Monday, March 04, 2013

New Beginning 990

Behind me Moe and Larry played loud and vulgar pool in the sunroom extension, cigarettes passing between hands and lips. Their girlfriends danced to some headbanger’s screaming lyrics, tolerating the pool game in anticipation of getting laid. The steel counter in Bill’s Ugly-Assed Bar and Grill sparkled through the years of spilt beers, hard shots, and too many meaty abdomens leaning against it. I rested my head on my hand and regarded the bottle of tequila, like the unwanted ones, half gone and half to go. Call me Rycker. I was there sans hope, sans faith, sans happiness, sans everything but the shot glass, the friggen worm in my tequila, and Titus, that little guy, my keeper. If you thought I buried my best friend a week ago, you might be wrong.

“The Shrink wants to see us,” Titus said.

“He spoke?”

“He texted. You know text? That new thing.”

“The stool next to me is open,” I pointed.

“Not private enough, his office, noon tomorrow.”

Outside, brakes squealed, tires screeched, and with a bang, the lights went out. I heard arguing. Opalescent faces peered through the dim flicker of tea candles, the intimate ambiance of charnel house.

The fat guy behind the bar sighed at another night of dystopia.

I found his face in the candle-light. "Well, Bill," I said, "Whadda you think?"

Bill leant over the counter. "I think I should have chose a different name for my restaurant."

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Anonymous


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:

Instantly, my hand went to my holster.

"Don't even think about it," Titus murmured, his grip tightening on my elbow.

"Could be them."

His squinty glare was answer enough.
Guess he was right. What are the odds the very same bastards that wiped Fletcher from this earth would show tonight of all nights? Of course they'd return. Rockford had a standing date with them, after all.

Fucking Mannheim Steamroller. Who likes that shitty Christmas extravaganza, anyway?

--Veronica Rundell

Evil Editor said...

I got the impression Titus was the buried best friend, who Rycker is imagining, but that's far from clear, especially if Titus received a text message that Rycker doesn't know about.

If Titus says, "The shrink texted. He wants to see us," you can eliminate "He spoke?" which doesn't strike me as anything anyone would say at that point.

What is charnel house? The place is named Bill's... so is that just sarcasm?

Unknown said...

I thought Titus was the barkeep.

If Titus is a ghost (or a split-personality) perhaps the narrator has more of conversation with him.
"The shrink wants to see us."
"Yeah. I got his text."
"This stool's empty. Has been for the past six nights."
"Not private enough..."

It felt as if there was a missing word (or two) in the 'charnel house' sentence...

Dave Fragments said...

This is a short story and I was going to send it after another edit but EE asked.
The continuations made me laugh. Good job.

This is one of those stories that begins with only a one or two sentences and then I develop characters, plot, locations or whatever else is missing.
I don't recommend that method but it I use it.

In this case, it was the "worm in the tequila" and a drunk thinking that he was that worm.

Bill's Ugly Assed Bar and Grill is definitely sarcasm. It might stay, might not.

TItus is minding Rycker who has lost his memory and is drinking to restore it... Rycker used to be a real person until (take a deep breath) Titus summoned a fallen angel from Hell as his own personal demon/servant. It seems that only angels (good or bad) can destroy the Cthulhu creature later that night.

ANd yes, I reread that last paragraph and roll my eyes, too. LEt's be frank, anything Cthulhu is so out there already, it may as well go all the way to crazy-land.

It seems HP Lovecraft type stories are "hot" and "in" right now. As bizarre as this story seems, it will find a home in an ezine or an anthologies as the change of pace story.

"Charnel House" is supposed to be a Hell reference. Apparently it isn't working. A charnel house being a place where dead bodies are dismember like a slaughter house. Here's why writing a story from a line like "I am the worm in the bottle of tequila" makes life harder. An image that vibrant and ragingly wild requires work in editing to make sure it works. But changing it is like cutting off a limb or two... Hard... Fixing all the "wrong" words that surround those lines and concepts requires many revisions..

As for Titus and the conversation, I think If you thought I buried my best friend a week ago, you might be wrong. is wrong for the story and is messing with the reader's understanding the dialog.

And yes, I probably need to add a few words to those four lines of dialog just to be fair to the reader.

Mister Furkles said...

These are all minor suggestions. They cover only the first paragraph.

“…in anticipation of getting laid.” Seems to put us into the minds of the girls. It doesn’t seem like a thought of Rycker’s.

“… sparkled through the years of spilt beers …” reads easier as “… sparkled from years of spilt beer… .” Reading the first time, I expected “through” be mean, well, ‘through’. For me “from” flows easier. Also, you could use singular on beer meaning a lot of liquid rather than many glasses.

“meaty abdomens” is mindful of muscular guys. Weight lifter and body builders. Try “fat” or “bulging.”

“rested my head on my hand” At a bar, I see him looking down at the surface of the bar not across at the bottle. Maybe "resting my chin on my fist" ??

“… the unwanted … to go.” I just don’t get this.

Then a paragraph break between “…half to go.” And “Call me Rycker.” seems natural. The voice seems to have switched from a description of the bar to Rycker's thoughts of himself.

Finally, you could add “for” after “everything but”. That provides a break from a list of what Rycker is without and a list of what Rycker is with.

We know you didn't have time to polish because we needed to get eleven in. So, thanks Dave, for sticking your neck out. By the by, if I were reading this in a SiFi magazine, I keep reading. I only make it to the end of about half of those short stories. It’s an intriguing opening and only needs a bit of polish.

Dave Fragments said...

Thanks for the comments.