Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Beginning 411

My captors took everything from me, even my name. Their barbarian tongues lacked the sophistication to pronounce Lucius, so they called me Lugos, a name from their own guttural language. I would have preferred a dog’s name.

On the day they captured me, as I wandered naked and starving on the road to Alesia, I made the mistake of protesting that I was a Roman Citizen. “You barbarians have no dominion over me” were my precise words.

So great was their laughter they nearly forgot to beat me.

Ever since, my days have consisted of ceaseless labor. Each night as I lie down to sleep on the hard ground, exhausted beyond description, I am convinced that I will die before morning. However, one thing impels my heart to continue beating: the thought of returning to Rome and exacting my vengeance upon the men who falsely accused me of treason, ultimately securing my exile.

Yeah, yeah, that's real interesting, Lug-- . . . Roverus, but we're kind of in a hurry, so if you don't mind, I'll have the vitulinam elixum and the lady would like the aliter baedinam sive agninam excaldatum. Oh, and separate checks, please.

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Anon./EE


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

I will face that man someday, but he will not know it is me. I will be sold from slavery to be a gladiator, and I will eventually fight in his coliseum while he hits on his sister and totally creeps her out. I’ll then have an affair with Meg Ryan and throw phones and poor, defenseless hotel clerks.


My captor's most diabolical insult is the constant attention to my punishments and labor by a throng of snickering rabble who find pleasure in my humiliation. These will also feel my vengeance.

"No, no, no! This isn't working."

"What the hell?" My miserable son joined the crowd. "Sextus, explain yourself!"

"Father, that Lucretia thing was a setup for my new Reality Theater show: "How Lucius Tarquinius Superbus Lost His Groove." But Father, the audience here says you're BORING. It's done; go back home."

--Bill Highsmith

Each time I think of it, my hackles rise. The sheer unfairness of it all, suffering this fate for nothing more than urinating on the Emperor's favorite olive tree. Could they not see that this act was simply in my nature?

I watch hungrily as my captors stuff their barbaric faces; my own meager meals amount to nothing more than an occasional bone they toss my way. This time, one of them carries it to me.

"Here, Fido," he sneers at me. This one, perhaps, has somehow divined one of my secret wishes. All at once, my aching loneliness overcomes me, and I lustfully embrace him. He savagely shakes me off his leg.

I growl at him, but again my native language is greeted with laughter. I curl up on on the ground and console myself by licking my testicles until sleep overcomes me.

--Paul Penna

"Someone to see you." The thrust of a boot against my ribs wakes me. I don't need to open my eyes, I can smell him: the fat imbecile of a guard who threw me in here. "We found him walking along Alesia Road with his dick hanging out. Took us three days to figure out who he is."

"Luigi, come home." Another voice, familiar. "Uncle Carlo says he'll forgive you; you just have to admit, Domino's is not the best damned pizza in the world."


Each morning they drag me out into the yard and I am forced to crap on the concrete floor before they shove a bowl of brown food under my nose. They pretend not to understand my protestations, and for fun, they balance chocolate on the end of my nose. I can accept this humiliation no longer and I vow to all that is holy, I will never vacation Club 18-30 in Switzerland again.


Tonight, as I lay upon the cold earthen mattress and my naked body shivers, I think about my life.

My life in this prison my captors mockingly call a crib.

My life with barbarians who laughing call themselves mama and papa. And who often beat me.

My life without clothes, living in ridicule of those who would point to my diaper.

Lugos,'s all the same.

I'm breaking out of here, and I will exact my vengeance.

Tonight. And I'll bring my teddy bear. He's pissed off too.

--Church Lady

"Yeah? And yet here you are, Lucius, seven years later, a nice job in a sandal factory, still harping on and on about how hard done by you were and how terrible it was and what might have been and should've, could've, would've, poor old me...

"Hand me those nails. Fucking whiner."


My cellmate, a sad skeleton of a man who, from his clothes and his beard, had been here for some length of time, listened attentively as I recounted my circumstances. Though in the shadow of his bedraggled locks, his eyes peered at me with an unnerving intensity; and as I swore vengeance upon my betrayers, he sat upright and cleared his throat.

"Rome, you say?" he asked of me. "I had cause to visit Rome one time... Depraved shithole."

I suspected I would have to widen my search for an ally in my retribution.

The old man shifted on the hard floor. "Luscious, you say your name is?" And he shuffled next to me, a little closer than was really comfortable.


Evil Editor said...

Because the time/setting is the same as Ben Hur and Gladiator, it might be better not to open by declaring the plot is the same as well. Especially since I'm sure it's not as similar as it sounds. If you could delay the fourth paragraph for a few pages so we're into the story before we know the exiled guy wants to return to Rome for vengeance . . .

Dave Fragments said...

I guess we've got to make a comment on this opening after flogging the continuation for a day or two.

Bolito Misto aside, It's like a rump roast - all backstory.

It's all full of wonderful and vivid imagery. However, we really want to know what the current situation is. All of these words can appear in the story, just not the opening.

Lucius says "My captors took everything" in the first paragraph and in the second we find out that he was captured as he "wandered naked"... now forgive me, but wandering naked he only owns a layer of sweat and dirt and not too much else. A loincloth maybe. Mr Happy?

Shorten the first paragraph. Then take the last sentence and stuff it onto the end of the first paragraph.

My barbarian captors took everything. Lacking the sophistication to pronounce Lucius, they call me Lugos, after their dogs. thing COMPELS me to suffer, to survive: the thought of returning to Rome and exacting my vengeance upon the men who falsely accused me of treason, ultimately securing my exile.

none said...

Umm, if Lucius was wandering around naked and starving, I can't see that his captors could take much from him except his name.

Oh, and his freedom to wander around naked and starve, I suppose!

Lightsmith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

As with my previous Opening, this is just an exercise...

Probably why no-one could come up with a great continuation. The story doesn't have a soul.

Dave Fragments said...

It depends on what you do with the revenge plot.
The Count of Monte Cristo is done.
Ben Hur is done (It has that gloriously religious setting).
Gladiator was different and very pagan.
The Egyptian is both the same and different since it deals with pre-Christian monotheism.

I think that a story of revenge set in Roman Times is in the details, not the broad, overarching plot.
This sounds more like Rome after the fall of Claudius, Nero and the Empire. The Barbarian Invasions are raging and Rome's influence is falling. That leaves lots of time for a historical drama.

none said...

Russell Crowe's character in Gladiator is at least as religious as Ben Hur, with the added benefit of consistency.