Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Beginning 945

The day began with portents: that's never a good sign.

As I was brushing my teeth, one fell out. I caught it as it clinked against the porcelain of the sink, skittering down to the black ring of the drain. "Not so fast," I said, and put the tooth in my pocket to plant in the garden later.

With a mug of yesterday's coffee in my hands, thin steam breathing from its troubled surface, I stepped out onto the porch. A seagull swaggered along the railing towards me, pompous as a pigeon with its message. I miss the doves. They were always so earnest and apologetic. Seagulls are much too full of themselves, but I suppose they have an easier time of it flapping out to the islands, and they're better at fighting off the cats.

The gull gave me a one-eyed once-over, and opened its hooky beak. "On the morning ferry," it squawked. "Be there."

It was clearly a sign, but what did it mean? I had never been good at solving riddles. My answer to the riddle of the sphinx had been a unicyclist with training wheels.

I looked up bird omens on the Internet and learned that birds flying on your left indicate bad luck, birds flying on the right are a fortunate sign, and birds flying above you mean you will soon be washing your hair.

My bird wasn't flying at all. Further research showed that seeing a gull means don't worry, you will adapt to whatever situation you're in. My situation was that I hadn't had breakfast yet, and there was nothing in the refrigerator. Who knew fried seagull could be so tasty?

Opening: B M L Gordon.....Continuation: Evil Editor


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

* * *

I placed the paper back on my desk and scribbled a brief note to the author: "The story began with poor tense: that's never a good sign."


I could see what was coming, of course, and there was only one thing I could do: Take control of the situation.

I grabbed hold of the gull with one hand, dropped my pants with the other, and shat on its head.

"That one's for good luck," I said.


Evil Editor said...

I would change "portents" to "an omen." It's less likely to inspire a reaction of Huh? Also, it avoids people assuming you meant porridge.

I wasn't sure if, in "pompous as a pigeon with its message," "its" referred to the pigeon or the seagull.

Also, the flapping out to the islands and fighting off the cats remarks don't feel connected to the scene. Have seagulls replaced doves in carrying messages back and forth to the cat-infested islands? Or are these just random comparisons of doves and seagulls?

In any case, I like the voice, assuming this is a light story.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

The first two paragraphs grabbed me. I like worlds where the rules are slightly different but the fixtures are very much like ours.

But after that, the fantasy elements seemed to disappear, and I was wondering if this was a non-fantasy story about a character with terrible gum disease who drank yesterday's coffee. Which kinda made me go 'yuck'.

BuffySquirrel said...

I get that the first line is trying to be clever, but a portent can be a good sign. The word doesn't automatically imply something bad is going to happen. So that first line doesn't work for me.

I like this, though. Would read on.

PLaF said...

I thought portents were signs, in which case the first line became redundant.

LOL on burying the tooth in the garden.

When speaking about the doves, the change in tense took me out of the moment.
Swaggering made me think more of an awkward albatross than a smaller bird.
Are the cats on the islands or with the MC? The ritual of tooth burying calls to mind a witch or wizard who might keep a few cats around.
I enjoyed the "one-eyed once-over" and envisioned the gull greeting the MC with a little disdain.
I would read more of this.

Laurie said...

I like this. Minor nits - I never thought of pigeons as pompous - crows, maybe, but not pigeons. And losing the tooth hit my "gross" buttons - teeth don't just fall out unless there's some major mouth decay going on (assuming this is an adult and not a child of tooth-losing age).

But overall, this looks like fun. I'd keep reading.

sarahhawthorne said...

I like it!