Tuesday, July 02, 2013

New Beginning 1007

“I called you last night,” I said, before Jay had the shower curtain fully open. “Right after my meeting. I needed to talk.” An unlit joint hung from my lips, baiting him.

“You’re getting high? The morning after a meeting?” He grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist.

“It’s Alcoholics Anonymous, not Weed anonymous,” I said, trying to nudge him toward one of our familiar arguments. I placed the joint on the milk crate beside the bed and took off my denim jacket.

Jay moved into the bedroom. “It’s not just about alcohol. You need to accept that you have an addictive personality.” He pulled on a UC Berkeley tee shirt, then dropped the towel and quickly stepped into a pair of jockey shorts, followed by levis.

I needed to distract Jay, stop him from thinking with his head. A man thinking with his head would take his room key back, never answer another midnight phone call, refuse to give me rides to Merced at semester break. Jay always explained our home town connection to any of his college friends I happened to meet. I had no idea what he told his girlfriend. “But where were you last night?” I asked. “I needed you.”

"I had a date." he said. "Where were you?“

"I was alone in the lab until five this morning,” I answered.

“The chem lab? Thought you finished chemistry last semester.”

“The meth lab, idiot.”

“Christ," Jay said. "Only you could walk out of AA and go brew a batch of crystal meth.”

“It's not all for me," I told him. "I sell some of it to help pay off my gambling debts.”

“Dude, you’re gonna get yourself killed.”

“It’s only for two more years," I said. "Hey, you wanna come help tonight? The more I cook, the sooner I can quit."

"I would," Jay said, "but I've got my Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting tonight."

Opening: IMHO.....Continuation: Mister Furkles/EE


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

He stopped. "I, um, tried to call you."

"You should have texted."

His eyes fell to the floor. "I, uh, couldn't."

And that's when I saw the pile of change on the nightstand. "No. You weren't!"

"I--" he began softly, "I couldn't help myself. I had to do it."

"You idiot!" I screamed. Why did I have to be so close to a jackass who secretly loved occluded payphones?


"I was playing Keno," Jay said.

I gave him a wedgie. He pushed me on the bed.

"Keno? With your grandma?" I said.

"No, Keno has been my nightly addiction, my only addiction for years."

He gave me a wedgie until I said uncle.

"Can I come too?"

"Of course, but it's my turn to bring a casserole. I was thinking green bean. And no joints or booze allowed."

"That works."

I pocketed my joint when he wasn't looking. We left with our underwear on our heads. No one at Keno would care.


Jay looked at me then. Really looked at me. The irritation faded from his face slowly as he took in my tailored shirt and mini skirt. His gaze caressed my newly waxed legs.

"Really Paul?" It was almost a whisper.

I nod once and swallow hard watching him casually stroke the bulge in his levis. His eyes dart to the bedside clock and then he flashes me his patented ladykiller smile. "And what, exactly, did you need, last night?"

Oh! I can't hide my giddy grin.

"On your knees, baby," he murmurs, and I'm lost.

Lost in a sea of Jay.

--Veronica Rundell

He took a long hit off my joint. "I told you. I had to finish my Econ project."

"You know it's hard for me to get around," I pouted.

"But you got here OK."

"And it wasn't easy. You know what I'm like in the morning." I held the joint just out of reach. "Come be a good boy, and I'll let you finish it."

Dropping his head, he came and knelt in front of me so I could sink my fangs into his neck. "Now," I said a few minutes later, "isn't that better?"

Taking the joint, he nodded, stiff. "My project..."

"Oh, that!" I smiled, licking the last o his blood off my lips. "Don't worry. I'll give you an A-."


Evil Editor said...

In paragraph 3 you're trying to nudge Jay into a familiar argument. In paragraph 4 you've succeeded. So why in paragraph 5 are you trying to distract him?

Not sure why you have a room key. If this is Jay's house, I'd expect you to have a key to the front door rather than to a room. If it's a dorm room, I wouldn't expect you to refer to the bedroom and bathroom.

I don't like: "Jay always explained our home town connection to any of his college friends I happened to meet. I had no idea what he told his girlfriend." Possibly you're trying to say Jay was embarrassed to admit he was friends with you, & only put up with you because you grew up together. But it's normal to tell someone how you know the person you're introducing, even if you aren't embarrassed about it, so it falls flat.

If the room key, rides and phone calls are important, I'd find a better way to work them in.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

The writing here is competent, but I probably wouldn't read further because the protagonist seems unlikable.

none said...

It wasn't clear to me which of them was in the shower.

khazar-khum said...

I gather that they are lovers, and that there's something vaguely disreputable about our narrator. The careful inclusion of the Berkeley detail makes me wonder if the narrator feels lesser because they attend UC Merced.

Or not.

CavalierdeNuit said...

Funny continuations. Is the narrator a guy, and Jay bisexual? Or is the narrator a poor townie girl, and Jay a rich kid? The "Jay always explained our home town connection..." is confusing. This has a The Rules of Attraction vibe. It sounds good, but needs some clarity. See EE's comments.

Unknown said...

I wish it moved a little faster.

The narrator is a drunk...few college kids acknowledge an alcohol dependence--to me AA doesn't feel likely.

There is some tension between Jay his girlfriend and the narrator--it feels sexual in nature. I think it would be a good idea to indicate the narrator's sex early. To me this is all ambiguous and the narrator could be male or female, which doesn't compel me nearly as much as a definitive scenario would.

Honestly, I'm not wild about the cheater vibe I'm getting--whether hetero or homosexual, in nature.

I agree the protag isn't sympathetic. S/he seems needy and seedy.

Mister Furkles said...

Is the POV character is a young woman? A young man would not notice whether the shower curtain was partially open or closed. Also the towel wrap. A guy would simply note him coming out of the shower and putting on jeans and a tee shirt.

Given that, I like the beginning. And like EE, I have trouble with the last paragraph. It’s annoying. It starts well enough. The POV wants to distract Jay. Then you raise the mystery of why she has his room key and why she would not want to give it back. And why was Jay unabashed about striping and dressing in front of her? As reader, I want to know. Then it runs off the rails.

The second half (“Jay … girlfriend”) is a distraction. A paragraph should be about one idea or notion. The other stuff can come later – maybe the next page. It’s as if you tried to cram three ideas into one paragraph.

Unlike Alaska, I like the voice and want to know more about the POV character. Even if she is a self absorbed cretin.

IMHO said...

Author here -- many thanks for the comments and reactions. Useful as always!

Anonymous said...

Meth/Ectasy labs in Uni's in Europe used to be fairly common (not sure now) so that aspect makes this fairly intriguing to me. But, as others have said, lack of clarity here for me. Pov, who is saying what and some references (Merced means nothing to me).
Also, the reference to Sex Addicts Anon seemed to tip this thing too far for me towards almost comedy (is that the intention?) Good luck.

Evil Editor said...

The sex addicts anon. isn't part of the author's opening. For that matter, neither are the meth labs. The blue words were added by someone else, and yes, they are supposed to tip it toward comedy.

PLaF said...

I had no idea what he told his girlfriend.

That sentence is delicious. It conjures all manner of intrigue. I would read further just to find out what other games are afoot.

Anonymous said...

Ooppss. Got carried away. Actually, I'm colour blind. Yeah, that's it! I'm colour blind.
Just kidding, sorry 'bout that.

IMHO said...

Regarding the blue type -- On my very basic model laptop that I lug around for writing at odd moments, the blue type doesn't show up. Probably a setting on my end that needs to be tweaked. But I have to be careful when reading EE on the run!