Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Beginning 702

A blonde little girl was sitting in a swing hung from a branch, “Hi,” I said.

The first thing Louisa ever said to me was “My Daddy said I can take a friend to Disney World this Christmas. Do you want to be my friend?” Soon we were playing tea party on the veranda steps; unlike my fragile little hand-painted cups (Victorian relics of a du Bois ancestress) Louisa’s were quite new and bright-red, “My Daddy bought them for me for the beach, ’cause I’m his little favorite!” as she banged them around. I remember being startled; weren’t English bone-china teacups supposed to be treated gently and with respect? “But mine are made of plastic! They’re better ’cause they don’t break! That’s what my daddy says!” Soon the booming voice of “My Daddy, Mr. Hank Hartly” came out to join us, followed by the man himself along with my own father. I think there were handshakes all round and lots of talk, and of course, plans for Louisa and I to get together again.

The enchanted time was ending, though none of us thought about it.

It should have been obvious, of course, despite their agreements. Not just because of the delicate little teacups and our dear tea-parties; there was our shared interest in the arts and theatre, and our frequent shopping trips to the fashion districts. No, if our fathers had read the signs, had been less conservative, they would have known marriage was never in the cards for Louisa and me . . . Hold still, there. I just need to get your inside leg and we'll have your trousers ready in no time. My, you are tense, sir . . .

Opening: Ann Unemori.....Continuation: Anon.

8 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:


Well, except for my father, I later found out. He'd told me about his new assignment on the police force, but not about the undercover pedophile squad part.

--Paul Penna


I noticed blood running down Louisa's father's pant leg. "Look out, Dad," I shouted, "that guy's been bitten!"

It was too late; Louisa's father turned. My dad screamed as the zombie sank its teeth into his shoulder.

Louisa tossed over her tea table, exposing a pump-action shotgun. She took it in hand and, with the emotionless eyes of an assassin, blew the zombie's head to pieces.

Louisa placed the shotgun in my trembling hands. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I witnessed my father turn. "I can't do it."

Louisa placed her hands on her hips and pouted. "If you want to make it to Disney World, the last safe haven for humanity, you have to do what needs to be done. Just remember: that's not your Daddy, that's the zombie that killed your Daddy."

I had to survive. My heart filled with resolve. My hands steadied. I pulled the trigger. "Go back to Hell."

--Matthew


Next time I met the little blonde girl, it was autumn so we had to play indoors. Louisa's daddy was there and so were a lot of her daddy's and my daddy's friends. They talked and laughed and shook hands while we played, and occasionally one would come and say something nice to one of us. Then just as the clock struck ten, daddy leaned down and whispered in my ear, "I think Louisa's got your doll!" and sure enough, though I didn't remember bringing it, I could see Raggy Annie sitting behind Louisa. That made me angry and I fucked that bitch up real good, which was just what daddy had planned, because though Louisa was the favorite, anyone who knows anything about brat fighting knew the smart money was on me.

Daddy was so pleased he promised that me and all my friends were going all the way to Vegas.

--anon.


A week later “Mr Hank Hartly” turned into “Mr Fucking Faerie” and whacked me on the head with his magic wand, shouting “You shall go to the ball!” Then Louisa's mother, “Snow White,” sifted out of the house like a fine white powder there was talk of locking us both in a tower.

We packed up our tea-sets and eloped. --Mother (Re)produces

Evil Editor said...

I'd drop the first paragraph. It's not doing anything useful, and may cause confusion as readers wonder if Louisa is the blond little girl. And drop "Soon" from the second paragraph.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'd like more grounding here. First I got the feeling that the new friend was an adult, especially from all the china descriptions. Then in the second part, it seems the new friend was not an adult. But I don't remember seeing anything about whether this new friend is male or female.

I have no framework to hang this scene on. You don't need much really.

Joanna said...

I also think it would help to cut the first paragraph or else begin it with "The first time I ever saw Louisa she was sitting..." and then cut the first thing in the second paragraph. And I also find the ages puzzling; Louisa talks like a little kid, but the parenthetical note about the teacups sounds older or more precocious. And I'd usually think of 'handshakes all round" as involving adults.

I assumed the narrator was female.

Is the "Daddy's little favorite' bit supposed to be irritating or suggest that Louisa is snotty/spoiled? That was my first reaction, but I can picture other people who'd find it sweet.

Dave F. said...

I more than agree with EE. I think the first paragraph confuses. Just start with The first thing Louise ever said to me...

And later on in paragraph 2, I feel you hit a high point, a beat, a climax when Louisa says: They’re better ’cause they don’t break! That’s what my daddy says!”
I think the next sentence spoils the voice. This seems to be a kid talking and the fact that his father's voice came out before his father's body sounds a bit too sophisticated a memory. It's not that. this is an adult recalling the meetings. You've dropped us into a flashback, a memory. That's OK, but be careful in keeping the adult who is talking as the voice. Don't let the reader sink into the children. I think you have to take the reader back just a bit and insert a couple words that indicate this entire event is a memory. That could be as simple as ending the second paragraph and starting a third. You could possibly start out that third paragraph with "I remember the booming voice of "My Daddy, Mr. Hank Hartly" came out to join us...
Or rather than "soon" you could say "Very shortly" and achieve the same effect. Of course that is an adverb and if it is the only adverb you use in the entire story it might be forgivable.
These are small changes but they put this all as a memory and keeps the distinction of the plastic versus bone china cups in one place and the two fathers meeting in the other. That's two good images that set up the relationship of the kids and the fathers. Nice writing.

_*Rachel*_ said...

From the writing, I got the impression the narrator was a boy, except for the teacups. Also, the paragraphs don't seem to fit together.

BuffySquirrel said...

Definitely start with 'The first thing...'. It's much grabbier.

Anonymous said...

A blonde little girl was sitting in a swing hung from a branch.

“Hi,” I said.

“My Daddy said I can take a friend to Disney World this Christmas. Do you want to be my friend?”

Soon we played tea party on the veranda steps; unlike my fragile little hand-painted cups (Victorian relics of a du Bois ancestress) hers were new, bright-red and plastic.

“My Daddy bought them for me for the beach, ’cause I’m his little favorite!” as she banged them around.

I remember being startled; mine would have broken, but even if I'd had plastic ones my parents would have been furious to see me treating my toys that way.

"My Daddy," Mr. Hank Hartly joined us, along with my own father. They made plans for Louisa and I to get together again.
*********************************

Everything I deleted is narrator interjecting his/her observations into the MC's story. Consider telling this from the MC's point of view. Since the MC is a kid, I think I would try to keep the narration "young". There are lots of places where it is "old."

The way the tenses were mixed here made the story hard to read. You may want to consider sticking with past tense.