This excerpt is from Lions Among Us, a novel I'm currently working on.
Lions Among Us
It was an era of bronzed gods and goddesses, the likes of which had only been hinted at by 21st century Miami. Old age was no longer just defined by wrinkles, spots, pallor, or any of the traditional markers of decrepitude. Botox and its ilk had elevated expressions to a taboo after the age of 29. Laughing, grinning, and twitching were all strictly frowned upon, along with frowning. That’s when the counterculture group Lions Among Us sprung into action. Their original mission, under the aegis of Ronald Arnsbuckle, had been to celebrate bravery and courage wherever found in society. Lawsuits had become so commonplace, it was pretty much impossible to accomplish an act of courage that wasn’t going to be very expensive to defend in court. But medals from a cohort of poorly paid activists wasn’t enough to overcome the stigma and expense of committing bravery prominent enough to attract attention. So the ever-enterprising Ronald took his cue from the latest anti-trend and launched an underground guerilla war against the “inexpressibles,” as he called them. The everyday professionals with their khakhi trousers, blue cotton collars, and utter lack of enthusiasm for emotions.
He began by practicing the most extreme expressions he could in the mirror in his room at the Y. Delight, rage, and amazement were among his repertoire, but he tried to avoid anything too sad. No anguish or disappointment. He found that a combination of shock, amazement, and a hint of fear produced the most satisfying reactions on his face, hastening the aging process until he began to resemble a weathered corpse. Satisfied with his experiments at home, Ronald decided to launch his first campaign. He was going to frighten people into premature old age.