Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Beginning 727

Sophie, in an uncharacteristic burst of the poetic, probably brought on by the soothing effects of the painkillers, declared that she wanted to call the twins Castor and Pollux. Fortunately Brian Hummel, her acquaintance of four years (and seven months), who knew well the trauma that a hastily chosen name could cause, having answered to "Bumhole" for most of his life for no better reason than his maternal great-grandfather being also Brian, quickly persuaded her otherwise with the certain advice that those names - as well as being incredibly pretentious epithets that would position a family badly with regard to the idle chatter of their peers - would doom the two to a childhood, and probably beyond, of substitute designations such as "Custard and Bollocks", and variations thereof. After a brief - and at best, semi-coherent - discussion, Sophie conceded, therefore, to the much more sensible Katrina - apparently the forename of a great, great grandmother, supposed to be a Russian emigrée - for the first born; and for Katrina's minutely younger brother, the name Jonathan, which had no known history in the family but seemed, nonetheless, a comfortable fit.

Jonathan had been the first to cry; and always would be. Katrina, on the other hand, just quietly started to breathe, as though savouring that first, perfect moment when everything is new, nothing is broken and no one is to blame. That single, precious moment of individuality; that perfect moment, oblivious to everything that was to come: the broken bone; the first kiss; the accident in the car; both divorces; the death of her fathers, and the final, exquisite blow that would lay waste to everything she would come to hold precious.


I took a sip of scotch, gazed moodily at my computer screen, and sighed. Some people might think it was just grand to be haunted by Charles Dickens--literally haunted, as the rat-bastard spook wouldn't let me sleep until I took dictation from him every night--but I just wished someone had told him that "show, don't tell" was the new mantra in fiction.

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Marissa Doyle


Anonymous said...

I actually love this. The voice is great--a little quirky, hints of Zadie-Smith-over-the-top-ness, still interesting with the wordiness.

I really like the description of the moment of birth--"when everything is new, nothing is broken and no one is to blame." But I thought the following line "the single, precious moment..." was too much though--I'd recommend a quicker transition into the list.

I would definitely read on.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Sophie's eyes narrowed as "Bumhole" breathlessly listed the multiple miserable fates that he predicted for her new daughter, and, with sudden clarity of mind, decided perhaps he wasn't the best choice for Godfather after all.


But then, sure enough, in a fizzle of irony that zapped across the hospital like static shock, not ten minutes later the maternity nurse, leaning over to plant a kiss on baby Katrina's face, tripped over her feet and tumbled kisser first onto the shiny floor, cracking her femur, where she let out a shriek that echoed through the walls of the building and into the street below, causing a lorry driver to jump the kerb and slam into the hospital wall, whereupon Katrina's first father shouted "F***!" and her second shouted "Holy sh**!", causing Sophie, still woozy from the second dose of morphine Brian had slipped her, to scream out "Don't you swear in front of my babies! I want a divorce! From both of you!" right before the weakened hospital wall collapsed on both men, killing them instantly as the maternity ward floor gave way beneath their feet.

As tiny baby Katrina lay whimpering in her crib, her brother took the pacifier out of his mouth and looked over at her. "See?" he said. "This is what you get for not crying like a normal baby."

--Sarah from Hawthorne

precious, the third baby, (what quirk caused this baby to be named a la ee c we'll never know) combined bawling and quiet breathing at a one two tempo that blended her elder and younger siblings' first minutes of life. It was weird how precious had taken on the screaming/breathing of the two she shared the womb with over the past nine .5 and 3/4months.
Bumhole was chuffed that no one coud pervert the name "precious" into a nasty body part.

-- bibi

The plump nurse smiled as she tucked the twins into their bassinettes. She had a good feeling about these two.



Judge Archer set the papers down and sighed. He was getting too old for this. It was bad enough when Grisham was trying to break in and every damn one of his briefs read like a clause infested thriller, but what the hell was this? Literary deposition? All he knew for sure was the day he received a dispositive motion starring teenage vampires was the day he’d chuck his gavel out the window and buy that little island in the Caribbean.


Evil Editor said...

I think you want "acceded," rather than "conceded" to the better names.

Should that be the "deaths" of her fathers, rather than the "death"?

Bernita said...

Well done, Anon!
"when everything is new, nothing is broken and no one is to blame." is a perfect line.

Ellie said...

The first paragraph has great voice, a little hard to follow, but I do find it interesting.

The second paragraph feels weak to me, though. You say "perfect moment" twice and "precious" twice. It feels like a shift from the vividness and personality of the first paragraph to vague, cliche-y ruminations.

I wonder which one would have been Castor and which one Pollux? :)

Dave Fragments said...

It is an older style and it is wordy for my taste but it's cute and funny and it works to introduce the slightly eccentric main character and her friend.

Christina said...

I like it ALOT, but I'd break down the longer sentences. Sometimes hard to follow!

Marla said...

Doesn't work for me. The sentences are too long and you're trying too hard to be clever. Why should I care about these people?

Brenda said...

Half way through the first paragraph, I realized I hadn't taken a single breath in awaiting for a break in the actual sentence, and did the worst thing for a writer: I started to skim.

The continuation, however, made me laugh. Loved it.

_*rachel*_ said...

I really didn't mind the tell-y-ness of this all that much, though I do think you should have cut it off after "blame" in the second paragraph.

I'm iffy about calling Jonathan "minutely younger." I think it's the "minutely" that bugs me.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I love your comments, when you mentioned the writer used an older style - can you expand please? The herd of averbs that broke through the gate or the too long sentences or something else? Thanks, Bibi

Sarah Laurenson said...

I love the second paragraph. The first one was good, but I had to work at it a bit. Some of the sentences were a little too long and contained too many tangents for me to keep track of what the next bit went with from before.

Author said...

Thanks for reading. Really appreciate the feedback. And great continuations.