Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Next Line 28

And I had seen myself in the mirror, a short glance really. It was all I could handle. I looked like I’d died and come back for a short visit. Blonde Medusa. Mmmmm. But still, I was calmer.

“Oh, really?” I looked at him. “Why do you want to thank me?” I knew why. I had been to the bathroom.

“Oh, we had quite a night. Or, uh, really, you had quite a night, and I watched.”

"How can one person do what I know we did last night, together?”

“Uh, yeah, well, we both wanted to do that”. I felt the heat rise in my face, spurred on by the pain pulsing through my eye sockets.

Cross must have seen my face change. He held his hand up.

“No, I mean it, we both wanted that…” I waited for it. Cross was a lover of the long pause, and I didn’t feel good enough to hurry him along.

“No, no…I’m talking about the Dance of the Seven Veils you performed for me last night. In the bar.” There it was. It was out there now. I wanted to cry and I wanted to leave, but I needed to know all of it.

“What does that mean? I want to know – NOW – what that really means?”

“Well, that was the wildest dancing I have ever seen. I mean, man, I was loving it. Really something, with you rubbing up against me…”

“Dressed?” I needed to know exactly what the hell he meant by the seven veils bit.

"What – oh – yeah, dressed. Absolutely! Until we got home a little later, you know.”

Cross was propped up now, on one elbow, watching me from the bed. I stood beside him, beside his bed, dressed in his dirty white T-shirt, in the quiet of the sleeping party house. It was the quietest moment I’d ever had there. The quiet was loud, like the roaring quiet in your ears after leaving a room full of throbbing, deafening music.

"I have to know..."

He smiled; I felt my anger rising. "Well," he said, "it started with a slow waltz. Then the seven veils. Then..." I had to wait while he flossed his teeth. "Then we did the macarena. When we got back here, we did a jitterbug, then..." He popped out to lube his car. "Then the hokey pokey. Do you want to know what I put in first?"

What I really wanted to know was what he put in last; but as I saw him grabbing a brush and a gallon of paint, I knew I'd have to wait for the answer.

Dialogue: Robin Sinnott.....The Next Line: ril


sylvia said...

ril summed it up for me -- I don't have enough context to have patience and the conversation stalling ends up annoying rather than intriguing. This might not be such a big deal within the story but taken as a beginning, I'd probably not bother to continue reading.

Dave said...

It's all so past tense and it tries so hard to explain too much. Like, for instance:
"“Dressed?” I needed to know exactly what the hell he meant by the seven veils bit."

I find this an internal contradiction: "I knew why. I had been to the bathroom." That is, to see her image as the new medusa!
Uh, not because the real reason for the angst seems to be the Dance of the 7 Veils and did she get naked.

Sonething I don't understand: We start off with a woman looking at herself in the mirror after a wild night (the bloodshot eyes, the stringy hair, the smeared makup) and end up with her in bed with the guy? Why is she worried about the dance. What did they do in bed?

Or have I misread the text. They didn't spend the night together and he's come back in the morning to take her to breakfast? If it's her husband or lover, why is this such a source of angst?

Robin S. said...

This bit of dialogue is about a page past the earlier dialogue/Next Line 24 in the book I've written, and am now rereading/revising. Haven't looked at this part since I wrote it early last fall - I pulled it out because I was sending this chapter, along with the next, to a group of readers.

Some of this is pure and unadulterated crap. A few of these sentences really stand out - and not in a good way.

The "best worst" one: "I felt the heat rise in my face, spurred on by the pain pulsing through my eye sockets."

Well, could this be any more predictable? Answer: I don't think that's possible.

I do think sylvia is right - there's not enough context here to see that quite a bit of this conversation works, although, admittedly, a good chunk needs to be rewritten.

Maybe the context problem is why EE has decided to drop these. It also may be harder to do continuations for these, although ril was wonderful here.

It is confusing, Dave, when taken away from the story line. The narrator wakes up in bed with this guy. Up until the night before, they’d been friends. She had no intention of taking this anywhere else, but he did, and he maneuvered events to make what he wanted to happen, happen.

McKoala said...

I think that this just goes on a bit too long for me; it's kind of meandering and loses me.