Title: JUMPING ANTS
Genre: Adult Upmarket Fiction
Word Count: 100,000
With a talent for self sabotage, the charming but aimless Max Walker is fired from an unpaid internship and kicked out his parents’ house in the same week. Max is then waiting in line at a fast-food drive-thru assessing which friend’s couch he’ll now call home when a stranger opens his car door, points a gun at him, and orders him to drive.
The gleaming metal of the barrel commands Max’s attention as he drives the peculiar yet desperate stranger, who calls himself “Z,” into rural Pennsylvania. The truth that Z reveals, that his screwups have led to the impending nuptials of his ex to another man, bonds the two, and they hatch a plan to win back the woman Z calls his soul mate.
The car crash, the drunken bar fight, and especially the feisty bartender they meet along the way force Max to admit the unfazed grin he’s been honing hasn’t fooled anyone, least of all himself. Max sees an older, rounder, more beaten-down version of himself in Z that makes him want . . . something, anything, everything. But he plans to start with the bartender. Before it's too late, Max and Z must both convince the women who have found their way into their hearts that although you can't change for someone, you can change because of someone.
A comedic adventure with a dash of romance and a pinch of soul searching, JUMPING ANTS will appeal to fans of Jonathan Tropper, Nick Hornby, and Lauren Weisberger.
“Sorry,” Max said into his cell phone. “It’s like a Bon Jovi concert just let out.”
That wasn’t exactly a lie. It was 5 p.m. on a rainy Friday in a New Jersey suburb twenty miles from New York City. But the reason why Max wasn’t pulling into his parents’ driveway, his Mini Cooper bursting with shopping bags, had less to do with traffic and more to do with his caloric intake.
Max was in line at a drive-thru waiting to order a fast-food burger. He didn’t even like fast-food burgers. But his body had long since depleted the scant nutrition it gleaned from his morning bowl of sugary cereal.
Max was up next. He couldn’t let his mom know he was waiting to order fast food instead of ticking off another errand on her list.
“Right, rush hour,” his mother said.
Oh, the guilt. “But I’ll finish as fast as I can,” Max said.
“Sorry, Mom, my phone’s almost out of juice. But I’ll be home soon. I promise.”
“Max, wait, exactly how long do you figure?”
The car in front of Max was moving. It was going to be his turn. He had to hang up. Now.
“Mom, I gotta go.”
“Okay, Max. Drive safely.”
“Yeah, Mom, I—” Max’s cell phone went dead.
Just in time. Max pulled up to the menu board and tossed the phone over his head into the backseat.
“May I take your order?”