Thursday, August 17, 2006

New Beginning 78


I woke up this morning, and a tomato hit me in the head. A ripe one, splattered all over the place. A strange way to wake up it is, but I'm starting to get used to it, now. Yesterday was a peeled grapefruit. Weird. I haven't quite figured it out. At first, I thought it was a monkey, and I dreaded the morn when a handful of stinking shit might fly when I opened my eyes, but the fruit stopped after a week or so. First time it happened, I didn't know what to think. I leaped out of bed, by instinct jumped into a karate stance. Nothing there. I ran around the house looking for the dirty bastard, but nothing. The door was still bolted with the couch pushed in front of it. Bucket of tacks still in place over it. Bunsen burner hot beneath the window. All was well. So, where the damn did that peach come from?

"For the love of you-know-who," swore Gabriel, up above, "this Newton kid is dense." He glanced up to where he thought Michael must be hovering. "What next, Michael?"

The other angel swooped into view, brandishing a determined look and a watermelon. "If this doesn't make him discover gravity," he said, "nothing will."


Opening: Wormy Boy.....Continuation: Braun

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

"At first, I thought it was a monkey, and I dreaded the morn when a handful of stinking shit might fly . . . "

"So, where the damn did that peach come from?"

I like the way this is written. The style (I guess is what I mean) is different and, to me, refreshing. For some reason I read this in an Irish accent. I recently read one of Frank McCourt's memoirs and he breaks every rule you can think of but his prose is sweet. Not that I think this entry is as good as Frank's, I'm just saying it reminds me of his style. -JTC

Nut said...

Okay, time to confess. You wrote this one, just to post it on EE's didn't you? Well, didn't you?

If you didn't, there must be a magic portal in the ceiling (or, a non-magic sunroof) leading to a jungle (or an alternate world, where people are monkeys, and there's, like, no alarm clocks, or nothin', so they throw fruit... ).

Okay, be that way! I'm off to throw some rotten bananas on the downstairs neigbour's head. The dude snores like a bear. Which is a horrible thing, especially considering that he's a cross-dressing rabbit.

Dave said...

I like the idea of phantom fuit appearing at odd times.

First, I'd can the mild profanity. It doesn't help the story. I think that it spoils the atmosphere.

And then I'd start pruning words.
"I leaped out of bed, by instinct jumped into a karate stance." can just as well be "I leapt into a karate stance" ... he's in bed and he can only get out.

"The door was still bolted with the couch pushed in front of it."
can be said: "The couch blocked my bolted door."

BTW - in the first line you say tomato and in the last line you say peach. that's a continuity problem.

Personally, I'd rather have a persimmon.

Virginia Miss said...

Interesting beginning, has me curious.
I got lost in time; today a tomato, yesterday a grapefuit, so the mention of the fruit stopping after a week confused me.
I suggest you amend the third sentence to "A strange way to wake up, but I'm starting to get used to it."
Love the tacks and bunson burner.

magz said...

Oh My Gawd, kudos to both Authors! The book starts so off the wall and silly that I just know I'd love it, and the continuence was hysterical!

A tip of the ole cowgirl hat to you both!

MaryKaye said...

I can't make sense of "The fruit stopped after a week"--when are we? I thought we were on the day when he was awakened by a tomato.

I was also confused by the peach (was that the very first fruit?) and went back to look for it, finding only a tomato. You probably don't want to encourage me to go back.

Small stuff, though. The voice is good.

Anonymous said...

I think if you start pruning words out of your writing just to make it more pithy you lose your style. I humbly disagree with dave.

acd said...

You know what this reminds me of? John Dies At the End. One of the funniest, most absorbing books ever.

In adding to Dave's comment about the profanity, I think you can replace the "shit" with something funnier: "banana byproducts" or "reprocessed coconuts" or something.

I'd keep reading!

Bernita said...

I'm waiting for the ectoplasm...

whitemouse said...

Not my cup of tea. The flying fruit and the mystery of it got my attention, as did the precautions on the door and window, but it felt like the writer was trying too hard to insert quirky hooks. I'd read on, but sceptically, thinking that these were gimmicks that wouldn't end up having much to do with the plot, or that the plot would be so absurd as to be unsatisfying.

I dunno; my lack of enthusiasm has to be an issue of personal taste, because if a dragon had flown past his window, I could suspend my sense of disbelief in a snap. But myserious flying fruit? Hmm. No.

HawkOwl said...

If it weren't a New Beginning, I wouldn't even have read through the first 150 words. The style is passable, nothing to write home about but grammatical and more or less even. The action, however, is of no interest to me and holds no promise of becoming interesting, ever. I guess it's a matter of tastes.

Good luck with it.

Rei said...

I like.

jfk said...

Interesting style; I have concerns as to whether it can be maintained, but I would read on to find out. I agree with the people who said to prune words. For example, the first sentence mentions waking up, and then the third sentence repeats that. Also, the long paragraph never encourages me at the start (if that was a formatting glich, apologies). I almost missed the description of the setting at the end, because I was still thinking about fruit.

Yesterday was a peeled grapefruit.

Wow. I've never seen a day that resembles fruit :)

And lol at the continuation ... What happens next?

Anonymous said...

I actually really liked this; the style is familiar, and it feels like I'm just listening to someone talking, which is really cool. I agree that you have to watch your details and your time frame. Pruning it to make sure those make sense would be good. But if you prune the sentence structures and what not, you risk losing the style that is established here. Anyway, keep it up! It's great!

ello said...

I liked it. Thought it was funny. It was confusing funny - but I thought it was supposed to be that way, maybe I'm wrong because I've got alzhei - wait, that was my favorite poem from Miss Snark's contest. I read this with funny in mind so it struck me as funny. I thought the voice was fresh and interesting. Definitely according to personal taste so I wouldn't worry about those who didn't like it. I also disagree with Dave's comment about pruning the language, if you take out leapt out of bed and make it I leapt into a karate stance - well my funny mind would immediately assume he leapt up in bed into a karate stance, which would be hysterical but then again, if it it not what the author envisioned, then it doesn't work. I'm all in favor of minimal writing but not when it changes the intent of the writing.

Anyway, I liked it, I would keep reading.

PicAxe said...

I liked it. I would read on--although I was confused with the starting with a tomato and ending with a peach.

Great voice.

anonyme said...

Guess I'm seriously not with my fellow minions on this one but my reaction is more along the lines of - W! T! F! I would be able to drum up no interest whatsoever in a book that started this way. But that's just me. I did like Jane Smiley's Moo, though which was off the wall and quite hilarious. I can't remember how it started off so I can't say what really hooked me.

Good luck with this.

bonniers said...

I had the same issue as the others with the fruit stopping after a week, and when the tomato and the peach came into play, but everything else was funny-crazy. I like.

You have a little redundancy that could be removed, but I agree with the others who said don't prune too much. It wouldn't fit the voice you've set up.

I would definitely read more.

And the continuation is hysterical!

Cathy said...

I agree with hawkowl, for once.

I was not intrigued by this beginning at all. Maybe it's me, but I just kept thinking the guy needed to spend more time trying to figure out where the flying fruit came from

Also, the fruit stopping for a week was confusing, too.

Sorry.... Don't go by my opinion, however.

Dan Lewis said...

Bravo to the continuation. Pure genius.

This opening reminds me a little bit of "When Gregor Samsa awoke from troubled dreams one morning he found that he had been transformed in his bed into an enormous bug." But the narrator does not in fact have an enormous bug problem, he's just a (shut-in?) guy with a mysterious ex nihilo fruit problem and an enormous fire hazard beneath the window.

If he is a shut-in or a fugitive maybe, the fact that someone is breaking in to his house undetectably should bother him a lot more, right? So where's the anxiety? Instead, it's just "strange" and "weird" to the narrator. If the narrator doesn't care, then I don't care, period.

Is "where the damn" a regional curse? I've never seen it. I would have expected "where the hell".

Jessica said...

I thought it was interesting. I too was confused for a moment about the peach-tomato thing, but I quickly realized the peach was the first peice of fruit. The thing that confused me was that the fruit stopped after a week, but we started with getting hit with a tomato.

Nut said...

It didn't sound bad to me, it sounded funny. However, where can you go from the fruit-alarm clock? So, I figured, there's 3 options here.

1: The protagonist is insane.

2: There's invisible animals/portal to a jungle/alternate universe.

3: This is a joke.

I picked #3, because it was just a bit too funny to be real. Still, it's not a criticism, just my honest guess, of what this piece could mean.

Ooooh, the beaver just showed up below the tree!

"Hey, Nut! Are you there?"

Silence.

"This is Beaver and Aligator agency, you forgot to pay your compost bill on time... I know you're up there, now get down and pay!"

Ha! Collection agency... Good thing, I've got a bag of banana peals, and cracked nutshells here.

Empties a bag onto the beaver's head.

Thanks for the idea, author! Now I can dispose of trash and the jerks bellow, at ones.

Oh, and if the begining is for real, good luck with the book. I'm sure it will be a hillarious read.

Beth said...

It's a waking-up scene, but at least it's a different waking up scene.

Confusing about the tomato vs the peach. And how does on peel a grapefruit? I'd like to see that.

Bernita said...

Dear Writer,
Could you please tells us the source of these apports?
( Hmm...two "p" or not two "p?")
Please?
More curious than which came first - the tomato or the peach.

Anonymous said...

Where is this guy that the first thing he thinks of is a monkey?

kis said...

acd said...

In adding to Dave's comment about the profanity, I think you can replace the "shit" with something funnier: "banana byproducts" or "reprocessed coconuts" or something.


How about "coffee beans that have first passed through the digestive system of Indonesian monkeys"? Don't laugh, it's an actual product. Bleh.

I liked this, even if it is a hoax. It reminds me of Ken boy's "autonomous whaling collective" bit he posted on the Crapometer. Stupid and brilliant at the same time. People who don't find this stuff engaging are the kind of people who bitch all through Monty Python and the Holy Grail about why the hell they're using coconuts. I can accept that such people exist, but I have a difficult time relating to them.

Anyhow, I really only just posted because my WV is lowla. lalalala-lowla. lalalala-low-la-aah.

December Quinn said...

I agree with kis. I LOVED this, loved loved loved. If I saw a first paragraph like this in a bookstore I'd head straight to the counter with it.


I'm dying to know what this book is about--is this written by the guy with the awesome query about his ex-girlfriend running the highway rest-stop-portal alternate universe?

pacatrue said...

I am writing in praise of the continuation. It would have been a spewing moment, but I finished my soda a few minutes ago.

writtenwyrdd said...

I don't know if I like it or not, but I would definitely keep reading.

I think you can make this work. It needs tightening up. I would suggest you try removing the monkey comment to use later. It's funny, but I think that particular line derails the momentum you were building. It's not a hook it's a distractor in your opening.

The bunsen burner reference only made me think the curtains would catch on fire.

Nut said...

"coffee beans that have first passed through the digestive system of Indonesian monkeys"?

Thanks a lot, Kis! Now I gotta start drinking tea.
(insert profanity of your choice)

Anonymous said...

OMG-best continuation ever!

Author. I'll get back to you on the story. ROTFLMAO.

word verification: bsrig (bull shit rig?)

McKoala said...

I like it, barring a few odd commas and strange expressions ('to wake up it is', 'morn').

The commas might need sorting, but the strange expressions might make sense once I had read on - which I would.

BTW, if you're going for Irish then it's not consistent enough.

What is the bucket of tacks on?

Anonymous said...

Hey, author, fwiw, hawkowl hated mine, too, and I liked this. There's no arguing about taste.

Also fwiw, I agree with the people who say not to prune just because someone else thinks it leaves out unecessary detail. If you are constantly repeating yourself, sure. But if it's just the way you write, go with it.

After all, you could express Hamlet as 'Danish prince goes nuts after his dad is murdered by his uncle and ends up dead, along with several members of family and court, as collateral damage'. The rest is just unecessary detail.

bashful continuation author said...

I am writing in praise of the continuation. It would have been a spewing moment, but I finished my soda a few minutes ago.

Damn! My plot is foiled!

braun said...

This is pretty over-the-top and I'm not sure it would make me want to read more but I do think that the author is in control and knows what they're doing as far as sentence structure goes. The style certainly complements the wacky subject matter.

Frainstorm said...

This seems like a short story, which I suppose it could be. Just can't imagine keeping this up for a novel. Or, at least, can't imagine me keeping up with it.

That said, I'm very intrigued and I'd keep reading right now. It hooked me.

Only comment I'd make is that the cussing seems gratuitous at this juncture, but maybe it's needed for the character. Oh, and the structure of the final sentence pulled me out of the story for a moment. Thought that odd.

But those are easy fixes, and not necessary if you don't want to make them. The story itself pulled in for more.

the author said...

here's the rest of what i submitted to evile; thought that was a good place to stop, but it happened to be way over the one-fifty mark. sooo, anyway, uh, yeah ... thanks for the comments, folks:

A peach was the first one. A pear the second. I didn't have any time at all to remember the peach as I leaned up that second day with the sun, and the pear came at me. Tasted good; it was cool and soft, nice and ripe. I paced around in the kitchen all morning looking for clues. Not a one. Couldn't figure it. In a few days' time, I understood I might be hit with a piece of fruit every day, first thing.
One day, after about a week of the fruit, nothing happened. I woke up, my eyes the narrowest of slits, and I tried, again, to get a look before the morning fruit. It was more a nuisance than anything, by this time. The shock had gone. It was becoming part of my routine. Well, that day, nothing happened. It felt strange. I sat up and looked around. Everything seemed to be the same, except no fruit. I pulled my drawers on, sat there a while ... stood up and shuffled about the place a little, in a daze, occasionally just standing and staring at nothing in particular.

kis said...

Yanno, nut, I don't think you have to worry about that shit--I mean coffee. They charge something like a hundred bucks a pound for it. A nut like you could never afford it, and at that price, no one's gonna slip it in your drink for giggles, either.

MaryKaye said...

Even more with the additional text you give, I am going crazy--not in a good way--trying to figure out when the actual "now" of the story is. Is "now" the day with the tomato, or "now" a day with an unexpected lack of fruit? And then for a few lines we're on the peach day, and for a few lines we're on a no-fruit day...

I can handle flashbacks but I need a clear "now" to flash back from. I feel really alienated if I can't decide which of several possible times is the one where the story is actually happening.

I think this could be fixed with minimal revision.

Chumplet said...

The booby traps remind me of 'Home Alone'.

I like the karate stance. Hoo! Hah! Who's there?

I loved it. Just get it in cronological order.

If the place has the security of Fort Knox, how the hell would a monkey get in, anyway?

You peel a grapefruit like you peel an orange. Except it stings more.

Oh, the bucket of tacks is ABOVE the door! I thought they were scattered on the floor.

Re: Monty Python. My son made me buy a coconut and cut it in half so he could have his own Concorde. He was clopping all over the house. His own pony and he didn't have to clean up after it. Gotta love it.