Monday, 13 February 2012

Hook Line and Sinker Blogfest

This is for the hook line and sinker blogfest, which I think I did last year too, and consists of the first few hundred words of something I've been playing with (it's very much a first draft, except that it's not, because I've had several other goes at writing this novel):

Mad Thomas ran. He ran as fast as he could, which still wasn’t anywhere near as fast as he remembered. Once he had been so fast that light had been hard pressed to keep up. Once, he had swooped and soared, so that the wind became something solid with the speed of it. Now though he could barely do more than sprint, and hop, and occasionally jump, looking back all the time for the one who followed him. The one who had come to him with her lies...

One of the more curious things about… well, things, is the number of those things that begin in pubs. Not the biggest things, obviously. Universes only do so, for example, if they happen to be both quite small and exceptionally alcoholic ones. For things more generally, however, pubs are traditional.
This pub, in the middle of the small town of New Wrexford, was called the Frog and Spigot. It sat sandwiched between the town’s theatre, which appeared from the outside to suffer from a typically theatrical excess of architecture, and a small firm of architects, which didn’t. Presumably the landlord found it quite a profitable place to be, so long as he remembered not to offer any credit to anyone about to wander off on an extended tour of the Scottish Play in Madagascar. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Mark Ezekiel Tilesbury was currently contemplating that fact, having been landed with the job of going to the bar for the next round of drinks. It was quite a strange bar, half mirrored and half tiled, but that just went with the rest of the place. The room appeared to have been decorated by a succession of drunken set designers and architects, with the result that no two of the tables matched, there were some frankly strange oddments scattered around the walls, and the centre of the floor was dominated by a stuffed flamingo.

Flamingos weren’t a problem. The fact that it had been Mark’s round for the past three rounds might have been, but he was used to it by now. After all, it had been his round at pretty much every stop of the tour so far. He tried using the mirrored half of the bar to divine exactly what it was about him that made it his round, but all that showed him was the usual: a blond haired man in his late twenties, with slightly more stubble than was strictly fashionable and a rather worn leather jacket that had never been fashionable.

The contrast with the others was obvious. ‘The others’ consisted of two people, wedged into a corner booth. The man with the dark hair and the elegantly cut suit was Greg Rambler, celebrity psychic, one man supporter of the male grooming industry and officially Mark’s best friend from school. His touring show was the reason they were in New Wrexford in the first place. Thanks to a mixture of cold reading, hot reading and most of the temperatures in between, the show had done pretty well so far. Apparently, people liked to be told that the dead were getting on very nicely, thank you, and that they were enjoying things on the Other Side very much.


Mitch said...

Very Douglas Adams-ish in the humor, which is fantastic. I love bizarre humor and starting off mentioning drunken universes was funny (and full of possibilities sillier than this story) was perfect. I got a feel for the character right away and felt like he had a voice even in description. The only suggestion I have is to vary short and compound sentences (mostly in the first paragraph). Lots of complex sentences in a row make it like swallowing especially sticky oatmeal (even though it was worth it in this case). But the end was wonderful, it was the end of this segment that caught me and I wanted to keep reading. The concept I began to see introduced was fresh and interesting.

stu said...

Thanks. I rip off Douglas Adams pretty shamelessly in most of my work.

Jeremy Bates said...

thanks for sharing your blog.

Rena said...

I swear I hear John Cleese as the narrator when I read this (which makes me laugh). I find that I'm a little confused about the connection between the italicized paragraph and the material that follows it, but since this is the beginning, I'm willing to overlook a lot to give the story time to develop. And Yeah, I agree with Mitch, a very Douglas Adams-y feel to the narration.

Elaine AM Smith said...

I loved the humour and the setting of your work.

I was glad to see I wasn't the only reader confused by the lack of obvious link between the opening paragraph and the rest of the work that followed.

I have a tendency to be over protective of the special - challenged - individuals who, in fiction, are rarely safe amongst the neurotypical.