Monday, August 11, 2008

New Beginning 538

Tommy landed. His right wing tangled with his left foot causing him to tumble over and spill the contents of his pouch. He glanced around the school’s landing field. The other students were too busy executing perfect landings and popping into human form to pay attention to him.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Squeezing his eyes shut, he stretched his neck up. His wings shrunk as his head expanded. His arms lengthened. He tilted his head down and fought to get the last bit of breath out. His fingers popped out one by one.

He drew in a ragged breath. The outside of his talons turned white, the edges molding together to form sneakers. His right leg suddenly popped out, knocking him off balance. His left leg popped halfway out, stopping him from falling over. Gasping in a quick breath, he blew the rest of his left leg out.

Then he looked around the field and grinned like a monkey as, with a thud, the huge silver sphere landed next to him. What a rush; his best game of Dragon Ball ever. He had to make the team this time, surely?

Tommy wiped the sweat off his head and looked around for Mr. Garrigale. "Coach!" he shouted. "Coach! Whaddaya think?"

The last of the team were popping their limbs out and running toward him; but when Tommy found Garrigale, he realized the coach hadn't seen a thing: as usual, he still had his head planted firmly up his ass.

Opening: Sarah L......Continuation: ril


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

Ms. McDuffy eyed her most creative student, Tommy, for a moment after he finished reading his submission.

"Tommy," she began, "I do--really, I do love your imagination."

Tommy smiled.

Ms. McDuffy frowned, "However, does one really blow his leg out? that like holding your nose and blowing out to pop your ears?"

Tommy's smile faltered.

"Imaginative, Tommy. Gross! But imaginative."


A cute little Skidget girl with perfectly gnarled teeth and drop-dead gorgeous hairy feet skipped over to Tommy.

“Tommy! Tommy! Two-by-four.
“Can't get through a human door.
“Arms don't pop, legs don't click,
“Feet don't--aarrgh!”

Tommy put his blaster into his back pouch and glared at the other over-achievers.

--Bill H.

It was Tommy's first time on LSD, but it wouldn't be his last!

And, except for having to blow his left leg out by wrapping his lips around his big toe and blowing hard the whole thing worked out really well. Too bad about the athletes foot, though. Well, he'd just have to keep his fingers crossed on that one.


"Jeez, dork, you look like you're trying to play the tuba," came a voice behind him. Barry, the school bully.

"Nah, he looks constipated. Poop your pants much, blowhard?" That was Leon, Barry's running buddy.

Tommy kept his face scrunched up, forcing the rest of his body and clothes to pop out. He could do it, he knew he could do it. He'd practiced all summer just so he'd have this one moment in which to show up Leon and his gang of bullies.

A grunting effort (unfortunately reminiscent of Barry's comment) and he felt it, that final pop.

He opened his eyes, grinning, and stared down at the two boys from a good head-and-a-half advantage.

"Have a good summer, guys? I sure did. Oh, and you can call me Ahnold, cuz I came ba-ack."


Tommy knew he should have relieved himself before landing practice. The vegetation alongside the landing field would yield adequate privacy but the necessary human anatomy hadn't yet formed. He drew another breath and squeezed. With the instructors nearby poised to disparage his performance, that last appendage refused to emerge.

--Jared X

Evil Editor said...

If his legs haven't popped out yet, I don't see how his right wing can get tangled with his left foot. His foot would be compressed against his torso.

Also, while I easily buy a boy shifting into a creature, I don't buy his sneakers making such a transformation.

For me, it goes on too long. I'd consider having someone show up after paragraph 2 to mock him or sympathize, and then finish the transformation.

Whirlochre said...

I'm with EE — the scenario is interesting but the transformation is too laboured.

I don't mind detail in a metamorphosis, but it needs to be more interesting.

If it were me, I'd describe the three most vivid aspects of the morph (including the sneakers, as it's quirky in a claw-to-rubber way) and then proceed to an interaction between the students, or whatever comes next.

benwah said...

I got hung up on the same detail as EE: the sneaker. It's like the invisible man...if he's truly gonna be invisible, he's gotta shed the clothes.

The sentence structure didn't vary much and the transformation goes on too long. How many apendages are "popping?" Fewer details leave more to our imagination where our brains will fill in the gaps. Without, presumably, stumbling over the Twister-like depiction of that 3rd paragraph

Dave F. said...

Tommy mustn't be too agile as a human and that shows in his dragon transform, doesn't it? I'll bet he's at that geeky, awkward stage that make boys so cute and charming (yuck). So it's his dragon foot that catches his dragon wing and he spills the pouch.

Is the pouch part of him like a kangaroo pouch or is he carrying a pouch of cloth or leather somehow in his animal incarnation?

This Gasping in a quick breath, he blew the rest of his left leg out. sounds like he's inflating his body like a balloon. That's not the impression I got from the first two paragraphs. I think there's too much heavy breathing, gasping, raspy hoarse voice, stuff in this.

EE pointed out the HUGE problem with human/creature transformations - clothing. The Hulk has those pants that never seem to rip. Superman used phone booths (There are pictures old old phone booths on the internet somewhere). The Fantastic Four have silly fun with nudity until they create those transforming uniforms. And last but not least, in his incarnation as a fish, Michael Phelps is damn near naked in his latest pictures for his second gold medal.

Anonymous said...

Good God, another dragon-human? Awesome!!

Steve Stubbs said...

I would re-write this completely as coming-of-age in rural Vermont.

150 said...

This is from Garlic, isn't it?

Xiexie said...

If his legs haven't popped out yet, I don't see how his right wing can get tangled with his left foot. His foot would be compressed against his torso.

I took this to mean that his right wing tangled with his left foot while still in dragon/bird form.

I think we're boggled into the details here too; though, I do like the descriptiveness of it all. Meanwhile, rather than things popping out mostly, use some other verbs.

...Fingers popped out... ...Right leg shot out, knocking him off balance, but his left leg halfway appeared, keeping him from falling over. (Or something of that nature for the left leg action, and finally) Gasping in a quick breath, he pushed the rest of his left leg out.

I used "pushed" instead of "blew" because like Dave, blowing out his appendages makes me envisage some inflatable action.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Yes, this is Garlic - half Vampire so we're talking bat form not dragon.

Thanks for all the great comments!

WouldBe said...

I liked it. I won't retread the other comments. Maybe Tommy can do some touch-and-gos to improve his landing skills. Touch down; pop a leg; take off; retract the leg.

Beth said...

This opening feels like it's stuck in slow motion. The description goes on way too long and the detailed account actually makes it harder to visualize what's happening. And you don't need four references to his breathing. Descriptions like that are the literary equivalent of stock footage. They're essentially meaningless placeholders, taking up space that could be used to better effect by getting us into the character's head.

ChrisEldin said...

I like this, but I agree with EE.

And a nit, but I think it will help move things along faster---many of your sentences begin with "He" or "His." Try varying the sentence structure a bit.

I'd read on--This sounds like an interesting scenc!


Robin S. said...

Hi Sarah,

I agree with Chris on the use of he/his to begin your sentence in the second and third paragraphs - the first para reads better because the his/he sentences are couched between a nice short 'Tommy landed', and the end sentence, which is a nice one because it takes care of what kids wouldn't want - they wouldn't want someone to witness them doing something stupid.

I have to say, though, other than that one comment of Chris's, that I liked this as is, and I disagree that it goes on too long.

And ril, such a good continuation, right on down to naming the teacher, honey.