Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Beginning 545

He knew they’d made some kind of mistake as soon as he saw them walk into the dark tavern. They were chattering and smiling but that changed after the door swung closed behind them. It didn’t take long for their eyes to adjust, he thought with a snort. They didn’t know they were walking into a shit hole until it was too late. Sure enough, the two women went silent as they stopped abruptly and took in their surroundings. He picked up the glass of beer and chugged what was he left. The two women conferred. One pointed towards the empty bar.

They looked to be in their thirties but neither had lost their looks. MILFs, he thought. That’s what women like this were called outside that door and on the boardwalk. Each wore light-colored knee-length shorts and sleeveless blouses, casual enough for dinner at Hard Rock but nice enough not to look like a blemish at the casinos. The one-size-fits-all wardrobe didn’t work in here, though. Everybody else was wearing various combinations of denim and black. As they climbed atop bar stools, each clutching a pocketbook, he looked around and saw he wasn’t the only one watching.

The winos in the corner, drooling on their slime-encrusted shirts were watching too, and so were the bikers in their torn dirty muscle shirts and their tattoos of naked women and their beards that looked like used steel wool pads. Even the toothless guy who'd fallen asleep in his own puke roused and took a look before blacking out again.

What do these women think this is? he wondered. A piano bar? Far from it. It was the cruddiest dive in the cruddiest part of town, the most foul, nasty, repugnant sewage pit on the planet, a latrine where the most deviant, repulsive dregs of society gathered to mingle with their own vile kind. Women like these didn't last five minutes in here.

He walked over to the bar and sat next to them. "Come here often?" he asked.

The one in pink said, "We were told we might find Evil Editor here."

He stared at her a moment. So, he thought, they're in the right place after all.


Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Evil Editor/Shell I

22 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:


“I’ll have a Sprite and the same for my friend.” The obviously younger and more viable as a sex object one said. “There a nice tip in for you if the glass is clean.”

The bartender smiled and pulled a clean towel out of the drawer. The two women spoke quietly between themselves each rubbing their hands rhythmically over their fashionably oversized designer purses. The outlines of something hard appeared in the soft leather.

Then the older and more shriveled of the two 30ish women finished the last of her refreshing twist on lemon-lime. Slamming her glass to the bar she reached into her bag and pulled out a compact diamond encrusted AK-47. Her companion followed suit and within minutes the room and its contents were shredded.

Withered woman blew the smoke from the tip of her gun and dropped a clean linen-crisp twenty by the empty glasses. “Bar Keep! Another Sprite for the lady, and...I think it’s time to take out the trash.”

--wendy


Chimmy cozied up to the bar next to him.

"You think we should get Mickey?" he asked before slamming his empty mug on the bar and signaling for another.

"Probably should. The body count's been getting a bit high lately, and the boss will have to authorize the overage. I, however, am leaving." He dropped a fiver on the bar, nodded at the barkeep and stood.

Chimmy snorted, slurped the foam off his replacement mug before giving him a hairy eyeball. "What, you now too good to join us for dinner, Bobby?"

"Ah, no." He finished dragging on his jacket. "But I don't want to hear one more chorus of 'Got MILF?'" --writtenwyrdd


The bartender, Phil (short for Philistine) leaned over and spoke in his gravelly voice. "Hey, Sparky, see what's just come in. What do you call that?"

Fang laughed to Sparky's left. "Dinner. That's what I call it."

"No, no, I've got it," Fang's date for the evening, a bleach blonde wolf with studs lining her ear ridges, said. "Got MILF?"

Sparky shook his head. He couldn't let them eat those women. So he took out his .44 and shot the blonde in the head.

"Hey! What you do that for?" Fang snarled.

"PUNishment," he answered.

--writtenwyrdd


"Do you really think we can do it?" one whispered to the other.

"Sure," said the second woman breezily. "We'll just need a beer or two first."

"Should we split up or do it as a pair?"

"Pair, to start."

The first woman took a pink container out of her bag. He recognized what it was and smirked. Ladies selling Mary Kay never lasted long around here.

--freddie


He grinned like a dog. Soon they'd ask to use the Ladies room, and he'd have to get his bet in on whether they'd choose the Pre-op or Post-op Transsexuals door.

--batgirl


Eyeing him from a foam-filled tub suspended by chains from the ceiling, Bill Clinton lay with his head pulled back, obviously masturbating.

'Hey, and before you ask — yes, we have Elvis.'

--wo

Evil Editor said...

p1: I'm not sure what thinking with a snort means. Did he snort aloud while thinking? I find a whole lot more oral snorting going on in manuscripts than in real life. I never actually hear people snort.

chugged what he was left?


p2: The first sentence seems to imply that women in their thirties norally have lost their looks. I think the minions will agree that women get better looking with age.

I'm not up on street lingo, but don't you have to know that a woman is a mother before you can call her a MILF?

I don't like the use of "he" for such a long piece. Why not use his name? Once you mention another guy, it's going to be hard to talk about the original "he" without us thinking you mean the new "he."

fairyhedgehog said...

I liked the opening sentence and I was getting drawn in until I got to "MILF" which jarred a bit. I had to google it to make sure it did mean what I thought it meant and I'm not sure who uses that acronym.

Mind you, it anchored the story in the present for me: I had been thinking this was maybe science fiction. Perhaps that was wishful thinking.

I did want to know what happens next.

The continuation was very funny.

writtenwyrdd said...

I hate that term MILF. Other than that, this read nicely for the most part and did the job of an opening: Made me want to read more. However, the implication is trouble. And if trouble doesn't quickly occur, I'd shut the book.

benwah said...

I too found the use of MILF a bit jarring. More than anything, I don't think that's the kind of term a Harley-riding, glass-chewing hard ass would use. It makes me think more about frat boys with popped collars using it because it's sorta naughty.

The setup's intriguing though.

Julie Weathers said...

"The first sentence seems to imply that women in their thirties norally have lost their looks. I think the minions will agree that women get better looking with age."

Well, that made me chuckle. EE, your gallant side is showing, you need to snarl or something to cover it up.

I thought this was a powerful opening, but I had to wonder why they would stay in the bar once they recognized it wasn't what they thought it was.

They looked to be in their thirties but neither had lost their looks. MILFs, he thought. That’s what women like this were called outside that door and on the boardwalk.

Why would they be called that outside the door? It sounds like they have walked into another dimension. I'm not crazy about the MILF tag, but I know it gets bandied about a lot these days and it gives the piece a certain edge.

The one-size-fits-all wardrobe didn’t work in here, though. Everybody else was wearing various combinations of denim and black.

The one-size wardrobe seems to go the other way also if everyone was wearing denim and black. I am assuming you are leading up to this being a goth bar or something. I've never been in one where everyone wore the same colors.

Anyway, there's a lot of tension here and I hope it lives up to its promise.

Good job.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I had the same reaction to MILF as benwah. Your POV character lost some of his street cred for me. Then the whole description of the bar became questionable.

Not being fond of lots of description, I found this to be overkill. But I'm probably in the minority on that.

Great continuation. It made me snort, but not out loud.

BuffySquirrel said...

I stopped reading at MILFs.

Robin S. said...

Whoa. I just Googled MILF at work. Thanks for that. Yeah.

And I agree, there are many women in their thirties and over who look, may I say, ahem, really damn good.

However, that doesn't really matter if that's not what the narrator thinks, but I do think the narrator should maybe be thinking it non-acronymously.

Whirlochre said...

Snorts and chugs aside, I like how you've squirted the sleaze between the lines.

I agree with other commenters that the term MILF is offensive, but as it gurgles from eye to brain in this character's perception, don't you just want to hit him?

If he's the (anti)hero, you'll have a hard job dragging people along. If not — why his POV and not that of the women?

Anyhow — this line follows the MILF smack:

Each wore light-colored knee-length shorts and sleeveless blouses, casual enough for dinner at Hard Rock but nice enough not to look like a blemish at the casinos.

...and, for me, this leaps out of the previously sleazy 'he' POV into something too sophisticated. Surely 'both', not 'each. And surely not sleeveless blouses? A MILF spotter would go straight for the tits.

In the next sentence, I'd repalce 'was wearing' with wore. I'm losing your 'he' now.

On balance, you've stirred a concoction of swill without appearing to be unnecessarily coarse.

I just hope something truly awful follows.

Oh — and 'wenting' silent needs sorting.

talpianna said...

I too googled MILF, as I'd never come across it before, and found this:

Abbreviation of Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an organization in the Philippines seeking to establish an Islamic state on the island of Mindanao.

I don't get it. Islamic women don't wear shorts and sleeveless shirts.

(More seriously, I also found the porn meaning. I could happily have gone the rest of my life without it.)

Julie Weathers said...

I think the MILF thing, while being offensive to many, is simply indicative of the character. If an author has to worry about being politically correct all the time, it's going to stilt a lot of writing.

Deborah K. White said...

I didn't know what "MILF" stood for, nor was I willing to take the time to look it up. If you've absolutely got to use the term, you might want to write out what it means the first time you use it so everyone will understand your meaning.

I doubt I'm the only one who had this problem, but I read:

He knew they’d made some kind of mistake as soon as he saw them walk into the dark tavern.

as "A man with several companions walked into a bar and suddenly realized he didn't want to be in a bar like this one.

They were chattering and smiling but that changed after the door swung closed behind them.

People in the bar were chatting and smiling until the sound of the door closing drew their attention to the narrator and his friends.

It didn’t take long for their eyes to adjust, he thought with a snort.

Because of my interpretation, I couldn't make sense of this statement. If it was dark, then how could the narrator know the occupants of the bar were smiling when they entered?

They didn’t know they were walking into a shit hole until it was too late.

I was thinking, "Yes, we already covered his thoughts on that subject--that he and friends didn't know what the bar was like before they entered."

(Otherwise, how does he know what the women did or did not know before walking into the bar?)

Sure enough, the two women went silent as they stopped abruptly and took in their surroundings.

It was only now that I realized our narrator was sitting in the bar watching the women come in. If you simply give the narrator a name at the beginning and use "The two women" the first time "they" is mentioned, this confusion would be fixed.

Julie Weathers said...

Deborah, most people who use that term don't say the words, they just use the acronym. It would be out of character to say it, I think. There are sometimes a person has to give the meaning of a word in context and other times either let them look it up or wonder if they don't know it. The danger in this is sounding like a text book if you explain each uncommon word.

The first time I heard it a man told me I was his favorite MILF fantasy. I had to ask what that meant.

He knew they’d made some kind of mistake as soon as he saw them walk into the dark tavern.

as "A man with several companions walked into a bar and suddenly realized he didn't want to be in a bar like this one.

I disagree. How can a man and several companions walk into a bar and also see them walking into the bar? It's like saying I saw myself walking through the doorway.

I had no problem identifying the POV, although I do wish the author would have given him a name sooner.

I think this is an intriguing opening and would like to know what happens next. There are some changes that could be made, but it catches a person's attention.

benwah said...

My issue with MILF isn't that it's offensive but that it seems out of character for the way I'm reading the guy(s) in the bar. I'd expect something far more crude or, say, anatomical.

Julie Weathers said...

My issue with MILF isn't that it's offensive but that it seems out of character for the way I'm reading the guy(s) in the bar. I'd expect something far more crude or, say, anatomical.

Apparently, it's about as crude as the "Would you hit that?" game. Men being men discussing various women and expounding on their reasons why they would or wouldn't "hit" them. From what I can gather, it's a popular discussion just as the MILF one.

pacatrue said...

So, on MILF, its being in character is indeed the issue. The term is actually really well known at least in the under... 25, 27... crowd (of which I am not a part, but I'm pretty sure almost every single student of mine knows the term and might use it). It's a key term in the movie American Pie with one of the main characters (Stiffler perhaps? never seen the movie) lusting after someone's mom. However, because of this, the character in the book suddenly sounds like someone who could have appeared in an American Pie-type movie or in a college classroom. This doesn't play quite right with my assumption of a beaten up biker dude or someone else who's seen too much life in his 40s, 50s, etc.

As for the whole opening, I thought it worked overall well and would have kept reading. However, as the continuation shows, you could probably try to re-write in order to increase the sensual, detailed feel of the thing. I loved the description of beards in the continuation. You could do the same thing you are already doing in the opening, but do it better, by looking for a couple "killer-diller" details like that.

talpianna said...

Julie, obviously you've never played the "Shag, Marry, or Push Off a Cliff?" game with your gal pals.

Julie Weathers said...

Julie, obviously you've never played the "Shag, Marry, or Push Off a Cliff?" game with your gal pals.

Nope.

What attracts me to a man isn't usually what most women go for so I would be boring in that game.

BuffySquirrel said...

Eh, it's not a question of crudity as far as I'm concerned. It's simply indicative of a character with whom I do not wish to spend any time.

Deborah K. White said...

Wow, a mystery has been solved for me. Once, a critiquer reading one of my stories said she'd read it carefully, but she kept making comments about "if your heroine is such and such, then it doesn't make sense..." when I'd specifically stated that my heroine wasn't that (age, occupation, etc.). I couldn't figure out how the critiquer had made such a mistake.

I swear, I carefully read that first sentence three times, yet each time read "He knew they’d made some kind of mistake as soon as they walked into the dark tavern." It's kinda depressing to think that we, as a writers, can do everything right, yet still not communicate clearly with some of our readers.

I apologize to the author for my incorrect and confusing critique. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the critique, everybody. As usual, something that I thought was clear was a bit muddled. I'll try to clarify.

I'm kind of glad that some saw a contrast between the guy telling the story and some of his vocabulary. You see, although he's a glass-chewing biker guy, he wasn't always one. Part of the story involves how he became what he is.

Thanks again folks.