Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Beginning 205

I let the gun rest on my limp dick. The whore doesn't notice. Maybe she just doesn't care anymore. Maybe she's dead.

A friend of mine said adrenaline makes your dick hard. Maybe I've gotten too old. After all, I'm pushing 30. Should you ever have to kill someone, you should do it before you hit double digits. Sure, those kid soldiers get all fucked up in the head afterwards, but if they have to keep on killing, they keep on killing.

Kid soldiers, they've got it made.

Me, I just want my motel room to go back to being the shit-stained hole it was until about an hour ago.

I try to switch on the tv. The buttons make a sticky sound when I push them. The remote is covered in too much blood. Guess even Dr. Phil can't help me now.

"Fuck you, you motherfucking..." The whore isn't dead after all. She tries to get up, but slips in the blood, and falls back onto the bed.

"Honey, time to go," I say.

"That's enough," Miss Carson said. "Does anyone else want to read? How about you, Ms. Bardwell?"

Julia Bardwell picked up her manuscript, cleared her throat and began:

The night was hot, hotter than Brad Pitt's ass. The cocksucker I'd just shot in the gut was still coming at me, his intestines hanging out like angel hair through the holes of a colander. "Eat lead, fuckwad!" I said as I shot him in the face . . . and got sprayed with his blood. Shit, that was my best dress, too. I stripped it off. I was nude underneath, and my tits . . .

Miss Carson closed her eyes and shook her head. What was I thinking, she wondered, when I agreed to teach creative writing to third graders?

Opening: E. S. Tesla.....Continuation: Evil Editor, based on a Pacatrue idea


Anonymous said...

Well, ah, where to start. An attempt to employ shocking imagery, I guess. It didn't work for me. First of all, I don't let a gun get anywhere near my dick, even if I'm just resting it (the gun, that is).

Second, this falls flat:

A friend of mine said adrenaline makes your dick hard. Maybe I've gotten too old. After all, I'm pushing 30.

The narrator is nearing 30, and doesn't have his own experiences with adrenaline, but has to rely on what his friend tells him?


"Fuck you, you motherfucking..." The whore isn't dead after all. She tries to get up, but slips in the blood, and falls back onto the bed.

The whore gets up from where? If she's getting up from the floor, I think she'd slip back to the floor, rather than flying into the air and landing on the bed. If she's getting up from the bed, I don't think she'd slip in the blood on the sheets. It doesn't ring true.

Not sure what the narrator was referring to when talking about kid soldiers, not sure I want to know.

I know it's just 150 words, but this didn't work for me. If it's trying to be noir, the prose has got to sing, and this struck me as just a bit off key. If it's just going for shock value, it needs to ring true, and this didn't. Just my two cents worth. Keep the change.

Dave Fragments said...

Aside from the fact that Daniel Radcliffe needs to put some meat on his scrawny bones, I didn't know anyone wrote such cheesy pulp anymore. That continuation is straight from TRUE CRIME and DETECTIVES ANONYMOUS magazines from the 50's.

Now the opening is, IN YOUR FACE!

Aside from that, it's a little bit off its purpose and scattered. I like the line about the kid soldiers. I think the line "I just want my motel room to go back to being the shit-stained hole it was until about an hour ago" is inspired. TRy opening with it and then talking about the bloody whore (Why is she bloody, what has the narrator done to make her bloody. (UGH, I feel so pulpy).

But the blood on the remote control and the musings about limp dicks and blood slick floors are way over the top. IMHO the author needs to focus on the narrator and his actions. Has he shot the whore or is a third body (possibly a dead one) in the room with them.

pacatrue said...

Nicely done, EE.

To see just how much EE moved from "a pacatrue idea", my continuation was something like:

The creative writing instructor placed the essay on her lap and considered. Whores, limp dicks, shit, and blood-stained sheets all on page one. A-minus. It would get a full A, but where's the molestation?

She picked up her next essay. "Call me Ishmael." Call me bored. F.

Essay Three. "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." It was time for another scotch.

At least she knew she had Emelda's story to look forward to. Emelda always had bears on unicylces. Now, that was fucking literature.

The last is a vague allusion to John Irving and The World According to Garp. Anyway, in short, EE grabbed the creative writing idea and ran with it to make a much racier continuation than I would own up to in public.

As for the original, I had a couple thoughts. 1) I think it's actually decently written, if you accept the whole character and scene, until the prostitute speaks. Something about all of that rings false. 2) Perhaps it's well written, but why would I want to read it? But I'm not a person who likes reading or watching serial killers, mobsters, insane people, cannibals, chainsaw wielders, etc. Maybe some of our horror and thriller afficianados can give you a more useful response.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I like to think I'm not easily offended, but I had real trouble getting past that first line. The blood and everything's fine, but that line and the first half of the second paragraph really makes me wonder why I'd want to bother with this. Maybe it's just not my genre ...

I think there's plenty of tension in this opener, but I'd suggest starting with the woman trying to get up; if the story needs to have that first part, maybe it could go elsewhere. Once I have a reason to care about this character, I might react differently.

I liked the last line; I think the casual way in which it was delivered plays nicely against the rest of the scene.

As for the continuation, well, I always knew third graders were dangerous, but I had no idea they were that dangerous :)

Anonymous said...

30 is old? Shit.

I like the old detective stories so I would read a little more. It doesn't matter to me, but you may have to tone it down a little if you want more people to buy into it. -V95

Anonymous said...

I don't know, it's missing something like... real vocabulary. Words other than swear words, that makes the passage a bit clearer to the reader.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know how I felt about the beginning........... UNTIL I read the continuation. That's about right.

Pacatrue, I liked your continuation as well.

Question--Are books really written in first-person, present-tense? I don't like this style... Nope, not one bit.

Anonymous said...

This opening and continuation together reminds me of the joke immortalized in the movie The Aristocrats. Only funnier.

Blogless Troll said...

When I first read this, I thought the narrator had just shot the whore, in which case his limp dick would be cooking underneath the hot gun barrel. But I guess the line about the "shit-stained hole it was an hour ago" suggests some time has passed since he fired the gun, which as stick and move pointed out, just makes the narrator an idiot.

Brenda said...

Does this guy happen to wear bunny slippers to bars or drive an Audi with a baseball bat next to him?

Obviously there's some genre out there I'm missing that oozes violence more than King and Koontz. It seems like this one, the bunny slipper dude and the baseball bat/Audi driver could all be the same overly-violent character. But, as I said, gotta be a genre out there for it, or we wouldn't be seeing so much of it. Definitely not my thing, and considering I think King is a god amongst men and he's pretty graphic and violent at times, that's saying something.

Aside from that, I think there's this shock-value thing going on at the start of this one and others I've seen lately. Shock-value shouldn't be the same thing as "starting where the action starts".

And personally, I don't do first person present tense. I barely do first person past, but present makes the fillings in my teeth itch.

We need some comedy. I'm into morbid, graphic and I don't even mind an occasional limp dick (that sounds soooo wrong), but dang.

shaded-lily said...

I found this beginning repulsive, but I'm trying not to let my disgust influence my judgment of the writing, which is pretty good, IMO. Simple and effective. One line that sounded a false note for me was "Should you ever have to kill someone, you should do it before you hit double digits." Given the simple way this narrator speaks before and after that line, I'd expect him to say something like, "If you want to be good at killing people, start before you're ten."

Continuation = hilarious! :D

E.S. Tesla said...

The idea her is that the room is covered in blood. Wall to wall, several guys on the floor. A dead hooker (but not the one you've met, she's a character you'll get to spend time with). Picture something like at the end of True Romance, but way more blood. Or something else way, way into pulp exploitation country. Sure, it's cheesy. I love cheese.

The hooker slip: She gets up from the bed, puts her foot on the floor, SLIPS, and falls backwards onto the bed again. Of course, it's painted vividly in my mind, but she could just as well fall to the floor and we'd lose the confusion.

As for first person, present tense. I love it, but then again one of my favourite books of all time is Less Than Zero. I know it's not for everyone, but I like the immediacy of first person. Hell, I don't even hate second person.

This is more of a fun story I write to flex my writing muscles, and write the kind of fiction I'd love to see in print. The stuff I'm trying to sell (meaning, the stuff I think MIGHT have a chance of publication before I reach the level where I can tell Doubleday to publish my grocery list) is less offensive, and more low key. It's also in third person past tense. But they say 'write what you want to read', and frankly, I can't get enough of insane, exploitative, blood soaked, fuck filled pulp.

I'm the guy that hates to read about 'nice people.' Don't care about them. Most sympathetic protag I've seen lately was Jeff Lindsay's Dexter Morgan. Sadly, I found the book pretty poorly written (so thank you Showtime, even though I prefer the Dexter from the novel).

Guess I have no taste. My favourite piece of fiction right now is the TV show The Shield. Not exactly a paragon of great taste, or so I've been told.

As for the opening, I think I agree that it could move faster. The musings about kid soldiers are supposed to fill in a little back story (he's almost 30, hasn't killed anyone before) and set the tone for the narration. (No, he hasn't tried to kill the hooker, but he's killed shot one the guys in the room, accidently). But it slows things down, and I should get stuff moving sooner.

Considering the confusion about the scene, I did think about saying more about the situation, but decided on just dropping in stuff matter-of-factly (e.g. protag and whore having to step over multiple bodies to reach the door).

The lead is more like a geek playing cool, than some Tony Montana monster or a hard ass like Marlowe. He's more like your comic book geek that never grew up, and has seen every gangster movie there is, and thinks this situation is really cool, but really has no clue.

The original cont. had me laughing out loud.

Dave Fragments said...

Tesla -
You only had 150 words to set a bloody scene with (according to you) multiple dead bodies. Slow down and write a description of the room both before and after the shooting. Use these as research documents.
I think that you do a better job in your reply than in the first 150.

You, yourself said that you see a great scene in your mind. OK, then, write it onto the page - first in just plain words, then add the over-the-top descriptives. Remember, the reader can't see that scene unless they read your words on a piece of paper (or computer screen).

erin said...

I was going to say "Sounds like somebody has been reading too much Michel Houellebecq" but the author didn't mention him.

Author: if you are dying to read smart books that feature lots of filthy sex, mysogyny, and senseless death, try Michel Houellebecq. He's a genius, which means he's the dude to beat in this department.

writtenwyrdd said...

I also thought that this was shocking imagery just to be shocking. I don't know what's going on,and I personally think that a cold hunk of metal on one's privates wouldn't help it get any more functional. IN fact, the opposite!

If you would cease being coy and would actually tell the readers what is going on, it might work better. I think that sometimes people mistake withholding information with being interesting. Keep us guessing, sure; but not by failing to give us the clues as to what is going on.

Truthfully, the only image I got clearly was that gun in a naked old guys shriveled up lap. Ugh.

In general, I think the tone is good; and I think you can resurrect this opening with some edits. (Sorry for the pun.)