He was quiet. He seemed a little slow at first, and I really thought he might be stupid, which would’ve been a shame, given all the other parts of him being so good to be around. But then I saw, after a while, he wasn’t stupid. No, not stupid. Just dumbed down by circumstance, you know, just drilled down by circumstance, until he was just left with being still and quiet and grateful for whatever he got.
Eugene. I fucked his brains out for him. He was grateful; grateful and quiet.
You have to believe yourself way before other people believe you, is what some old guy on the boat he worked on had told Eugene. Not believe in you, just believe you, is what Eugene told me when we were laying there after, and I got him talking a little. I just loved hearing that shit. Like hearing that shit is gonna turn around a long time of being nothing. But I smiled anyway, to make him think I believed it, too.
We were in his bare white bedroom in an apartment. In Houma, Louisiana. And we were hiding out, hidden in a cool, white place, the sun out there pushing away with its wet heat. I swear you could feel the heat pressing, even in the cool of the room, feel it weighing everything down heavy outside. Just waiting. Waiting and hoping the pizza would get there before the heat became too oppressive. We wanted our appetites. Needed them: we would be eating a meat-lover's supreme. In August. In Louisiana.
The doorbell. You got there just in time, Wayne, riding in on a wave of sweltering fever. I fucked your brains out too. Before I got tired of all that chatter, black olives this and extra cheese that and your precious $12.95. You shoulda been quiet, Wayne. Quiet and grateful, like Eugene.
I believe you, Eugene. In all your quietness, gratefulness, and dumb-downedness, I believe you.
Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: takoda
Like I was waiting.
I leaned up on one elbow, pushing a lock of hair off my forehead. "Gee, that's nice Eugene," I said, slowly, so I knew he understood. "What that guy said."
"Yeah," he said.
"Listen, though," I said. "I really have to go. Do you think you could pay me? I've got another, er, client in a half an hour."
He sat up, nervous. I could tell because he kept smiling at me, the way he smiled when the sailors smiled at him.
"What's wrong?" I asked, trying to keep him calm.
"I--I don't know. It's just that--it's just that I've never done it with--well, you know."
"Yeah, I know." I crushed out my cigarette.
"I can't believe you smoke."
"Yeah, I know. Lots of people have funny ideas about us."
He stood to go, pulling on his pants. "Listen, if we go now, no one will see. I can get you to the dock before the Lebruns come home."
"Why the rush? I like the way you look, and I know you liked me."
He stopped, flustered. "But what about you?"
"I'm OK for a while yet. Come sit with me."
Reluctantly--or maybe relievedly--he sat back on the bed. I slapped him with my tail.
"Of course it did. You're being a very bad boy." I opened my arms, letting my hair tumble over my breasts. "Now get back here before I have to use a trident on you."
I knew I was special. Like Eugene said, it’s just a matter of waiting.
I had to wait two years as it turned out, until I headed east. I got a ride with a trucker, Denzel; fucked his brains out too -- right in the back of his rig. He dropped me off right there on Sunset.
Then there were a few waiter actor wannabes and a script editor. He got me into the studios. Worked my way through a couple of b-listers before I hit it big. You know, Beatty, Clooney, fucked their brains out. Michael Douglas couldn’t say his own name for a week. Then there was, well, no names, but he got me into the Washington set. Senators mostly. Marvin Wheelwright? Fucked him sideways. Then I hit the big time -- this was after seven years -- it was Marvin introduced me to--
The President? George Bush? You fucked his brains out too?
Ohh, nice try. No: obviously someone else got to him way before I did...
Too much repetition keeps me from getting into it.
P #1: 2 stupid's, 2 down by's, 3 just's
P #2: 2 grateful's
P #3: 5 believe's, 2 hearing that shit's,
P #4: hiding/hidden
Oooh, nice continuation, Takoda. You did a wonderful job catching the rhythm and style of the original and carrying it to its logical absurdity.
Author -- my first thought was that this was way over-written. Southern gothic run amok. But by third paragraph (which is a bit too convoluted even for the style) the rhythm and voice sucked me in. I'd keep reading, at least long enough to find out whether you had any real depth of character or other story going on.
I agree with anon. Especially the too many 'believes.' And I'm not a fan of the word grateful. It sounds subserviant.
I'd like to thank Dominoes and some of their disgusting pizza selections for the inspiration for my continuation. (grin)
This is too long to go without hooking the reader.
You need a sentence saying something about Eugene or the narrator that grabs the reader. This is 225 (+/-) words and that is too many, even with the slow pace you've established and the tone of voice, it's too many words for the reader to go on with just atmosphere.
The prime place to put the "Eugene, hero of the book for this reason" is where you say "I fucked his brains out for him. He was grateful; grateful and quiet."
I know you "like" that edgy statement with its pathetic hints at "pity" fuck, but you can deliver that backstory later in the story. If you said:
Eugene. Solved the murder and saved my life. The reader would have reason to stay with the story. Something to wonder about, to draw them in.
The current line sounds so nice and says so much about Eugene that it is almost irresistable. BUT, it's just a pity fuck and in long haul, it makes Eugene pathetic, inept, silly, and uninteresting. the guy can't get laid, so what! Who cares. But the words lure you on... ... ...
It does have the lure and music of words that sound good but mean little. It's almost poetic. A great line worthy of not much, really. It's like puppy love, not true love. Give the reader a reason for "true love."
I really liked the voice. The repetition worked for me, as part of the character. I thought it was terrific.
Although it could be tightened a bit, I was a fan of this... it definitely created a mood and made me want to know more.
Please exchange *laying* for *lying*, though.
I think it is very well done.
Sorry. I didn't realize EE was gonna post this as "anonymous". I didn't specify, so he was polite and careful.
hi Robin; Nice opening.
I would keep reading, too--to see where it was going. But I think you can delete the first sentence "He was quiet," because it's very weak. Begin with your second sentence.
And it's just me, but I don't like the word grateful in writing. That's such a 'tell' word (in addition to it being subserviant), and I would much rather read it. 'Show' it to me! Soo...I'd delete the sentence "He was grateful; grateful and quiet." (which to me is also a weak sentence)
The voice is definitely strong, and I'd read on to see where it was headed. It's a smooth and easy read.
Best of luck!!
The word repetition worked for me. I liked the voice, and I wanted to know what the 'pity fuck' was all about and where this apparently growing relationship was going.
Great tone, but a bit heavy on the repetition. Also, for me it could get a bit much, but I think that's a personal thing. Not sure how much more I would be able to read before I needed some kind of more solid narrative thread to grab hold of.
Aha, it's Robin. You're the tone-meister!
Liked it... almost.
But I've read a few books lately with unsympathetic and/or uninteresting narrators, two of which I ended up dropping midway, so I'd give it at most another page to show me this is somebody interesting and sympathetic enough to stick with for 6 hours.
So far it's loser f__ks loser - with no story.
I like the voice being established, and already I found the characters interesting. The repetition was too consistent and too much for this reader, though. Felt like I wasn't trusted to pick up on anything when told only once. A tweak or two, and I'd keep reading.
Best luck with this
Tihs makes me feel dumb, but I can't tell if the narrator is male or female.
Too much repetition for me--if carried through the whole book, it would drive me insane. I like the voice, and the situation is certainly interesting; I'm sure I'd read on just to see the context. The profanity was a turn-off. It's not that I'm offended by it, but 3 profane words in the first 3 paragraphs suggests the book will be loaded with it, and it's the sort of thing I tire of quickly. I like my profanity to preserve its shock value by being infrequently used.
Tone 1, characters O. Deadly pace. Great continuation.
I didn't get back home last night in time not be too tired to come back and say - thanks for the comments, both positive and negative.
This opening is the first few paragraphs from a middle chapter of the book I've spent the last months rewriting. I've also written this chapter as a stand-alone story, which I haven't sent out yet.
This opening, and New Beginning 304, (the first paragraphs of the last chapter, also a story), along with a few other pieces, are part of the same work.
Same narrator, who has grown.
Sorry again about the anonymous thing. It wasn't intentional.
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