Monday, December 18, 2006

New Beginning 176

“In Pigwell, time is not measured by days or weeks but by the number of eighteen wheelers that drive past my house.” Luke O’Mullington pontificated, drinking his bottle of near beer. What with it being the big barbecue day and all that, his wife didn’t allow him to drink regular beer before her family arrived.

“Time must go slowly out here in Pigwell then,” Tyler said, smiling at Jimmy Joe and Sally.

“I’m glad you guys are getting to see my family homestead and a traditional family barbecue,” Luke answered. Time didn’t matter out here. Someday these city-folk friends of his would understand.

“Why when I was a kid, I used to sit out here in mah yard and count forty or fifty eighteen wheelers passin’ just before breakfast, whole caravans of them. Why, it was a sight to see, a sight to tell your kids. Now wit’ the new highway, we’re lucky to see one a day and that one, either headed to the Walmart or lost, lost, lost,” Luke said, his voice trailing off, his eyes tearing.

"Pay him no mind," Maisie O'Mullington said, gentle laughter in her voice, as she came up behind the visitors. "He's still hankerin' after his past.

"Y'know, them big semis used to zip through here all the time, and every season they'd be bound to get a deer or two to see us through. Now, there's nary a one, and us poor country folks can't afford those Walmart prices.

"That's why we like to have a city family like you folks for dinner."

That was when Tyler noticed the ax in Maisie's hand and realised just what "family barbecue" meant in these parts.

Opening: Dave Fragments.....Continuation: Anonymous


Bernita said...

Dave, I suspect you of writing your own continuation.

HawkOwl said...

I hope this is a Nils Holgersson type thing where the guy flies away with the semis and has many wonderful adventures across Sweden. Otherwise I don't think I'm liking it.

Dave said...

oh hell no Bernita! ! ! ! !
I'm just as surprised that it's cannibalism (again)!

Anonymous said...

In Pigwell?
Where is Stephen King when we need him?

anon said...

Dave, the opening is intended as humor I hope. Otherwise, the "country folk-speak" cliche is painful.

Anonymous said...

This isn't the place for this but, what the heck.

Here's an excerpt from the greatest face lift of all time: FACE LIFT 78.

[Jaws? Are there sharks? You haven't mentioned any sharks. Sharks would definitely improve this book. So would a wolfman. Is there a wolfman?] [If there's a wolfman in a book, it should be stated clearly, up front; it's sure to be a major selling point, and you don't want it getting lost in all the boring personal security, implications of legislation, and software development crap.] [In fact, here's what I recommend: keep the sharks and the wolfman--make it two wolfmen, in fact--dump the software/private eye guy, and add some zombies, a brutal eunuch, a few ruthless vigilante sorcerers, and the Pooka of Leinster.] [You're probably thinking, But that would make it a completely different book! Exactly!]

The second best all time feature on EE is FACE LIFT 75, the birthplace of so many stock characters (including the brutal eunuch, cynical mercenary and the vigilante sorceror).

anybody have any other nominations for all time greatest GTP or FL?

Bernita said...

The continuation lifted lines from your original, that's why I said that.

writtenwyrdd said...

I was hearing banjos as I read that. I found the dialog a bit contrived, but the beginning came across to me like intended humor.

The continuation was hysterical.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about the use of "pontificated" here. Luke's words sound more like a "homespun philosophy" than a dogma, and didn't seem to match what I infer about his character from the later paragraphs.

But, as far as country cannibal stories go, it's a pretty conventional start.

Rei said...

This was fine for me... at first. It was nice and cute, measuring time by semis... but it went on and on. It first got annoying at "Time didn't matter out here."

Dave said...

yes, the continuation was excellent. I just wish I didn't inspire cannabalism.

They might eat game and (on occasion) road kill but not homo sapiens. I live out in the country and any critter is fair game - - from Bambi to squirrels to turkey to groundhog.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope the opening is supposed to be humorous, as the dialog is so contrived as to be laughable. If the imagery desired in the mind of the reader is that of a cartoon, it works. If not, well, back to the ol' drawing board. The last two paragraphs are particularly painful.

Anonymous said...

Wow, those facelifts from over the summer were funny, but brutal. Evil really has gotten a lot nicer since then.

Evil Editor said...

anybody have any other nominations for all time greatest FL?

Face-lifts 40 and 7 were also distinctive for running a phrase into the ground, #40 being the origin of the Ruthless Vigilante Sorcerers.

McKoala said...

Pigwell is just soooooo close to Pigswill.

Is this what you write Dave? Not what I expected. There's an awful lot of words in it...

xiqay said...

I liked the first sentence. The rest, less and less until I wanted to stop reading. When I got to "Time didn't matter out here"-a point I might add that we already got from the very first line and then hammered again and again-I just didn't want to go on.

But I did, in the spirit of EE's blog. The dialogue was stilted.

The continuation was predictable, but at least okay.

Must be the pre-holiday biz'ness that needs tendin' and all those trips to Walmart to eye the purty things and all, ya reckon?

Dave said...

The line "In Pigwell, time is not measured by days or weeks but by the number of eighteen wheelers that drive past my house"
is not my writing,
Someone suggested the line and I used it. I would have used any small town in West Virginia if I had written it.

I often ask friends to give a suggestion for a story and then, after thinking about it for a time, usually six months to a year later, I crank out a story.

Let's see:
- "pontificated" is going to change.
- "Time must go slowly out here in Pigwell then" has to change to something else. It is redundant. It's too many words.
- O'Mullington is going to change too. It's a little too sarcastic and heavy handed.
- I think that I'm going to make Tyler a marine and change his name to something latino. I think that will temper the sarcasm and up the diversity quotient (that makes no sense to me either, but Iit's a good escuse)

And yes, there are lots of words.

Anonymous said...

Pigwell is just soooooo close to Pigswill.

Is this what you write Dave?

Ohh...! Is there an editor in the house?

HawkOwl said...

McKoala - You crack me up. :)

kis said...

I don't mind "pontificated." It reminds me of the time I was watching Jerry Springer and some uneducated, inner city bonehead used the word "pensive" completely out of context. In the next hour, no less than three other guests, none of whom could string together a coherent thought, used the word "pensive" in the same, utterly incorrect way. "Pontificated" implies an inbred hick making an awkward attempt at elevated diction, and not quite making it. I'm sure his use of the word would have impressed Daisy-Mae and Bobby-Sue. Hearing it, they might even have felt pensive.

pacatrue said...

Every time I see the words AFTER GOYA in facelift 112 I giggle hysterically.


Anonymous said...

"Pontificated" implies an inbred hick making an awkward attempt at elevated diction...

Well, it would if it was dialog, but here it's narrative and just doesn't feel right: it gives me a different image of the character than I think the rest of the opening suggests...

Anonymous said...

Mendacity! That's what it is; mendacity! -JTC

Dave said...

Oh MY - Kis - that's not the image I want to generate of Luke. I'ma changin' the word - Pontificated.
and giggling at your remark .

I play Springer Bingo - Turn on Springer for 30 seconds. If you see the right htings you get points:
a) commercial - Minus 5 pt
b) nudity - plus 10 pt
c) hear bleeps - plus 2 pt
d) cat fight - 10 pt
e) fatty fight - 15 pt

and make the rest up yourself

Anonymous said...

Evil, you're right. Facelifts 40 and 7 definitely belong on the short list of classics. I didn't realize the ruthless vigilante sorcerers went all the way back.

Bernita, you changed your avatar (is that the right word)? And what ever happened to Brenda Bradshaw? she was awesome.

Anonymous said...

Bummer. Evil is blowing off my hints to end the year with some minion-nominated/voted lists of best facelifts, GTPs, characters (from originals, continuations and/or GTPs) and continuations.

Bernita said...

"Pigwell is just soooooo close to Pigswill.

Is this what you write Dave?"

Hope that wasn't meant as nasty as it sounds.

Evil Editor said...

Bummer. Evil is blowing off my hints to end the year with some minion-nominated/voted lists of best facelifts, GTPs, characters (from originals, continuations and/or GTPs) and continuations.

Waddaya mean, blowing it off? We already had the Evil Editor Awards, covering the best New Beginnings from #s 1 - 100.

With over 1200 Guess the Plots, it might take a while to narrow the field.

I'm happy to take nominations for best Face-Lifts, though modesty would prevent me from providing a cash award to the critiquer.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm a moron. How could I not remember that? I must have been busier that month than I thought!

Virginia Miss said...

I love the opening paragraph, it sets the scene so well...but then you hit us over the head with dialect and redundacies. Time being slow is mentioned three times, the barbecue more than once, and no conflict or interesting situation is introduced beyond what we got from the first paragraph.

Dave said...

Thanks VA Miss. I caught that too. It's the "too many words syndrome" come to haunt me. Saying things twice, like. ;)

EE, dear EE.
I would love to open a thread for the best of the facelifts and GTP's but I can't initiate a thread on your blog.

McKoala said...

OMG! No! No! That was not what I meant! What I meant to do was just make sure that Dave was aware of the possible misreading! And the second comment was completely separate, that I was surprised that he was the author, because this wasn't what I expected given his tendency to chop words, 'cos this seemed to have an awful lot in it.

Now Dave hates me...crumples into confused furry heap. Off to Dave's blog to grovel and promise to proofread comments more carefully in future...

Dave said...

Thanks for writing. I never took your comment as "bad"... I took it as your surprise that I was capable of being florid and a little verbose. There never was a need to apologize, but since you did, thanks for being so nice.

I learned a long time ago when I was shepherding scientific papers through four internal reviews and three external reviews to put a thick skin up to any comments. Those guys got rough, mean, nasty and cruel. And I learned that when someone says "I doesn't work, or it stinks" not to bristle and snort (I'm a taurus by birth) but to THINK HARD as to why they said that and if there is opportunity to improve my writing.

I kind of enjoyed having surprised you. And just to let you know, I spent four hours at the story adjusting it and tweaking it. It's a better story for it.

Take care

PS I've cross-posted this on my blog.

McKoala said...

Thank you Dave. I am relieved.

Anonymous said...

"And what ever happened to Brenda Bradshaw? she was awesome."

Yeah. Brenda was hot, er, awesome.

Bernita said...

Thank you, McKoala.
Am relieved too.