,” said Wendell.

Mike stepped into the suite, which was huge. To the left, beyond a barrier of sofas, the TV was showing Spongebob Squarepants. In the distance, Wendell, in a bathrobe, was seated at the dining-area table, frowning at the screen of a laptop computer. The table was strewn with coffee cups, dirty plates and ravaged stainless-steel platters of bacon, toast and potatoes. In the middle was a large Styrofoam takeout container containing two pancakes.

“So,” said Mike, approaching Wendell, “are we ...”

Wendell raised a hand, stopping him. “Marty,” he said, “how do you capture a graveyard again?”

“Which graveyard?” said Marty.


“No no no,” said Marty, waving his arms. “Do not capture Snowfall Graveyard.”

“Why not?”

“We don’t want to re-spawn out of the battle.”

“Ah,” said Wendell.

“What’s going on?” said Mike.

“World of Warcraft,” said Marty. “Ever play?”

“No,” said Mike, trying not to look at Marty’s vast, mayonnaise-white belly. He turned to Wendell. “So, are we still on for breakfast?”

Wendell looked up at Mike. His eyes were bloodshot. “You have got to try the pancakes,” he said. “There’s a couple left.”

Mike looked at the pancakes, then back at Wendell. “I’m cutting down on gluten,” he said.

Wendell nodded. “Is it just me,” he said to Marty, “or does it seem like everybody’s cutting down on gluten?”

“It’s not just you,” said Marty. “Five years ago, I never even heard of gluten. Then all of a sudden it’s the worst thing in the world. It’s the Nazi Party of food ingredients. People are scared to death of gluten. You could rob a bank with it. The bank people would be like, ‘Do whatever he says! He’s got gluten!’ ” Marty burped. “What the heck is gluten, anyway?”

“It used to be trans fats,” said Wendell.

“Gluten did?” said Marty.

“What I mean,” said Wendell, “is that it used to be you weren’t supposed to eat anything with trans fats. Or maybe you were supposed to eat things with trans fats. I don’t remember which. You never hear anybody talk about them anymore. They’re over.”

“Like MySpace,” said Marty. “Or global warming.”

“Or Deepak Chopra.”



“What about carbs?” said Marty.

“What about carbs?” said Wendell.

“Are they still bad?”

Wendell frowned. “I think so,” he said. “But not as bad as gluten. Or lactose! Lactose is evil. Lactose is death. Lactose is Glenn Close, in that movie where she stalks whatshisname.”


“Whatshisname. You know. She boils his daughter’s rabbit.”

“Who does?”

“Glenn Close.”

“Glenn Close boils a rabbit?”

“You never saw this movie?”

“No. Why did she do that?”

“She was in love with whatshisname.”

“So she boils a freaking rabbit?”



“How does she boil it?”


“In a pot.”

Marty thought about that. “Why doesn’t it jump out?”

“Of the pot? They don’t explain that.”

“That’s a plot flaw. I mean, a rabbit is not a lobster. You put a lobster in a pot, it stays in the pot. But a rabbit would definitely jump out.”

“Yes, but if she boiled a lobster, nobody would care. I mean, as a viewer, you’d be thinking, Big deal, a lobster.”

“No, I understand that. It couldn’t be a lobster. But it could be a small dog.”

“Dogs can jump.”

“OK, maybe a chicken.”

“No, because there you have the lobster problem all over again. A chicken boiling in a pot, the viewer goes, Well, it’s only a chicken.

“So you’re saying it has to have fur.”

“No, I’m not ruling out feathers entirely. For example, it could be a parrot, but it has to have some personality. Like earlier in the movie it says some comical words or phrases, so the viewers get to know it, and their reaction is, Oh no! Glenn Close boiled Polly!

Marty thought about that. “Why wouldn’t the parrot just fly out of the pot?”

“Excuse me,” said Mike, trying not to show how annoyed he was getting.

Reprinted by arrangement with G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. From Insane City copyright 2013 by Dave Barry.

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