HH Com 168

It's never fun waking up, not knowing why you're in so much agony. Rising from a death-like period of unconsciousness, with dried blood and other fluids caked in your hair and smeared across your unshaven face. Whatever is in your mouth is sour and feels as putrid as it tastes. You don't know if it's from the booze, the puke or the blood that your clothes are also covered in.

The experience wasn't new to the young man, known only as Chito to the other miscreants at Natchez Under-The-Hill. He'd started showing up a couple times a year around 1790. He always came with plenty of money, a fresh outfit of clothes, new boots, and an almost too friendly demeanor.

Like many others who frequented the whorehouses, gambling halls and bars on the shores of the Mississippi, Chito came to escape whatever reality he lived. He came to Natchez to drink, gamble, fuck and fight; nothing more! When he left, days or possibly weeks later, the clothes, money and charm he arrived with had been spent.

This day, he knew it was time to go back to where he came from… if only he knew where that was. It seemed wherever Chito went he didn't quite fit in. He had never really remembered belonging somewhere specific and for the last five or six years had just gone where he felt like going. He had no agenda or purpose as far as anyone who ever met him could tell.

This isn't a hook, it's the backstory for an actor preparing for a role. There are examples of hooks in the 167 posts that precede this. Go read them. Then read them again.


I, without a hook said...

Thank you for your time.

shannon said...

1790? Coming to this date halfway through gave me a start. I thought it sounded more like the 1990s. I'm all for individual writing style, but still, I didn't get any sense of time from the way this was written.

cm allison said...

I had a small problem with the last paragraph, it took several readings to get the idea of amesia out of my head.

Is there more to Chito's story than just that he'll disappear for a few years then come back and "blow" all he's worked for? If so, please give a better hint. Otherwise I would pass on picking this up in a store, not being interested in some guy boozing his way through life feeling sorry for himself for "being on the outside" of things.

Tundra said...

Am I the only one bothered by the *f* bomb in a hook? There have been several authors in the Crapometer who have used it. While it may be representative of the POV character's voice (and attitude toward sex), it turns me off, big time. I swear, I'm not a prude.

Anonymous said...

Swear words don't bother me, but overblown prose that doesn't really say anything is not good. You spend a lot of time developing this Chito character, but why is he important? What does he do? What is the conflict? He sounds like a merchant seaman, a fisherman, or an oil field worker to me, not a fellow from the 1700s.

Guy who wrote it said...

Thanks for your comments. This has been a valuable exercise in learning for me and learning doesn't happen without feedback. I learned of Miss Snark and the COM at the 11th hour. Hungry for her eyes, I grabbed this without giving what a hook is much thought.

The story goes on to tell of the abandonment of Chito as a child near a cypress filled swamp along the Natchez Trace. How he was then sort of cared for and raised by Choctaw Indians before hooking up with a couple of murdering thieves who found many of their victims along that route that has been described as the Devil's Backbone.

The history of the people and many events along the Trace were in fact intertwined and include the alleged suicide of Merriwether Lewis, The Native American Exodus along the Trail of Tears, the first Steamboat to travel the Mississippi River and the return of Andrew Jackson and his troops following the Battle of New Orleans.

Chito Alla is a fictional character involved with many of the real events that occurred at the time, in a Forrest Gump sort of way.

batgirl said...

Aw man, the waking up with blood and fluids all over him part made me sure he was a werewolf.