Friday, June 06, 2008

New Beginning 511

William had the heebie-jeebies. William always had the heebie-jeebies. Even when he looked like he was standing still, he was humming inside. You could feel it like a current running inside him, if you were up next to him and paying attention.

It’s not a big long story how I found out what his name was. I just asked him the first time I drove my crappy car down to his stilt house that stood between the stands of tall trees on the river bottom road outside of Lexington, a few hours after I arrived there, when I was still underneath him, and he was still inside of me.

When it was getting harder to take a breath with his long bony body resting down, and his breathing coming deep and spent and him with a light sweat on top of me, before he decided he’d better roll off me so I could take my own deep breath, I figured his first name wasn’t too much to ask of him, all things considered.

He pushed himself up on his bony elbows and looked at me still underneath him, his legs wrapped inside mine, like he valued the contact, and I could feel the buzz as his voltage ran through me, and he answered, "William," still out of breath, "but call me Bill; only my mother calls me William."

"That I do," his mother said from her hiding place in the shadows, and I pulled myself away and hid beneath the scrappy blanket, and her rocker creaked against the old floorboards of that stilt house by the river. "But after that pathetic show," she added, "we can just call him Wee Willie Winkie," and then she cackled, and it was enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies.

Opening: Robin S......Continuation: ril


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:

Now I have the heebie jeebies.

--Scott from Oregon

Evil Editor said...

You can delete "all things considered" at the end. It's implied by the earlier listing of all the things you considered.

It's a bit odd to say It’s not a big long story how I found out what his name was. The reader isn't likely to be wondering how you found out a character's name, unless it's Rumplestilskin. Perhaps there's another way to lead up to the fact you'd had sex before even knowing his name. Something like:

I didn't know his name was William the first time I drove my crappy car down to his stilt house that stood between the stands of tall trees on the river bottom road outside of Lexington, not until a few hours after I arrived there, when I was still underneath him, and he was still inside of me, and his breathing coming deep and spent and him with a light sweat on top of me, and me figuring his first name wasn’t too much to ask of him.

Anonymous said...

I was always bitter and jealous of RIL for getting so many continuations accepted. But this one shows how he's the best!!

Robin, I like this. In a way it's confusing because the topic is grown up but some of language is lighthearted (I just can't think of the right word, actually). Like "It's not a big long story" and "drove my own crappy car" in an opening that talks about getting laid (I think). I kind of like the contrast. I've never been one to worry about such things. I'd read more...

...dave conifer

Now, I'm no

Chris Eldin said...

Robin, I love this!!! But ril totally cracked me up!!!!

Wes said...

You know I like your writing, but this leaves me confused. I'm not sure what your intent is. I think that's because of the word choices. They send mixed messages. Perhaps it is my problem for trying to see what is not there. I see an opportunity for a hot, steamy, earthy scene that leads to a significant romance. Possibly that's what I want to find. Instead I find a clinical account of an inconsiderate lover. As always, take my comments with a grain of salt.

Dave Fragments said...

It's a cute opening. It leaves the reader wondering why she wanted sex from a stranger and why he was so willing to accommodate. (Have to be more reasons than she's a slut and he's a cad/horndog.)

I'd use fewer words, but that's a stylistic difference.

The female narrator reminded me of the TNT show "Saving Grace" where the main character, Anna, is amazingly promiscuous.

Sylvia said...

Robin, you know I don't always love your writing (aw! mostly though!) but I do love this! Really great starter.

And yes, ril made me laugh aloud once again....

Chris Eldin said...

Dave, almost always it's the horndog.
I saw a health/science documentary on this (seriously!) A camera crew secretly recorded two groups:

1) Women approaching total strangers and asking if they wanted sex. Nary a no.

2) Men approaching total strangers and asking if they wanted sex. HAHAHAHAHA! Predictable outcome.

Just had to say that.

fairyhedgehog said...

I love the opening and the continuation. Ril has really caught the style of the original while adding a wonderful twist.

Wes said...

Actually, I'm going to disagree with EE on one thing, risking his wrath and possibly showing I'm not a total suck-up. To me, "all things considered" added punch to the paragaph.

Whirlochre said...

I like the style and rhythm of this, and it's a great opening para — saying a lot about the narrator as well as William.

You manage to spin things out beyond the bounds of semicolons and full stops and it's a mesmerising thing — but it doesn't seem to work for the 3rd para. It's too much after para 2 — which does work.

I'm guessing Ril had the cane at least once as a schoolkid for being such a cheeky wag.

none said...

You lost me "it's not a big long story". Why make so much of it if it's a nothing? I like EE's suggested edit, though.

Scott from Oregon said...

In these parts, the "heebie-jeebies" are what you get when a tick gets found crawling up your belly track or ants suddenly arrive while you are fornicating under the moon...

The skin becomes activated and the nerve ends prepared to tell you where to "smack 'em"...

I was trying to a)imagine having the heebie jeebies all the time (I think it would be a cause for great madness)
b)figure out a possible other meaning, less insanity producing
c)accept that this guy was monumentally insane and that was why he was interesting.

I had a little trouble "revving up" for some of your longer sentences so early on in your piece. (Well, that and "jumping right in"!) I guess just be aware that you haven't eased anyone into this voice or this situation...

I'd read to have my heebie jeebie's questions answered, definately.

Stacy said...

This is good. I'd read on.

I don't exactly disagree with EE about the name thing. It's mentioned quite a bit for not being such a big deal. But then, the narrator may be unwittingly revealing something. I'd read on for at least a few more paragraphs to find out.

Robin S. said...

OK- I'm gonna read on down now - but I have to say THANKS ril!!! first.

Killer continuation.

Robin S. said...

This is a chapter opening - it's the middle of three chapters the guy known as "the gonad looking for trouble" resides in. The girl knows him by his last name. It's not that she doesn't know him.

These are people living in the lower social strata of the late 1970s - when casual sex was as common as picking up a sixpack on a Friday night. Or any night, really.

EE - will you be mad if I say I still like "all things considered" on the end? Because the narrator is full of bravado and that puffed up false confidence people of her ilk put on to make themselves feel better about themsleves and what they aren't.

Yep, Scott- the guy has problems. He committs suicide at the end of the following chapter.

Evil Editor said...

I never get mad at you. By all things considered, you mean, considering that we had just had sex, right? So what you're saying is, When we were finished having sex, I figured his first name wasn't too much to ask, considering that we just finished having sex.

Robin S. said...

Yeah- I see what you mean - but I guess I was thinking when I wrote this - both about what the rhythm of the sentence sounded like to me, and that this was the kind of thing the narrator would say to make a joke out of how she was living. Self-deprecating humor.

Anonymous said...

Robin, as usual, I was quickly pulled in to your story. Very engaging.

With regard to the "all things considered" debate, I think it works with and without it. The prose has a stronger punch without it, in my opinion. However, if the effect you're going for is to allow us some insight into the narrator's sense of humor, and let us see her kind of shake her head at herself, I think it works for that purpose. As you've told us this is somewhere down the line in the story, we probably already have a feel for the character's personality, and so "all things considered" may be unnecessary, and possibly overkill, thereby weakening the prose.

You have my analysis. All things considered.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Beautiful, Robin. Fantastic continuation, ril.

I think everything here has to do with dialect - including "all things considered". It's that southern dialect. Sort of an idiomatic phrase.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Hey Rob: I'll echo the lyrical style is nice (as always) in this short passage. You have a terrific, distinctive voice and style. You're likely to run into people who are gonna love it or hate it, as anyone with a strong voice does.

Me, I don't mind working a little harder to get the meaning from the convoluted syntax when I know it's only a few paragraphs. Not sure, though, that I would work so hard through 80K words. I heartily appreciate your voice -- you know I do, girlfriend; what a talent simply HAVING a unique voice! -- but the style's just not quite to my personal taste.

Now, I do have a question if this is a chapter opening and the MC -- and presumably the reader -- knows William only by his last name. Will the preceding chapter make it clear that William is a character already introduced by last name. The way this starts, it doesn't "feel" like the MC has any other knowledge of William other than taking a joy ride for reasons unknown down to his house.

You're almost done with your final edit, aren't you? When are we gonna see your query? Time to start finalizing it, you know!

Evil Editor said...

Phoenix has a point. If we know William only as Johnson, maybe it should begin, Johnson had the heebie jeebies.. He always.

Then talk about finding out his first name.

Julie Weathers said...

ril's continuation is really frightening.

Robin S. said...

Hey stick,

Yes- this is her sense of humor speaking. That's it.

Sarah- thanks- and you're right - this way of speaking is very Southern, peppered with idiomatic phrases and turns of phrase.

Hi phoenix and EE,

Thanks for the thought about the name issue. I'll go back through the end of the previous chapter, take a look at this opening, and make sure the flow is there on the name.

And phoenix-

Thanks for asking about my edit!
It's been quite a slog, but I'm journeying through. I'm just about on schedule - slowed down a bit this past week, then back up to speed.

The goal is - I want it finished by mid-July so it can sit, unlooked at and unloved, until we got to Wales the first of August. I'm taking it with me there, and will read it all the way through.
I really do think reading from another place gives a different perspective.

Jules, you're right - ril's was scary- he's a freaking genius.