Thursday, September 06, 2007

New Beginning 357

Back on the deserted street, two conflicting thoughts roamed through Noah’s head. The first was a difficulty in cataloguing what had just occurred, arranging the details in an order that made sense. He didn’t know the starting point for when things began to go wrong, the memories jumped around in the order in which they happened: her glowing eyes recalled before her silhouette in the doorway, a frayed edge of tablecloth remembered after the naked image of her on hands and knees, sweat slicked. The only thing he knew for certain was his own guilt in the affair. From punching Louisa to the animalistic encounter with Yasmine, he’d wanted it all, every part of it.

Then, against this, intertwined, lived a very real sense of conquest. She was gorgeous, and he totally bagged her. The plain truth of that could not be denied; he’d fucked Yasmine like a champion, regardless of the violence. Bravado overtook him, the ruling power of testosterone fueling his bluster. Shoes now on his feet, he walked the dirty streets and laid out the twisted details as he would relate them to his friends.

As he walked, a third conflicting thought intruded upon the other two, encompassed him, roamed his synapses, and ultimately saddened him--yes, it had been an incredible evening, one whose memory he would long cherish, but . . . the chances were now slim of him being welcome back in T.G.I. Friday's in the near future.

Opening: Matt.....Continuation: Anonymous


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

Up in Heaven, the Lord God Almighty tapped a pencil on His desk. Noah, Noah, Noah, He thought. Why dost thou covet thy sheep? You'll never make it forty days and forty nights.

The image in front of Him now displayed a group of men gathered in a circle around Noah, who was waving his hands and thrusting his pelvis. The Lord shook His head. Typical. If only Noah's temptation could be eased. Perhaps if only two sheep… no. Balance must be maintained. The limit would have to apply across the board. Although…

The Lord scribbled a quick calculation. With only two of each, the vessel could be three hundred cubits, speeding up construction considerably, and that meant He could start the rains this Thursday and still keep His nine o'clock tee time with Beelzebub. The Lord God stroketh His beard. After a moment, He pressed a button on His desk and spaketh thusly, "Gabriel!"

"Yes, Lord?"

"Fire off a memo to Noah. I've made some design modifications."

"Yes, Lord."

"Oh, and cancel my afternoon appointments. We're going to the range."

"We? Lord?"

"Dominion over All Creation's riding on this one, Gabriel. Thou shalt not bogey this time."


After all, how many of them could say they'd bagged a babe from Baywatch, let alone Yasmine Bleeth?


Another thought entered his head to argue with the first two. He'd thought the street was deserted, so just where had that bright light come from? it asked. The only thing he was sure of was that he could hear trumpets, and some high singing, like eunuchs tap-dancing in his head.

The clouds parted, and Noah looked up into a golden face that spread across the sky.

"You've done it now," said God. "I asked you to build me an ark, not shag me a shark."


The rain was coming down again. Great sheets that shattered into flying shards on the ground and swelled the rivers to bursting. Nothing like he'd ever seen. A third thought entered the ring like a tag team partner. He shouldn't have let himself be distracted. It was all that talk of animals; he let his dick rule his head. Louisa was just a pious little bitch. Yasmine got it. We're all animals, that's what we do, two by two.

The water was up to his ankles and slowed his walking. Another thought. That old man. That old man's voice, booming, authoritative, the Alpha male. What was it he said? Build a what?


Passing by the Golden Wok, Noah smelled chicken fried rice and realized he was famished. He'd worked up a tremendous appetite during his marathon fuck-session with Yasmine, that dirty little whore. He ordered the number 27 and wolfed it down, then cracked open his fortune cookie.

"Karma is a bitch, Noah," the fortune read.

The hairs on Noah's arms stood up. He looked all around. Someone in the restaurant must have slipped him that cookie, must've had it made special. But none of them looked familiar, and besides, nobody knew he was coming here.

On the way home, Noah hopped in the first cab he saw and locked the door.


He would say Yasmine came on to him, and he refused her just to make her work for it. Louisa wanted him as well. He fought her off. She wasn’t his true target, but he used her to keep Yasmine circling. Then, when the time was right, he took Yasmine right there in the dining room. He made her beg for every new position, every slap of her ass. Louisa watched as he made Yasmine scream his name over and over.

He nodded as the facts fell into place in his head. Now, the only piece left to explain was why he left with only the shoes on his feet. He shivered as a cold wind licked his balls.


Dave said...

I like this, but there's a competition between the two paragraphs that troubles me. The second presents clear images of bagging Yasmine, the first presents mental confusion about what else happened. It is a flood of half-remembered images.

The two paragraphs although linked, don't present a combined thought process or a coherent image.

You see, the two conflicting thoughts are guilt and pleasure. In fact two guilts and one pleasure - guilt for punching Louisa, guilt for animalistic encounter, and pleasure in the encounter. In talking about that, you bring conflict and confusion into the reader's mind.

IMO you have to devote some thought to both paragraphs and what they reveal about the Noah. Perhaps it not "cataloging" but simply Noah deciding how to present himself in the best light when he tells the story of that night to anyone else. He's obviously going to make himself a hero to his audience. He's going to gloss over his faults.
That's not confusion in his mind, that's justifying his behavior.

I like this opening. I think it's quite strong and has good reader appeal. But I feel there is a word or two that doesn't work right embedded in it. Maybe there's a thought missing or a thought too many.

writtenwyrdd said...

My first reaction to reading this is that I think that your voice is intriguing, but that you haven't yet stepped back enough to see this work as if you were a cold reader. This reads to me like you are too familiar with it and do not see the flaws. However, I did like a lot of your style and word choices.

The scene, however, confused me, and I didn't like the immediate reference to an ambiguous "what had just happened" because the 'what' is never clearly defined. As a suggestion, you might avoid this problem and begin with "He didn't know the starting point for when things had gone wrong." [end the sentence there]

The problem that I think hurts the nice memory images you give us is that they have no coherency. They are in context-- we do know they are memories that describe a problem/guilt. However they're not self explanatory. We do not know who he is seeing/ participating with, nor what exactly is being done to create the gleam of sweat (although I am sure I guessed at least somewhat accurately, lol). This may seem obvious to you as the writer, and might be a fine technique a bit later on, but here in the first paragraph you are presenting an impenetrable surface and your reader can't just dive into the story. At the very beginning, this is not helping your cause!

Evil Editor said...

I would cut a bit more than writtenwtrdd from that confusing and possibly out-of-place sentence, making it:

The first was a difficulty in cataloguing what had just occurred, arranging the details in an order that made sense: her glowing eyes recalled etc.

"totally bagged her" doesn't sound like slang this guy would use. His vocabulary seems strong enough to come up with something else.

"Shoes now on his feet"? I pretty much assume shoes are on feet unless I've been given a reason not to. Maybe you should bring up his shoes when they aren't on his feet, rather than when they are (if at all).

Not sure what "regardless of the violence" adds. You've already called the encounter animalistic. Is he saying a champion wouldn't be violent, but he's the exception?

I'd want to read on.

Anonymous said...

I loved all the continuations. Laughed my ass off. It must have been hard for EE to chose a winner.

I always know someone is about to pontificate from lofty heights when they start out with "You see, blah blah blah..." Thanks for bringing it down to a level we less enlightened can comprehend, Dave. Iridescent, your wisdom.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those nitpicky grammar comments, but the thing is, it's in the first sentence, and that's a bad place for a grammar glitch. The subject of the sentence is actually the thoughts, not Noah. So when you say, "Back on the street, two conflicting thoughts..." I think, wait, the two thoughts left the street but now they're back?


Robin S. said...

I like so many of your phrases -
such as "the naked image of her on hands and knees, sweat slicked" and

"She was gorgeous, and he totally bagged her. The plain truth of that could not be denied; he’d fucked Yasmine like a champion, regardless of the violence." and

"he walked the dirty streets and laid out the twisted details as he would relate them to his friends."

In my view, these are really, really good. But I think some of the rest, not all by any means, but some, has got a straining too hard feeling to it, trying harder than you need to, to achieve your effect. I think you'd achieve it quite well by saying less, but saying it with the punch and drive like the phrases above possess.

I'd want to read more.

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, when I saw this on the Openings site, I thought this might be another piece by Robin S. There's something of a similarity in style. You must be kindred spirits.

Evil Editor said...

Translation: you're both potty mouths.

Lightsmith said...

In the second paragraph, "Bravado overtook him" seems like telling, in addition to being redundant. His bravado is clear from the rest of the paragraph.

I like the detail of Noah planning how he'd relate the details to his friends, as if it's not enough that he simply experienced it; the real victory for him will lie in his friends' reactions to it.

I really like the chosen continuation. Very funny and matches the author's style well.

jjdebenedictis said...

I think this is a pretty powerful bit of writing and I didn't have a problem with your choice of words. I would definitely read on. You've already got me disturbed about what Noah just did. Great work!

Robin S. said...

"Translation: you're both potty mouths."

Either that, or I write like a man.
(I've heard that one before.)

McKoala said...

"Translation: you're both potty mouths." OK, new keyboard, please.

Great continuation, as was the sqrls.

I'm going to back up Dave on the conflict between the two paras, not just in subject matter, but tone. The tone of the first para is more sophisticated than the second where the more basic stuff appears in the vocab as well as the topic - 'bagged' 'fucked' etc. - that jumped out at me, because it was totally absent in the first para, which was more lyrical.

Some really cool writing here, in both tones, though.

Dave said...


Andre Previn, the conductor, once told a story about conducting a very dramatic piece of music and describing it to the orchestra members in colorful, vivid and passionate terms. A bravura performance.
In response, the concertmaster looked at Previn and said "So you want us to play a little louder?"

That's what I felt like when I read EE's comments that appeared after mine.

Bernita said...

I'm with Anon on the grammar of the first sentence.
There are some excellent lines and phrases.
A general question: is a change in "tone" a bad thing necessarily? We are warned he has conflicting thoughts.

Church Lady said...

I liked all the continuations-but my personal favorite was Buffy's. Liked "Karma is a bitch"--that's pretty funny!

It's already been pointed out, but I also stumbled on the first sentence. I visualized two anthropomorphized thoughts walking along a main, chatting, etc. You get the picture.

I'm not getting that the two thoughts are conflicting. Maybe conflicting is too strong a description. You haven't proven it in the opening, to me. In the first paragraph, he's feeling only slightly guilty, but trying to justify the event to himself. In the second paragraph, he's proud of himself.

I'd be careful about choosing words to evoke the emotions you want. Make the contrast between the two paragraphs starker.

For example, if you want to slightly enhance the feeling of guilt in the first paragraph, you could add a sentence about what she looked like after this encounter--something grotesque or something showing slight sympathy for the victim because of his actions. But this has to be subtle. And a nit--memories jumping around to me sounds out of sequence, not in orderly progression the way you have it written.

The second paragraph needs to be rewritten, in my opinion, to make him seem more calculating, aggressive, and cold. "totally bagged" doesn't work. "fucked like a champion" doesn't work. This is the paragraph where you need to convince the reader that the MC is a psycho. You haven't done that yet, with your word choice. This might even need a distinct voice.

Anyway, good luck!


Anonymous said...

This is the paragraph where you need to convince the reader that the MC is a psycho.

Unless, of course, the MC isn't actually a Psycho.

Come forward, Matt, and tell us what the story's about. Please?

Matt said...

to the chosen continuation author -- it's really funny that you mention TGI Fridays, since there's a scene set in one later in the book. Not quite like you envisioned it, though.

matt said...

EE (not sure you got this the first time, so I'll resend)

Thanks for all the comeents and advice, they're appreciated and thoughtful. I can't believe I missed the grammar problem in the first sentence. And I've read that over how many millions of times? I'll have to tweak that, so thanks.

Noah is not a psycho, to answer that question. he's more of a victim at this point. He's just been bitten by Yasmine as they were having some crazy sex. In thirty days he'll turn into a woman. I get into the bite in the third paragraph.

All the continuations were great. very interesting how many picked up on the religious aspect of Noah's name.

I'm going to work to edit a bit thanks to the comments. It's always a challenge to know when something is overdone, so thanks for the notes.

thanks again.