Monday, January 23, 2012

New Beginning 919

The little puppy my (then) husband handed me looked at me with a quizzical twist of his Doberman head. He was all feet and nose. A red Dobie, all mine. My then husband had to travel a lot and we lived in a huge estate home on a golf course and lake. All my neighbors had been broken into. We hadn't been only because I insisted on burglar proof windows when we built the three story mansion. The cruds had tried but didn't have the skills to get into the house where I lived most of the time without a husband but with his mom and my two daughters. I was a nervous wreck.

I didn't sleep much most nights, I looked out windows and paced. Our back yard faced onto the seventh tee of a golf course. Easy way to get to a house, by the golf course. My neighbors had a yappy dog who slept through the night of their burglary. I suspect the dog was awake but kept quiet. Wise move.

I bought a gun. It was a glock. I went to the firing range and learned how to use it. I went to the RCMP and registered it. The member of the force told me "Good choice" as he examined it. I got my licence. I wasn't a hunter although my dad had been when I was a kid. I had had a few break in attempts. Hence the gun and the dog. This silly little red dog, like he could protect my kids, my mother-in-law and me. He weighed maybe nine pounds when he arrived in my arms.

I couldn't sleep that first night. Dobie lay at my feet on the bed where I slept alone most nights. My then husband had said he was "working late." Like I would believe his lies after so many years. Like I couldn't hear his secretary showering in the background when he called from "the conference hotel."

When the door to the bedroom creaked open, the girls had been asleep for hours. I pulled the Glock out from under my pillow. Dobie looked at me dolefully, but kept quiet. Wise move.

That was the night my husband became my then husband. As his body lay in a pool of his own blood on the carpet, I enjoyed my first peaceful night of sleep in years.

Opening: Wilkins MacQueen.....Continuation: Tamara Marnell


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

And then came the night of the 12th, the night of the full moon.

I heard the cruds downstairs, trying to jimmy their way in through the back door. My little puppy heard them, too. Without a second's thought he leapt from my arms and landed in a pool of moonlight.

For a moment he stayed the same, and then, with a howl from Hell itself, he grew, transforming into a gigantic were-creature, drool dripping from his fangs.

I heard the cruds scream as he slammed into them. Then...nothing. At least, nothing I could hear.

He trotted upstairs a while later, smiling, his belly round and full. When he crossed into the moonlight he collapsed back into his adorable puppy self before scrambling back onto the bed with me.

Well. For once my then husband had done something right.


Then came the night the cruds finally got through the supposedly burglar-proof windows. Three of them, dressed in plaid pants and carrying nine-irons.

I emptied my glock into the first one but the other two kept coming. I shoved my then husband's mother at them, hoping I could get away in the few minutes it would take them to beat her to death, but she went down pretty quick. My daughters, both ugly as sin and twice as stupid, tried to have their way with the younger of the intruders, but he was having none of it and they ended up chasing him back out through the window.

That left me with one crud to deal with, and only a nine-pound puppy for protection. I grabbed the little red bugger by his tail and swung him like a baseball bat. As I feared, the dog wasn't much of a weapon, and when I woke up in the hospital I decided it was time to talk divorce.


150 said...

Man, try telling this in the order stuff happens instead of three interesting lines and then three paragraphs of backstory.

Evil Editor said...

P1: Put a dash or a comma after "We hadn't been".

I would dump this sentence: The cruds had tried but didn't have the skills to get into the house where I lived most of the time without a husband but with his mom and my two daughters.

If you keep it, it's less awkward as: The cruds had tried but didn't have the skills to get into the house where I lived with his mom, my two daughters, and (occasionally) him. Better than that would be to mention who else lives there somewhere else; in fact you do mention the kids and mother-in-law in P3.

P2: change first comma to semicolon.

P3. Choppy sentences. I bought a glock, took it to the firing range and learned to use it.

End this paragraph after "licence." Dump the hunter sentence, and you can work work the dog information into P1, something like:

The puppy my (then) husband handed me looked at me with a quizzical twist of his Doberman head. He was all feet and nose, maybe nine pounds, all mine. This silly red Dobie was going to protect my kids, my mother-in-law and me?

Stick and Move said...

Loved the continuation! Great job. The opening needs some work. It's usually hard to tell where a story is going in the first 150 words, but this really rambles. Too much backstory for an opening. All of that information might be necessary, but you should hook me with something before the info dump. Keep working it. The journey is the reward (or something philosophical like that).

Anonymous said...

The voice is flat. If this was in quotes, and the protag was reporting to a police officer what happened, it could work.

Anonymous said...

What they said. This is a bit hard to follow.

Laurie said...

I agree, cut this down. It's almost all backstory and the sentences don't flow right yet. I think you could condense it down to a quarter of what it is now and still give all the same information. Better to get us to action right off.

But this is a pretty normal problem for an opening and it's very fixable. Try reading it aloud and you'll see about the sentences.

On the plus side, I do get a sense of a real person in the narrator (get that prose polished up and we'll see her more) and I'm a sucker for animals, so a dog is always good IMO. You're raising questions quickly, too - the threat, the "then" husband.

Whirlochre said...

This is (and was, then, when I first read it) a bit choppy changy.

The then husband needs thinking about.

Can only presume you're starting this in the wrong place.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Great continuation(s). Great comments. Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. Appreciate all of you reading and putting your comments in. Evil, thanks for doing what you do.

A weredobie. And I missed it. Man!

batgirl said...

Minor point, but the usage 'my then husband' made me think the narrator had married again, or had several husbands, distinguished perhaps by their sell-by dates.

The opening felt a little too narrated for me to connect to it. Maybe consider writing the first scene as an actual scene, with dialogue, instead of reportage considerably after the fact?

Also, if you're doing a step-by-step, when did she get the FAC, and didn't she have to take a safety course to get the FAC before buying the gun? (I may be out of date with the process, though.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Batgirl,
In Canada get a Possession and Acqisition License (PAL). Once obtained anyone can get a firearm from a dealer. To get the PAL, a 1 day safety session is needed. Today the firearm is registered the day you pay for it at the store. Registration is different from the license.

Things have changed since the time of the story. Then it was a name check, a safety session, get a license, pay for the weapon then go and register it at the closest RCMP if I recall correctly. Today's process is different.

I need to tidy the loose ends. Thanks.