Saturday, December 08, 2007

First Meeting 10

"Gasport believes he invented sails." Kendrick sniffed the extract. "It's those fancy new wooden ships they use to cruise the stars. Woodwrights and carpenters like your Uncle Harry keep the navy flying in space, don't you know?"

I poured Horizon fruit juice into glasses and handed one to Kendrick Jones. He raised a glass in salute of my rather audacious chess victory. Kendrick Jones stood two inches taller than Harry Jones with big, broad shoulders, a barrel chest. He sat crossed-legged in the tent wiggling his prehensile, finger-like toes -- playing, discovering. A green jockstrap covered his genitals. The first modest man I met since I came to Horizon.

"He's either Lord Nelson reincarnated or Horatio Hornblower in leather drag, a diva scorned." [Is he talking about Harry or Gasport? Is Gasport a person?] I chugged my glass of native fruit extract. Kendrick choked on his.

"Sweet Jesus that's strong. Tastes like paint thinner and grain alcohol."

"An acquired taste. You get used to it."

"I'll take your word for it," Kendrick poured another glass and sipped. He held back a cough. "Your story of Uncle Harry's demise tempted me. I'm sure you made Harry more innocent than he really was. Thank you for saving my feelings."

"Not a bit."

"I tried to tell Harry that carpentry crew didn't give a damn. They'd screw their Mothers if you offered them money."

--Dave F.


It's too hard to tell who's talking and whom they're talking about. The latter would mostly be fixed if we were already familiar with the characters. The former will be fixed with some dialogue tags.

Kendrick speaks of "your uncle Harry" in p.1, but near the end he says, "Your story of Uncle Harry's demise tempted me." As if it's his uncle too. He would more likely say ... "Harry's demise," or possibly "your uncle's demise." Also, I'm not sure what is meant by the story "tempted" me.

Kendrick's never had native fruit extract? Did he just get there?

Are Kendrick and Harry brothers? If so, and Harry is the narrator's uncle, Kendrick would also be his uncle--or his father.

Horizon fruit juice? Is that a brand name? It would be weird if it meant Horizon the place. It would be like Earth fruit juice or Cincinnati fruit juice. Surely there's more than one kind of fruit on Horizon.


Dave Kuzminski said...

Is this about a monkey's uncle?

Sorry, but I just had to ask.

McKoala said...

I sort of think that Kendrick would know that his uncle harry keeps the navy flying if they really do use wooden ships, so that came across as a little 'as you know Bob'. Loving Kendrick's fashion sense.

I did find this a bit hard to follow; there's a lot packed in and I don't think I read it patiently enough.

LOL Dave K.

talpianna said...

EE, Horizon fruit juice might be a blend of juices of all the edible fruits on the planet.

Church Lady said...

You talk waaaay too much about Horizon fruit juice (btw, Horizon *is* an organic foods company. they sell dairy products in our area) and not nearly enough about alien genitalia.

I was confused about who Harry was. Perhaps a dialogue tag here and there might help. And what was he discovering with his toes? Because the next sentence might be poorly placed. Or maybe not.

Dave F. said...

I knew I was in trouble yesterday when I looked at this and realized that the first sentence was wrong. However, there's no way of the reader knowing that unless they read the entire chapter this occurs in.

Kendrick had nothing in his hands and so couldn't sniff the extract. That's my mistake and it poisons the read. And "sniffs the extract" triggers my obscene alarms with all sorts of false connotations.

They are in outer-space and the anachronistic nature of having carpenters on a spaceship is what's being discussed.

Gasport is Captain Gasport who just lost a chess match to the narrator. The narrator is unnamed here. Apparently that's not good for the reader.

This is too much information for 220 or so words. I'm going to have to restructure this to get it to say what I want it to say.

thanks, I gotta go. I have a bad elevator to get fixed.

Sarah said...

Not much to add here.

A few changes here and there. The elixir made me wonder if he already had a drink in hand, but then he gets a glass poured for him.

Instead of Horizon fruit juice, could it be the native specialty? Home brew, as it were.

Dave F. said...

Ah Sarah, that's what I noticed yesterday.

I've been struggling with this portion of the dialog and I think I see what I have to do.

The fruit juice on this planet contains a significant amount of alcohol making mixed drinks unnecessary.

This matches up with New Beginning 406. It occurs about 10,000 words into the story.

Captain Gasport of the spaceship is the bad guy, the narrator is the planetary ambassador, Harry is an incidental character, and Kendrick is going to be one of the very good guys who saves the planet from destruction.

Captain Gasport has just lost a chess game to the narrator and he's not taking it kindly. In fact, the narrator has defeated him 4 of the last seven matches.

blogless_troll said...

The Beavis in me loves the name Captain Gasport.

Dave F. said...

It's GAVIN GASPORT the THIRD, and he insists on using all of that.
He's a bit of a buffoon.

Robin S. said...

Hi Dave,

Because I'm me, I want to know more about the green jockstrap. Why is it green? Does it have to be green, or are there color choices, young man? What if I liked blue better, for instance?

Anyway- this is kinda cool - like a weird "outer banks" bar, although I did have a problem sussing out who was who, and who was talking- but it's no biggie in the larger scheme, I'm guessing.

Anonymous said...

Dave's are always distinctive. I think I knew it was his before the second word. Gasport...a Dave name. There were a lot of characters to absorb in such a short snippet, but the dialog seemed like it would be worth it. (I was *not* curious about the jock strap, though, Robin.)

--Bill Highsmith

Dave F. said...

Robin, {sigh}
There is nothing significant about the color green for the jockstrap. It could be any color.

And Bill,
I am going to really satirize Captain Gasport as TSTL and started with his name. I'm having fun.

Dave F. said...

Just in case anyone ever reads this, this is the beginning of Kendrick's and the Narrator's first exchange as I revised it based on the comments:

Kendrick Jones raised a glass to salute my rather audacious chess victory.
"Gasport believes he's the reincarnation of Lord Nelson and Horatio Hornblower in leather drag," Kendrick said. He drank his shot of bourbon.
"Ever since they made him Captain of the Glorious Leap into Heaven of Jaing Zemin, he thinks he invented the navy. The Glorious Leap might be the first Shaanxi Class battleship but as I recall, there's not a toothpick of wood on the vessel, and it's powered by nuclear fusion."
"Don't say such blashphemy, why Captain Gasport nee Bligh believes that he invented solar sails. The Glorious Leap is on of those fancy new wooden ships with giant suncatching sails all made of elm and oak. Woodwrights and carpenters like your Uncle Harry keep the navy flying in space, don't you know?"
"Not before today," I said. We laughed. I poured myself a glass of the native fruit extract and made to pour Kendrick another bourbon.
"Keeping the good stuff for yourself?"
"No, it's just the native stuff has a kick to it." I poured Kendrick a glass. "Be warned, this stuff is potent." Kendrick shrugged and chugged. He choked.
"Sweet Jesus that's strong. Tastes like paint thinner and grain alcohol."
"An acquired taste. You get used to it."
"I'll take your word for it," Kendrick poured another glass. He sniffed and sipped. He tried to hold back the cough but the liquid just lit up his body. "Tastes like gasoline and paint thinner mixed with fruit juice. Are you sure this stuff is edible?"
"It's like the military. You rams your head into a wall and then you does it again until the pain goes away," I said. Kendrick shrugged his broad shoulders and smiled. "You ought to send a bottle to Gasport and let him drown his troubles. We need to talk about cousin Harry." His expression darkened. "I've seen the knothole you say is the last remnant of Harry's human body. It looks like any other fork in any other tree."
"Chief Papenka tells me that it's common for a tree to branch out after it absorbs a body. Harry will be reborn this spring. You are welcome to stay around until then," I said.
"I met Chief Papenka this morning. The horny old bastard wants me to wear a gourd. Everybody on this planet seems obsessed with my genitals." Kendrick filled his glass with more fruit juice.