Friday, November 16, 2012

New Beginning 977

Guido Marionetti sauntered through the Piscataway fish market, searching for inspiration.  He paused at a tray of flounders, their flattened bodies nestled in crushed ice, eyes staring skyward.  The creatures at the fish market often sparked Guido’s sadistic creativity, and Guido wanted something exceptional for his next target.  Killing Big Nose Narducci wasn’t just another job.

Tourists at nearby picnic tables swung wooden mallets, smashing boiled crabs to expose the tender flesh within.  Guido watched for a moment, then moved to a display of octopi.  The boneless tangle of limbs and limp bodies made Guido smile.  He purchased a crab mallet and a bottle of pickled octopus before climbing into his Escalade and hitting the turnpike.

Guido was known for the gifts he sent to his soon-to-be-victims.  Like the two dozen oysters—clearly dead and no good for eating—left on Sal Fiorellli’s front steps in a be-ribboned gift basket.  When Sal went missing, a search of the family yacht found a large cement sphere dangling off the bow, the remains of Sal inside, a pearl necklace twined around his neck.  Nice touch, those pearls. But that was yesterday’s news.

Today's news? An oceanload of vengeful octopi moms threw themselves at Guido's face and suffocated him to death for murdering their children.

Then they cooked a feast of spaghetti bolognaise for all the other distraught seafolk but accidentally became part of their own menu thanks to a miracle of form over substance.

"Hell," said Guido's sister. "Worstest I evah thought of my bro wuz he had zits and yeh once he step on mah hampster but hell fuck him the bitch for messin' with the whole o' mankind ocean kinda thang cos like the trees we depend on them ole tentacle crustacean suckers for all the Lord's oxygen plus the cheat he owe me ten dollar." 

Opening: IMHO.....Continuation: Whirlochre


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:

No, this was going to be bigger. And it would be a work of art.

"Police say the body of Nicholas "Big Nose" Narducci was discovered this morning under center ice for the Red Wings' opener by the zamboni operator where it had palced, along with sixteen octopusses--octopi? Anyway, Narducci has long been a kingpin in New Jersey's Visconi family syndicate. Detroit Police Chief Martin Gaye will be consulting with the New Jersey District Attorney over the matter."

Satisfied, Guido clicked off the TV.


Evil Editor said...

Plural of flounder = flounder.

A giant sphere of cement would weigh so much, it's hard to buy that Guido could transport it to the harbor and attach it to a boat without arousing suspicion.

Also, you say Guido was known for his gifts, life the oysters, but I would think he'd be known more for putting the body in a cement sphere than for the oysters.

Is the pickled octopus supposed to be the Big Nose gift? Because so far that doesn't sound like something exceptional.

150 said...

Ugh, it's so, so common for stories to start out moving forward and then abruptly backstep into backstory. Don't do this.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Dead fish. Dead crabs. Dead octopi. Dead murder victims. POV = sadistic murderer. One would read on because...?

Mister Furkles said...

If the concrete shell is only two inches thick and oval shaped to about 3 feet by 2 feet by 1 1/2 feet it might weigh only 500 pounds. If it is solid and it's placed on the bow, well, maybe the boat sinks bow first.

Mister Furkles said...

So, I recommend a concrete clam shell on the aft deck not a sphere hanging from the bow.

Anyway, I like the opening POV from a mob hit man with a macabre sense of humor.

none said...

The large cement sphere would probably also sink the yacht.

Eh. I see nothing here to make me read on. A gloating murderer. So I'm guessing I'm not the target readership.

james said...

I thought the opening did a pretty good job of letting the reader know exactly what kind of story this is and the direction that it's going. Though it may not be exactly the kind of story I would care to go there with, I bet there are quite a lot of readers who would.

Mister Furkles said...

A question for the author: is Guido the main character? I'm guessing not -- unless you have some Twilight Zone like shift in the story. Many stories begin with a bad guy rather than the MC.

Dave Fragments said...

I'd read on.

I wasn't bored but I wasn't fascinated. It's intriguing but not enthralling.

This is the type of opening that I come back to change when I get the moral and aim of the story fixed in my head. I am guessing that you don't write to a detailed outline.

Unknown said...

If this were a short story, I'd read on. If it's a novel, I might have trouble, mainly because, although I love crime novels, I never could make it through one Spillane book, hard as I tried. And this reminds me of Spillane.

I like the imagery though. Quite a lot, actually. Dead things everywhere = works for me. Sets the scene for lots more dead things later on. And investigations and/or recriminations. All good in my book.

Is this a Follett-like opening with a change to the good guy? Or do we follow the bad guy through the story. Just my curiousity asking.

(Am I showing my age mentioning Follett?)

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't read on either. EE, you didn't approve my comment. And after I went to all that work figuring out what the captcha said.

Evil Editor said...

Coulda sworn I published that. Assuming the one that's now up is the one you mean. If there was a later one i didn't get it.

IMHO said...

Author here,

Thanks for the comments, always helpful. This is a short story and Guido is not the MC, Narducci is. Narducci's no angel, but he's more sympathetic than Guido.


Evil Editor said...

Have you considered starting the story with Narducci opening his front door and discovering a jar of pickled octopus and a crab mallet on the stoop?

Unknown said...

Oooo. I like that idea, EE.

none said...

Yes, Lisa, you definitely are. I have no idea who you mean. At all. None.


Unknown said...

Youngsters don't know what they're missing out on, at all, at all. Now I have to go back and re-read Eye of the Needle.

Dave Fragments said...

It is considered lucky to throw a dead squid or octopus (preferably parboiled for obvious reasons) on the ice before a Detroit Redwings Hockey game. The dead squid is their lucky charm.

I've never had pickled squid but I have stuffed squid for spaghetti sauce. I've also eaten small 2 inch octopi sauteed in olive oil and garlic.

I've thought about your opening. Perhaps you are trying to hard with a plethora of good words...

In the first paragraph when you say "The creatures at the fish market often"
I would have written something like:
"The multitude of dead fish at the market inspired Guido's..."

They I would delete the business about the Escalade.

And I'd reduce the first sentence to the third paragraph to this:
"Guido was known for the gifts."

Then restructure the rest of the third paragraph to something like:
"Like the two dozen spoiled oysters left on Sal Fiorellli’s front steps in a be-ribboned gift basket. They found Sal embedded in a cement oyster in the shallows with a pearl necklace twined around his neck. But that was yesterday’s news."

IMHO said...

EE said: Have you considered starting the story with Narducci opening his front door and discovering a jar of pickled octopus and a crab mallet on the stoop?

Arrghh. Must kill darling Guido.

I thought I'd get skewered for the "Piscataway fish market", as I have no idea if one exists.

Anonymous said...

Is it a Mafia story? Because if it is, then I guess the killer has to have an Italian name. If not, then why not branch out a bit?