Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Beginning 530

The first time he saw her as a woman, Jane was sliding into a Pontiac convertible outside the Post Office. He’d seen her before, of course, all skinny legs and pigtails, then with those little breasts of hers and sun freckled face. He’d noticed her but not noticed her, not until now. In her tight pencil skirt she slid into the driver’s seat smooth like water and then poured right on out the other side, across the road and up Ted’s pants. He felt his heart beat fast and a sweat beginning to form.

In a glimpse she drove away. Ted, hands in his pockets, turned back from the street. Not many women drive cars, he thought. But things had been changing since the war started. He knew that. They even had women working at the factory just outside of town. Most had quit, though, when their men returned. Not the worst thing, he thought, a woman driving. Might even be fun for awhile…maybe.

The grinding of metal against metal dragged Ted out of his daydream, just before his head lurched forward and struck against the window. More grinding, and he lurched the other way, cricking his neck against the back of the seat. He sighed.

"Okay, Sally," he said. "Let's leave it there for today. Why don't you get in back and let Greg take a turn at the wheel."

Ted rubbed his forehead as his students traded places.

Not the worst thing, he thought again, as Sally started to cry.



Opening: Wendy.....Continuation: anon.

23 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuation:


It was fun for a while, with Jane. After they'd finished the late shift, gone to the bar and pounded a few beers, she wanted to go back to his place. Before long, Jane slid out of that pencil skirt like a snake shedding its skin. That's when Ted figured out why she hadn't quit the factory, like the rest of the girls.

He wiped the sweat from his upper lip. If anyone at work ever found out he'd been blown by a transvestite, he'd be dead meat.

--Mignon

Evil Editor said...

I assume Ted is the "he" in the first sentence, but this isn't clear on first reading. As it is, "he" could be observing the scene in which Jane and Ted appear. In which case Jane gets in the driver's side, out the other side when she sees Ted, and . . . up his pants. Then she drives away without getting back in the car. This can be fixed by simply changing "he" to Ted in sentence 1.

Whether "poured right on out the other side, across the road and up Ted’s pants" is going to be seen as clever or confusing depends on the reader. If it's a novel, it's a little early to be making us work, and it still may sound like Jane gets out the other side of the car.

I'm not sure "glimpse" is the best word. He's been watching her the whole time.

freddie said...

Yeah. What EE said.

Wes said...

Ditto on EE's comments.

xoxoxo said...

So is this post-WWII? I assume that it is, but then I get confused. Did they have Pontiac Convertibles back then? Did they have Pontiacs? Did they call them convertibles? Will I ever learn to drive a
stick-shift?

Oh, why do you mention little girl's breasts? We shouldn't be given a pass to write sexually about preteens.
Is Ted sexually aroused at the adult Jane, or the Jane with pigtails that he remembers?

OMG! I just read Mignon's continuation. Thank you for not posting it, although it was funny.

benwah said...

"The first time he saw her as a woman..." Made me think Jane used to be John.

Little breasts, pigtails and then pouring into Ted's pants. A bit...unsettling. Or creepy.

"...since the war started....when their men returned." Is this during the war? It's subtle, but these two phrases signal a temporal difference. This bit seems a bit too heavily expository.

Not terribly engaging yet, but I'd certainly give you another few paragraphs.

Khazar-khum said...

The opening made me think Jane was really a man. NTTAWWT.

Kiersten said...

I know. Really, what can you say after EE?

But Wendy, I think this is my favorite of the three you've submitted so far. I like the description of Jane's transformation.

Dave F. said...

The "Gigi" moment when she ceases being a girl and becomes a woman. This is a different way of handling what can be an overwrought cliche.

A very nice and well written way of handling the fact that the girl has come of age sexually.

A true pornucopia would have her lips sliding over to his manhood and the two consummating her raging sex drives on the hood of her car, in public. (Bah! Don't go there. Men are pigs.;) ;) ;)...

I agree with EE about identifying "Ted" in the first sentence and saying "his" pants in the next to last sentence.

I think that "He felt his heart beat fast and a sweat beginning to form" is unnecessary. The reader has the idea from the prior sentences. We know he feels LUST. We know his physical reactions. It's an author's choice" call here - if you want to sex the entire novel up into semi-steamy, half-porn-like romance, then leave it in. There's nothing wrong with a sexually charged novel.

And I think that "up his pants should read "into his pants"...

Right before that, if you replaced "then" with "in his mind," it might read better.
like so: "In her tight pencil skirt she slid into the driver’s seat smooth like water, and in his mind poured right on out the other side, across the road and into his pants."
...Plus or minus a comma or two.

wendy said...

Thanks again folks.
You know how you start out with a story, and you know it's "a bit outside", but you can't identify why? Well, now I know why.

Evil as always - spot on. And, I have to tell you, when I started trying to absorb the complexity of (or rather trying to find solutions to) your first comment, it sent me reeling for a moment. How very(!) nice of you to show me how to change the whole mess with a word change. Amazing.

This is a short story. I find the comments about the girl being seen sexually concerning, because I am politically active against such things. However I remember tales from my grandparents and their friends about how the girls were children when they went off to war and when they came back they were women. It was such a surprise to them and a wonderful time in their lives. I was trying to convey a bit of that.

I will re-work the stuff about Jane "pouring". I'm convinced it can be done well especially with dave f's additions.

I knew I could count on you guys. I'm off and running on this story now!

Phoenix said...

I'm afraid I, too, thought Jane was a he at first. And I had to reread the "pouring ... up his pants" sentence to get it. Once gotten, I like it, but not before.

I had a hard time transitioning from the first 'graph to the second. We've got a sweating, turned-on Ted at the end of the first 'graph, then he's all of a sudden thinking about how not many women drive cars. It feels abrupt. Sort of ADD-ish. Is that intentional?

wendy said...

Try Two:
(I still need to research the Poniac- good catch)

The first time Ted saw her as a woman, Jane was slipping into a Pontiac convertible outside the Post Office. He’d seen her before, of course, all skinny legs and pigtails, then with those little breasts of hers and sun freckled face. He’d noticed her but not noticed her, not until now. In her tight pencil skirt she slid into the driver’s seat smooth like water, and in his mind she poured right on out the other side, then across the road and up Ted’s pants.

As she drove away Ted, hands in his pockets, turned back from the street. Not many women drive cars, he thought. But things had been changing since the war. He knew that. They even had women working at the factory just outside of town. Most had quit, though, when their men returned. Not the worst thing, he thought, a woman driving. Might even be fun for awhile…maybe.

Ted decided to make a call on Miss Jane Etmore.

Robin S. said...

Hey - No fussing about EE's comments, please, or he won't make them any more, and that's not a good thing.

I'm reading now...

wendy said...

Don't worry Robin. I wasn't fussing at EE's comment. I was saying, thank you.

I love language! Have I said that before? Anyway, when I go from "OMGosh I will never figure this out" to "one word makes it right" I am reminded of the power of lauguage, the power of one word! And it makes me hungry to perfect my craft. I love I love I love language!!!

Ack! Shut up wendy!

talpianna said...

Wendy, one suggestion (#2 was much improved): "The first time Ted saw her as a grown woman..."

Robin S. said...

Hi Wendy,

I liked the pouring up his pants. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't need a reread.

And I have two girls, and if some guy had come up to me and said oooh I like your daughters' little breasts, or even looked at them in that weird guy way, even slightly, they'd have been speaking many octaves higher in short shrift - BUT - the pc crap annoys me - because what men are probably thinking is exactly what this narrator is saying- so my vote would be - be honest and leave it in.

I thought the woman had been a man as well - so letting the reader know otherwise is a good idea.

That continuation is a hoot.

And hey xoxoxo - I feel like I've seen you here before under another name.

pacatrue said...

NTTAWWT

NoT aT All What you Were inTending?

xoxoxo said...

Hi robins,
I was here, for a short time, back when Evil Editor did Q&A's and wrote little articles re: the publishing world. He was a little Snarky back then.

Now, he's just having fun watching all of us puppies trying to run with the big dogs. Hopefully I won't get ran over.

Robin S. said...

Hey Wendy,

I was just messing with Wes for a chuckle - no worries!


xoxoxoxoxoxo - I think EE still does Q&As. If someone asks him a usable Q - he gives them an A.

I like the publishing posts in the archives. They were fun to read through.

I don't know about the puppies runnng thing - not sure what that means.

Khazar-khum said...

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

And BTW, women have been driving since cars were first sold. For a man in the 1940s to be intrigued by this is as bizarre as a man in 1990 being challenged by the notion of a home computer.

BuffySquirrel said...

It's no creepier than when you were lusting after schoolgirls in stockings, benwah. Or, rather, it's just as creepy.

Anonymous said...

Usually when you make someone re-read a section--especially an opening--you've failed. But if the reader goes back because it was so pleasurable that they want to re-sample it, or if you've rattled their brain sufficiently, you've won.

--Bill H.

Xiexie said...

Everyone's basically said what I was gonna say except, I think they did have convertibles at the time. I'm thinking back to I Love Lucy which granted probably took place about 10 years after this short story but when setting off to California they had a convertible. Fred had bought that old old convertible that had to be cranked. So I don't think the convertible is totally out of place. Pontiac or no? --> That's my question.