Monday, April 04, 2011

New Beginning 846

The guy reddened, babbled an apology and scurried off. The mass of people grinding to a headache-inducing pop song swallowed him up. Lights above cast a red-violet hue on everything below, and here and there flashed streaks of metallic and glitter, glimpses of the tacky minis some women wore.

Sweat mingled with alcohol in the air and clung to Vivienne’s skin. She should be sleeping now on her soft 1000 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, not tolerating this.

She walked over to Keenan, whose grin was Cheshire. “I win.”

He slapped a crisp hundred-dollar bill into her palm and gestured to the bartender. “Two Long Islands.”

“No Coke,” she added.

Keenan shook his head, expression bemused and amused. “I can’t believe you actually managed it.” She’d scared off five guys in under an hour, more than the terms of their bet.

She shrugged. “It’s an acquired skill.”

Keenan laughed. “No, babe, you just open your mouth.”

“You never minded.” She slipped the money into her bra and smoothed down invisible wrinkles on her silk top. “Where is he? We’ve been waiting forever.”

"This one will challenge you," Keenan said. "He's smooth. There he is!"

Vivienne followed Keenan's gaze to see the man strutting across the dance floor like a palsied John Travolta. Like candy from a baby, Vivienne thought.

"Double or nothing?"

"Why not."

"Hey!" Keenan shouted above the music as he shook his friend's hand. "This is Vivienne!"

Keenan stepped aside, letting the dog see the rabbit.

"Vivienne?" The man asked. "What a perfect name for such a beautiful woman."

Here we go, Vivienne thought, rolling her eyes.

The man moved in closer. "Keenan told me all about you! By the way, I'm Evil Editor."

Vivienne's jaw dropped. As their lips locked, she managed to pull the hundred from her bra and hand it back to Keenan.

Opening:.....Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

"He was the third guy, the one who tripped and left a flip flop behind."

She hadn't thought Keenan's grin could get any wider.

"You - you - "

"Just won your soft 1000 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Worth a C-note, babe."


"You promised me I'd meet No Coke. Where the hell is he?"

Those invisible wrinkles were back. Smooth smooth went her hands.

"Look, I told you he'd be here. Give it an hour."

That made her mad. She opened her mouth and scorched the front of him.

"If you'd quit opening your mouth I'd be much happier."

Keenan sighed and dumped a Long Island down his chest. Dog gone it she couldn't keep her mouth shut. Ever.

--Wilkins MacQueen

“No worries. He’ll be here. Always is.” Keenan shifted his weight onto his other foot, readjusted his pose and brushed a strand of thinning hair back in place.

Vivienne began to point out the inconsistencies in his assurance, but thought better of it. Instead she idly began to count the bio-females, the bio-males, the occasional and obvious eunuch, and the truly transgendered in the crowd of perspiring sycophants.

“You ok?” Keenan offered.

She shot him a baleful look, and turned back to her drink.

“Here comes another one, I’m tapped out though.” His hand underscored the point.

“Bets off, but if you’re here for the show, so am I.” A wearied smile stole across her carefully made face, as the nameless manshade deliberately picked his way through the crowd. He skirted the gaggle of cross dressers and pseudoqueens, and his step quickened. “Keenan,” she said. “Keenan, am I…”

Keenan became alert, alarmingly so, but almost as suddenly his composure returned. As he turned to take a long, measured drink from his glass, the man appeared at Vivienne’s side. Her good side, as always, thought Keenan.

--Mistress Claudia Balzac

"Here he comes. This one's another hundred. This guy is sharp!" Keenan beckoned over a middle-aged guy in a polyester suit. "Silvio, this is--"

"Did it hurt?" Silvio interrupted, leering at Vivienne. "When you fell from heaven..."

Vivienne opened her mouth, wide, and a slick, slime covered head populated with razor sharp teeth emerged. With a scream, Silvio headed for the door.

Keenan sighed and counted out five twenties.

Vivienne Ripley grinned. Her mother wasn't the only one to benefit from Alien DNA.


Evil Editor said...

I didn't like streaks of metallic and glitter, as they're an adj and noun. Perhaps metallic streaks and glitter or streaks of gold and glitter.

"whose grin was Cheshire" I liked. "amused and bemused" I didn't.

"We've been waiting forever" implies that the guy they're waiting for was supposed to show up long ago. Thus it seems unlikely they would have involved themselves in a wager that took an hour to complete. How did it go? Him: He should be here any minute. Her: Great, and while we're waiting, I'll bet you a hundred dollars I can scare off four guys in the next hour.

Dave Fragments said...

When I first read this, I was puzzled as to who we were talking about and where they were. I thought that the author was trying to keep the location (a disco or bar or some other meat-rack style boozy joint) and the characters secret. If you did nothing to the opening but stick "to Vivienne" after "apology" in the first sentence, that would cure my puzzlement.

Also, a personal note: I have 1000 thread count and 600 thread count sheets. The 1000 thread count sheets are warm but stiff like canvas unless I use a ton of fabric softener. The 600 count sateen sheets are always soft with one dryer sheet.

Cute continuation. It made me smile.

vkw said...

I read this several times during the day. I knew it I didn't like it but I couldn't put my finger on it.

I've decided it's too listy.

1. Establish the outcome of the bet. Check.
2. Establish the setting. Check.
3. Establish the MC's mood. Check
4. Tell the reader something about the MC's personality. Check.

5. Tell the reader something about what the book is about. . . . .not so much.

Maybe start with

"I win," Vivienne said over the headache-inducing grind of the pop song.

Keenan, whose grin was Cheshire, slapped a crisp hundred-dollar bill into her hand.

. . . then move it from there.


Xenith said...

I'm all for lots of telling details but I feel like I'm drowning here. What's actually important?

ril said...

It does seem a somewhat improbable opening.

My experience, albeit outdated, would suggest that deflecting unwanted suitors is something most women become adept at very quickly. Keenan's not that astute if he thinks scaring off five guys in a nightclub is a challenge worthy of a hundred dollar wager.

Dave Fragments said...

I thought about this overnight...
There are several things that could be asked of the author and possibly answered...

Does the long sentence "Lights above cast a red-violet hue on everything below, and here and there flashed streaks of metallic and glitter, glimpses of the tacky minis some women wore."
Mean anything to the plot or contribute to the characterizations in the story? They are in an ugly bar waiting.

Likewise with "She should be sleeping now on her soft 1000 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, not tolerating this."
That says that your character wishes she were elsewhere and the story is starting at the wrong point. I know the author thinks

In a way this opening is like method acting - what's your character motivation? She's amusing herself in nightclub/meat-rack waiting for a man by rejecting male advances.

Now if this is a story of female ennui beating up men for being chauvinist pigs, that might work as an opening.
If this is a murder mystery then I don't think this works as an opening.
If the man they are waiting for is a super-spy and has the latest plans of the world ending (or some other treacherous act) then we'll never care that Viviene can reject five men in an hour in a bar.
If this is a commentary on bad dating and Viviene can reject men at a word, wait, wait, that won't work logically, will it.
There isn't much in this opening that illuminates Viviene or Keenan.