Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Beginning 463

Waking from the coma was much easier than all of just about everything else. The lights were off and then- without my doing anything- the lights were on again. I was a suddenly-woken focus of hospital wonder who got baby-spooned small bits of information and food that I nibbled and swallowed. Nurses came and cleaned between my cheeks and welcomed me back. Some reporter came and took my picture. She called me a hero. They all did.

“You’re a hero.“ they all said while I nibbled and swallowed.

I really had to blink my eyes at what I had woken to become. I got trampled by a dozen pairs of boots is what they tell me and I’m a hero? Imagine that? Three and a half months in a coma and you’d think I’d bump into some unique understanding of life’s profundities; and here I am, dumbfounded by a compliment on my second waking day? It’s all a mish mash. Who knew it would all become a mish mash?

Who knew I could get so angry, and “do” those things I think I remember?

They'd been in the bar a while when we got there, those good ol' boys. They'd traveled up from a dry county and had a good soaking in mind. I just wanted a quiet drink and a bite in my own dim corner.

They got louder as they got wetter, and as the volume went up things started to break. Sooner or later someone was gonna get hurt.

But not if I could help it. I slipped out back, cut the brake lines on their pickups and came around front. "Excuse me," I yelled, and for a moment, they did. "I need some help. I just hit a deer down the road."

Who knew it would work so well? Of course, a real hero would have had more sense than to stand in the doorway when he said it.

Opening: Scott from Oregon.....Continuation: Anonymous


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

Waking was easy, but dealing with the aftermath of the plastic surgeons was an entirely different affair. My plastic surgeons had gone to medical school in Paris. The Musée Picasso in the Hôtel Salé in rue de Thorigny to be precise.

So now my nose is on the left and both eyes are suspiciously together and the ears, well, one is atop my head and the other on the right. I'm a gay cubist's dream date.

I have an offer for a job as lawn jockey on the rue de Thorigny in front of the Musée Picasso but that only pays French bread, wine and all the brie you can eat. Truffles in season, too.

--Dave F.

Taunt Robin about her sex scenes. Prove David F.'s facts wrong. Outjoke Blogless and outrhyme Phoenix. Submit more continuations than ril on speed. Forbid Mckoala to wallow. Mock Paca's trivia. The list goes on...

I discovered I could be cruel.

Ever since I opened my four-pack of Novel Deviations, it's been a mish mash of fantasy, horror, and spec fic.

Me, a hero?


You'd have to be a hero to get through all that clipart.

--Chris Eldin

Thank God the Supreme Court took as long to decide my case as it did. A couple of days sooner and I would have been a goner.

On the other hand, if I "did" all the things I think I did, I'm in a mish mash of trouble, anyway.


But as I pieced it all together, as I assembled those bite-sized chunks into a meal of a memory, it became clear: I did what I had to do, and I would do it again if I had to. They can put my lights out, but they can't extinguish the flame. With their leather boots and their screams and their sense of entitlement, I had to protect him from them. I had to keep him whole, or they'd eat him alive. I'm the one to turn on the lights, I'm the one to open the doors. Next time Evil Editor holds a book signing, I'd do it again.


As it is, I now have 12 different bravery awards, enough rosettes to suffocate an asthmatic and the keys to more cities than a Russian gangster. It's a dream come true for most people and I guess I should count myself 1-2-3 a clock four o clock lucky I made it through - however much my arse is stinging.

They tell me I look like a cross between Dr Doom, Robocop and Sylvester Stallone's mum, which sounds fantastic but I'm guessing from the look on their faces, isn't. It's hard to tell. I can't be sure it's the same doctor every time. Or room. With a view. To a kill. A mocking bird in the hand that rocks the someone like a Vice-Principal is coming to see me tomorrow on the treadmill with flowers and they're taking me off the drip for the first time and my bedsheets are white and my curtains are blue and roses are red and there's a vase full of them at the end of my bed I guess a nurse must have bought them in because my parents are dead and when my dog comes to me I like to hold him close so he can lick my face and that's the strange thing about Russia; the way they play chess in the freezing cold with guns. Guns.

There I go again. Mish-mash.

No idea what I've been saying but they keep sticking a microphone in front of my face like I was some kind of pop star.

I like that.

I'm somebody like that. I know I am. Somebody important who does things. Who's done...something.


It was all such a mish mash, another thing to be nibbled and swallowed. What’s a hero?

Why had my lights been out for a season? What had I “done?” Where would I find the answers?

I could feel the bile building, everything that I’d nibbled and swallowed threatening to come back up. Answers!

“Here,” they said. “Here are your answers.”

And they handed me a copy of Coma, by Robin Cook.

What a mish mash.


Evil Editor said...

The first paragraph says almost everything. The other three are spinning their wheels, or at best taking baby steps. I'd try to condense them a bit.

Anonymous said...

Funny continuations!

As for the original opening, it needs some work. Check out the opening chapter of Dumas Key by Stephen King. You don't even need to buy it, as a promotion, you can download it online for free.

Of course, you don't need to do what King does, but it might give you some food for thought...

Anonymous said...

I don't think the repetition is working for you here. The narrator voice is distinct -- to my ear distinctly annoying. My opinion only. I agree with EE that paras 2 and 3 should be re-written (with specific, intriguing details) to draw the reader in.


McKoala said...

'between my cheeks' - which ones?!

This started really well, but then seemed to slow down a bit. Not quite sure why. Maybe a bit repetitive?

I think there are some places where you might be able to trim to help the flow, for example, in the first line 'all of just about' could probably go.

McKoala said...

Oh, and that was a very funny continuation!

Dave Fragments said...

There's something spooky about this opening. I like the setup. It plays the narrator against the archtype hero. Not that he's an antihero yet, he's merely a mortal man who did something extraordinary. I like the pace of the reveal.
But as much as it is an intriguing opening, it hits my nerves. There's a lot of past tense "to be" verbs. It's hard for me to read the opening sentence aloud without stumbling. (there's a tiny voice in my head that speaks the words while I read.)
"Suddenly-woken" is an awkward pairing of words to my ears. The repeated use of "nibbled" and "swallowed" so close draws attention to those words.

Stacy said...

mckoala asked the question I wanted to ask. "cleaned between my cheeks" just sounds weird.

Anonymous said...

Take it from someone who couldn't eat for 23 days - Nurses clean between your cheeks. Both sets. It's not a fun and happy occurrence.

Ali said...

I liked the repition of "nibbled and swallowed" and its juxtaposition with the idea of the heroics of mere survival.

The third paragraph had too many question marks where they weren't needed ("Imagine that." and "Dumbfounded by a compliment on my second waking day."--both more effective as statements than questions, IMO). The sentences about the mish-mash seem like restating what's already been shown more effectively.

The last paragraph felt like a throw-away instead of the high-impact hook I think you were aiming for. It's so off-the-cuff, the "gee whiz" tone doesn't match the previous paragraphs, or do justice to the darkness of struggling to remember and not liking what he/she comes up with.

I did want to know more, though.

Scott from Oregon said...

Ouch! And smiles...

I debated long and hard over "ass" and "cheeks" and settled on "ass cheeks" in the newest version...

The story is of a mediocre man leading a mediocre life who does one brave (and stupid) thing in his entire life and gets his ass whupped and his head smashed in because of it. He wakes from a coma and is called a hero (for simply waking up after being close to death and in a coma for three and a half months). But his memory now mixes up his heroic fantasies with his mediocre memories and therein lies the tale...

He's supposed to be high on pain meds so his telling of his tale is oftentimes, ummm... illogical, repetitive, non-sensical...self-analytical and confused...

Imagine trying to orate your own story on a morphine drip...

Anonymous said...

I like some of the phrases and imagery of the writing, but I'm having a hard time buying into the scenario. OK, I'm no expert, but this seems rather lucid for the second day awake, on a morphine drip, after three and a half months. And would he really be on morphine after three and a half months?

I can buy the first paragraph, past tense, as a recollection looking back. It's the third paragraph, present tense, that feels off to me.

Scott from Oregon said...

If you are an American Idol Fan, and you were, like me, from Selma Oregon...

You just cracked open a beer and celebrated...

Whirlochre said...

They say you should never begin with a waking up scene, but since most of my days - tedious and extraordianary alike - have started out like that, I'm happy to nudge this advice closer to the edge of the table alongside the similes, hads and long-lost cousins twice removed.

I'm always glad to see a half-cocked character taking on a plot. Spiderman was at his best when he'd mislaid his radioactive spunk and if the character in Memento hadn't been suffering from memory loss the whole film would have been over in five minutes - and very boring.

The 1st para is fine but I think you then need to locate him in his room, with the doctors, perhaps playing out the reporter scene in pres tense mixing in his thoughts about profundities etc. Be great if he spoke gobbledigook but thought sense.

I'm guessing the cheeking and spooning nudges in the idea that he's helpless - that his fate is out of his hands like the marbles from his brains.

As for Dave's gay cubist's dream date - I laughed so hard my pants wiggled right off my body. Not bad considering I was seated at the time...

writtenwyrdd said...

I liked this concept. The opening line is a great hook, and I did want to read on just from that. However the pace dragged and some of the phrasing was a touch too obscure for me. And I have to agree with the others about the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs halting your momentum. Maybe consider omitting them or revising.

Some nitpicks: The 'nibbled and swallowed' repetition was distracting to me and I didn't like it. The second sentence is confusing, referring to before-coma and after-coma, I assume? Not sure, though; perhaps clarify that a touch?

Anonymous said...

Scott, if you can pull off such a difficult task as having this guy narrate his life while high, confused and probably brain damaged, I want to read it. I did like the voice, as well as the opening.