Friday, February 08, 2008

New Beginning 447

"What the hell is this?" Kate's sister, Chloe, stared straight ahead at the huge house in front of them. Arrogance mixed with disgust radiated off of her like waves. Whenever Chloe came back from college, it took a couple of days to beat the sorority out of her and find her little sister again.

"This is my new house." Kate looked down at the file filled with documents in her hand, proving she now owned the old house and all one hundred prime ranching acres it sat on. "Kinda."

"This is the 'great steal'?" Chloe sniffed. "It stinks out there."

"It's called fresh air," Kate said, stepping out of the car as Chloe rolled her eyes. "And you're doing the redesign." Kate grabbed her bag out of the backseat as Chloe's hand froze on the ignition like it'd been slapped.

"Whoa... what?"

"That's right." Kate tapped her fingers against the file. "It's all right here. Co-Director and Design Associate, Chloe--"

"But . . . I don't know anything about--"

"How hard can it be? The place isn't in bad shape. I mean, I -- well the bank -- wouldn't pay five point two million for a dump." Kate pulled Chloe's door open. "Take a look around. It's a good business. Already has a huge customer list. Maybe need to hire a couple extra staff is all."

Chloe rested her forehead on the steering wheel. "When you said you bought a chicken ranch, I--"

"But you love animals. And eggs. This'll be--"

"Kate! This isn't a chicken ranch. It's the Chicken Ranch. You just borrowed 5.2 mill to buy a whorehouse!"

Kate gaped at her little sister for a few seconds. "Oh." Then she brightened up. "So, you bring anything else to wear?"

Opening: Brenda Bradshaw.....Continuation: ril


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

Kate shaded her eyes. "I figure we'll have Evil Editor's Pit of Despair over there...and Miss Snark's Pink Poodle Bijouterie there...or maybe--"

Chloe unfroze her hand.

"Who are those people, Sis? When did they graduate from Harvard?"

Kate waved the file impatiently at her sister. Ever since Chloe had made the Ivy League she'd been pretending they hadn't grown up in a trailer park just outside Detroit. And hadn't become rich by stealing Daddy's pile-o-drugs.

Someday she'd have to go on a nostalgia trip and find out in which car crusher Daddy had been buried.

But stealing Daddy's cocaine stash had been nothing to cheating old Mrs Davis's relatives out of their inheritance just by pretending to like the daft old biddy.

Chloe jumped out of the Dually and came to look at the file over Kate's shoulder. "Why not put the Pit of Despair in this hole here?"

"Don't be silly, Chloe." She shook her hair out of her eyes. "That's where I'm going to bury the minions. Wouldn't want THEM to smell!"


"The redesign," Kate answered evenly. "Why did you think I've been paying your tuition since Mom and Dad died? You're my dependent. In other words, my slave."

"You're joking, right?"

Kate reached into her bag and pulled out a barb-studded whip. "Get out of the car, Chloe. And don't forget your graphing pencils."

Slowly, Chloe pulled the key from the ignition. But she was thinking fast. "Sure, Sis. I've already got a great skylight idea...let me get a picture with my cell phone here --"

Kate snatched the phone Chloe had unplugged from its charger. "I don't think so. You're going to text your pals at the Zeta house...think I'm stupid? I see your usage detail every month, don't forget." She let the whip unfurl before dropping Chloe's phone into her bag. "And I've noticed the pattern. Dozens of six-character texts, over the course of three days, then surprise! Another frat boy's body is found in the fountain. Tattooed with diagrams of Corinthian columns."

Chloe blanched, but said nothing.

"You architecture girls think you're so clever, founding a 'professional' sorority to eliminate your male competition," Kate continued. "So let's see what you can do with Corinthian columns in three dimensions. You're going to build me Tara II."

With a big sister's tenderness, she wrapped the whip around Chloe's wrist, lovingly pressing each barb into the white, smooth skin. "As God is my witness, I'll never be urban again."

--Kalynne Pudner

"Come on, it'll be fun. Just like old times." Kate shuffled in her bag for the keys. "Once we get it fixed up, we'll make a bundle. It's the only way to make money in this town."

"But--" Chloe twisted in her seat to look at her sister. "What makes you think I can redesign this place?"

Kate laughed. "Come on, sis, you're a natural. I remember what you did with your room at home -- the chintz and the lighting and the candles and incense. Awesome. If anyone can make this place really look like a whorehouse, it's you."


As Chloe stepped from the driver’s side, Kate turned swiftly and slapped her across the face, beginning the tiresome processes of beating the sorority out of her.

Chloe sucked in a sharp breath, her hand fluttering protectively to her cheek. “Kate!” she screeched.

Kate pulled back her fist and punched her square in the nose, knowing it would mess up her recently healed nose-job, but not caring. In fact, she was glad. It looked botched, and she hadn't had the heart to tell her.

Ignoring Chloe's cry of pain, Kate swung back and socked her again, feeling the fragile bridge of her nose crumble beneath her knuckles. Good. Now she'd have to get it redone, and Kate wouldn't have to come off looking like "the bad guy."


“You’re doing the redesign,” Kate pointed to a dilapidated ranch house.

“Looks like no one’s lived here for ages.”

“Not since the sixties, when the barn burned down.”

Chloe peered at a distant mist covering valley, faint outlines of cattle moved through the trees. She wrinkled her nose and sneered. “Those cows come with the property?”

“Unfortunately,” Kate shuffled through some paperwork. “You see, they told me the place was haunted. They just failed to mention it was haunted by 200 head of prime Angus cattle.”


Evil Editor said...

I don't get Chloe's reaction when she first sees the house. She says, "What the hell is this?" and arrogance mixed with disgust radiates off of her, but her only comment is that it stinks out there. I would expect something about what's wrong with the house.

Also, the word "her" appears twice in four words, each time referring to a different person. Could be confusing.

Otherwise, it does set up the situation right away; a good starting place. Though if the place looks so horrible that Chloe would say, "What the hell is this?" I wonder if Kate really would have waited till Chloe saw it to announce that Chloe was doing the redesign. I mean, if you think your sister's gonna say, "Wow, it's a palace!" you might want to surprise her with, "And guess what: you get to live her for the next two months and design the interior!" But if you think she's gonna say, "You paid how much for this piece of shit?!" you might want to get a commitment before she sees what shes getting into.

Whirlochre said...

I'm liking where this is going but there are a few snippets I'd prune.

I don't think the reference to Chloe being Kate's sister is needed at the start as it's taken care of a few lines later.

If I've got my science right, anything that radiates does so in waves, and 'from' would be more welcome on the ear than 'off of'. 'Arrogance mixed with disgust' deserves a better outlet.

As for Kate's file a few lines later, I'd look at 'full of' or 'big file of'.

No need for Chloe to remark 'out there' - the stink is wafting right up her nose even though they're in the car. If anything, it's 'here'. Yuck.

I'm not sure where the ending is going but I'm alert to the carrots you've dangled along the way, in particular a sense of where the relationship between the two sisters could lead, so I'd want to read on.

Kalynne Pudner said...

I LOVE the last line of the chosen continuation! Although isn't it Kate, not Chloe, who's doing the gaping?

In the original, I did think that "arrogance mixed with disgust radiat[ing]" was an odd metaphor -- it had a kind of olfactory tone. But when Chloe's next comment was about the smell, I wondered if it was chosen on purpose.

The other device that sounded "off" to me was Chloe's hand on the ignition: if it had been slapped, it would more likely have been reverberating, not frozen.

Dave Fragments said...

Wow, Bijouterie is actually a word.

I think Chloe's reaction to being presented with a run-down country house to redecorate wouldn't be just "what the hell is this?" ...
It's more like "I can't remodel that pile of termite-ridden junk" or "It's an early american nightmare owned by the Beverly Hillbillies" or "I didn't go to college to decorate a pigsty" ... Those are all over the top.

I think the opening of the third paragraph "This is the 'great steal'?" is a better opening. Try that instead of "WTH is this" and see if you like it.

It's an interesting opening and you've made it more interesting with the sisterly conflict.

Brenda said...

Oh. They're in a convertible, which you'd find out in about two more lines. So yeah, they're in the car, but out in the air too.

The house isn't that bad; Chloe is. It's just a simple farm house. And the next line or so, Kate suggests using the redesign in Chloe's portfolio, which Chloe realizes it's a good idea. (Kate's the thinker - her ideas area all good like that... usually... til Eric anyway...) Although I have thought about changing the opening to something like, "Who do we know who would want to live here?" or something equally Chloe-ish. Hell, for that matter, I've thought about ditching this entire beginning and starting with the guy's POV instead.

I'm in turmoil.

Evil Editor said...

Although isn't it Kate, not Chloe, who's doing the gaping?

Fixed. It was ril's fault.

Cathy in AK said...

I'm sure the story is fine as you've written it, Brenda, but perhaps you should consider having Kate actually buying a whorehouse and the locals looking forward to its grand re-opening : ) Just a thought.

Brenda said...

I see how Ril reallllllllllllly feels about me now.

I'm getting the whip. And the spreader bars...

Xenith said...

Please, please, for the benefit of us easily confused, don't have things like "Kate's sister Chloe" in the first sentence.

You bring in two characters, but there's really only one, and the one that's talking is not the one whose name appears first, and then there's a relationship between them to sort out, while working out what is happening at the start of the story. Oh dear :(

ril said...

It was ril's fault.

Mea culpa.

Hangs head in shame.

Well, at least I have the whole weekend to, ah, flagellate myself over that mistake. And I'm gonna start right now. Oh, yes. Oh, that's better. Oh...

Brenda said...

Xenith, ya know, I agree, and I never caught that and neither have the 10 or so who have read this. Thanks!

writtenwyrdd said...

ril, that continatuation was priceless.

I liked this, can't add anything to the suggestions except that perhaps you could make lil' sis's snarky comment more what one would expect from a snobby brat, like "I wouldn't be seen in a place like this," but better phrased, or some sort of celebrity name dropping. You get the idea.