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The Henderson Saga - Part 1

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Old 02-05-2018, 07:41 PM
Palindrome (Offline)
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Default The Henderson Saga - Part 1


Going Up

“Eh, what the hell,” said William (Wild Bill) Henderson, “you can’t take it with you!”
and shoved a third little tower of chips on Red 27.

The wheel spun; the room buzzed; Wild Bill took a last swig of his bourbon, reached for a refill
from the tray hovering by his left shoulder and slid a twenty euro bill into the cleavage of the hostess.
Or thought he did, but missed, brushing her breast with it instead. He tried twice more and kept missing
as his vision blurred. Uproariously funny as this would have seemed to him at any other time,
Wild Bill was perturbed: he’d had only a couple of drinks and should have been better co-ordinated.
The room buzzed louder; the croupier, from somewhere down a deep well, announced
“Black six! Numero sees, noir,” and Bill’s world closed in like an iris, fading to black.

“Next,” called an unfamiliar voice, “Who is next, please?”

Bill looked around. He had no recollection of leaving the casino, let alone coming to this – what appeared
to be a waiting room, clean and well lit, with two facing rows of chairs along the walls, some empty,
some occupied by apprehensive, fidgeting people. From the fact that most of these people had a suitcase
or basket or bundle by their knees, he surmised that it must be a terminal of some kind. A big one:
he could not make out the far end of the row. At the near end was a blocky white desk, behind which sat
a bland-faced individual of indeterminate sex in a white coat.

“Huh? I guess that’s me,” said Bill. “Except, I have no idea what I’m doing here… or where here is.”

“That’s quite all right, sir,” the receptionist replied. “A certain degree of disorientation is normal.
Individuals vary in their facility to comprehend that they have died.”

“Died? Me?”

The clerk waited patiently but offered no further explanation. Bill found himself even more irritated
by his own inability to tell whether that individual was male or female than by its unhelpfulness.

“Name?”

“Uh?” Bill pulled himself together and up to his full 5’9”… which should have been 6 foot, except that
his fancy hand-tooled leather boots seemed to be missing. His shirt was flapping open, too, with three buttons gone.
Still, his dignity was intact. “William Nesbitt Henderson the Third.”

The receptionist ran a finger across a line in its ledger, which promptly glowed with light,
then, barely glancing up, asked “Date of birth?”

Bill gave all his particulars in the same impersonal manner. Finally, the annoying androgynous official
behind the desk looked directly at him, then at his hands and down at the floor near his feet.
“Where is your luggage, William Nesbitt Henderson The Third?”

“What luggage?”

“Your belongings. Personal property. If you have forgotten or were in too much haste to pack,
this would be an opportune moment to go back for it. Everything you own. We can wait.”

“But,” Bill protested, “but how am I supposed to – to pack – a yacht, cars, bank accounts… real estate ….?”

“Ah, I see,” the infuriating hermaphrodite nodded. “In that case,” it waved its hand,
disilluminating the line it had just created, “I regret to inform you, Mr. Henderson,
we do not accept people who own more than they can carry. Entry denied.”


Last edited by Palindrome; 02-07-2018 at 11:59 AM..
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:46 PM
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Different take on the old Pearly Gates.

I would think, "a twenty", would work better than, "a $20". If you were to use ,"$20", it would be something like,"...slid $20 into the cleavage...", which could be two fives and a ten, or two tens, or even twenty ones, when in reality it's probably just, "a twenty."

"...than by its unhelpfulness." More irritated by this than by that.

Other than these nit-pickety little things, nice piece.
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:29 AM
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Good catch! Thanks.
I won't do the edit here, because I had trouble with that function last night, but will incorporate the change in my own draft.
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Old 02-07-2018, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Palindrome View Post
Going Up
“Eh, what the hell,” said William (Wild Bill) Henderson,

Maybe say who he's speaking to

Wild Bill took a last swig of his bourbon

Is bourbon a brand-name (I'm genuinely not sure)? If so, capitalised initial?


reached for a refill from the tray hovering by his left shoulder and slid a $20 into the cleavage of the hostess. Or thought he did, but missed, brushing her breast with it instead. He tried twice more and kept missing as his vision blurred. Uproariously funny as this would have seemed to him at any other time, Wild Bill was perturbed: he’d had only a couple of drinks and should have been better co-ordinated. The room buzzed louder; the croupier, from somewhere down a deep well, announced “Black six! Numero sees, noir,” and Bill’s world closed in like an iris, fading to black.

You've not described Bill's appearance or age.

“Uh?” Bill pulled himself together and up to his full 5’9”… which should have been 6 foot, except his fancy hand-tooled leather boots seemed to be missing.

Amusing detail of character bolstering his height artificially.


The receptionist ran a finger across a line in its ledger, which promptly glowed with light, then, barely glancing up, asked “Date of birth?
Bill gave all his particulars in the same impersonal manner.

Might be good to have given actual date of birth, as it would tell us how old Wild Bill was, or when the story is set, as the bit with the line in the ledger being lit by touch makes it all sound futuristic..

Finally, the annoying androgynous official behind the desk looked directly at him, then at his hands and down at the floor near his feet.

I think most people would assume someone's feet would be near the floor, unless they were in bed or had their legs in the air.
I find this an interesting beginning to this story. My main criticism is lack of description of the main character.

Last edited by Phoenix Lazarus; 02-07-2018 at 11:35 AM..
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:38 AM
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Maybe say who he's speaking to
He's talking to the roulette table at large, as gamblers do sometimes when placing bets.

Is bourbon a brand-name?

It's a kind of American whiskey made from corn; somewhat nastier than Canadian rye.

you've not described appearance or age

I figured there wasn't any point in detailed physical description, since he's only physical for one paragraph. There are little bits throughout - he's not a very complex personality.

Might be good to have given actual date of birth

Only if we know when now is. Anyway, he has to register again on the next page.

the ledger being lit by touch makes it all sound futuristic.

Neither past nor future; neither age nor sex: It's the afterlife.

The angel isn't looking at his extremities or the floor; it's looking for his luggage.

Edit function works fine today. I reformatted the thing for easier access and fixed that $20.

Last edited by Palindrome; 02-07-2018 at 12:03 PM..
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:50 AM
Phoenix Lazarus (Offline)
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Originally Posted by Palindrome View Post

you've not described appearance or age

I figured there wasn't any point in detailed physical description, since he's only physical for one paragraph. There are little bits throughout - he's not a very complex personality.
Still think you should have described him in some way at the start, even if only very basically, to make the reader relate to him more.
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