Monday, June 25, 2007

New Beginning 301

An old bar at the docks. Noisy but dirty, not an inviting place anymore. Once upon a time, years ago I mean, men would come here after a hard day's work on the docks. But that was before they shipped everything in containers and a single crane could load or offload a whole ship.

They didn't need so many workers any more, and the companies didn't bother keeping workers on the payroll for old times' sake. They turfed the workers and docks became a loenly place.

So the bar hadda look for new customers. Lowlifes took over. You know what I mean: criminals, werewolves, zombies, vampires, editors. Lowlifes.

Didn't used to be that way. Then some punks thought they'd desecrate some graves. Wasn't quite the case of picking on somebody who couldn't fight back that they thought. First, they were being filmed on a mobile phone camera. Second, the zombies got pissed.

Punks were torn to pieces from the ground up. No one could deny the existence of the undead any more. So like every group of immigrants the this great country they get to start at the bottom.

I steel myself and enter. The room looks me over just as much as I look it over. I go to the bar and hope the bartender will co-operate.

"What'll you have?"

"I'm looking for someone. Here's his picture. Seen 'im?"

"You kidding me, pal?"

The bartender shakes his head, dislodging a few maggots from the pits where his eyes used to be. Zombies, the labor force the multinational corporations always thought they wanted.

That's when I see him.

Scraggly gray hair, shrubby eyebrows, mutton chops ... he looks like someone who should have died a century ago. Come to think of it, he probably did. So there he is drinking with a table of zombies and werevamps. And God knows what that thing with cleavage and slinky scales draped around his neck and wiggling in his lap is. Him hanging with the lowlifes, acting like he's one of them. And them eating it up. Redliner bedliners, the lot of them. Thinking they can claim even a part of his fame by buying him a drink and laughing at his lame jokes.

I stare at the guy who'd made it all happen. Him and his zombie crusade that had reformed a country's way of thinking. And now look where we are. No more immigrants. A workforce of native-grown sons and daughters. No drain on healthcare, education or housing. Liberals and conservatives alike calling him hero. Independents hailing him an emancipist.

Me, I see him for what he really is. Satan incarnate. Forcing men like me out of the unions and into corporate hell.

Yeah, someone's gotta destroy the Evil in the world. Might as well be me.



Opening: D Jason Cooper.....Continuation: Phoenix

23 comments:

Dave said...

I really (really really really) like this idea. It's fun, great fun. I reads rough, though. It needs to be tightened. The narrative doesn't crackle and it should. It's the rythym and flow of the words.

You're words are in Italics, Mine aren't. Try this:
"Years ago, men would come here after a hard day's work on the docks. But that was before they shipped everything in containers and a single crane could load or offload a whole ship. Now. it's an old bar at the docks. Noisy but dirty, not an inviting place anymore.

Keep paragraph 2 but fix the gram, punc, and spelling errors.

"You know what I mean" in the third paragraph is out of character. It's not your narrator's voice talking there. Try: "You know, lowlifes. Lowlifes like criminals, werewolves ..."

An underclass of the undead cleaning toilets, hauling garbage and attracting flies. What's this world coming to?

takoda said...

I love it! The voice is great, and sounds like it's going to be a fun story. I think the grammar is okay, because it's part of the voice. But the word 'hadda' stuck out for me.

So like every group of immigrants the this great country they get to start at the bottom. ((I love this line! Does there need to be a smoother transition to the next paragraph? Maybe it's just me..))

I steel myself and enter. The room looks me over just as much as I look it over. I go to the bar and hope the bartender will co-operate.


Phoenix, you're in top form! That was one of the best continuations ever!!

writtenwyrdd said...

The first two paragraphs are all background and don't pull me into the story. Idea is engaging and amusing, though. I love it when extrapolation reaches the point of absurdity; that's the place where the real fun occurs.

"hadda" was like three day old fish, must go. Distracting.

Continuation: Heh.

EE: loved the picture. I nominate it for the one you use all the time.

Bernita said...

"not an inviting place anymore" - I never thought any bar at the docks was ever particularly inviting - but the story is.

Rei said...

An old bar at the docks. Noisy but dirty, not an inviting place anymore. Once upon a time, years ago I mean, men would come here after a hard day's work on the docks.

This opening has been brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department. Perhaps something like:

An old bar at the docks. Noisy but dirty, not an inviting place anymore. Once upon a time, men would come here after a hard day's work unloading the ships. But that was before container ships and cranes made them as obsolete as the bar's electrical wiring.

So, the bar had to look for new customers . . .

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuation:

He sat in the corner dressed much as he had when biologically alive. The $2000 suit, however, had little smudges on the collar where his neck had decomposed a bit. The leather attache briefcase, however, looked immaculate, and he had a new Palm Treo phone.

Ken Lay was back from the dead and working his way up to the top again. What was the scheme this time - deregulating the zombie commodities market? Floating money offshore using vampires as mules? Selling stem cells from the newly dead and impoverished? Whatever it was, he would find a market weakness and exploit it. One thing this time, he didn't have to go with a metaphoric blood sucker like Jeff Skillings - he could have the real thing.

--ohjammer

whitemouse said...

Um. Um. No, really; isn't this a hoax?

A bar for zombies and editors...really??

Love EE's death-ray eyes, whatever the case.

Beth said...

Lowlifes took over. You know what I mean: criminals, werewolves, zombies, vampires, editors.

Omigosh, the author dissed you, EE!

The first few paragraphs could be tightened up. They ramble on just a bit too long. "Hadda" stands out as oddly colloquial even for a relaxed voice.

I don't like the switch to present tense, and if the whole story/book continued in present tense. I wouldn't read it. An unreasonable prejudice, maybe, but I find reading present tense to be a constant strain.

Otherwise, this is wonderfully quirky and has a strong voice. Condense the opening monologue and you've got a winner.

Dave said...

A bar for Zombies? A bar for werewolves? Why not?
Look up "Nightlife" and "MoonShine" by Rob Thurman and you'll find just such characters and locations.

writtenwyrdd said...

Ah, but Dave, speaking as a dark urban fantasy writer/enthusiast, there's always room for more zombie bars!

It's those mermaids you have to watch out for. Also, harpies. They're worse than pigeons.

Kanani said...

Okay, this rambles along.
I liked that the punks found new customers amid the zombies. And overall, I like the tone.

McKoala said...

LOL the editor among the lowlifes! This was a bit of a slow start for my taste, but the writing was pretty good, I thought, and I like the ideas behind it.

McKoala said...

Are those laser eyes, or are your eyeballs just bleeding from reading our stuff?

GutterBall said...

This was lots of fun. Yeah, it needs tightening, but a good second eye would help with that. If I weren't working so stinking much, I'd offer my services just to see what happens here. I'm tempted to anyway....

And Dave? I love those Rob Thurman books.

ME said...

When I saw that the author included editors among the ranks of lowlife bar dwellers a lightbulb went on.! The man he seeks will be a good speller. I mean, the MC seeks a someone to help him with his spells, I mean he wants someone who can spell him, cast spells and spell well. (The lightbulb is one of those florescent kind, sorry)If this was short story length or shorter, I would read more. Not my kind of novel, sorry.

AmyB said...

I liked this, though with "editors" listed among the lowlifes, I fear it's a hoax. It feels first-draft-ish, given the typos and some repetition. For example, we don't need "on the docks" in the third sentence; it's implied, and we already had "at the docks" in the first sentence.

Second paragraph, first sentence, could just be "The companies didn't bother keeping workers on the payroll for old times' sake." The first bit, "they didn't need so many workers any more" is obvious in the context.

I agree that "hadda" was jarring and out-of-place.

Where this lost me was paragraph 4. "Didn't used to be that way. Then some punks..." was a transition jarring enough that it flipped the switch in my brain that makes me start skimming.

The voice is great and I like the setup. It just needs smoothing out.

Love the continuation!

Dave said...

I like the Thurman books. I just finished reading those two books.
He has werewolves, Aulphs (not cute elfs but nasty vicious maneaters), trolls, vampires, werewolves with alpha wolves and baby wolfs, satyrs, bansheees and succubi coming out of every corner. not to mention seedy bars with poker in the back rooms and human sacrifice in the cellar.
And I forgot, zombie thugs with pet maggots named Guido.
;)

Anonymous said...

Oh yuk dave. Nice imagery to go with the morning cuppa.

writtenwyrdd said...

The best thing about the Thurman books was that in Nightlife, a character is possessed and the pov is absolutely, flawlessly executed to have that character be suddenly and viciously different. Creepy creepy creepy. Loved it.

Dave said...

Wwyrdd, yeah, Nightlife is creepy and the POV is really strict but I found the POV so relentless and the incessant banter between the brothers also so relentless, that it made the books hard to read. I would have liked the novel better if it had broken the POV once or twice and given the reader a little respite.
But then, I did buy the second book and I'll probably get a third (if there is one).

GutterBall said...

Dave and Writtenwyrdd, Book 3 is already at the editor's and schedulted for a 2008 release. Apparently, there will also be a Book 4, perhaps in 2009, all things pending.

I agree with you, Wyrdd, about that POV change being right creepy. It's like they used the same lexicon, but the intent was all wrong.

Dave said...

Gutterball, You have a pipeline to Thurman?

For those who don't know what we're talking about. The main character in Nightlife is half-human, half-nonhuman bloodthirsty killer wtihout pity. Partway through the book, one of these things takes over the body of the main character. Thurman maintains the main character's voice, mannerisms and POV in the story. It's very creepy to be invested in a main character who is suddenly not the same and yet acts and talks and remembers the same.

GutterBall said...

Well, Thurman is very good about answering fanmail, but I mostly get my information from the livejournal: Journal.