Monday October 17th, 2016

The exercise:

Let us return today to the Random Book prompt. Go grab a book, or simply make use of Amazon's Look Inside feature, and purloin its first line to use as the opening of your writing. Then... take it from there!

Making a solo trip up to Penticton tomorrow afternoon to run some errands. It's going to feel very strange to be in the car by myself.

I think I shall take advantage of the situation and play some highly inappropriate for kids music in the car.

Edit: Sorry this is going up so late. Had internet issues last night and couldn't get back to the computer until now.


Beach Blues by Joanne DeMaio

If a little beach cottage could look forlorn, this one does. With its peeling white paint and at least five boards missing from the front porch, its a wonder that the roof is only sagging and has not yet made a break for the ocean. It's a good thing we got such a great deal on this place.

"We did get a great deal on this place," I say to Gregor. "Right?"

"Of course Chantel," he says with a dismissive laugh. "I pay cash, he ask no questions, deal of century."

I wonder how much he got taken for. I'd ask for a receipt but I know there will be no paper trail leading to this place. I can trust Gregor to do that much at least.

"How long do we have to stay in this dump?"

"Dump? You are being unkind." He gives me a stern look that I pretend to not see. "We lay low, smoke blows over, then we are free to do what we do once more. Easy as pie."


Too bad making pie is not as easy as they say it is. At least it never seems to be when Gregor and I are involved.


Greg said...

I hope you enjoy your trip and your inappropriate-for-kids music! It sounds like it might just be a fun afternoon.
I like how you've picked up on forlorn in your starting line and turned it into the centrepiece of the story, to the extent that even the characters feel that way a little. They come across as loners, on the outside, a little bit shabby and a little bit overlooked. Though it's clear from the ending that they attract enough attention when they want to. It's been a while now, but is Chantal one of the girl-gang of bank robbers you wrote about a while back?
Oh, and I love Gregor's accent!

The heart is a lonely hunter by Carson McCullers

In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together. Angelo was tall, sultry-eyed and had long, strong fingers like a pianist. He communicated in sign-language, his hands and fingers flashing like fish in water; his face reflected his emotions as he did so so that one moment he might be grimacing, jabbing angrily at the air, and the next he would be smiling, relaxing, his hands fluttering like a butterfly in noonday sunshine. Bogdan was shorter but not short, dark-haired and bright-eyed and had arms covered in hair so dark and coarse that women whispered behind his back, intrigued as to what might be revealed if his shirt were to spontaneously fall off in the middle of the street, or laundrette, or wherever they'd gathered to chatter. He wrote on a small slate he carried with him, words formed carefully in caligraphic script that delighted the eye even as the length of the work tried the patience.
In the mornings they were never seen before 11 when they would emerge from the boarding house where they stayed. Their landlady, April M. Day, rented them a room jointly with single beds decently spaced apart to ensure they had what privacy a double-room could offer and she assured all who would listen that there was no indecency that she could determine. And everyone who knew her was sure that she tried her hardest to root out indecency and see it sent back to the devil with a polite note of rejection.
The first Saturday in June was unusually cool, though not surprising as it had been entirely a cool year so far, with the trees only putting on leaves at the end of March and the daffodils lasting through into mid-April. The horses tied up at the water-trough were whickering softly to one another, discussing equine matters of import, and a pick-up truck, one of Mr. Ford's new inventions, was parked by the side of the Packard Hotel. A group of children had gathered around it, admiring its shininess and running grubby hands along its austere shape. The oldest was boasting that he would buy his own one day, and the others were laughing, wanting to believe him. No-one paid any attention to the two mutes as they walked, side-by-side, into the Saloon bar.
Twenty minutes later a man of medium height wearing a white grocer's apron tied at the back and walking with a slight limp came out of the bar and got into the pick-up truck. He sat there, waiting for another five minutes before another man, ginger-haired and wiry, sprinted round from the back of the hotel and got in as well. Then the pick-up truck drove away.
Eight minutes after that the two mutes came out of the bar. Bogdan was holding his hand to the side of his face and Angelo had wet hair and shoulders. They walked away, heading back to their boarding house.
Four minutes after that the hotel was so strongly ablaze that all the fire-crew could do was stop the fire from spreading and let it burn the structure to the ground.

Marc said...

Greg - huh, I might have reused the name, but it wasn't my intention for it to be the same person. But thanks for reminding me of them - I feel like I've got at least a few more entries in their tale in me yet!

What a great opening line for you to work with! And you did a fine job of it, with all those great details and characters populating your tale.

I am intrigued by the ending, however, and would most happily read more about these two mutes.