Thursday, August 02, 2007

New Beginning 330

"Zee cards," said Emma, without batting an eye, "predict doom."

The dupe across the table stared at her, fish-mouthed and sag-cheeked. "Are...are you sure?"

She arched an eyebrow. "You doubt?" She waved a hand across the nine battered playing cards spread on the table between them. Seven of them were turned to show their faces. "Zere eet ees. You got no luck in zees world."

The man's hand moved involuntarily toward the flask that was bulging out his jacket pocket. He caught himself and dropped both hands to his lap.

"You know zees," said Emma--currently known as Madame Moldovi, the gypsy seer of visions and teller of fortunes. "You got no luck in love, in business, in friendship, in family. Yah?"

"How--how did you know?"

She smiled. She wanted to say, Your BO, the stained dragon shirt, the fact that you're 300 pounds and your pasty face all scream loser. Instead she batted her eyes. "Zee cardzzzz, zey are nevair wrong."

"But . . . What if I--"

"Our time eez up. Others are waiting." She watched as he waddled out.

Low-cut blouse, long hair, fake accent . . . huge wad of twenties bulging in her skirt. Yep, Dave had been right. The geeks at a science fiction convention will pay anything for twenty minutes alone with a sexy woman.

Opening: Detritus.....Continuation: Khazar-khum


Evil Editor said...

Unused Continuations:

The woman sitting next to the man rolled her eyes and clucked her tongue loudly.

"Iz zere a problem?" Madame Moldovi said. "Am I mizzing zomething?"

"Yea, a clue," said the woman, taking off her Ray Bans. "First you were Melanie Mills, then Elizabeth von Hullessam, then you were Remmi Mills, and now you're Madam Moldovi?" The woman ticked off the names on her perfect, French manicured fingernails. "My, my. You've fallen on hard times."

"No, Meez - I'm zorry, I did not catch your name," Emma said. She felt like the walls were closing in on her.

The woman extended her hand, and Emma caught a whiff of expensive perfume.

"Snark," the woman said. "Miss Snark."


(Well done, Freddie, but a bit obscure for some of EE's readers)

"Not recently," the mark said.

"Zees card, the three of clubs indicates that three bog men will beat your nuts to a pulp. And zees card, the seven of spades is SO unlucky. It rests upside-down and means zat our grave has been dug by seven brothers. Yessssss, seven brothers.

"Oh my god!"

"No god can help you. Zis card, the Lovers-Reversed next to the Fool indicates confusion in your love life. There is a goat in your future." Madame Moldovi took a drag on her cigarette.

"Isn't there any good news?" he asked.

"Weeeelllll," her voice drawn out like the squeak of a rusty door. Se turned over the eight card, it was Death, death itself, death incarnate. There on the card before his very eyes. "Zis card says it all. You will die quick a quick and painful death when you slip on the zombie puke on the sidewalk outside."

And sure enough, he did all three - get beat up, met a goat, and slid off the rooftop of a nearby building.


Bernita said...

~snork, snork~
at the continuations!
Oh, and I thought the beginning was really good.
Made me grin in anticipation.

writtenwyrdd said...

These are all hilarious continuations!

Author, this isn't bad, but because of your written accent (made me think French, but she's a Gypsy, so I don't know what it is) your opening here comes across like a parody. Not badly written, but that's the promise it was making to me: A rollicking romp of a parody.

Dave Fragments said...

I would drop the word "involuntarily" because I have this thing about "ly" words and your readers will get the point if he just reaches and stops. Flasks are rare enough now. I guessing this is set a few years in the recent past. And I might have her say "You know zees is true" in the fourth paragraph.

But those are picky things. There is no way this gypsy scene can go wrong. It's either a scream of silliness because everything can go over the top with the cheesy imatation. OR it can go very spooky and atmospheric with cold drafts, blinking lights and dread predictions. Fortune tellers are such great plot device. Even Harry (Potter) had his Trelawney with her rolling eyes and funny voices.

We all know fortune telling is fake and that makes it even funnier. We are in on the scam and enjoy abusing the mark. The standard fortune telling cards are maleable too. Even the worst of the Tarot - Death or the Lightning Struck Tower can merely mean a big change.

This opening is fun and catchy. It makes us like Emma right off the bat. She's ballsy enough to pull off the scam and the Mark is always TSTL.

Nancy Beck said...

I like this. Like others have said, it's hard to go wrong with a fortunetelling scene.

The only very, very minor thing was in the last bit of dialog. I thought of Emma/Madame Moldovi as French, and you have her say "Yah?" at the end, which, to my messed-up mind, is more German.

But that's me being extremely nitpicky. All in all, this is a fun beginning.

And the continuations are hilarious.


Anonymous said...

Well said, Dave and Nance! I fell under the Gypsy's spell, too. And I wondered about the accent, thinking she sounded too French as well. I wasn't sure if "playing cards" meant Tarot.
Author! geeve us zee leetle bit More!! Maybe the Gypsy would grunt, "eh"?

writtenwyrdd said...

Ze cards would be ze playing cards, mon ami (me), because Tarot, zey are just Tarot and are nevair called zeese 'playing cards'. Ze meestical Tarot zey are not ze, how you say it? Game. Zis is right. Not a game. Madame Zoumba (aka writtenwyrdd) she used to read ze awesome Tarot for ze sideline, and zay are magnifique!

If the author intended Tarot, that should be made more clear, perhaps by mentioning a five of cups reversed or Death (or whatever works.) Playing cards are still in use for fortune telling by some gypsy fortune tellers, from what I hear. The pretty pictures on Tarot cards are a bit easier to use, though...

pacatrue said...

I don't mind the accent mangling, as I don't get the impression Emma is either French or gypsy (Romani). Instead, she's making up a character off the top of her head. The only authenticity required is whatever it takes to fool customers.

Chris Eldin said...

Oh, that continuation was awesomely funny!

EE--Ouch! The 'obscure' remark to Freddie.

I really liked this opening. Maybe the fortune teller's accent is French/German on purpose, because it's a scam? Nicely written!

Bernita said...

That was the way I read it too, Pacatrue.

Evil Editor said...

Ouch! The 'obscure' remark to Freddie.

I meant that it's funny only if you're familiar with the names.

Anonymous said...

Makes me want to read more! I hope it's the romp the beginning promises.

Had my palm read by a "medium" who took herself pretty seriously-- Dyed black hair, purple living room, spooky sign out front. She was wrong about everything.

I read my own Tarot and it all came horribly true. Now I just read squash entrails. ("A dark stranger will overcook your dinner...")


Dave Fragments said...

I agree with the others. Her accent only makes her exotic. It doesn't have to be anything (well, I guess she can't be Cockney or George W Bush, they're inarticulate.). Her accent just has to make her "mysterious" ... ... ...

As for a regular deck of cards (clubs, diamonds, heart, spades) versus Tarot pack, that doesn't really matter either. A card like "The Tower" or "The Lovers" is useful only if when the author can't spare more than 5 or 6 words. It's the image that informs. When Madam Moldovi says: "Zere eet ees. You got no luck in zees world." the mark sees only the bad meanings because that's what he/she perceives is true. Some people go to fortune tellers trusting them in advance. They never entertain a thought of disbelief or skepticism.

writtenwyrdd said...

I agree with Dave, it doesn't matter what cards are used. I wasn't saying it had to be either type of cards; just that if the author wanted to be clear that it was Tarot, he/she would not have said "playing cards." To me, it was quite clear that we were dealing with (hah! punny!) a standard deck.

Bonnie said...

I assume her accent is fake, and that's why it's not consistent. I thought the scene was a howl.

And the continuation made me snort my coffee. I should know better than to drink while reading Evil Editor...

none said...

Ze meestical Tarot zey are not ze, how you say it? Game.

In some parts of the world, Tarot cards are still used as playing cards.

McKoala said...

This was perky and appealing - as was the continuation!

Anonymous said...

Aww, thanks, guys! For the record: the accent is fake and the cards are just playing cards, not the Tarot.

Loved all three continuations. :)