Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Beginning 191

Baby wipes.

Jule stared at the offending entry on her Click-Point datapad and gnawed on the end of her stylus. She didn't order baby wipes! "Miranda!"

The echo in the spaceport warehouse barely faded away before her assistant appeared around the corner of the row where Jule stood, checking off the last of the supplies bound for the Damarian dig. "Yes, Dr. leBois?"

Jule pointed at the crate next to her. "Where are the moist towelettes I ordered?" she asked, keeping her voice patient. Grad students. Must have patience.

Miranda scanned the list on her own C-P. "There," she said, "line 57. Baby wipes."

Jule gritted her teeth. "I ordered moist towelettes."

"Baby wipes, moist towelettes," Miranda said, smoothing a long strand of brown hair behind one ear, "what's the difference?"

Jule held onto her C-P with both hands to keep from bashing the grad student over the head. Nice girl, semi-talented in xenoforensics . . . and incapable of doing anything without putting her own personal touch on it. Why was this girl her assistant?

"And what about the dehydrated milk?"

"Line 29. Nestle's Quik."

"My underwear order?!"

"Line 42. Diapers."

Jule felt a headache settling between her eyebrows. She stared at the grad student like she'd grown a second head. "The oxygen tanks? There should be 500 . . . Don't tell me . . ."

"Line 53. Large window fan."

"Window-- We're in outer--" Unable to contain herself, Jule reached down, picked up a crate, and slammed it down on Miranda's useless, mostly empty head. She felt better as she turned back to her datapad. With one less person breathing, she thought, I might hold out till the next shipment. Let's see, Line 63. New grad assistant. Check.

Opening: Gerri Baxter.....Continuation: GutterBall


Anonymous said...

The fact that we're in a space port going over a supply checklist is enough for me because it says we are going somewhere I haven't been. I'm willing to at least start the adventure. -JTC

Dave Fragments said...

Arrggghh, help me, help me...
I worked with people like that, that, that Jule.

But all-in-all, It's a cute and fun opening. I hope the book is a light romance or comedy.

HawkOwl said...

Hahaha. It's funny cause it's true! Some people just aren't born to be purchasers. And the sci-fi aspects weren't obnoxious. I'm not enthralled, but I'd probably read more unless the back copy sucked.

shaded-lily said...

The first three paragraphs worked for me. I stumbled over the fourth because I didn't understand the connection between the datapad and the crate, but that might be a question of the cold medication I'm on.

When I got to the part about Miranda smoothing a long strand of brown hair behind her ear, I went off on a rant about "Why does everybody always have to smooth an insert-color strand of hair behind their ear?", but that's probably just me reading too many beginnings.

Love the continuation. The whole thing could work as a short story. I'd pay money to read a collection of short stories like that.

Anonymous said...

Hey, EE, didn't anyone ever warn you to drop the acid AFTER you get dressed.

Marissa Doyle said...

Brilliant continuation!

I sure hope this is about Jule's journey from being an anal-retentive nit to being human, because otherwise I wouldn't want to spend any more time reading about her. So if it is, you've introduced her very well.

On an unrelated note, please make sure you don't fudge with the details and principles of how an archaeological dig is conducted later on in the story (you did say "dig", I think)--it's almost as bad as, say, having Wellington chat with Blucher on a short wave radio at Waterloo.

Anonymous said...

I'd pay money to read a collection of short stories like that.

You can. It's called Novel Deviations.

McKoala said...

Yup, this was a perky start. Will they have baby wipes in the future? Can't we have no-touch sonic botty wiping? Oh, please.

Liked the continuation!

Marissa Doyle said...

Oh, I forgot--EE, I'm not sure that's really your color. You look like more of a Summer, and that jacket would look better on a Spring.

Pretty snazzy, though.

Zany Mom said...

Geez, that sounds like the people who FILL our orders for my company. They can never seem to give us what we want. Always close, but no cigar. Very frustrating to keep sending stuff back.

And, when you want to clarify EXACTLY what you want, they keep interrupting, telling you that they KNOW what you want, and then it's the wrong thing. Grr.

writtenwyrdd said...

I liked your writing style and the situation for this beginning, but I have doubts that it is the real beginning of your book. Baby wipes and idiocy don't feel like the beginning to a science fiction novel. I could (and probably am) wrong; but I can't imagine how that would work into a book's beginning. Something has to happen fairly soon that ties in with this supply situation.

I think that the continuation gutterball wrote takes advantage of this sense of needing more. The screw up has to affect the situation or it's not going to keep your readers.

This sounds like a screwball comedy in the making. How that would seque into an SF novel sounds like it could be funny funny funny. I hope you can manage it, because I'd like to read it.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was delightful and a promising opening. If it ain't broke...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Gutterball! I've been laughing ever since this posted. You captured the tone and my style WONDERFULLY.

For those who are hoping it's comedy...sorry. It's actually a fairly sardonic feminist story about obsession with fertility. But the humor is a big part of what's going on. And although Jule comes across as a bint in the first 170 words, she's actually apologizing within the next 100 words and trying to come to some kind of tolerance level with Miranda. But Miranda is gone rapidly, and Jule is stuck with someone worse as her assistant. Think overhelpful cheerleader. *wicked grin*

But no fears. Jule has reasons for acting like a bint. Lots and lots of reasons. She's pretty much punch-drunk from everything the universe has dumped on her, and it's only gonna get worse...


The Author

Anonymous said...

"It's actually a fairly sardonic feminist story about obsession with fertility."

Adventure over. -JTC