Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Beginning 521

The car keys wrenched from Hababe Hussein’s fingertips fall to the ground in the Wal Mart parking lot. At the same moment glued to his computer monitor at the Arcadia Operation, Dr. David Justin makes the sound of keys hitting the ground come alive in his mind. Mouse click, Justin puts his computer into sleep mode, locks the door to his office, and heads down the hall to meet his latest challenge.

Ex-military and a psychiatrist, David Justin is now in charge of the operation in Arcadia, California, the smallest of the four covert prisons operating in the United States. It holds up to 22 prisoners at a time. These are the prisoners that need to fall off the face of the earth, one at a time. When they do, usually courtesy of the CIA, they come to places like Arcadia, California, or Dearborn, Michigan, Chicago or New York. And, the Arcadia prison is minute compared to some overseas.

Hababe Hussein sits on a steel chair in the center of a cold, gray room. His hair drips as ripples settle in the tank of water behind him. His eye is bruised and a trickle of blood runs from the corner of his mouth.

"Well?" David Justin adjusts his latex gloves. "Who is the ringleader? How long were you planning this?"

Hussein coughs and stares at his captor's blue shirt and yellow smiley button; he knows he will never again "forget" to pay for a pack of Twinkies.

Opening: Wendy.....Continuation: ril


Evil Editor said...

If Justin were heading across town, the second paragraph would be an okay way to let some time pass while he travels, but since he's heading down the hall, I'd rather that paragraph be put off temporariliy and get to his destination immediately to see what's going on. The background isn't as important as hooking us into the situation.

Bernita said...

Interesting concept.
For me the spacial distance between the two scenes in the paragraphs create a WTF.It's too far from a WallMart parking lot to a cell down the hall.

Anonymous said...

Author, I like it. For me, if you'd add a comma after "At the same moment" it isn't jarring at all to be back at the dude's desk. INteresting opening.

...dave conifer

p.s. Minions, someone asked for a synopsis. Single-spaced or double-spaced -- Do you think it matters? I once got reamed out by an agent for double-spacing it, which shocked me, because I thought they hate anything single space. Just curious...

none said...

Synopsis--single space
Sample pages--double space

Anonymous said...

Thanks Buffy. That's been troubling me for years...

Dave Fragments said...

you have three parts here. I think you have to give each part its due. First, P1, we see Justin watching the apprehension of Hababe on his computer monitor.
Second, P3, he is in the room where Hababe is tied to the chair, half beaten and bloody.
Third, P2, we have backstory about who Justin is and where we are.

The time sequence doesn't seem to read correctly. If Justin watches Hababe's arrest in real time, then he has to wait for them to get to to Arcadia. Or alternately, Justin can be reviewing the video of Hababe's arrest after the fact and then goes to the interrogation room. Do you see what I mean? This is only a fix of tense or maybe the removal of "at the same moment" ...

BTW someone wrenches. Hababe most likely drops the keys as he is grabbed.

I'm guessing that you want to tell us something about Justin's odd behavior in adding sound effects to the video. If so, what is it. You need to be more explicit about his adding sound effects.

And in the last part, the interrogation, we want to know why he's being tortured. Wouldn't he be gasping and coughing?

The backstory can wait. Lots of backstories can wait as a general rule.

Evil Editor said...

The "interrogation" is in the continuation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the continuation ril, and I love this line:

"His hair drips as ripples settle in the tank of water behind him."

The twinkie thing was very funny and a relief too. Sometimes this story wears me out.

EE- Of course you're right. I edited out several paragraphs and ended up with my backstory in the front of my story. Bad girl! I will amend my ways. And, now that you've made me think about it I believe I will sink that paragraph even deeper into the story. Thank you.

Dave F., interesting ideas. I'm going to take some time and work them through. You're thought on the car keys being dropped instead of wrenched has really got me thinking. Thanks for taking the time!

Thanks to all for comments. Help is always appreciated!

Kiersten White said...

Is the whole book in present-tense? Because that is hard to pull off. I think what was confusing to me was that the first line is in past tense, then it switches to present.

Nice to have you with us, Wendy ; )

Kiersten White said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

kiersten, why'd you delete your comment?

Dave Fragments said...

I missed the blue on the third paragraph. Sorry about that. I'll blame it on my bifocals.

Does anyone doubt the "realness" or the "near certainty" of the third paragraph after the setup in the second? Justin's "latest challenge" is undoubtedly a prisoner.

Of course, Justin could be conducting appropriate interrogations and not torture.

Robin S. said...

Hi Wendy,

Your story sounds interesting - I found myself needing to reread the first sentence to catch its full meaning. Thought I should mention that - I'm wondering if it was just me.

Also, I'd put a comma after "At the same moment" in the second sentence, to help with the reading flow.

Good luck with the edits and figuring out what to keep and what not to keep - I know how hard that is!

Sounds like a story I'd read.

And ril, your continuation - so good!

Kiersten White said...

Because I actually looked it up and found that yes, Hababe is an Arabic name, it's just similar to Habibe, which is a pet-name. Obviously Wendy already did the research ; )

Beth said...

For me, there was a big disconnect between the first sentence and the second one. Never could figure out how they related to each other. Or who wrenched the keys from Hussein's hand. Or what it means when Justin "makes the sound of keys hitting the ground [too vague. Pavement? Dirt? Mud? Grass?] come alive in his mind."

I have no clue what that means.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Hey, K: That first line is actually in present tense (primary verb: fall) with a near-past action that's playing some sort of modifying role (wrenched). There's probably some fancy term for the construct, but I'm way too far removed from academia to remember (or care) ;o)

Beth: I'm so glad you're back around. With you here, I don't feel bad about slacking!

Anonymous said...

Wow! You people are like a supersized B-12 shot!

Is it to early to declare my undying love? Yeah, I suppose it’s too early. I’ll wait ‘til tomorrow.


Whirlochre said...

This is captivating, smacking of wonders to come. Nonetheless, it's a jumble — but I don't mind. I'm happy to be lost in this rather than finding everything neatly laid out for me.

Anonymous said...


It's never too early to declare your undying love. Hope you stay to play.

Anon at work.

Oh what the hell,

it's Robin.

Kiersten White said...

Right you are, Phoenix. Sorry, my mind is rather cluttered right now. I should probably avoid trying to give any constructive comments for the next few weeks.

Beth said...

Phoenix, thanks for the welcome. I'm shocked anyone remembers me, much less missed me. :)