HH Com Rd 2 - #16 (225/221)

Hook here

Tim is in what is best termed a Bad Mood. It isn't just because he can't avoid the fact that he's going to be thirty soon. And it isn't just because he's spent an entire morning's rehearsal giving it his all (alright, so he'd been a bit late - it happens) without gaining so much as a nod of approval from any of the bastards. It isn't even because he's still nowhere near being who, where and what he wants to be. No, it's more that he's ended up at a poxy, third-rate so-called theatre in this poxy, up-itself town where anyone who isn't a Fucking Tourist is a Fucking Student, and he's been bereft of nicotine the entire fucking morning. The supermarket down the road had looked likely until he'd seen that he'd have to endure a five-month wait in a queue composed entirely, as far as Tim could see, of Fucking Tourists, Fucking Students and Bloody, Fucking Locals. All he wants, all Tim really, really, really wants right now is a cigarette. And it's looking as likely as existential fulfilment.

He's not walking with any purpose anymore, just carrying on for the sake of it. It's not a bad plan, though, because suddenly there it is. Mecca, shining in the midday sunlight like the Holy Grail, and he doesn't give a fuck whether that's a sacrilegious mixed metaphor. Because there's a newsagent's, just across the road, and no bloody queue snaking down the block either. Thank fuck.

(this is a weird skip over of events)
Before Tim can tell whoever-this-is that he's given him quite enough already, he feels the weight of the bicycle lift. Gasping for breath, he gets himself to his bruised knees and shakes his head violently on the off-chance it's been taken off by this fucking -

This fucking boy, who's wrapped up in a scarf that's about as long as he's tall, now scrabbling about in the road for the papers that lie strewn everywhere, punctuated by books and pens and sandwiches and cigarettes.

Fucking cigarettes.

Shock and chemical imbalances aside, he's got his pride to think of. So, Tim's up on his feet, brushing the dust and grit off himself in brief staccato strokes, his hand coming down, shakily, to rest on the boy's shoulder. He summons up all his professional skill and says with a smile that's hardly forced at all, "No problem, mate, no problem at all - here, let me help you with that, eh?"

The boy looks up, and Tim looks down, into wide-open eyes of such a deep and glorious brown that they just about drive all thoughts of cigarettes out of his head. Just about -- but then the boy smiles quickly and looks away, and Tim is both stunned and spellbroken. What the fuck is that about?

"Thanks, I think I've got everything now." He looks back, and it's not quite as stunning, leaving room for that still-fucking-there nicotine craving to sneak in again. It's getting to be normal, this twitch, this near-migraine, which could be dispelled if only he'd snatched that packet while it was still lying in the road.

"Come on, there's a pub just over here, let me buy you a pint."

Tim blinks, caught staring in longing. "Pardon?"

The boy's got all his creased pages and books back in the basket at the front of his bicycle (probably inherited from an older sister - girl's bike, it looks like) and his hat readjusted to just the right jaunty angle.

"Least I could do," he explains, rather reasonably, half-smiling with something like apology. "You look like you could use one, anyway."

Even though the boy's just basically insulted him (and part of his brain is protesting well, of course I look like I need a drink, you've just run me down with your bike, you cunt), Tim still finds himself following him. Limping just a bit, because surprise surprise, his knee fucking hurts.

Tim's wearing too many layers for the weather, as usual, so he's happy to get out of the sun for a bit, even if it does take him a while to adjust to how small and dark the pub is. He's not quite sure what to expect as he follows the boy down a few steps, watching him dip his head slightly under the doorframe, and squeeze past a couple of thick-set rugby boys at the bar until the two of them reach an unoccupied table in the far corner. Tim takes a seat, runs a hand through his hair with a touch of anxiety over how long it's been since he last checked a mirror, and looks up as the boy slips his hat off and sets it down lightly on the table between them. He's got soft-looking, messed-up hair that's brown like his eyes, Tim notes, with an interest that's surely just natural, and then he wonders why the boy's looking back at him so strangely.

"Er, what?" asks Tim.

"I said, what d'you want a pint of?"

"Oh - er, actually, I'll have..." Tim racks his brains. He'd really like a whiskey, a double at that. How impolite would it be to ask for something that's bound to cost more than what's being offered? On the other hand, Tim's had a rough morning that's now culminated in him narrowly avoiding death in a traffic accident at the hands of some undergraduate nut-job who's clearly got more money than sense. He's probably still in shock. No, Tim's entitled to a whiskey. If not two.

I'm all for leaping in with no backstory but you have to include the precipitating event: the bike wreck ...at least I assume it's a bike/pedestrian collision.

Because there was only a first page, instead of a hook, I'm not sure what this novel is about, or even what kind of plot to expect. I'd read five pages, but there are some problems here from being so inside the main character's head that we don't see much else, and he appears to have his head up his (cigarette) butt. I like that energy but it's not the only thing required to make a novel work.


Anonymous said...

Although the "fuck" repitition worked for me at first, it got old really fast. I would flip throug the rest of the book to make sure the swearing doesn't appear this often in the rest of the novel. Just like any other word, you hear it too much and it loses its meaning.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but I'm intrigued. I'd read on, (and maybe ask for a synopsis).

I like the writing.

Anonymous said...

Not my kind of book, I guess, and I think it's a bit overwritten. I found the constant "f-ing" annoying after a while and think you define the character and his mood with a few less; at least change the cus word around a bit. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

One doesn't "rack" brains. One "wracks" them.

Anonymous said...

anonymous #3:

Rack is preferred. Wrack is an alternate spelling.

(At least in my dictionary.)


McKoala said...

I didn't mind the fucking, I did mind the present tense. We've had a few entries so far with present tense that didn't bother me, but this did. It jumped out at me and I can't really see the purpose of it here. I'm one of those people, and I think there are a few of us, that struggles to read present tense unless it's all but invisible, which means that it fits with the genre/language/situation - and here that's not happening for me.

Love the tone, though, love his anger, but would like to see him be bowled over by that bike, because even with Miss S's warning that there was a skip, I could not follow what was going on there!

I'm with racking brains.

Zany Mom said...

This seemed to be more telling and less showing. A lot of internal monologue gets old for me fast. I agree that the f-word was a bit overused, and I, at times, can cuss with the best of them. Well placed, they enhance the story. To many, and they detract.

I think this has potential, but needs a bit of tightening.

Anonymous said...

I liked this.

You do overuse "fuck". It loses it's punch and becomes just another jarring repetition. It is a good indicator of his personality and mood level, so keep it, but sprinkle it a bit more judiciously.

Don't skip the accident. I think you might have been trying to indicate how fast it happened, but you need to dedicate at least one sentence to it. The rest of the writing is long and descriptive, so you really can't get away with cutting the actual impact. Actually, on a reread, it looks like you might have just accidently not pasted in the paragraph where he gets hit.

Give it a good trim, and keep submitting. Good luck!

Oh, and "rack your brains" is a reference to the torture device, so it is indeed "rack".