View Full Version : A fragment of a story about bad luck -- 1k words, mild language

January 20th, 2013, 04:45 PM
This is a fragment from a story I have been working on, which has now finally taken shape in my mind. This scene is one of several in which the MC gets injured or otherwise hemmed up in a silly situation. I welcome your feedback on my narration, and how it holds you, if at all. Trying to improve my exposition without being too long-winded. I should preface this by saying, this actually happened to a good friend of mine, as well as many other shenanigans I plan to incorporate in this story.

I had gone snowboarding with Gnar-Gnar and Blake, not expecting to ride back to town in an ambulance. We spent the morning riding fresh powder under bright overcast, and after a quick three-beer lunch in the lodge, we shielded our eyes against the extreme sunlight that bounced off the snow.

We shared a soggy blunt as we rode the chairlift to the top of Corner Mountain, my mouth absolutely as dry as the desiccated remains of Tutankhamun. I took a long drink of Gatorade and locked my back binding as I dismounted the chair. We carved huge S-shaped swaths in the side of the mountain, cruising just fast enough for ice crystals to form on the tip of my nose. The full effect of the chairlift blunt had just hit me and it was time for some nicotine. I stopped at a junction of three runs, shook off my glove and reached for my Copenhagen. I loosened my wrist and tapped the can to pack the snuff, took a three-finger pinch and wedged it between my cheek and gums.
The satisfying burn calmed my nerves and gave me something to focus on, a ridiculous anchor for my sanity. The buzz was strong and my stomach growled its gratitudes to the gods of tobacco.

I saw Gnar-Gnar getting ready to hit the big kicker off Rawhide, and I eagerly pursued him. That jump was notorious for launching riders askew, resulting in awkward flips and twists that never produced a smooth landing. The entertainment factor was well worth the price of admission, or so it seemed.

I closed the distance between me and the other man, gaining just enough to see him leave the grasp of gravity, sailing through the cold air. He spun a 540, grabbing Mute and just as he landed, his downhill edge dug in three inches deep, sending him cartwheeling down the mountain in a yard sale of gear. He came to rest in a groaning, whimpering heap. My stomach dropped as I watched him tumble, but the thumbs-up sign he posted made me grin.

Shit, I guess it’s my turn, I thought. I pointed the nose of my board downhill and leaned forward. The lack of friction on the cold snow made me accelerate with what seemed like exponential gravitational pull toward the jump. I steadied myself as I rocketed down the mountain. Forty yards from the jump I crouched, springing my legs into a tight preparatory stance. As I cupped the transition, I pushed off and was lofted high in the air. The whooshing of air in my ears disoriented me briefly, but I rotated through two turns with very little effort. As my board came around, I squared up and bent my knees, soaking up the impact of a near spotless landing. I heard someone nearby shout “Nice,” and my pride gland swelled a bit.

I had just made the longest, fastest, largest jump of my snowboarding life. My friend Gnar-Gnar had lost it just before me, now laid in the powder below me in pain. I leaned in to change course toward him, when I felt something in my binding break loose.

The bolts holding my binding on had sheared off, leaving one of my legs completely free of the board. This unsettling revelation happened at precisely the wrong time while I attempted to change my course. I had lost control, and I made a straight-line approach toward some big thick pine trees.

Flailing, I leaned away from the grove of trees with impotent control over my snowboard. Too late, I thought of removing my other foot from the binding and jumping off the board, but in the end, I had to ride it out.

The initial entry to the forest was a few light limbs and sticks, fallen during the heavy snow. I felt my front foot sink in as I left the groomed trail, and with a final thrust, I dove out of the path of a large tree, tumbled head over feet, and came to rest in a near fetal position. I thought perhaps I had been killed. Slowly, I realized that I had crashed, and might even live. A burning pain deepened in my side, right where my Copenhagen had been. I thought perhaps the tobacco itself had spilled out, somehow chemically burning my flesh. As I attempted to turn over, I could feel the warm trickle of blood coming out of the wound. Thoughts of blood poisoning from the tobacco (or more likely, the chemicals they put in the snuff) flooded my mind. I started to shriek in pain when Blake came to a scraping stop right at the edge of the groomed trail.

“You alright man?”

“I’m hurt. Bleeding.” The words came out in gasps, this didn’t sound like me. In my abdomen, something was wrong.

“I’ll go get help. Stay there and don’t move.” Blake left in a swishing blur.

I pressed my glove against the wound and worked to keep my panic in check. The pain came in sickening waves, deep in my belly. Convincing myself that my liver wasn’t shredded took all the mindfulness I could muster.

I heard Gnar-Gnar walking up as he shouted “Trogs, are you alive?”

I groaned without meaning to. “I’m waiting for Blake to get the Ski Patrol. I’m hurt man. Bleeding.”

Gnar walked off the hardpack and sunk waist-deep in the soft powder. He attempted a couple of forward steps and gave up, leaning back against the slope. He hadn’t retrieved his gloves and hat from the crash, and shivered visibly. I laid there and looked at him, but my awareness had begun to shrivel.

I have just a vague recollection of riding in the Ski Patrol sled, but I do remember the pain as they transferred me into the ambulance. For half an hour, we rode in the back, and I recall getting angry when they said Gnar-Gnar couldn’t ride with. He hung his head; a flash of regret flickered across his eyes when he realized I was not going to be riding any more that day.

In the hospital, they removed my spleen. Apparently the can of Copenhagen had a sharp metal lid that pierced my abdomen and ruptured it. The doctor said it was probably infected anyway, and I didn’t really even need it. The look in his eyes said there was more to it, and as he left, the specialist walked in the room, his eyes avoiding contact with mine.

January 24th, 2013, 05:34 PM
I've never snowboarded in my life, though I have skied, badly. I have no interest in the subject matter but the writing flowed well enough to keep me reading to the end.

I like the line 'We shared a soggy blunt as we rode the chairlift to the top of Corner Mountain'

I can't really say more than that as I don't think this is really intended for me style wise or subject matter but you had no comments yet and wanted to say something to show i read it.

January 25th, 2013, 02:18 AM
Hi CharlieParker82 - Thanks for reading this and your helpful comments. This was an awkward piece I posted without thinking it through. When I re-read it, it's super dull and posting it in the Fiction section wasn't a swift move. Still, I'm glad you read it and that you took the time to let me know. Cheers!

January 25th, 2013, 10:32 PM
When and where did you get the inspiration to write this?

January 25th, 2013, 10:38 PM
First person exposition with some limited dialog.... Why not? Taking chances and exploring, are we? Good for you. Next you'll be posting poetry. :)

January 25th, 2013, 11:54 PM
Stephanie - This very thing happened to a friend of mine. He's a skinny, awkard sucker and he's had many unfortunate things happen to him - he was put in the ICU from pneumonia after smoking two joints at lunch one day, actually had his spleen ruptured from a can o' chaw on the ski slope, and went off to Seattle with a friend in search of a fishing boat opportunity. However, instead of finding opportunity, he found a man standing over him one morning with a dirty knife, accusing him of trying to steal his book of conspiracy theories. After failing to make it on the fishing boat, they headed to the Appalachian Trail, ended up in a shotgun wedding situation, and fled the scene.

Once, while he was in school to be an electrician, he was bouncing a rubber ball in his dorm room. He broke a hole in the ceiling and started to panic about getting in trouble over it, so he devised a plan to disassemble the grid ceiling piece by piece over the course of a week, and discreetly haul it to the dumpster. Apparently there was an older, still functional ceiling above that one, but he was caught in the act and expelled. After that, he left Wyoming for good.

The little town we're from (Laramie) was the setting for a horrible beating/murder back in 1998 of a young gay man named Matthew Shepard. The two guys that perpetrated that whole mess are ex-schoolmates of mine (and the strange cat that inspired this whole rant). One of them (Aaron McKinney) actually dated my sister. It's a weird place, with many unique characters and I have many disturbing anecdotes to draw from. :)

Kevin - I'm no poet. But I do wax from time to time, mostly my nether regions. Did I mention I'm 3/5 Brazilian? But you probably already knew that.

Seriously - thanks man. I've never written much besides business communications, and I'm enjoying learning as much as I can about writing fiction. As mediocre as some of my stuff is, I learn something from each piece. So that gives me momentum.

January 26th, 2013, 07:06 AM
This feels more like a recital of what happened than a story to me. You establish the first person narration, but you keep re-going over your subject with actions. I don't really see the story. Need more emotions, thoughts, what makes the first person narration worthwhile.

To provide an example, "Shit, I guess it’s my turn, I thought." It is obvious you are saying that because the narration is about you. No need to describe the action.

To provide an example of what I mean by your actions: "Shit, I guess it’s my turn, I thought. I pointed the nose of my board downhill and leaned forward. The lack of friction on the cold snow made me accelerate with what seemed like exponential gravitational pull toward the jump. I steadied myself as I rocketed down the mountain. Forty yards from the jump I crouched, springing my legs into a tight preparatory stance."

Quick made-up re-write:

Shit, I guess it's my turn. The wind began picking up as I pointed my nose and leaned forward. That damn George was already at the forty by this point. The lack of friction on the snow seemed to accelerate my pace without warning. Ten. Twenty. Thirty. Forty yards from the jump. God, i'm gonna die. It was only time before my life would flash before my eyes. My body slowly gravitated to the airfoil position. I could feel (exc...)

Hope I helped and good luck to you.

January 26th, 2013, 08:08 PM
Hope I helped and good luck to you.

Most helpful. Thank you!