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Mr. Dean (Opening of Short Story) (1 Viewer)

MrTickle

Senior Member
Hey guys, here is the opening to my longer short story I'm currently writing. Thanks for reading!

Every time the doors of the Il Inglese Collegamento Albergo (The English Connection Hotel) open today, Jeanie expects to look up from her papers to see the chiselled face, and bug like sunglasses of Mr. Dean in the reception window. But all it’s been is single young men or women checking in with their small suitcases of luggage.

“Nearly two O’clock … don’t think he’s coming.” The words came from the Chef who’s on lunch break and is leaning his tree trunk frame over a bowl of leftovers at an empty desk at the back of the room.

No answer is forthcoming from Jeanie. She’s keeps her eyes on the hotels tall double doors. The thing is, she thinks, I can’t answer what he said; all I know about Mr. Dean is that he likes to arrive early to make the most of the day. Jeanie get’s off her wooden chair and rests her arms on the eye level window looking out on the market stalls outside. She says, “You know, they say he’s the Christopher Columbus of show business.”

The Chef rests his fork on a pile of carrots and squints at Jeanie like he’s trying to figure her out, “The people who call him that are the people who still think he was the first across the Atlantic.”

Jeanie gives him the look you would give a drunk slurring nonsense, and puts her eyes back on the market, “I still don’t believe what you say about him.”

“That’s what they say about Columbus.”

Jeanie snaps her head back again, “Just go easy on him.” The Chef says something Jeanie can’t hear, “You don’t know, he might be dangerous.”

The Chef let’s a smile creek up the side of his mouth, “It’s worth the risk to see the sight of his face.”

Jeanie keeps her face blank and walks over to the Chef who she’s almost on eye level with even when though he’s sitting down. Takes one of his carrots and dangles it in front of him, “Well, you better not bottle it Luis.”

*​

He could have checked in to the hotel at any point this morning, but a pounding cough carrying over from his plane journey has him remaining in the cave. Coiled like a snake in his sleeping bag, still wearing the blotchy grey T-shirt, ripped jeans and dirtied sneakers. The cave is where he always stays the night before checking in. If you look from the beach it looks like a bullet hole in the cliff. The seclusion from the tourist heavy beach is perfect for his process: emptying his mind of thoughts useless here.

The cough starts up again. Echoing, intensifying his headache, and feeling like it’s ripping strips of flesh from his throat. After a few beats, it goes, leaving the feeling of being scratched inside. The cough has washed the bad thoughts back to the shore of his mind. I’ve been here four times and it’s never been this difficult, he thinks. He takes deep breaths and imagines his friends at the hotel in the lounge circling him on bar stools, heads cupped in hands, eyes and mouths agape in the wonder of the stories he’s telling them. The memory gives him enough energy to push against a bolder to get to his feet. He slides one foot in front of the other until he reaches the edge of the shadow of the cave, and leans his head out of the cave like it’s suspended in mid air out of a black curtain. He puts his Vintage sunglasses on and realises, in the moment of getting up and looking outside his cough has ceased and is left with the tickle feeling on his chest. To take advantage of this opportunity and creeks back inside careful not to awaken the lion in his chest and opens his suitcase, takes off his grubby clothes and fumbles into his light beige suit. Takes the plastic comb out of his breast pocket and brushes his hair until it looks slicked back. He thinks, I’ll look like Mr. Dean until I feel like Mr. Dean. Straight back, big smile.

When he finishes he looks at his old clothes lying on top of his sleeping bag. Usually he puts them back in his suitcase, but this time he leaves them neatly folded on a rock. It means when he picks up his now very light suitcase he can just feel the sway of the magazine and the revolver. Mr. Dean checks the time on his phone, moves into the light and throws his phone into the sea like a kid trying to skim a stone.

He begins to feel like he’s fitting in just like old times as he walks down the town market. People all dressed in rich suits and dressed like it’s the 50’s. Most of them are English/American tourists. Most of them he’s seen before. Most of them he’s helped before. He used to tell them, “You know, you’ve got a stage presence about you. There’s something there.” He would always have to leave before he could take them to L.A.

Now he’s back and first things first. He’s got to know if Portofino is still the same place. Thirsty, he stops off at the first half empty café he finds - he doesn’t like crowds - and buys a cheap water and sandwich; he’s got to watch his bank balance. But it’s given him time to listen to a woman on her phone to her psychiatrist talking about how she can’t relax, can’t keep the bad thoughts away. Mr. Dean downs his water and moves for the hotel.
 

Phury

Senior Member
Very enjoyable read, left me thinking where it was going. Would love to read some more if you ever put any out there.
 

MrTickle

Senior Member
Thank you Renaissance man and phury. I will post more up when I type it up from my notepad. I'm currently still writing it. It going to be a longer short story, but one I look forward to sharing :).

Thanks again!
 

chrisatola

Senior Member
intriguing excerpt. it definitely makes me curious. i know you're just starting it, but there are a few grammatical issues. one thing i would consider would be the tense. i like the tense for mr. dean's part of the story. For some reason, I think it should be a different tense for the other opening characters..."Every time the doors of the Il Inglese Collegamento Albergo (The English Connection Hotel) opened, Jeanie expected to look up from her papers to see the chiselled face, and bug like sunglasses of Mr. Dean in the reception window. But all it’s been is single young men or women checking in with their small suitcases of luggage."

Obviously that's a personal preference that can be easily disregarded... but i definitely want to know more!
 

sed

Senior Member
Every time the doors of the Il Inglese Collegamento Albergo (The English Connection Hotel) open today, Jeanie expects to look up from her papers to see the chiselled face, and bug like sunglasses of Mr. Dean in the reception window. But all it’s been is single young men or women checking in with their small suitcases of luggage.

“Nearly two O’clock … don’t think he’s coming.” The words came from the Chef who’s on lunch break and is leaning his tree trunk frame over a bowl of leftovers at an empty desk at the back of the room.

No answer is forthcoming from Jeanie. She’s keeps her eyes on the hotels tall double doors. The thing is, she thinks, I can’t answer what he said; all I know about Mr. Dean is that he likes to arrive early to make the most of the day. Jeanie get’s off her wooden chair and rests her arms on the eye level window looking out on the market stalls outside. She says, “You know, they say he’s the Christopher Columbus of show business.”

The Chef rests his fork on a pile of carrots and squints at Jeanie like he’s trying to figure her out, “The people who call him that are the people who still think he was the first across the Atlantic.”

Jeanie gives him the look you would give a drunk slurring nonsense, and puts her eyes back on the market, “I still don’t believe what you say about him.”

“That’s what they say about Columbus.”

Jeanie snaps her head back again, “Just go easy on him.” The Chef says something Jeanie can’t hear, “You don’t know, he might be dangerous.”

The Chef let’s a smile creek up the side of his mouth, “It’s worth the risk to see the sight of his face.”

Jeanie keeps her face blank and walks over to the Chef who she’s almost on eye level with even when though he’s sitting down. Takes one of his carrots and dangles it in front of him, “Well, you better not bottle it Luis.”

Very much enjoyed this opening, felt like it built up a suspense for the Mr. Dean character, but was done so in an unnoticeable/natural way.

As far as the past/present tense goes, I personally enjoy present tense for a change. I too have written in this way and have enjoyed it. The nice thing about past tense though is, IMO, it just makes descriptions and wording easier in a general sense, but obviously that's an ease of use sort of thing, and as I said, present tense is a nice change of pace and I think works very well here.

Maybe a few, inconsequential grammatical errors like comma placement, etc. I also personally like to hyphenate where I can, i.e. mid-air, tourist-heavy, but even things like that aren't set in stone or anything.

Anyway, hope this review is helpful and best of luck on the rest of the story.
 

JudyLea64

Senior Member
First of all, I hope you do post more. I am very intrigued by Mr. Dean and what he's up to.

There is one thing that bugs me. His throwing the cell phone into the water then going onto the street with the people dressed in 50s style clothes makes me think this is a time travel story. But then when he gets his food he overhears a woman talking on "her" phone which sounds like she's on a cell phone. I know there is more to the story so if I'm totally off base just ignore my blathering. ;-)
 

MrTickle

Senior Member
Wow, sorry for the late reply Christola, sed and JudyLea64. Didn't realise 'till today anyone had posted on my story again. Yes, the tense needs some work in some parts, and also JudyLea64 I like that you think it's time travel, never thought of it that way :-D, but sounds cool now lol. Anyway I will post more when I've typed it up, it's taken a while to write the first draft as it is more of a novella/novelette now.

Anyway, thank you for the feedback, it's much appreciated :)
 
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