Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Beginning 488

Brilliant blue sparks rained down over auto carcasses and the still bodies of large and dirty dogs. The hard buzz of high amperage made one of my ears tickle and drowned out the country crickets that had been chirping along the road coming in. Metal scrap flipped up often and struck at my ankles like a yard full of tiny, mislaid rakes, and I stumbled and tripped my way toward the figure in the trees, my vision sidelong in fear of blindness.

My desire was to meet a masked man working incredibly focused on top of a large A-frame ladder. Getting there meant trashing out a pair of my best running shoes and forgetting about wearing these trouser out ever again. Getting close to there meant closing my eyes completely, blindly walking through the metal detritus with a hope and a prayer, sharp steel tugging on my shoelaces, rounded steel rolling out from under me.

Getting there seemed a short and painful distance away from where I currently was, and it seemed like nothing I could do would draw his attention toward what I wanted and away from the metal tip of his inflamed rod, as he scratched and dragged it across the giant cockroach he was building out of a rusty scrap of everything.

“Hey fuckhead!” I tried yelling.

Even his dogs were unmoved.

"Listen," I tried again. "I've come about that order--" the torch cut off in mid-yell, leaving my words ringing in the sudden silence-- "of dildos!"

The blank mask of the welding helmet turned in my direction and a gloved hand tilted the face place upwards.

Her grin was shit eating as she saw me realise she wasn't a he. I rocked back on my heels with the force of it and almost fell as the iron scrap gave way.

"So yer the guy what axed for that one. Knew I shouldn'ta got that web page." She eyed me up and down, shook her head. "And I betcha you thought S&M Welding was just that. Stupid city slicker."

She climbed down the stepladder and dropped the final couple of rungs, landing on her toes. I saw she was taller than I was, her arms twice as thick. I tried to back up as the torch snicked back on, and this time I did fall. Something gouged my back and buttocks. So much for my desires, I thought, as she stopped in front of me, her inflamed rod dropping toward my crotch.

"My name's Sal, and this torch here is Mona. Here in God's Country, we don't take kindly to perverts, little man. But don't worry," she added kindly, "we'll fix you right up."


Opening: Scott from Oregon.....Continuation: Writtenwyrdd

12 comments:

Evil Editor said...

I don't like the getting there, getting close to there, getting there. I'd go with something like this:

....ladder. Getting there meant blindly walking through the metal detritus with a hope and a prayer, sharp steel tugging on my shoelaces, rounded steel rolling out from under me; but it seemed nothing else would draw his attention away from the metal tip of his inflamed rod, as ....

Who says Hey Fuckhead to a guy holding a welding torch?

Sarah Laurenson said...

I was intrigued and confused. I love the voice. I'm not so sure of the information or the structure or something.

I'll try to come back later with something more specific.

I'd read on because it was starting to make a bit more sense and it was very interesting.

Scott from Oregon said...

"Who says Hey Fuckhead to a guy holding a welding torch?"

Ummm, I do...

One of the "there" lost its italics which made it more awkward, but it has been changed in the rewrite so there ya go.

I noticed your beginnings were almost empty, so over coffee the other day, I tried an off the top of the head beginning to help fluff your ranks. This was it.

It actually gave me a story which arrived last night...

Cheers to the process...

writtenwyrdd said...

I liked the voice of this opening, Scott. That's pretty good writing for an off-the-cuff effort.

I think the description of walking through the junkyard has a little too much 'fluff' but not that much.

And I'm really surprised EE used my beginning. I thought it was hopeless. (And I notice the subtle change-ups, EE. LOL!)

Julie Weathers said...

I'm with EE about the repeated getting.

Aside from that, the welding description is off to me and inflamed rod sends me places I don't want to be.

However, it does make me want to know why it's so important to go through all that to get the artist's attention.

I'm assuming he's using a welding rod or is he using a cutting torch?

Robin S. said...

I agree - good off-the-cuff stuff.

Just needs a fix of a few things, in my opinion, and you'd be good to go.

Like:

The hard buzz of high amperage made one of my ears tickle and drowned out the country crickets that had been chirping along the road coming in.

becomes, maybe:

The hard buzz of high amperage tickled my ears and drowned out the country crickets.

Good continuation, WW!

Scott from Oregon said...

Except that it isn't high amperage but VOLTAGE used in welding. The amps would kill the welder, the volts, just tickle him roughly...

I caught that seconds after sending...

Dave F. said...

I wondered why we waited until almost the end of the third paragraph to hear about the welding rod.
I also wondered why he didn't just block out the tip of the rod with his hand to protect his eyes. I've been there, done that.
Remember, you're talking to an engineer and I know about stuff like that.

I am not going to say that that many sparks or metal bits are unsafe. These two men obviously have no idea of safe practices. I mean, I know that he's building a roach out of scrap metal but does he want to die by fire? Does he want to die by bleeding to death from metallic ankle bites? How about blood poisoning? Sorry, too much engineer who used to work with explosive gases lives in me.

However, in terms of writing, what is the difference in the opening if we take out the first paragraph? What is the difference in the opening if we remove the second paragraph? Both paragraphs are good but both do the same thing - they introduce the reader to the welder and the guy wanting to talk to him. So you, Scotty me boy, have a choice. If the opening feels too long, then condense the paragraphs.

How about rather than "Hey fuckhead" the guy says - "Your dog died" or "The police are here to take you away" or "Aliens are seeking your virginity" ...

I like the opening because the characters are so not vanilla but slightly off-beat and goofy. I identify. I think Scott does too.

Dave F. said...

Not amps but volts - now there's a shocking discovery.

I never welded with an electric arc welder. Our welder "sparky" did all the stuff until the mad bomber asked him to weld together a pipe bomb and he had to testify in court. But that's another shocking story.
It didn't end with a bang, either.

Ali said...

I love "auto carcasses" and "even the dogs were unmoved." But, I feel like I need a location to place all this beautiful writing in. I've read it 4 times and I have no idea where this guy is, what he's walking on, or why he's closing his eyes. I'm looking for a basic term, like "junkyard" or "farmyard," or "auto mechanic" or "behind the bowling alley" to ground me, right at the beginning.

Also, the still bodies of dogs makes me think dead dogs. Which would explain why they weren't moved by someone shouting "Fuckhead," I guess.

Whirlochre said...

Thanks for letting us know this was a Snippets-4-U submission—it helps to know that it isn't necessarily building to anything.

So, on it's own merits...

Yes—the multiple 'getting' is annoying and this is probably not the best blog to unfurl any kind of inflamed rod—especially if it's then dragged across anything.

'My desire was to meet' is weak.

What I get from this is a good sense of location. You'd have to shake the iron filings out of your pants if you ever visited this place.

The first line is a goodie.

Who knows, this could be smelted down and re-used.

Julie Weathers said...

I'm trying to finish these comments up quickly before I head out, so forgive me if someone else has already addressed this.

"Listen," I tried again. "I've come about that order--" the torch cut off in mid-yell, leaving my words ringing in the sudden silence-- "of dildos!"

The blank mask of the welding helmet turned in my direction and a gloved hand tilted the face place upwards.

If the welder has an "inflamed rod" they are welding. Most welders don't use thier helmets when they are cutting. It should be face plate I think if you are going to flip the lens up.

Though, if he is going to see her grinning, she needs to flip the helmet up and not just the lens.

You have to use a striker to get a torch lit so it doesn't just flick on. Most welders turn off the valves as soon as they stop cutting. At the very least, she will release the "lever" that keeps the gas going, thereby extinguishing the flame.

As for the welding part, she will be wearing a helmet if she is welding. You have to look directly at the bead and it will ruin your eyes. A passerby can get by with just covering their eyes, but even I normally turn away when someone starts welding.

Even so, this is an intersting premise.