Monday, March 28, 2011

New Beginning 845

I remember my childhood in Gray Sector of Panocadia Three as a series of comic book pages, each panel painting a lurid vignette of young lust and desire. Years later, with the zombie plague behind us, the grand kids want to know about the not-so-grand and amazingly un-glorious days of my youth. I thought myself precocious in all concerns governmental, sexual, scientifical and obviously parental. Oh to be young again, to have the clear visions the world. Yeah. Right. Sure.

Think bucolic; a family at church, a sunny Sunday swaddled in the fragrance of Acacia, birds chirping and the preacher breathing fire and brimstone to the undeserving of his congregation. Now forget that. In reality, it's stinking hot in Gray Sector thanks to a failure of a weather machines in Engineering. The metal benches of the Quonset hut each have a bouquet of plastic lilies that were never alive. A make believe church redolent of sweaty armpits and motor oil suffering under the weight of Preacher Bosco's never-ending sermon. Cue the recorded pastoral organ music. The last things in our thoughts were zombies.

Now forget that.

In reality, the climate controlled atmosphere of D-Ward is cool. Plus there are no metal benches. Everything in here is padded. They don't let us play around metal.

The organ music is just the creaking of my cell door as the nurses come to bring me lunch.

And zombies? I was always, always worried about zombies. That's what got me committed here in the first place.

That, and the fact I use words like 'bucolic.'

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Bran Flakes


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Except for me. Zombies were my favourite daydream. I drew Preacher Bosco's brain spilling out, redolent of brimstone, stinking of petroleum lilies. I added a lusty youth with rippling--


"How many times have I told you to stop drawing comics in church!" It was Preacher Bosco.

He confiscated them all. That's why I only have memories left. So kids, go church and be good. Now lemme alone.

Bonding with the grandkids in loving, greeting-card harmony. Yeah. Right. Sure.


Zombies should have been our first thought. Man alive. We were caught with our WD40 down in an engineering failure. What were we thinking?

WD is the only thing that stopped the fetid, vile smelling flesh craving sons of guns.

Preacher Bosco was so wrapped up in his own sermon he never smelled or heard the gray, lumping, shuffling thing come from behind until it was too late.

We, the parishoners, watched as the zombie chieftan grabbed Bosco and ripped his head off. We hated it when engineering went down. Good preachers were hard to find in the youth of my days. To tell the truth, Bosco wasn't that good. We moved on efficiently and learned to live with the monsters we'd created. Another engineering failure made good. I was a young and callow fellow.

--Wilkins MacQueen

Dave Fragments said...

I never thought zombies were so much fun to write.

Evil Editor said...

P1: Get rid of "amazingly". And "scientifical." Change "Three" to "3." The grandkids sentence is in present tense. Unless the rest of the paragraph is what you're telling the grandkids, in which case it needs quotation marks, get rid of it for now; bring it in after you finish talking about the past. You don't need all three of the words at the end. Any one will do. Add "of" after "clear visions."

P2. Plastic lilies that were never alive is redundant unless this is a world where some plastic lilies once were alive. Each "has." Or "all" have. Not sure giving us the first sentence and then saying "Forget that" is helping you. If you dump it we get to the zombies faster.

Bran Flakes said...

Not sure if I can comment if my continuation was chosen... possible conflict of interest ;)?

I love the comic book concept of recalling the past. Not sure if you need "painting" though, removing that word might make it feel more immediate.

EE already mentioned the present tense in the grandchild sentence.

I would take away "not-so" and "amazingly un" and just put quotations around grand and glorious. It reads easier and conveys the same meaning.

Just end P1 with "Yeah, right."

Agree with EE re: getting rid of the first and second sentence of P2. Get to the good part :).

The grammar of the weather machine sentence is off. Try something like: "Thanks to the failure of a weather machine in Engineering." or "Thanks to a weather machine failure in Engineering."

In the last sentence, where you're about to bring in the zombies, if you keep it shorter it has more punch. What about a standalone sentence like: "Nobody expected the zombies."

Aika said...

Dave, I thought the atmosphere was intriguing, and zombie teasers were correctly paced to entice me to read further. And I don't read zombie stuff :)

Chelsea Pitcher said...

I loved this. I don't really have anything critical to add, sorry.

Dave Fragments said...

I should say that I have added a new paragraph two:

Did you ever wish someone dead only to realize that you could not imagine a world without them? But that's not the story I'm telling today.

Those two sentences get inserted between these two paragraphs because. Of course when anyone says, "That's not the story I"m going to tell you" they mean the opposite. That's the point. I couldn't write the story without a moral or drama. Merely making fun of zombies or teen boys and their lusts doesn't make a story. It only makes details.

I had to face the fact that the speaker was a snide, smart-mouthed kid and if I only wrote that story, it wouldn't be interesting. He had to change. That's why there is this look look back aspect to the opening. That's why I added those two sentences as paragraph 2.

This was a writing exercise if you want to see what happens if the kid doesn't grow old and get some smarts about him. It's just crude, rude and snarky.

The kid loses his parents and childhood in the zombie attack. He can't remain unscathed and juvenile.

And yes, I do go back the chunks of good prose. writing exercises, half-finished and "might-have-been" stories on my hard drive and try to create something usable from them. Waste not want not. If it was good enough for EE, it might fit somewhere else. It might inspire. It might make a good scene. So this is another "Thanks EE" when it gets published.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a long and thoughtful comment and blogger ate it. The gist of it was that you need to cut out half your words.

(And uncapitalize quonset and acacia, and make grandkids one word.)

That said, here's a problem. I had grandparents. Three of 'em (well, that I knew of). Only one was wont to go off into long tales of her youth, and we listened with polite interest.

But never, not once, did we request such tales. It's slightly possible we might have if zombies had been involved.

Of course, it may be that gramps is deluding himself about the kiddies' interest.

Dave Fragments said...

Of course, it may be that gramps is deluding himself about the kiddies' interest.
Yes. I said he grew up but he's still a boor.

I liked both continuations but Bran Flakes' is excellent!

mb said...

Re kiddies' interest: I used to TRY to get my grandmother to talk about the past (Russian immigrant, rough past) and she never would. Some reluctance on the older guy's part might create more kiddies' interest

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Coincidentally, I was passed a market tip this past weekend from a minion.

It's a blog looking for zombie apocalypse stories, and it's paying $5 Canadian per (are those real dollars??).

Can't get better timing than that!

Dave Fragments said...

Thanks for the link.

There are big movies in the zombie world that will kick start these stories.

Dylan Dog is coming out as a movie this summer...
The Walking Dead has a second season and the graphics world is celebrating its 83rd issue.

Static Movement (non paying) has at least two anthologies in the works:
Undead Space edited by Joe Jablonski
Unquiet Earth An Anthology of Living Dead Flash Fiction edited by Chris Bartholomew

Not bad for a few thousand words about zombies.