Friday, August 01, 2008

Opening No. 7

In Living Color

From the moment the handler pulled the gate, Duke knew he was going
to die.
The Brahma bull beneath him rocketed into the arena,
scattering dust and
slinging spit and jarring Duke to the bone every
time it flung its one-ton
body into the air and landed stiff-legged
in the dirt again. All he could do
was hang on for dear life and
hope the folks in the emergency room wouldn't

do anything heroic.

All in all, he had to admit this time around hadn't been so bad.
Not at all
like the last trip, which ended more ignominiously
than most. The previous
jaunt would have been humorous
if it hadn't been so, well, bizarre. Who knew

pianos really could fall from twelfth-story windows and crush
bystanders while the world watched in horrified
amazement? The experience
still registered like something
out of a Saturday-morning cartoon. "There I

was, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I looked
up and a piano
was headed straight for me." Who would
believe a story like that? Duke
wasn't sure he believed it
himself, even though he had seen it with his own

eyes - up close and in living color.


Anonymous said...

I would change the first sentence around. So that it reads.

Duke knew he was going
to die, from the moment the handler pulled the gate.

But it may be me. I didn't like the use of the word ignominiously it felt clumsy when reading it.

I didn't understand about the people in the emergency room doing something heroic. Does he want to die?

I like the idea of a piano falling, but wouldn't use the term seen it with his own eyes.

Seems like a cliche...

Good Story... I would read more.


Sherryl said...

I liked the first paragraph, but I wasn't too sure about the second. Can I ask why you used the word "jaunt"? It seemed that this was a story about a guy who keeps getting killed and coming back - if I've read this wrong, please do say. But on that basis, some of the second paragraph undermined the idea a little. Mainly it started off clear and became a little fuzzy because of the way you have described stuff. Why wouldn't Duke believe it if he was the one who died?
Like I said, if I've read this wrong - say so!

Esther.Jade said...

In terms of situation, he seems to be in arena with a bull. The MC is Duke. It feels contemporary from the reference to the emergency room. I'm not sure what part of the world - possibly Spain or some part of the southern United States.

I liked the tone of the first paragraph but there seemed to be a shift in tone in the second. I'm not clear on the genre - though it sounds like someone who keeps getting into dangerous situations.

There are some hooks, but none that feel like they need the length of a book to explain, if that makes sense. Based on the first paragraph, I would keep reading, but I didn't really like the second.

Rashda Khan said...

I like the first para, though I'd change the first sentence as per jerze's suggestion. Starting with Duke and die grabs me more.

The rest I just found confusing: his comment about the er people, and how did we go from bull riding to a piano falling.

If this is time-loop story, I'd make it more clearer and put in some hooks --such as is he willingly doing this as some sort of weird futuristic tourist thing (the jaunty tone seems to hint at that) or is he stuck in it and has just accepted it (more sarcasm maybe? or is this his worst nightmare? In other words, I think you need to clarify a bit more in terms of what's happening and tone.

Of course, this is just my opinion, so use what you can from it and toss the rest.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! You're completely right about that first sentence. I'm grateful you pointed that out! :-)

This may be one of those cases where the story really needs the third paragraph in order to be understood. The next words are "Now there was an interesting cliché: 'in living color.' Duke wondered who had coined the phrase. Maybe it was another hapless soul like him who could attest to death’s black-and-white palette from personal experience."

It's a short story, not a book, and I guess if I had to categorize it I'd call it "supernatural/karmic."