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Monkeyshine
September 12th, 2010, 07:48 AM
This is the beginning of my second short story, called Click.

!! Light Drug Use and a single Curse Word !!

==========

Nick was optimistic. Not legitimate optimism, but that reluctant version one chooses simply because it’s better than feeling pissed during the wait. He was beginning to exhibit symptoms, just not the symptoms he had expected. Anxiety was starting to manifest itself just enough to make it impossible for him to sit or stand comfortably. His skin had become warm all over, and his eyeballs felt hot. His stomach was churning and bubbly, giving him the opposite of an appitite. Nick stepped into the bathroom and checked himself out in the mirror.

There was a little less blue in his eyes than normal, as his pupils had grown and stolen space from his irises, around which thin red lines had started forming. Hazy and wet, his eyes certainly looked as though they were heralding in good news. The skin on Nick’s face and neck was splotched with pinkness. There were teeny tiny beads of sweat visible on his exposed surfaces. It wouldn’t be long before his tee shirt began to act as a dirty off-white sponge.

Did he put acid or pot in that thing? He hoped for the latter. He had requested the latter, in any event. Not that it mattered. He was a trooper, after all, and could work under any condition. Except sobriety. He resumed getting ready for the shift.

The donnng of the uniform went smoothly with exception of the tie. Nick made several attempts to form the correct knot and leave an appropriate length hanging down in front, each of which failed. The high from the brownie was picking up steam by the minute, and the disparity between how he had felt when he had first started trying to tie that godforsaken rayon noose and how he felt by the time had given up trying was somewhat alarming. He would have to tie it at work, before the restaurant opened.

Nick inspected himself in the mirror again after getting dressed. He was just over six feet tall when exhibiting proper posture, which meant he typically stood about five-ten-and-a-half. His blonde hair (currently buzzed) had been receding since high school, and this afternoon his oversized forehead was accentuated by little beads of sweat that swept across it like the beginnings of some icky crop planted a week ago. He was wearing a yellowed, white button-down shirt which had been steam ironed but obviously not starched. A black leather belt ran through most of the loops of his dirty khaki work pants. The combination of his current state of increasing inebriation and his overall lack of attention to detail caused him to overlook the fact that he had missed the front right loop closest to the buckle. Nick looked down at his shoes, which were tied and on the correct feet but caked with unspeakable nastiness from numerous half-assed scrubbings of the bar floor. Good to go. He looked back up and smiled at himself, happy to be officially baked.

As Nick exited the house and started walking to his car, he realized that he had forgotten to watch out for his mother. If she caught him looking this high before work she would have a fit. It was pure dumb luck, emphasis on the dumb, that he hadn’t run across her. Their relationship was strained enough as it was, what with his being thirty-one years old and still living at home, and with her catching him under various puchased influences on a regular basis even though he never had money to help pay the bills.

His little blue 1991 Ford Fiesta was parked on the street, looking as shitty as it ever did. It was in a state of true disrepair. The paint was faded, scratched, chipped, and in some spots it had simply been worn away by mysterious forces. There were dents and dings littering the entire vehicle. The only evidence of any sort of repair having ever been done was the front left fender, which was a much lighter shade of blue than the rest of the car. It, too, was thoroughly scarred. Of the two sideview mirrors, only the right one remained, and it pointed off in some unknown direction as Nick had never actually used it. There were two black metal racks that sat on the roof, along its very front and its very rear, which had not once been used to secure any sort of cargo. Being in like-new condition, they were the only pieces of the vehicle which seemed unwilling to fall apart. Even the paint on them still looked good. They stood out like a pair of nice earrings on a bag lady.

The interior was even worse than the car’s outside. Spills of all sorts covered the seats, floorboards, and trim…soda, bongwater, vomit, condiments, beer, and the occasional small patch of blood and semen (not mixed together, though—that would be gross). Once a neighbor’s cat had spent the night in the car and used the bathroom, both numbers one and two, in the floorboards of the back seats. Nick had cleaned out the physical evidence, but that’s where his effort had stopped. The dashboard gauges were just partially visible, and Nick could only be certain of his speed when within the ranges of thirty-two to forty-four and sixty-five to eighty-two miles per hour. The latter range was inconsequential, however, as the car would begin to shake violently and threaten to explode it taken much past fifty.

Mechanically, things were no better off. There was a wide variety of strange and unhealthy noises uttered by the car, some of which continued for a while even after it was turned off. Smoke billowed non-stop from the tailpipe, thicker and stinkier than any car exhaust should ever be. Nick had bought the car in 1985, and in the ten years that he owned it he had changed the oil only twice. It was the perfect car for a driver like Nick; no matter how much abuse or neglect he put it through it just wouldn’t stop running. Obviously unwilling to die on its own, this poor little Ford was the perfect argument for automotive euthanasia.

Sputtering, clunking, clanking, grinding and farting, the undead Fiesta jerked step by step away from the curb and down the street, eventually picking up enough steam to be considered moving in one continuous motion. Nick turned the rearview mirror toward himself and moved his head around until his eyes lined up with one of the less smudged spots. The thin red lines from before had been replaced with a solid pink haze, and his eyes had begun to close, the right more so than the left. He looked wasted. His eyes left the mirror and he stared at the gaping hole in the middle of the dashboard, missing very much the radio that used to be there. It seemed like a waste of a good buzz to have to make this ride in silence. Nick returned his attention to the road. He needed to be concious of his driving lest he hit yet another inanimate object. Every dent and ding on that car was the result of his running into something that lacked the ability to move out of the way.

Kat
September 12th, 2010, 08:28 AM
donning-donnng in the 4th paragraph.

I had to laugh at the description of the car. I had one of those, an old Subaru wagon. My husband replaced the motor at one point and well he's not the best mechanic, when you turned on your brights the fuel pump turned off. So I always drove with the lights dim.

I think it's interesting. It flows well and the setting is vivid. But it is lacking a hook. So far the most interesting thing in the story is the car, which I don't think is what the story is about. It's an enjoyable read but I really don't feel the urge to read further. I mean if you had posted more I probably would have read it but since you didn't I don't think I'm going to remember this and want to come back and read it later. I'm not waiting for the rest.

If you want to have a lazy flow then it's fine. It depends on how long the story is going to be and the plot.

Monkeyshine
September 12th, 2010, 08:57 AM
Kat,

Thanks.

It's nice to get some constructive feedback. I have a feeling I'm really going to like this site. Some of my RL friends read my previous drafted story, and said they really liked it, but telling me that simple fact doesn't help shit.

You're right, it's not about the car. It's a dark comedy about a relationship that sours. A bit of drug use and sex. I plan on walking the line between literature and pornography without stepping over--a task I believe will be both challenging and rewarding for me. Gonna start the story out on an upbeat note and then sink it as the plot progresses. I intend to leave the reader in bad need of a shower and with a urge to call his or her parents.

I agree there's no hook. I don't know that there was to be a specific, definitive such object. Not that I'm saying it wouldn't do well with a hook, just that I never thought before about using one. I'm learning this process as I go, so thank you for teaching me my first lesson. :-)

I presume you meant that a longer story will have a better chance with a lazy flow than a shorter one? Judging from the length of my last piece (13.4k), I very roughly estimate that this one will be 50-60k.

Thanks again!

Kat
September 12th, 2010, 06:43 PM
If you do end up writing some more explicit scenes you might not be able to post them here. But there are plenty of people, myself included, who would be willing to privately have a look over the piece. Just pm someone that you respect and ask, never hurts.


I don't think that a story needs a hook. It all depends on the story. I feel that a lazy flow works better in a long story, you just need the length to get to the conclusion.

TheFuhrer02
September 14th, 2010, 07:32 AM
I've always been a fan of real-life type stories, those where the antagonist is just going through life and its realistic but stressful problems. The bad thing with these types of stories is that they don't get to attract the reader from the beginning. Some readers like the action on the very first paragraph. This is no problem for me, but these type of stories tend to be, er, laid-back, if you catch my drift.

The attention to detail so far is totally spot on. I particularly liked how the protagonist agonized himself in front of the mirror. The details told much about his life, and how crappy (pardon the slang) his life was getting. It was these details that made a reader get into the shoes of a character, and it may not be the most brilliant of works, but you did an excellent job nonetheless.

If you could manage to form a visible plot come next chapter, you might just get this story running.

In Flight
September 15th, 2010, 03:06 AM
I quickly read through many story posts and have to say yours was the only one that struck me as belonging to a talented writer with at least a semblance of knowledge about story construction and word placement. Of course like TheFuhrer02, I simply enjoy stories like these. There's actual intelligence behind them rather than a simple bang-bang plot line with below average execution.

That being said, there has to be more to this story or I take away the aforementioned compliments. Too much weight is placed on describing the car, which, while giving the reader an insight to the protagonist's character drags on for far too long.

However, I'm positive more will be added, so the compliments stand. Brava.

lmc71775
September 15th, 2010, 03:30 PM
appitite should be: appetite

I agree with the others in that it needs more spice to it. It just sounds like an info dump right now. You can easily fix this with some foreshadowing to what is to come later on in the story. Good luck with it.