Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Beginning 675

I almost lost my virginity last year. I was in Jeff Holbrook's basement on a Saturday at noon and one else was in the house but him and me. One rectangular window let in the filtered gray light of that pathetically unforgettable, autumn day. We dropped ourselves on a crappy old mattress stationed in the middle of the room and it was awkward right from the start. I was lying on my back stiff as a board and he was crushing the air out of me. I can't remember why I thought it would be a good idea to finally get busy on that particular day because I'd only been dating him for a month. Maybe it was all the teasing from my so-called friends about being the last one to do it. Whatever it was, the thing I remember most is the smell of musty concrete; I think it still lives in my nose. I was trying to smash my knees back together because I had a sudden lapse of bravery and realized I didn't want to be there anymore. Instead of panic, instead of shame, I struggled against him as best I could and I hoped. I prayed to the demon shadows around me that I would get out of there in one piece.

Jeff sighed and stared at the table in front of him. It was all true of course: the seedy basement, his lack of restraint, everything. There was no way he would escape this humiliation.

The judge looked at them both. "Well, it's a clear cut case," she said. "You, young lady, reneged on a promise. I find in favor of the defendant and award Mr. Holbrook the overdue loss of his virginity."

Jeff coughed and stared at the table again, though thrilled with the outcome. Judge Judy rocks!

"As you know," Judy continued, "the program takes care of the settlements. Mr. Holbrook -- to my chambers."

Opening: Aimee.....Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

But he was able to calm me with one of the most romantic lines I've ever heard. "Did I tell you my stomach was full?" he said. “Full of butterflies.”

Well, that melted my heart like butter and I decided to give him a shot. Let me tell you, that was the most awkward and painful three seconds of my life. It was so awful that I decided to call a mulligan--every girl gets one--and reclaim my virginity.

Next time I lose my virginity, I’ll make sure it’s with a guy who know's how to treat a girl--Like Cindy did with Professor Ricardo.


Then I saw the knife collection. Hey, at least one part of me stayed whole.


Unfortunately, the demon shadow that heard my prayer was Sarcastro. He is never helpful.

"Why don't you just tell Jeff you changed your mind?" said Sarcastro, sarcastically "You've been dating him for a month. Why are you suddenly acting like he's a dangerous rapist?"


I realize now I probably should have chosen angels to pray to, but at least the demons answered my prayers. After the shadows tore Jeff from limb to limb, I was kind of afraid and even sad, but mostly I just wanted to make sure no one found out it was me that called them. I got out of that basement quick.

It was few days later, after wishing Mrs. Fat-Ass Sebastian would trip, and she did, I realized the shadows were still doing my bidding.

I’m not afraid of anything anymore. And, no one is teasing me about anything either. But now I have bigger problems than losing my virginity, I think Father Michael O’Leary is suspecting something. I probably should not have his cat.

--Vivian Whetham

I found my escape when Jeff stopped suddenly , stiffened his butt, groaned and released a missile, with smell suitable for use as a weapon of mass destruction.

"I'm sorry," he yelled to my back, as I scrambled up the stairs.


Compared to that, half a ciggie behind the bicycle shed is really not that big a deal, my son. Say two Hail Mary's and go in peace.


I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag, yet, though. You'll just have to wonder, weather or not I did 'it'.

--Mother (Re)produces

Evil Editor said...

The following sentence doesn't feel like it belongs:

One rectangular window let in the filtered gray light of that pathetically unforgettable, autumn day.

Also, I'd get rid of

Instead of panic, instead of shame,

Kool Kat said...

I love the real beginning. Let's see the book on the shelves.

_*rachel*_ said...

Oh. My. What a continuation.

(EE, the continuation isn't in blue.)

Something bothers me about the comma in pathetically unforgettable, autumn day. Frankly, I could use some minion explanation on the use of commas to separate adjectives. I know you're supposed to, but it somehow tends to sound wrong.

Not my type of fiction, Aimee, but well-written.

Evil Editor said...

That comma shouldn't be there. I'd have mentioned it if I weren't suggesting deleting the whole sentence.

Dave Fragments said...

This is awkward for me to admit, but the first time I read this, I read it three times before I realized that it wasn't two men. I usually don't do things like that but reading this, I did. Perhaps that day I wasn't on my best game.

I almost like this as an opening. I think it is the setup and the punchline comes too late. the only thing interesting that makes me want to stay and read on is "I prayed to the demon shadows." There's lots of description in this. Push the mention of demons up towards the top of the opening. Introduce another tidbit that links us to the speaker more than just two awkward teenagers grappling in a basement.

"Get out of there in one piece" doesn't seem sexual too me. Would saying "get out of there with my virginity intact" work for you?

Wes said...

The time frame doesn't work for me. "I almost lost my virginity last year." Referencing an event so long ago lessens the emotional impact for me. Writing "last month", "last week", or "last night" would give more importance to relating the event.

Darla said...

Nothing but praise from me.

I got right away that it was a guy and a girl, the opening line grabbed me, the demon shadows seem fine where they are, and the rectangular window seems fine, too, exactly what you would expect in a basement (my basement has those windows, too). This is a great opening. I would also expect that the people who wouldn't like it would be guys.

Evil Editor said...

The problem isn't whether there would be a rectangular window, it's whether a person telling you about the time she almost lost her virginity would remark upon the window in those words (or at all). She wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a guy and I didn't care for the opening.


I think the rectangular window line is unnecessary but I liked the "pathetically unforgettable, autumn day" part.

I don't think crappy old mattresses are stationed anywhere - maybe they are right in the middle of a basement or thrown haphazardly in the middle of a basement.

I didn't like "musty concrete". I don't think concrete smells musty. I think unfinished basements smell musty and mildewy and damp and cold and barren and certainty anything but romantic.

"I was trying to smach my knees back together when I had (not "because" you had) a sudden lapse of bravery and realized I didn't want to do it anymore." (did she not want to do it or did she not want to be there? Just wondering because if she said "stop" and the boy stopped was she going to run out the door or play x-box?)

Instead of panicking, I struggled against him (hmm, how and if she didn't panic why didn't she speak up?) and I prayed to the demon shadows (rather odd in my mind but okay) that I would get out of there in one piece. (These last two sentences don't seem "right" to me. She consented orginally, changed her mind but she can't believe she is being hurt or raped. I am not sure getting out of their in one piece is the right word.)

I like the continuation, however. Very clever and nice change of POV.


Mame said...

I just about fell off my chair when I read the feedback. I was away from home all day pacing like an idiot because I saw this posted right before I had to leave. Torture, I tell you! I was expecting the worst.

I really appreciate the compliments. Thanks for the advice from all who did or didn't like it. I do love knowing which parts work for some and not for others.

As always, the continuation is hilarious.

Kathleen said...

Aimee, congrats on the great feedback - I'm sure it was nerve-wracking to wait for the comments!

My own reaction to the opening, and maybe this is explained more if we continued reading, but I found your main character's reaction over the top. Why wouldn't she say something to Jeff, like "I've changed my mind" or "stop for a minute"? Her immediate leap to "I'm being raped and need to get out of here in one piece!" did not sit well with me.

just my two cents! good luck - Kathleen

Matt said...

Liked it. I didn't think her reaction was over the top. Most teenagers are melodramatic.

Anonymous said...

I would also expect that the people who wouldn't like it would be guys.

Ooh, good pre-emptive strike. Guess my observations aren't going to count, then.

Mame said...

It's not meant to be a rape scene. It's a 16 year old girl who is too chicken to say anything so she uses body language. Art imitates life, I will say that. But no, they don't have sex. I can rework that a bit.

I will take a look at all the comments here and play around with the opening, absolutely. But overall, I'm pretty happy with it.

I thought about the comment earlier about the time frame, and that's a good one. A year really is too long. In the next two paragraphs you find out that she's a medicated Schizophrenic (that's why the "demon shadows") and the incident triggers a new set of ongoing hallucinations. It sets up other issues as well - how she perceives the reactions of peers possibly discovering her illness, and her credibility. (This is a YA paranormal. Turns out, it's not all in her head.)

Also, the window bit...I like it, but it's probably too wordy. I agree.

I get why it was said a woman would read this differently than a man. I'm not going to be sexist or try to sound biased, but I understand that statement.

Darla said...

"'I would also expect that the people who wouldn't like it would be guys.'
Ooh, good pre-emptive strike. Guess my observations aren't going to count, then."

I didn't mean to offend you. That was a serious comment.

I once read that most of the people who didn't like The Bridges of Madison County were men, whereas women loved the book. It is a marketing fact that more women readers go for books about romance and relationships.

My comment also wasn't a preemptive strike. I was responding to Evil Editor and Dave F.

Evil Editor said...

Me? What did I say? All I suggested was removing a few things. The writer needs to decide whether she wants it to sound like it's being told by the girl who experienced it or by a writer telling us a story about the girl who experienced it.

That it's written in first person makes it likely to me that the former is what is being attempted, and that it should sound like the girl is telling an old friend about something that happened. When you're talking to an old friend you don't say things like One rectangular window let in the filtered gray light of that pathetically unforgettable, autumn day.

Mame said...

"When you're talking to an old friend you don't say things like One rectangular window let in the filtered gray light of that pathetically unforgettable, autumn day."

Now THAT is the kind of advice I won't forget. Things like that are not always obvious to a relative newbie.

Anonymous said...

All I suggested was removing a few things.

Well yes, but if your vision had not been so clouded by testosterone, you might have better appreciated the delicate beauty of that filtered gray light.

Anonymous said...

Hmm - some interesting comments. I would, (probably wrongly), point out that (1) teenagers have two switches off and melodramatic, (2), I would agree with Evil Editor to a certain point. The window is not something anyone would say to themselves or their friends - but maybe would note at the time - especially if they are trying to distance themselves from the situation as an ego defense. I do believe, however, that a teenager would say to herself and to her friends, "I was pathetic and pitiful and he was such a jerk." Maybe Aimee needs to clarify whether her MC is reliving what happened or reciting what happened last year.

I would point out that the Bridges of Madison County is way different than this story and I would not go too far out of the way to compare the two - actually I wouldn't do it at all. Apples and grapes and plums. All fruit - but no quarantee that if you like apples you will like plums or that they even ripen at the same time. I also try to avoid stereotypes it just isn't fair. I hated Madison County - glorifying adultry into some sort of grand love affair isn't my cup of tea, if that is different than most women out there - good. Does my opinion make Madison a bad book - no. Nor does it reflect anything about Aimee's story except personal preference - still no.

Aimee - I love your attitude. It just shines through. I have a lot of respect for people like you and I think you are going to be a great success. Best of Luck.


Chelsea Pitcher said...

My issue with the scene is that I can't get a feeling for Jeff. The narrator mentions the window and the concrete, but nothing about how Jeff looks, how he kisses, or what he says to her (if anything). Do they exchange any words? Does he try to take off her clothes? Right now it seems like they walk in, strip down (maybe), and get to it. Even if he's not very perceptive, I feel like Jeff might say or do something to make him more present in the scene.

I would definitely read on.

_*rachel*_ said...

Do consent laws play into this in any way? Because if she says, "No," and he tries anyway, he could be charged with (attempted?) rape, I think. If your MC wants to.