Monday, December 14, 2009

New Beginning 712

There is something magical about being this drunk in the middle of winter. It is freezing cold by the side of the road, but I feel giddy and warm.

I have a nagging feeling that something is missing, and that maybe I’ve left something in the car. Where is the car anyway? Didn’t they say they would come back for me soon? I walk a few feet to get my blood flowing again. I giggle hysterically when I almost trip, because my stiletto heel hooks between my toes and gets stuck in my pantyhose. I rip a ladder in the silk material while trying to balance on one foot. Then I plunge backwards onto the asphalt. Luckily my coat is thick enough to break the fall.

Sitting in silence for a moment, I look up at the morning sky hanging over the quiet forest road. Some careful rays of sunlight are playing with the ice hanging from the branches of a moosewood tree. The sensation of the clear, crisp air in my lungs brings tears to my eyes. It is beautiful out here.

I wonder where I am.

Then I see the woman striding toward me. Wait . . . that's no woman, that's my wife. I try to rise but my head spins, and I simply cannot run in these stilettos. I'm giggling hysterically again, for no good reason.

All at once I remember where the car is, and what happened to it. And another realization hits me--just before the seven iron--she may forgive my dalliances, but she does not like me wearing her clothes.

Opening: Nicolette.....Continuation: jrmosher


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Those Secret Service men were so nice to offer me a ride home, but they drove such a long way! Something about throwing terrorists off our trail. Well, we VIPs have to be careful these days.

Then they said there might be a terrorist ambush just up the road, so they would make sure it was safe and then come back and get me. So brave. When we get home I'll invite them in for a drink.

The invitation! That's what I forgot. My friends will turn green when I tell them how I was invited to a White House dinner. Oh well, they'll have to take my word for it.


"Well, I can help you there, miss. You're in Chipping Sodbury, and I'm afraid that on this occasion you've failed the practical component of your driving license examination."

--Steve Wright

That was the last thing I remembered before I woke up here, here being Garden Memorial Hospital.

I felt like my feet were on fired. They burned. The pain was unbearable. I screamed and the nurses came running. They shot me up with morphine and I slipped away into oblivion.

I didn't stay there. When I came back the pain was just as bad and I screamed again but this time I screamed because I had pulled back the sheets. My toes were black. Not very styling. They burn. Oh how they burn.

They tell me I am lucky I was in Philadelphia because if I had been in Wyoming I would have died in 15 minutes. The high this entire week was -2 F.

Funny, I don't feel so lucky because if I had been living there and not here, I would not have been wearing nylons and high heeled shoes in the middle of winter and I would have not been outside either. I certainly would not have fallen on my butt, marveled at the beauty of winter and laughed. Nothing funny or magical about freezing to death. Nothing funny about being stupid either.

They are going to amputate five of my toes tomorrow.

--Vivian Whetham

Evil Editor said...

If someone left in the car and said they'd come back, she'd be thinking Where are they, anyway? Not where is the car, anyway? The car isn't coming back without them.

I don't find it that clear what happens with her shoe and panyhose, and even if I could visualize exactly what happens, I'm not sure I want that much detail about her almost tripping; I'd move on to the actual falling down.

Sylvia said...

I like this - there is enough detail and information that I don't feel frustrated, just intrigued.

And the continuation is hysterical!

fairyhedgehog said...

I really like this.

It's a great first sentence and I really get the feeling of the MC being totally drunk. I had the feeling that it wasn't just her coat that broke the fall - it was her being out of her mind with drink.

I wonder what happens next.

Oh, and I loved Steve's continuation.

Dave Fragments said...

I think that this is a complete distraction from what you are trying to say:
I giggle hysterically when I almost trip, because my stiletto heel hooks between my toes and gets stuck in my pantyhose. I rip a ladder in the silk material while trying to balance on one foot.

I would remove those two sentences. They don't reveal anything about the speaker or the situation that the reader needs to know.

Robin B. said...

I really like this. I've been this drunk before, especially when I was in my twenties, and this fits the feeling, the 'one with the universe' married to oh hell, I ripped my hose.

EE, I'm guessing you don't wear pantyhose, honey. The ripped ladder effect was a good one from my perspective.

Evil Editor said...

Of course I wear pantyhose. And stilettos. But even while drunk I've never managed to get my stiletto heel caught between my toes.

vkw said...

I didn't like this one so much. I think because I would be hysterical, (and not in a funny, isn't this cute sorta way but rather I'm going to die way) if someone dropped me off in the middle of nowhere in winter and it is so cold icicles are on the tree.

I agree with the nylon complaint as well. I tried visualizing getting heel stuck inside the toes of my pantyhose and I can't, unless I was putting on my shoes rather than walking around.

_*rachel*_ said...

This is good. It's the sort of writing where the style matches what's happening, which is a style I like.

Anonymous said...

I like the phrases Dave would remove. They reveal what she's wearing--and stilettos do say something, not a ton, but something about the woman wearing them--and how far gone she is (that she thinks it's funny).

If you can think of something better, I might replace giddy in the second sentence. Something more unique, something less tell-y.

This is beautiful: "Some careful rays of sunlight are playing with the ice hanging from the branches of a moosewood tree."

Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

EE wears "Man"tihose that are cut more ample for the bits that are more ample...

Robin B. said...

I'd pay good money to see a (non-cartoon) pic of you in Robin-Hoody pantyhose, Sparky.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

I'm in the camp that likes this. The only tweak I would suggest is to minimize the repetition of "feel" by changing the first instance to something like, "It is freezing cold by the side of the road, but here I stand all giddy [or glowy] and warm."

Nicolette said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments; I really appreciate that people have spent time to leave feedback.

About the pantyhose bit; I was trying to use it to emphasize the state the character is in and imply that she has been to a party earlier that evening. Reading it again I realize that the description is distracting; especially for people that haven't torn their pantyhose in this way while being drunk.

EE: I felt like I had to mention the car, not recognizing that it is the most obvious way of transportation onto a forest road. Thanks. I'll change it.

Anonymous 5:22. Thanks for pointing out the word ‘giddy’. I'll see if I can find something better.

The continuation was great!

Adam Heine said...

I liked the stiletto between the toes bit, actually. I was forced to imagine how she'd have to be walking in order to do that, and the resulting image was a good drunken stagger.

Though I admit I had to stop to figure out the image.

_*rachel*_ said...

I like the imagery of the pantyhose and stilettos, and in conveys some important information: the narrator is almost certainly female, she's got class enough to wear pantyhose, and she had an occasion to. Saying they're silk does the same thing; silk is much nicer than the usual nylon. (Or so I'd think, but I'm a member nylon class myself.)

The logistics of how she tears it and falls are a little weird; I first glossed over it and assumed the rip was back by her heels. But Adam has a point; it shows you how she's walking.

Robin B. said...

Hey Nicolette,

The pantyhose bit is good; I'd leave it in. It covers a lot of ground in the way of explanation without being boring. I like it.

Evil Editor said...

The main question is whether a person who's been abandoned in the middle of nowhere on a cold winter night, and has already told us she's very drunk, would consider a run in her pantyhose worth relating to us. Or would even notice it, given that she falls on the ground.

Sylvia said...

If I've had too much to drink, I kick my shoes off and walk in my nylons and then curse bitterly because I have ruined them. This despite the fact that it happens every time. And then I fall over.

I paused for a moment trying to work out how the heel got caught between the toes. I decided that she stepped on her own foot and was lucky. Other than that brief pause, I was comfortable with the description of her actions. Do you have any idea how much silk costs! :)

Robin B. said...

And also, EE, the (one or two) times I've been sop-assed drunk, weird stuff seemed very important and interesting.

Evil Editor said...

Me too. Amazing how what seems fascinating to you when you're drunk or high seems remarkably boring to other people. I guess it's up to the author to decide what belongs in the book, as the drunk character can be trusted to spew out both the vital and the trivial.

Robin B. said...

Ya know, EE, hanging out here is better than hanging out on my blog.
I need to switch back to driving you crazy on a more regular basis again. I miss the conversations.

Jeb said...

Interesting setup that raises questions in my mind in a good way.

Although I agree with Rachel that the the heels and pantyhose bit conveys valuable information about the character and situation, it simultaneously bugs me as it has so many others.

For me it's her giggling, not that she notices her ladder. Skip her (over)acting and just give us the action:

"My stiletto heel hooks between my toes and gets stuck in my pantyhose, laddering the silk material. I try to balance on one foot...."