Wednesday, March 06, 2013

New Beginning 992

She lived back in the swamp, and her name was Delphie. The story was that if you laid eyes on Delphie and if she liked you back, she’d rub up against you and make your pecker turn to gravy. After that, you’d walk around town with your head hung low so that everybody would know.

Anyway, that was the story and as much as the old folks kept telling us it was nothing but a big lie, we chose to believe it. We ventured out toward the swamp on summer nights, on and off, just to see if we could catch a glimpse.

Sheriff Troy Hawkins, who’d served the county as its chief law enforcement officer way back when, said … yes, it was true that Delphie was nuts. He didn’t have any proof about the gravy thing, though, and he didn’t know of any men around town who had that sort of problem. Well, one or two, but the sheriff said it was more because of drinking than Delphie.

Sometimes, we’d go up on Artificial Hill and look down into the swamp, usually during the morning when it was sunny, hoping to catch a peek of the loony old woman. Going into the swamp was sort of scary.

Snakes and other critters.

“What if she likes you?” Jimmy would whisper. “I mean, your dick would turn to mush and then you couldn’t get a real date.” His eyes would get big and his nose would bob up and down, like he was in a circus.

 We were nine.

Now, sitting in this bar with cheap whiskey and cheap smokes, watching the cheap girls play pool in their short shorts, it's hard to believe we fell for all that stuff. Never did meet Delphie, and nothing turned to mush, unless you count the world around us. Everything's gone to shit since then.

Fuck, it's hard to believe that all happened only a year ago.

Opening: John C. Updike....Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:

And, if it hadn't been for Jimmy, I'd not be in the mess I am in now.
Who could have guessed that crazy old bat would notice us? We kept to ourselves, mostly. And hid lots. But find us she did.

And, while all along I'd been scared of her liking me and turning my johnson into jelly, I'd not considered what might happen if she didn't like somebody.

Poor Jimmy. Even a perpetually limp noodle is better than a nose that looks like a flaccid penis. But, we were young and nosy and not very fast.

--Veronica Rundell

150 said...

Perfect continuation.

Evil Editor said...

P3: I'd get rid of the ellipsis and "yes,". Or put his exact words in quotation marks.

P4: peek at or glimpse of.

Also, I don't like: Going into the swamp was sort of scary.

Snakes and other critters.

Sounds like he's still 9. Besides, you want Delphie to be what's scaring them, not critters.

Not sure how one's nose can bob up and down, or what that has to do with a circus, but whatever.

Unknown said...

I struggle with the idea that nine y/o boys run around asking old folks and police officers about the impotence-inducing powers of a crazy swamp lady.

I liked the voice, though. Feels very "Stand By Me." Nostalgiac.

You could probably make the kids thirteen and still get away with it.

Dave Fragments said...

I think that the third paragraph is struggling to say the same thing as the first two paragraphs. Try the opening without it on a page and see what happens.

Also, Delphie is scary. This is confusing the issue:
"Going into the swamp was sort of scary. Snakes and other critters."

Keep focus on the narrator and Delphie. I think that is where the story lies. The story isn't in the scary snakes of the swamp.

It does intrigue me.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

I liked this a lot. The voice is nice, and the story is intriguing enough to keep me reading. My only real issue came with the second sentence--I think, particularly with the line "if she liked you back." There's no real indicator that staring at Delphie meant you liked her. Is Delphie beautiful? Alluring? Is there a reason people stand around long enough for her to rub up against them? Or does everyone think she's icky and scary? If the latter, I might consider taking out the "liking you back" part, and explaining that the sight of her makes people freeze in terror (rather than lust), thus allowing her to rub up against them.

Personally, I have no problem with the kids being nine. Nine-year-olds (generally speaking) don't have the discretion to hide their curiosity from adults, whereas thirteen-year-olds do.

Good stuff! I definitely want to know what happens next.