Saturday, August 05, 2006

New Beginning 45

Choke that Chicken

Chapter One: A DEATH IN THE LIFE OF....

Actually, Death wasn't all that far from my mind as I pulled out of the hardware store parking lot. Truck full of heating fuel, mind full of best friends and problems, nose full of stale seatcovers and wet dog. I looked left, then right, then left again just in time to see the bloody screaming cat cartwheel out from under a westbound car.

Cars swerved and one asshole honked as this semi-squashed but still plenty lively creature proceded to flip-flop wildly across two lanes of small town traffic. I hit the median and the handbrake at the same time, automatically reaching under the seat for the loaded 454. Halfway out of the door, unholstered and thumbing back the hammer before it dawns on me that this is Town, broad daylight, and a large caliber handgun. Maybe a bit much . . . even for this Wild Westish kinda town. I trade the gun for a straight tire iron.

As I get out of my truck, I see Bobby Thomas come running around the corner with a box.

Damn! He always gets the best roadkill. But not this time.

As he runs past me, I swing the crowbar like a baseball bat. Get him in the shins, and he flies forward and rolls across the street. Just enough time for me to run over to that spastic cat, give it a whack and stuff it under my shirt.

Casserole tonight!


Opening: Maggie Pistel Baker.....Continuation: Feisty

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Y'know, both the original and the continuation really grabbed me. Excellent work on the part of both writers.

whoever said...

I liked the opening a lot, the whole paragraph up until "wet dog".

Just personal preference but I personally would put down a book that opened with the agony of an animal. Not to say it wasn't well-written because it seems to be. Just not my taste.

Thank goodness that continuation put a big smile on my face. That was a good one. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Well done! The author has a VERY strong voice and the story captured me from the first line.

Only two thoughts, and these might be more me than you. First, the alliteration threw me off. Particularily the 'cat cartwheel.' The other thing is your pairing of dissimmiliar items (median and handbrake, etc.) I'm sure this is intentional and part of what makes the voice so great. However, I also stumbled every time it happened and had to reread those lines to follow.

(also... proceded should be proceeded)

Again, well written. I'd read on.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what the others said. Excellent stuff by both writers.

RobR

mark said...

Wait--you're squeezing your handbrake with one hand and reaching for your shotgun with the other, leaving the steering wheel for . . . your feet?

Also, "Wild Westish kind of town" kind of bothers me. I'm having trouble articulating exactly why--just trust me, it strikes a false note, false in the same way as if you were a tourist from Slovenia or something and you tell your New York friends how New York was your favorite because you loved the Lady Liberty Island Statue.

Other than that, it's good--the right light touches to make me realize that tongues are going to be happily in cheeks for the rest of the way.

Verification word: xynee--hollow wooden leg, makes pleasing sound when struck.

Cathy said...

If I recall this query, isn't the protagonist a female? This would intrigue me to learn that was true.

As an aspiring romance author, I'd learned never to kill animals... not torture them, anything.

HOWEVER, this scenery gives a soul (or lack thereof) to this town.

BuffySquirrel said...

They're right, Mags--killing animals just isn't acceptable. Make it a baby.

Anonymous said...

I'm studying the continuations to figure out how to write humor. LOL!

(Sorry author. No comment from me. The roadkill just got my brain.)

Kanani said...

I like that you have such an edgy character. Try making the prose stronger by getting rid of the asides and extraneous words.

Death was on my mind as I drove the truck of heating oil out of the parking lot. Images of an explosion, my few friends and dying in a rig that smells like wet dog flipped through my mind. Just as I got up to speed, a westbound car hit a cat. The bloody thing writhed its way across four lanes of traffic.

Just go through line by line and edt, exhange words, and get rid of 'squishy' language. This guy has an an attitude and a rather bleak outlook. That's why words such as "actually," "that far from my mind" "cat cartwheel" "Wild Westish" don't work for this character. That's the writer having fun with words.

Check out some of the work by Flannery O'Connor.

braun said...

You guys are really putting a damper on my plans to write a murder mystery where it turns out the dog did it.

magz said...

Thanks Gang!
You're ALL right; I too hated this critter-cruelty as an opener yet it insisted on starting this way.
It really has little to do with the main story, just a hellacious way to introduce the MC. (Whom Cathy nailed; yes, she's female)

Whoever? Ya musta spent some time whiffing wet dogs, hehe.
Mark? the 454 Casul is a large caliber handgun as indicated, not a shotgun (the shotgun stays behind the truckseat, the 454 under it lol) Generally when I hit the brakes in my truck it's with my left foot, with right hand on the steering wheel and left hand reaching under the seat, eyes locked on the road of course.
Buffy? OMG girl! The cat was crucial to the tale as she (the MC) sheds tears afterwards, wouldnt have worked with a baby.. (lessen it was a kitten, hmmm)
AnonE's 1,2, RobR and 4, thank you very much for the kind words!

The book was a genuine 30 day wonder, my first completed novel for NaNo 04. Originally titled Camp Chronicles, I got inspired while querying the Esteemed EE here and renamed it, it's now formatted for easy readability (tho could use some editing, mostly my nemesis Spellchecking) here;
http://ibmagz.blogspot.com

There is no more animal torture, I swear.. tho there is a dead chicken in there somewhere. Rated R, some Adult language and situations hehee.

Thanks again Fellow Minions, and very special thanks to Evil Editor for allowing us to have this much fun with our clothes on! Maggie

magz said...

OOPS!
I forgot the BIG kudos to the author of the continuation!
Fantastic; nearly exactly what I would have done save 1 teeny minor detail.
Ahem. This is the Southwest, the desert. We dont DO casseroles here, it would have been tacos! Thank you AnonE Author, care to collaborate on the next in this series? hahahahaaa, regards, Magz

McKoala said...

confused, but intrigued. I'd read on.

Imelda said...

Halfway out of the door, unholstered and thumbing back the hammer before it dawns on me...

The syntax of this sentence bothers me.

The protagonist is halfway out the door and thumbing back, the GUN is unholstered - unless you were suggesting that the driver was also holstered before he got out!

I get that maybe this is a deliberate shorthand, but I think you can maintain tone while still making it more comprehensible. I stumbled over it, which was a shame because the story has great energy and strong voice.

Also, bsck to the gun, if it was under the seat, was it in a holster? I tend to think of holsters as applying mainly to sidearms - when worn on the side. Mind you, I don't know much about guns (as is no doubt obvious!)

Anonymous said...

Certainly the "agony" of 'whoever' refers to the cat, right? I can assure whoever that my two dogs regard being wet as the prefereable condition of existence, along with riding wet in the car, especially with the windows down, where they can take the happy opportunity to share the water with all the world, by shaking their heads in the breeze. To the sometime-chagrin of neighboring motorists.

Nut said...

"Wait--you're squeezing your handbrake with one hand and reaching for your shotgun with the other, leaving the steering wheel for . . . your feet?"

Wait a minute, Mark. You are forgeting something important. The main character is Black Widow Spider. Who's also a homosidal casserol loving detective...

Frainstorm said...

Great stuff, but I'd lose your very first word. "Actually" doesn't lend anything and weakens your writing, whereas "Death" is a much stronger word to start.

Also, I don't know how you'd do this, but I wonder if you can pair up "semi-squashed" with a truck running it over. Sort of a double entendre in the cat world. After all, a semi has 18 wheels and a cat has only 9 lives, so what are the odds?

Anyway, I'm still reading. Good luck.
John

LJCohen said...

I very much like the voice here and would read on.

:)

Anonymous said...

WTF??? You start your novel by killing a cat and having it roll, screaming, across a street? Sick f&^%. I THROW your book down.

F#%$^er.

Anonymous said...

I meant "I would THROW your book down." Sicko.

Other books I've thrown down recently for including unnecessary animal cruelty or pain: Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Key to Rebecca. No fucking way am I giving my time to an author who includes gratuitous animal harm. There's more than enough of that in the world. I don't need to suffer through it when I read fiction.