Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New Beginning 444

The summer of '84 might have been the best of times for a few people, the guy who lived in the bat cave for instance, or that weird troll-like fellow who lived under the bridge, but for the rest of us, the summer of the 'Rampaging Paintings' was the worst in recorded history, surpassing even the 'Balloon Explosion' of '56 and the 'Pineapple Incident' of '21.

It all began the day I exposed the Mayor's affair with the cook to about a dozen or so assorted bystanders, a carpenter, two electricians, a painter, three kids on bikes, a contractor, an apprentice Magician, two women walking their dogs, said Mayor's wife--and me.

I have to admit, the incident was my fault. Just as I raised the last brick into place, Susie Hyacinth walked by and I got distracted. Can you blame me? She's enough to distract any man with two eyes and a nose.

It was meant to be an auspicious occasion; a celebration. We were putting the finishing touches to the new library, and as the architect, I'd been asked to place the ceremonial last brick and say a few words. I'd rehearsed for a couple of days, so I had it all down pat. I opened with a joke, gave a brief history of the project, and lifted the stone.

As I placed it, I intended to say, "And this will be the perfect place for the mayor to hang out next time he fancies reading a book." Well, damned if that wasn't the exact moment Susie waddled past--face like a slapped arse and smell like a chicken shed. Who wouldn't be distracted? Any man might have slipped up and said, " . . . the perfect place for the mayor to hang out next time he fancies screwing the cook."

The rest of the day didn't go well, either.


Opening: Michele Acker.....Continuation: Anonymous

16 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:


Her three friends waved to me. Each wore one scarf and one hat, but for some reason the third friend carried two bags. So after I put the last brick in place, I went over to her with my four questions.

"Where you going?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed to the bridge.

"What's in that bag?" I pointed to the first bag.

"Two packs of gum, five rolls of tape, three batteries, and one box of kleenex."

"How about that bag?" I pointed to the second bag.

"One copy of Novel Deviations, two muffins, three bowls of Cheerios, and four clipart disks."

"Who's all that for?"

"Blogless Troll. He wants to be EE."

--ChristineEldin

pacatrue said...

This was one of those openings where i liked each paragraph, but they didn't quite hold together. I'd probably keep reading (just to find out more about the Pineapple Incident) but if the paragraphs didn't very quickly take me into a scene in the novel's current time, I might let it go.

Evil Editor said...

I'd drop the balloon explosion and the pineapple incident from the opening. What they're adding is there in sufficient quantity without them, and they lead me to wonder if the whole book is over the top. I would guess it's 50/50 whether the balloon and pineapple are part of the plot, but if they are, it's not necessary to bring them in here. They'll be funnier when you get to them if you haven't told us they're coming. The humor and voice aren't lost if you eliminate them.

Dave F. said...

I'm not fond of the opening paragraph. I think back to 1984 and I get varying images of George Orwell, Ronald Reagan, high interest rates and stuff like that. This was the year of Randy Shilts and "the Band Played On."
"Rampaging Paintings" means nothing to in or out of quotes. The biggest ballon explosion I remember is 1934's Hindenburg Disaster. Well, except for the time I popped a paper bag in the hallway near my laboratory and the bosses thought I popped a hydrogen tank. CLEANER!
As for "Pineapple Incident," I wouldn't hazard a guess.

The second paragraph is the winner. Or in the mayor's words - weiner. ;)
It gets to the point and has a quirky tone. The eyebrow raising gossip - exposed the mayor's affair - is what we all want to read. A politician discovered in some degrading position, foul deed, crooked scheme, or getting his rocks off with the other woman.

My inner voice says: Oh bullshit, Dave, people just loved Bill Clinton and Rudy Julianni for weiners, crossdressing, mistresses and hanky-panky - spank that little sucker, boys!

It's gossip, we all love gossip. Even the most staid of us, love to chit-chat with the hairdresser, dish dirt with the girls, or compare notches with the guys.

Gossip! More interesting than Paintings, Explosions and 1921.

No Electrons have been excited by this comment but they do want you to can that first paragraph.

PS My guy is winning the elections tonight, I'm happy, manic even.

Dave F. said...

I forgot: Nice continuations - both of them!

Anonymous said...

Dear EE,
Since Valentines day is coming up, I thought this would be a good time to tell you that I am in love with you, and often daydream about you being much younger and much better-looking than you likely are.

Evil Editor said...

Actually, that's perfecly understandable. What's not so easy to understand is that I suddenly find myself daydreaming about you, and imagining that you are wearing fewer clothes than you likely are.

McKoala said...

To me the first para didn't say much, other than mention a couple of quirky incidents with no apparent purpose beyond simply mentioning them (I may be wrong, I often am). The real action is in para 2 and I suspect that's your start.

Anonymous said...

If you’re going to imagine me with fewer clothes than I’m likely wearing, be sure to imagine me with bigger boobs than I likely have.

pacatrue said...

I'd probably chop the 80s bit, but I thought mentioning the incidents had a purpose other than story telling in that I was getting hints that this is a somewhat magical world and people might be living much longer than expected, hence the Incident of '21 being in people's memory.

In other news... "[I] often daydream about you being much younger and much better-looking than you are." - My wife says this all the time.

By the way, I think it would be useful if people found my comments more intelligent and wittier than they likely are.

Dave F. said...

There's lots of questions in paragraphs 2 and 3.

1) Was is a sex affair?
2) Why does revealing a secret to those particular characters have any meaning? Normally affairs are revealed to the newspapers.
3) What does Susie Hyacinth have to do with the Mayor and the Cook.
4) Why "Nose"? It's kinda naughty when you think about it.
5) Is the speaker a stone mason, a bricklayer, an architect, or a gardener, or just a plain old worker.

These are people and things I want to know.

Whirlochre said...

I like this - it's got all the quirkiness of a song by Pavement, only without the music.

Not sure about the pineapples - I'm sure they're in here for a reason, though as EE says, it won't hurt if they're left out. Don't mind things being OTT and I don't think this is.

One or two Punks, though.

The clause about the bat cave and the troll needs something more than a couple of commas to set it off from the rest of the sentence and as it's a joke, I'd go for a dash.

And 'said Mayor' leapt out from an otherwise fine sentence - like finding one stray tea leaf in a nice cup of Darjeeling. 'The Mayor'? Maybe this is just my particular ear.

I'd read on.

Robin S. said...

"By the way, I think it would be useful if people found my comments more intelligent and wittier than they likely are."

Paca - don't worry. You're wittier than you likely know, and that's a better scenario.

As for anon Valentine chick, oh, yeah, that was funny, but we've got enough of that going on here, thank you very much, and I figure EE can only extend polygamy so far, sooooo...

I was thinking about doing a continuation for this one, but I was busy at Chris's blog, remembering my bitch-days-in -training on an Officer's Wives Club board, a while back.

Also,
you guys got in ahead of me, and yours are better. Blogless Troll, a legend in his own time!

And "damned if that wasn't the exact moment Susie waddled past--face like a slapped arse and smell like a chicken shed. Who wouldn't be distracted? Any man might have slipped up and said, " . . . for the mayor to hang out next time he fancies fucking the cook."" was a scream. Love it when these anonymouses come in like that.

Hi Author,

I like your style. You've made me curious. I agree with McKoala, though, that your second paragraph is a good beginning. Maybe come back with the first paragraph on into the narrative.

Realy like this line of yours:
"She's enough to distract any man with two eyes and a nose." Good one.

writtenwyrdd said...

While I liked the voice of this opening, it went on too long as a teaser, talking around the problem but not giving the reader anything that would allow them to understand the problem.

With that thought in mind, perhaps you might consider tightening this up a bit. I would have continued reading a bit further though! There's nothing inherently wrong with a slower opening, after all.

Michele said...

Thanks for your comments!

This is actually a fantasy that doesn't take place in our world. The guy who got in trouble is a Magician and caused the whole half of the wall to fall down because he wasn't paying attention. I was only allowed 150 words though, so I couldn't include that part. Also, it's not 1984, it's 284 (like I said, not our world), with a footnote explaining that. Some of the chapters have humerous type footnotes explaining various things.

Michele

enya said...

Are there any tibia-type footnotes?

-enya