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Death is a laugh.

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Coat.
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#1

Posted 30 March 2014 - 05:37 AM Edited by Coat., 30 March 2014 - 05:38 AM.

Grey musk hung on the street corners of the town. Fisherman in red and black trench coats stood beside large fish nets by the dock of the dull morning; their eyes, weary.

"And you?" one asked.

The younger one exhaled smoke through his noise, staring off into the distance.

"He don't speak much," said a small beefy man before throwing out his cigarette in anger, staring down the younger one.

"Cat got your tongue?" another spoke, beginning to loom down. A faint bell rang. It was the bell on a rusted out buoy bobbing about in the current.

"No, the cat ain't got my tongue."

"Well then what is it?" the same man asked.

"Death, Robby."

"What about it?"

"It's the poison in life. It's like cancer, it spreads."

Some chuckled and others simply ignored as a whistle blowed from a tug boat docking into the bay. A white rope lassoed a erected pole, covered in bird poo, and was pulled closer.

"Kid? Can I ask you one more ting?"

The younger man made out a nod.

"What's with the gun?" the man pointed to the small, silver pistol tucked in with his belt.

"It was about twenty years ago. I had a job over in Phoenix - a sh*t hole of a city. I just had my first kid and I was working out at a gas station."

There was a long, pause. The bell rang out, the whistle blew again and he exhaled the smoke again.

He continued, "It was one of the last stations before the city. The station itself was small. Had a cash register, you know, the back room. That's where I slept most times. Business was quiet."

The men around him seemed to be engaged in the conversation, with stern looks on their face. A black dog strolled past the group, before sitting beside one and licking it's genitals.

The young man spoke again, "It was late afternoon and I was sleeping out back and I kinda heard something whilst I was sleeping, so, you know, I got up and walked out to the curb on the corner where the driveway met the road."

Men climbed out of the tug boat, unloading hooks of all sorts, ropes, bait, chum and fish.

"And as I was standing on the curb, I rubbed the dust out of my eyes, because it use to sand storm and I turned around to see this man with no shirt on. The guy myst been on steroids, loading dozens of tires into his van. He was stealin em so I said, 'Hey, you,' and he turned around and saw me."

A seagull glided in the thermal and perched itself on a street pole adjacent to the group of men.

"This guy pulled out about a twelve inch knife and just ran at me. So, you know, I ran back the counter," as the man said this, he played out the actions, "I grabbed my pistol behind the counter. He was about a few feet away from me and - BAM, BAM, BAM," the man fired a phantom pistol. "And as quick as he went in that door, he went out. He fell right between the two pumps."

The dog trotted off and took a piss on a wired fence, leading out to the pier where men were unloading the tug boat.

"And that's why I carry around this," the man finally said, before pulling out the silver pistol and showing everyone, his eye watching it.

The men from the tug boat opened the gate of the wired fence. One lanky man patted the dog as he overheard the discussion.

"You ever used that gun since?" The lanky man asked, spitting in the opposite direction.

"No."

"So how do you know it works?"

The young man examined the pistol before cocking it and firing at the man. Shooting him in the chest. The group of men jolted and some ducked for cover as others fled.

The bell rang out again and only silence fell.
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Ziggy455
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#2

Posted 02 July 2014 - 12:18 AM

Okay, so as an opening scene it’s pretty cool. We get a bunch of fishermen, one pulls a gun, relays an old story, and shoots another in the chest! It pulls you in—f*ck, it pulled me in and made me go, ‘what the f*ck? Okay, why’d this f*cking nutter just shoot some poor fool in the chest casually?’ It pulls people in, but beyond that, we don’t know anything about this guy –apart from the fact he likes shooting people- which seems a little bland. It alludes to much more, and there’s a feel for a rich character her, as crazy as he is. I’d like to question the story/characters more but there’s not much to work with here.

 

As for the writing itself, I’ve not got a whole lot to say. It’s clear, concise—Except for the fact I can’t imagine almost any of the people. Okay, they’re at a harbor or port of some sort, but your description –and I’m not sure if this is on purpose or not- is lacking. There’s an old guy named Robby, and a younger guy, and another guy—And some other guys. The description here is pretty dull because I’m losing who is talking mainly for the fact they’re all described as ‘guys’. I like to envision the characters in my head, so maybe so form of looks would help here. It’s not a big deal, and it’s the only thing which seems to stick out really form-wise. 

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Coat.
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#3

Posted 02 July 2014 - 04:57 AM Edited by Lexty., 02 July 2014 - 04:57 AM.

It's nice to get feedback off this old piece. It was more of an experiment to create an odd short story and see the reaction and it's only now that I have one. I'm glad you enjoyed it for the most part. As for the description, you may have read some of my other material which is deep into that but I really wanted to focus on the dialogue. I would continue this story if you think that I could bulk it up more, you know, add more description and awareness of character dialogue and perhaps sketch out a back-story of some sort. It would be interesting.


Ziggy455
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#4

Posted 02 July 2014 - 05:35 AM

It's nice to get feedback off this old piece. It was more of an experiment to create an odd short story and see the reaction and it's only now that I have one. I'm glad you enjoyed it for the most part. As for the description, you may have read some of my other material which is deep into that but I really wanted to focus on the dialogue. I would continue this story if you think that I could bulk it up more, you know, add more description and awareness of character dialogue and perhaps sketch out a back-story of some sort. It would be interesting.

 

It works as a fictional piece! I mean, if you threw in some more description of characters --It's just my ethic, I think with great characters, comes great plot-- it'd still be good, even better. It'd be cool to see where this story goes. As for the dialogue, when we feel for the character, it feels much easier to hear each voice. Writing phonetically works too, as if cutting letters, removing formal words. Assuming the harbour is in New York or New Jersey, you can really get a feel for the dialogue if it doesn't come off too stocky or repetitive. 

 

For example, here's my own little rendition:

"So this one time I shot a guy with my gun?"

"Really? How did that happen?"

"So we're in this house, and I pulled out the gun cause this guy was going nuts."

"Oh, did you kill him?"

"Yeah I shot him." 

 

 

I like dialogue, but I like it to feel real --I'm not saying your's is, at all--but when you invest in a form of getting an idea across, it needs to feel real, or hold the attention of readers. The same dialogue below has been changed to how you'd expect New York dock-workers to speak. Notice the cuts and stuff.

"I remember I popped a right schmuck--f*ckin' crazy!"

"Ya kiddin' me--f*ck off."

"We was in this house, and I've got the slick cannon cause the mook's goin' f*ckin' nuts all over the place."

"D'ya cap him?"

"Does the Pope sh*t in the woods?"

 

 

Real dialogue is wrong, it's lazy, it's got curse-words in, and it's never as stocky as you think it is in books. Elmore Leonard's got some of the best books I've read, all because the dialogue is real--He'll f*ck up words, he'll cut them down, and the whole time you're reading, you feel like you're sitting there with real gangsters, shylocks, and suave businessmen because he writes by ear.  

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#5

Posted 02 July 2014 - 06:33 AM Edited by Lexty., 02 July 2014 - 06:35 AM.

I really dig the idea of expressing authentic dialogue. I might work on this some more and try to get a feel for the characters. I've always tried to write by ear and not by exactness - if that makes sense.


Ziggy455
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#6

Posted 02 July 2014 - 07:28 AM Edited by Ziggy455, 02 July 2014 - 07:31 AM.

I really dig the idea of expressing authentic dialogue. I might work on this some more and try to get a feel for the characters. I've always tried to write by ear and not by exactness - if that makes sense.

 

I know what you mean. I hate the idea of stock presentation with dialogue. Where they have conversations that don't have a distinct style or pazazz! Look at a conversation in something like The Ugly Truth and then do the same to something like Reservoir Dogs. The best way for you to do it, is to think about what and where the characters come from, and think about how you want them to sound. Listen to examples, write some notes on the lines and then try and get the same kind of accents and such across with just words. If some can get a line to contain and express it clearly, then your reader will love it all the more. They don't have to come across hammy--there is such a thing as too much phonetic, and you don't want the dialogue to come off hammy. Just enough so we get the idea of the accent, or who the person is. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh is a book that is written entirely in Phonetic-Scottish, and it's one of the greatest books of the 21st century. 

 

It goes to show that dialogue is a big thing in writing, when done right. 


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#7

Posted 04 July 2014 - 02:22 AM Edited by Lexty., 04 July 2014 - 07:30 AM.

1

 

The figure brought himself to the realisation that he had just removed living beings from this planet. The high held steel gates, with the chromed knife shaped spikes looked upon the man in his blue trench coat.  He smiled. It creaked when it was swung shut and he leapt up the concrete steps into the red, 1950’s looking terrace. Shuffling the keys in his hand, he heard the wind blow through the falling trees, tucked away in this front yard.

 

Empty milk bottles covered the floor of the house and the furnishings. He walked through this maze of waste and dropped in a heap onto the vanilla silk covered lounge and admired a water painting from afar. He slowly lowered his eyes, towards the ground to see his rubber boots had left a dirty mess on the ground. He smiled. The corner of each ceiling had years of craftsmen ship worked into them and to this, the man smiled before staring back at the door – rifle in arms.

 

“Man – what the hell.”

 

He tightened his grip. Hearing the voice in the doorway of the terrace.  Yet, he stayed calmed and quiet. Smiling again.

 

“What is it man?... what?” another voice spoke.

 

He checked his chamber – it was full.

 

“Damn straight I’m not going in there, fool.”

 

The man’s eyes widened to this, “Why not?” he spoke.

 

Feet hit the pavement, running. He stood, leaned to the left to peak out the front glass glazed window and opened fire. A women from across the street on the upstairs terrace hanging out washing cursed, “Don’t come looking for trouble in this neighbourhood!” The man smiled and made his way to the doorway and stood there looking back into the front yard, to the gates, onto the pavement and across the street. His eyes penetrating anything in sight, like death.

 

“I be livin here since 68 and you – “ she called.

 

“No. And you – you, shut the f*ck up.”

 

He made his way back inside into the front room, tucked the gun in his coat, passed it, and entered the kitchen. Coloured cream with old cabinets with pull across rags as doors. To the end of the kitchen was a door with a wired piece on it. Not too far from that, was a circular wooden table, covered in an apricot cloth. Perched on it, a picture of an old fisherman. To this, the man looked at a crumbled picture in his coarse hands and picked up a copy of New York Times on the kitchen island – throwing it into the oven and turning it on high. There was a creak at the stairway as a women in a pink dressing gown stood there, half asleep.

 

“Why are you in my house?”

 

“I stopped some scumbag rats from breaking into your house.”

 

She paused, looking around for a bit, “So why are you in my house?’

 

“Your husband’s dead,” he passed the crumbled picture in which she wearily took it from him in shock before smiling, sliding the zipper to his trench coat and leaving the house. Closing the steel arched gate behind him.





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