View Full Version : Goa Traffic- a short excerpt of my novel- What do you think?

January 21st, 2011, 01:35 PM
Mia dug her spoon into the soft, white flesh of the custard apple. She tasted the sweetness of the fruit, being careful not to swallow any of its jet-black seeds. She had grown addicted to this fruit since she had moved here six months ago. The bumpy green-and-black exterior, so fragile and so easily broken, encased something most delicious.

She knew that she had been lucky to get this assignment, but of course, it was not just luck. It was determination on her part and hard work, and then, of course, there was Simon. She had known that he was married and that he had a child only a few months old. But he had pursued her for months. She had not even wanted him at first, but his broad masculine shoulders, his soft-spoken manner, and most importantly, his persistence, had eventually won her over. It had been a brief affair. As quickly as he had fallen for her, he soon grew tired of her. Mia did not mind. He was not even her type, but it passed the time in a world where she felt she did not belong. When hed broken up with her, shed been more than happy to walk away and not look back but now this had cropped up, and blackmail was her only ticket out.

It was not that she was not qualified. In fact, she was more than qualified for the position. She had the added bonus of being fluent in Hindi. She spoke it like a native, although you would never guess by looking at her. Her stepfather had been from Calcutta, and as a child, she had been obsessed with India. By the time she was in high school, she knew more about the country than most Indians. College and boys had taken over after that, and her passion had subdued, instead taken over by cheap marijuana and vodka.

She had played her role very well, and did not flinch even when she heard the comments from groups of teenage boys who sat outside Dempo college or Miramarbeach, where they gathered in break times and in the evenings. They would talk about her loudly in Hindi, about her smooth skin and her long legs, her clothes and her hair. She enjoyed knowing that she could understand what they were saying and that they would never expect her to. The words that they said were never derogatory. She thought of them as flattering, coming from frustrated, spotty teenagers. This talent had its disadvantages, but it most certainly had made her life easier, too.

So far, she had accomplished what she had set out to do. She had infiltrated the group, and like most groups she had worked with, she knew that behind the perfect exterior lay a labyrinth of complexities. She had started, as her training had taught her, with the weakest link. Simon might not have been the best lover, but he had taught her how to do her job with such skill and perfection that she was rarely uncovered.

She had been providing Simon with weekly updates. These had been a requirement of her position, and she always had new information to tell him. Lately, however, these weekly updates had turned into monthly updates, with less and less information to pass on. She knew she would have to provide some answers soon.

She had recently taken a lover, someone who she thought would prove useful. Instead, this had just created a further problem to her situation. The initial weeks had been full of lust and passion, a great tool by which to gather information, but the relationship had affected her more than she expected. The feelings she had were much stronger than she had ever had with anyone before, and as the weeks went by, a stronger bond was forming. This scared her. She was afraid she was losing control, afraid she was falling in love. She was not ready for a relationship like this and not with the enemy! But that was love it was never expected. It just happened, and then, like most beautiful things, it changed the way you felt and the things you did.

Mia discarded the casing of the eaten custard apple and took another from the six that were on the hotel dresser. She gently broke into it, her red fingernails piercing its skin. She had enjoyed the last six months, settling in Goa, and the lifestyle that accompanied it: the afternoon siestas, the richly spiced, fragrant food, and the friendly people. She did not have many friends, but then she needed to keep a low profile, which was difficult given that her looks instantly set her apart. Goa was a small place, and gossip spread like wildfire. She was better off not involving herself in a friendship group in a country where Desperate Housewives was more reality than fiction.

She had however, found solace and comfort in the arms of her lover. She had located a two-storey house with a small courtyard in Povorim, near the Mandovi River, away from the hustle of Panjim. The property had a cheap rent, and the landlord was keen to let it out quickly due to an incident that had happened with the previous tenant. The house was most beautiful at dawn, when the sun was breaking through the cloud and a thin mist of fog hovered above the river. She felt serene as she watched the fishermen in their trawlers heading out to sea. The location was perfect, and the property housed a curious mix of mismatched wooden furniture. Old green, black, and white Portuguese tiles lined the floors. Mirrors hung everywhere, some with cracks, some without, mixed in with an old stove and a well in the middle of the courtyard, amidst the pink bougainvillea.

Mia would go to the fish market every other day, ensuring that she always had fresh food. Both her mother and stepfather had taught her how to buy fish when she was a child; she could judge just how fresh a fish was by looking at how red its gills were and ensuring the eyes were not glassy. The fisherwomen had tried to overcharge her when she first started visiting the market, her white skin obviously flagging her naivety of the country. She had given them a wry smile and haggled fluently in Hindi. How startled they had been when shed spoken with such grace in their native tongue; what respect shed commanded! Theyd wanted to know her roots, where she had been in India, and what she had seen. Most importantly, theyd shared their cooking tips and secret recipes with her, so that now her cooking rivalled that of some of the best chefs in Goa.

From the minute Mia had stepped off that plane at Dabolim, she knew that she had come home. Whilst she was growing up, shed never quite known where she belonged. They had moved around so much, first with her father and then with her stepfather. She had the blood of four cultures running through her veins, and she had never before been at ease as she was in Goa. Finally she had found her home.

She was now determined to carve out a life for herself here, even if it did mean making some cutbacks on the lavish lifestyle she was used to living on her current wage. She would no longer be able to treat her lover to weekends away at the Taj or the Leela.

Mia discarded her second custard apple and lay back on the cool, white sheets of a freshly made bed. Her lover would be here soon, and she would need to decide. She had been given a year as a maximum timescale to accomplish what she needed to do here. It was not a generous time frame, but results were expected from her. And, for the first time in her career, she had begun to lie, being creative to disguise her relationship with one of the group members. She needed more time, and she needed to stall, but she knew she could not continue this way. Her lovers proposal had come at just the right time. She needed to make a decision, and quickly, before she had to go back.

Rina Irina
January 22nd, 2011, 01:30 AM
I found this very interesting. The one thing that made the reading a bit hard for me was all the "she"s, but hey maybe that's just me.

January 22nd, 2011, 06:52 PM
Interesting enough to want to read more. I personally did not find the "she"s distracting. The description of the fruit made me want to taste it myself. Good description throughout this. Keep writinh and thank you for sharing.

January 25th, 2011, 05:14 PM
Thank you for your comments! Glad it made you want to read more Vvaught512. I appreciate the comment about the number of "shes"- Rina Irina, the character features very briefly through the book so the reader does not know all that much about her, which is maybe why I added so many she's to keep her a bit elusive.

January 25th, 2011, 05:45 PM
I only found the "she's" noticeable near the beginning. You wrote:

"Mia discarded the casing of the eaten custard apple and took another from the six that were on the hotel dresser. She gently broke into it, her red fingernails piercing its skin. She had..."

Perhaps you could clear some of them by combining the sentences. Try something like, "... on the hotel dresser, gently breaking into it, her red fingernails piercing its skin. She had..." or "... on the hotel dresser, gently piercing its skin with her red fingernails. She had..."

But those suggestions are only if you feel you need to change the "she's." Intriguing story. I like it.

Tripp Dakota