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Dark and Stormy

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  #1  
Old 01-30-2008, 09:42 AM
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Default Dark and Stormy


It was a dark and stormy night. Yeah, I know. That's cliché. But it really was. Very dark and extremely stormy. The high winds had spawned a cluster of tornados that were rampaging across the countryside not enough miles away from my house and they'd taken out a couple of electric substations. Which is why it was dark.

I'd been debating for almost an hour whether I should hide in the bathroom under my mattress, pacing the floor, battery powered radio pressed against my ear listening to nothing and hoping for a weather update that wasn't likely to happen.

That's when the light dawned. Literally. A brilliant beam of light speared through my front window accompanied by blaring loudspeakers and vicious pounding on my door. I dropped the radio, ran into a wall, tripped over a rug, smacked my shin on a chair -- I think it was a chair -- and slammed my hand against the doorknob. Seconds later I stood squinting at a massive policeman, rubbing my hand and trying to make out what he was saying over the screaming sirens and howling wind. It didn't work. He got the message I guess, because he shoved me out of the way, stomped into my house and slammed the door.

"Get your stuff!"

"Hunh?" I'm normally a fairly fluent speaker, except when there's a tornado headed for my house and an eight foot tall behemoth standing in my foyer.

"You gotta evac. Now. Get yer goat and yer wallet and come on!"

Goat. I stood there staring at the man and wondered why he was looking for livestock. He solved the problem for me by grabbing my arm, shining his flashlight around the room and dragging me toward the hall.

"Goat! Now!"

I stammered something at him that didn't make sense even to me, and ran into the wall again. He growled, dragged me down the hall and flashed that light into every room he came to. It didn't do him any good. I keep animals outside and besides, my landlord didn't let his tenants keep pets.

We ended up in my bedroom where he ripped my sweater off the hook on the wall, ransacked my dresser and shoved something bulky in my hands.

"Stick it in your pocket. Let's go!"

I knew it couldn't be a goat, it wasn't big enough and didn't feel like it had horns, but beyond that I had no idea what he'd handed me. It wasn't until he'd dragged me out the front door and propelled me down the walk that I realized I was carrying my wallet. My keys were still inside. I turned around to go get them and ran into a wall of moving muscles. That hurt. I also fell down. Goliath hauled me to my feet by one arm, shoved me toward a waiting truck and hoisted me into the back with several shivering bodies. Neighbors I think. The truck gunned its motor and I landed in a lap.

I scrambled out of the lap, hunted down the wallet that had gone flying and took a deep breath. Something in the back of my mind prodded me to peer out the back window of the camper shell, so I tried. It didn't do a lot of good, the night was dark, but the thick column of pitch black that we were racing away from stood out like a spotlight. I shuddered, mentally thanked the mountain of flesh sitting in the driver’s seat and hung on for the ride.

I suppose my house is gone. In fact, I expect the town is gone. I can't tell from all the way up here in the mountains, but life goes on. One day maybe I'll go back, but for now I'll sit here and fish, and watch the sun stream through the trees.

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Old 01-30-2008, 11:56 AM
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Suggested changes, additions. Comments to follow.



It was a dark and stormy night. Yeah, I know. That's cliché. But it really was. Very dark and extremely stormy. The high winds had spawned a cluster of tornados that were rampaging across the countryside not enough miles away from my house and they'd taken out a couple of electric substations. Which is why it was dark. (Hence the darkness. Seems to go with the mood better.)

I'd been debating for almost an hour whether I should hide in the bathroom under my mattress, pacing the floor, ****I get an image of someone pacing the bathroom with a mattress on their back//battery powered radio pressed against my ear listening to nothing and hoping for a weather update that wasn't likely to happen.

That's when the light dawned. Literally. A brilliant beam of light speared through my front window accompanied by blaring loudspeakers and vicious pounding on my door. I dropped the radio, ran into a wall, tripped over a rug, smacked my shin on a chair -- I think it was a chair -- and slammed my hand against the doorknob. Seconds later I stood squinting at a massive policeman, rubbing my hand and trying to make out what he was saying over the screaming sirens and howling wind. It didn't work. He got the message I guess, because he shoved me out of the way, stomped into my house and slammed the door.

"Get your stuff!"

"Hunh?" I'm normally a fairly fluent speaker, except when there's a tornado headed for my house and an eight foot tall behemoth standing in my foyer.

"You gotta evac. Now. Get yer goat and yer wallet and come on!"

Goat. I stood there staring at the man and wondered why he was looking for livestock. He solved the problem for me by grabbing my arm, shining his flashlight around the room and dragging me toward the hall.

"Goat! Now!"

I stammered something at him that didn't make sense even to me, and ran into the wall again. He growled, dragged me down the hall and flashed that light into every room he came to. It didn't do him any good. I keep animals outside and besides, my landlord didn't let his tenants keep pets.****a little awkward// Suggestion: Normal people keep animals outside and besides, my landlord didn’t allow pets.//

We ended up in my the bedroom where he ripped my sweater off the hook on the wall, ransacked my dresser and shoved something bulky in my hands.

"Stick it in your pocket. Let's go!"

I knew it couldn't be a goat, it wasn't big enough and didn't feel like it had horns, but beyond that***comma// I had no idea what he'd handed me. It wasn't until he'd dragged me out the front door and propelled me down the walk that I realized I was carrying my wallet. My keys were still inside. I turned around to go get them and ran into a wall of moving muscles. That hurt. I also fell down. Goliath hauled me to my feet by one arm, shoved me toward a waiting truck and hoisted me into the back with several shivering bodies- N neighbors I think.***// The truck gunned its motor and I landed in a lap.

I scrambled out of the lap, hunted down the wallet that had gone flying and took a deep breath. Something in the back of my mind prodded me to peer out the back window of the camper shell, so I tried. It didn't do a lot of good, the night was dark, but the thick column of pitch black that we were racing away from stood out like a spotlight. I shuddered, mentally thanked the mountain of flesh sitting in the driver’s seat and hung on for the ride.

I suppose my house is gone. In fact, I expect the town is gone. I can't tell from all the way up here in the mountains, but life goes on. One day maybe I'll go back, but for now I'll sit here and fish, and watch the sun stream through the trees.



A nice fun flash piece-Man panics as tornado approaches, is rescued by hulk, thrown in truck, and driven away. The goat is a misdirection in language but it doesn't work for me unless it's included at the end-tied up in a little bow and ribbon.



Thanks for the read

Adrian
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  #3  
Old 01-30-2008, 04:44 PM
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Hmm. Yeah. I agree with Adrian about the goat. I thought you'd sort that out in your usual clever fashion at the end. Yes, we got it was coat, but there's no point in the gag unless you have a punchline. An oversight maybe? (The Wizard never fails us!)
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:35 PM
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It wasn't a gag. It was to emphasize the confusion that the protag was experiencing.
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Old 02-05-2008, 04:53 AM
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Ah, sorry! You often work in wonderfully comic moments but I obviously misunderstood this one. Still, regarding the coat-cum-goat, if it is just to show confusion, it might be better to allow him to figure it out. Really, it wouldn't be that far a stretch to get it. (Says the Queen who frequently mishears things and has to work them out. )
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Old 02-05-2008, 05:31 AM
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Heh...that was a mad little enjoyable rollercoaster.

Agree about the coat thing. Perhaps you could just slip in a "Oh...coat" face-palm moment near the end.

It either needs that, or for the goat thing to come up and then be forgotten a bit more quickly. The (albeit still brief) time spent on it makes it feel like it needs if not a punchline per se then some kind of 'resolution'.

This was the first piece of your writing I've read and if you'll allow me to go all e-bay on you for a second: "++++ great writer, would read again"

Oh, can you be just a general "fluent speaker" as opposed to being a fluent speaker of a specified language? Perhaps something like accomplished, or capable speaker?

This is one of those little pieces of writing that gets your interest and then leaves you going, 'Oh? There's no more?'. Whisked up and thrown back down again, rather like your tornado.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:18 AM
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Jimbo, Do look out some more of Crystal Wizard's pieces. There are some real gems! (Nemesis, A Fractured Fairytale and Instant Water come highly reccommended!)
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:47 PM
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*grin* thanks for the compliment QW.

I'm going to answer the question of 'why didn't I have the narrator say 'oh coat' by asking a second question:

Did you have any problem as the reader understanding what the cop meant when he said 'goat' ?
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:57 PM
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Quick suggestion, and I have not read any editing you have done personally, however, when you say "I'd been debating for almost an hour whether I should hide in the bathroom under my mattress, pacing the floor, battery powered radio pressed against my ear listening to nothing and hoping for a weather update that wasn't likely to happen." it seems as if you are saying that you are thinking of hiding under a mattress in your bathroom, somehow pacing with a radio. maybe you've made edits, so it that's the case, I sincerely apologize, if not, just a helpful suggestion.
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Old 02-05-2008, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Crystalwizard View Post
*grin* thanks for the compliment QW.

I'm going to answer the question of 'why didn't I have the narrator say 'oh coat' by asking a second question:

Did you have any problem as the reader understanding what the cop meant when he said 'goat' ?
Hey, no problem Crystalwizard, but whenever I see something new with your name on it, I know I'm in for a treat.

Re the goat, I did understand what was meant. I guess I just thought the goat/coat thing was there for a reason, more than a simple misunderstanding/mishearing. So, as Jimbo put it, I was looking for a resolution, and none was forthcoming. It's not a major snag, though.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Queen of Wands View Post
Hey, no problem Crystalwizard, but whenever I see something new with your name on it, I know I'm in for a treat.

Re the goat, I did understand what was meant. I guess I just thought the goat/coat thing was there for a reason, more than a simple misunderstanding/mishearing. So, as Jimbo put it, I was looking for a resolution, and none was forthcoming. It's not a major snag, though.
See? You did get a resolution. You not only understood what the cop actually meant, it made it evident to you that the narrator was in confusion. You may even have felt some confusion, irritation or other emotional reaction.

You didn't get an in your face resolution, but you weren't left wondering what was going on. Were you?
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:23 AM
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My final pitch.

The goat/coat confusion takes up a good part of the story, since this is such a short piece. Having earned such a prominent place, it derserves to be given a more obvious resolution than you allow it. Maybe even just throw in a an offhand comment about real goats on the mountains at the end. At the moment, it just seems to me like a loose thread hanging from an otherwise perfect hem: it doesn't ruin the whole piece, but it niggles.
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:50 PM
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I can't explain why exactly, but I agree with that. The goat mistake just seems kind of wedged in there.
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