Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New Beginning 209

Wiley decided against pulling the knife out of his stomach. Best left to the ER surgeon. It hurt, but wasn't bleeding bad. Missed the liver. Getting to the ER in time might be a problem. His first shot missed, and the bullet hit the elevator controls sticking the damn thing between floors. His second shot killed his assailant, but now Tony "The Whale" Colivito's substantial bulk lay across his legs. Not that wiggling free would do any good anyway. Might even cause the blade in his belly to cut something important. Still, being able to stand would get him a little ways away from The Whale. Tony's soul wasn't the only thing that left his body when he died. The stench brought tears to his eyes.

Wiley winced as the elevator jerked into motion. Then he smiled. At least he had an excuse to miss his daughter's first violin recital.

The elevator slowed to a stop at the ground floor and the doors slid open. Someone screamed and the families gathered in the lobby of the Elviston Heights Comfort Inn all turned to look at the carnage. The small crowd gasped as one and took a step back as Tony’s last “breath” escaped its confines; but as the stench dissipated, a ripple of applause broke out. Wiley smiled faintly. “Could use a little help here,” he said.

The Elviston Junior High Father-Daughter Talent Contest was always a brutal affair, and maybe Vince Wiley’s piano playing wasn’t all that hot, but hey, they didn’t call Tony Colivito "The Whale" because of his weight. No one had been looking forward to Mister and Marietta Colivito wailing their way through "That’s Amore" yet again.

Opening: Inkmandoo.....Continuation: ril


Saipan Writer said...

I have no idea about the plausibility of Wiley's thinking under the circumstances, but I liked this. I'd keep reading.

One nitpick--The stench brouth tears to his eyes--but the antecedent to "his" is Tony and I don't think it's Tony who's crying now.

Dave Fragments said...

The author had me hooked until the last sentence about the violin recital.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to agree with Dave; the line about the recital makes the character wholly unlikeable.

Other than that, though, I find the situation intriguing.

Wonderwood said...

I'm with the others on this. I liked the opening but the line about the violin recital hit the wrong chord with me. I would expect the next paragraph to explain why Wiley would have such a off key thought at that moment. Other than that, I liked the first paragraph. One other nit-picky thing, getting out from under Tony isn't going to get him away from the stench, it's an elevator. You can't escape a popcorn fart in an elevator, much less whatever left Tony's body.

McKoala said...

The violin recital threw me, but the rest was fine.

Brenda said...

Popcorn fart. Ha!

Yup, I'm with the others. I like the voice. I like the opening situation. I did not like the violin thought.

I wouldn't be so worried about being pinned under the body due to the smell (like mentioned - it's an elevator; you're stuck with the smell) as much as what may be oozing through the clothing and onto the character that's creating said smell.

Anonymous said...

A little too much explaining. The lines: Best left to the ER surgeon AND Missed the liver AND The stench brought tears to his eyes all explain the previous sentences (you've SHOWn the actions and then you TELL the reader why it is so). And the first two examples imply that Wiley has decent medical knowledge. If he does, that's okay, but then it emphasizes that he wouldn't really be having this internal monologue. Not in this fashion because those concerns would be matter-of-fact, not thought out.

Also, we know the blade is in Wiley's stomach from the first sentence. No need to repeat that it's in his belly later. There is a repetitive feel to this piece. I think you can tighten it up a bit more.

If this story is taking place in the US, you'll need to brush up on your ER staffing. ER docs are not surgeons. When a patient needs surgery, they are stabilized in the ER and sent to the OR. I've rarely seen surgeons come down to the ER to perform surgery (and I've worked in ERs for over 10 years). And a blade from the stomach would be removed by a surgeon, not an ER doc.

I have no idea why you don't want the reader to sympathize with Wiley (the effect of the last line). But maybe there's good reason.

Sounds like you have a good story. Just need to work on it a bit.

The story itself has potential

Anonymous said...

I agree, that last line about the recital didn't work. Actually, the whole beginning didn't quite work for me, mostly because it still needs some tweaking to make the action clear to me. I read it twice and was still unsure what was going on.

And a side note: If I had a big knife in my gut, I'd assume that moving around would do more damage with it in than the bleeding with it out. We are talking gut wound, which equals Really Really Bad News.

I didn't like nor dislike the main character because I couldn't quite get a grip on what he had or hadn't done. Some dead guy was on his legs, he was probably in an elevator. What was he doing shooting at the buttons (or was he)? Etc.

Sorry, this isn't the most helpful commentary, but you really need to try and act out what you describe and get it on paper so the reader sees it clearly, too. The imagery I got was a tangle of limbs with the knife-laden guy at the bottom.

E.S. Tesla said...

I'd read on, but I agree with the others that you could probably cut a few sentences and not lose anything.

The violin recital line def makes me want to read more, and it makes the character LIKABLE to ME.

Weird world, eh...

Inkmandoo said...

Thanks to all.
This was a self imposed writing exercise specifically for EE Openings. The requirements were:
EXACTLY 150 words as counted by my word processor. Also: a protagonist in a predicament, a gun, a knife, death, the threat of death, body parts, excrement, and humor. Also, a violin.
Try this at home. It must be 150 words exactly. You can change the other stuff.

shaded-lily said...

Yay! Somebody else liked the violin line!

I was going to talk about how the sequence of events in the first paragraph was unclear, but since it's just a writing exercise, never mind.

Anonymous said...

I liked this opening a lot - it's my kind of opening to a good mystery - and the violin recital line tells a lot about the MC.

And ril - the continuation brought tears to my eyes! Whatta hoot!