Thursday, June 21, 2007

New Beginning 299

"Shit! What did you do that for!?"

"I'm sorry, Daddy, I didn't mean to."

"Well, sorry doesn't help me. I'm still dead."

Carol looked at the ghost of her father as it hovered above his body. She had come into the house all excited and without thinking had flipped on the light. Her father had been working on the lights - without a license - and had caught the full brunt of the renewed electricity. He fried, he fell, and then he floated above himself.

A strange sense that this was violating some aspect of reality washed over her.

"Why are you a ghost?"

"Never mind that right now. The first thing wee have to do is cover this up. There's no way my daughter is going to jail for manslaughter."

"But Daddy, I did kill you."

"So? Besides, manslaughter is the best you can hope for. You'll be lucky if some jumped up little turnip of an ADA doesn't nail you for murder."

That was when I walked in. As soon as I got the whole story, I knew exactly what to do: I called Bucky Merriwether at 1-555-LAW-GUYZ. Within the hour, one of their planes was overhead and a few minutes later, a paralegal was at the door.

They went into action straight away. With one of the most extensive law libraries in the South-East, they were soon able to prove my husband was at fault: it’s common knowledge it takes three accountants to change a light bulb.

Carol was acquitted, I got to keep the insurance money (less their twenty per cent), and they even got a restraining order on the ghost. It couldn’t have gone better. If you’re in an improbable fix, call LAW-GUYZ.

Low income? No credit? No problem! We accept food stamps, automobiles and sexual favors.

1-555-LAW-GUYZ. Because nothing’s indefensible.

Opening: D Jason Cooper.....Continuation: Anonymous


writtenwyrdd said...

Oh Jeez, that continuation is totally awesome! My dead body in the basement offering wasn't even close!

Author, I liked this. It starts by making me instantly curious and kept feeding just a little more info very effortlessly through the dialog. I think that I'd like more of the setting in there, or some actual physical actions, but this is quite good.

Evil Editor said...

Afew of the unchosen continuations:

"Um, Daddy. I think that jolt to the brain did more damage than just kill you. I may be a 22-year-old blonde still living at home, but even I know you're supposed to shut off the breaker first."

"I DID shut it off! I'm not a total screw-up."

"Tell it to the judge. Otherwise, this is how I see it going down. Dim-wit dad thinks he's a hot-shot electrician. Innocent, dumb-blonde daughter comes home, horrified to find Dad dead. Breaker box is wiped clean of any fingerprints. Case doesn't even make it to the DA. Daughter gets tidy inheritance and life insurance stipend.

"But I could still use your advice, Daddy. Do you think I'd look better in a red Ferrari or a black Jaguar?"


"Okay, Daddy. How's this. I'll shoot you so it looks like a robbery."

"Good idea. I'll wait right here."

"Before I get the gun, can you tell me where your AMEX card is? It's gotta look real, you know."


"But Daddy! Shouldn't you be more upset? I just killed you! Aren't you mad about being dead?"

"Not really, your grandmother just said she was coming to stay for a week, I don't have to go to your school recitals anymore, and your mother's cooking her bean enchiladas for dinner tonight."


Bernita said...

"He fried, he fell, then he floated..." - great line!
Very cute beginning.
Hard to buy the immediate jump to manslaughter though.

writtenwyrdd said...

As far as the manslaughter issue goes, I found I trusted the author enough to assume that there would be a good reason for that assumption given to me shortly. If that doesn't arrive, it would make me lose faith, however.

Beth said...

Rofl on the continuation!!! Brilliant.

The opening is well done and funny in a macabre sort of way. I'm wanting to know Carol's age and how she, a minor, could possibly charged with manslaughter in what was obviously an accident.

And you don't have to have a license to work on lighting in your own home.

But--"He fried, he fell, and then he floated"--is horrifyingly funny.

Dave Fragments said...

One more New Beginning and we hit EE's age times ten.

But seriously, I hope this is a comedy. It's got all the wacky elements.

I'm not fond of "without a license" because I do minor electrical stuff all the time and I'm not a licensed electrician. He just didn't turn off the breaker which is negligence on his part, not hers.

BTW - Manslaughter implies negligence on her part. I might completely disregard that fact if I like the story.

Sylvia said...

"But Daddy, I did kill you."

Carol turned into Suzanne Somers for me at that moment. I like the descriptions and her initial question seems sensible but her reaction to him really bugged me.

The implication is that she's thinking, " I should go to jail" ... that just feels wrong to me.

"Jail? Manslaughter? Oh my god, I killed you!" would be a more sensible reaction.

AmyB said...

Not my style of story, but I think it works. It's funny, the writing is tight, and there's plenty of hook to entice me to read on. I didn't buy the manslaughter thing, though. I can't see the father's death as anything but accidental, plus I got the impression Carol was quite young--too young to be prosecuted for anything. Perhaps there's an explanation coming up soon.

Anonymous said...

The credibility was zapped for me right at the beginning, because I have gotten the full power of house electricity while working on the lights, and all I got was a second or so of bizarre bubbling painful shock and about ten minutes of numbness in my arm. Not dead. Not even close. Not even worth a visit to the doctor.

It might be that this is English electricity, which I understand is at 220 volts right through the house and can throw you across the room. If that is so and you want to sell this in North America, you're going to have to put him in a bathtub full of water or something. But the rest of the dialogue doesn't read English, it sounds like these are Americans.

Anonymous said...

The first four sentences had me applauding! And the fried/fell/floated line is priceless.

But the rest of it didn't work for me. The "She had come home..." sentences destroy the feeling the first sentences establish. You need what happened; I think they could just be written less reporterly. "How was she supposed to know he was working on the lights when she flipped them on? He fried..."

She "feels" young, so "A strange sense that this was violating some aspect of reality washed over her" sounds too grown up for her.

Then the story goes into the manslaughter aspect, which was stretching my credulity even before the dad started talking murder. What???

"Never mind that right now" really spoiled it all for me. That's what put on the brakes and skidded this in a direction I wasn't ready to follow. I wanted to follow why he was a ghost and see some reaction (especially if it continued to be this 'well-it's-happened-I'm-just-accepting-it' reaction).

If it's a comedy, then the guy dying from the electricity overload I can fudge into believing, and go along for the ride. Sounds like it could be fun! But manslaughter or murder in connection with a household accident? Just can't get past that. Sorry.

Great continuation!

Chris Eldin said...

Wow! The next beginning will be 300.
What kind of blog party can we have, EE?
How about this (bear with me)

Somebody (probably EE) should develop a couple of dozen characters. Volunteers can sign up to 'be' these characters, and go to a chat room and have a mock party. Just so you know, I wanna be a dominatrix. And Dave is the landlubber. EE gets to be a dumb blonde. Writtenwyrdd is a sociopath. Phoenix is a dirty old man. Beth is a bartender. Bernita gets to be an editor (maybe EE, HA!) etc....

Okay, okay. it's just an idea.....

Of course, it's BYOW.

Anonymous said...

You know? I didn't think I'd want to read this after the first few lines. When the continuation took over, I was still turned off. By the time the continuation finished, I was ready to read the rest of the first chapter.

Beth said...


Who gets to be the brutal eunuch?

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Beth, I'm guessing Pacatrue.

writtenwyrdd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bernita said...

I don't do sex changes, Takoda...

D Jason Cooper said...

It is meant to be a comedy. He's a PI, she's about 20 and she helps him with his unfinished case/s. This happens in Australia, that's 240 volts and it will knock you across quite a large room. "Daddy" at 20 is OK.

AmyB said...

She's 20? I had her figured for about half that.