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Thread: "The Big Easy"

  1. #1
    James Armstrong II
    Guest

    "The Big Easy"

    Here's the first chapter of my short story "The Big Easy." I am looking for feedback of all kinds. I have thick skin, so give it too me if it isn't up to snuff.

    Chapter 1
    The Toothache

    James Washum is 19 years of age. He is a nomad, or drifter in today’s terminology. Since he left home at the age of 15 he has seen much of the country through hitchhiking. He is running from something in his past, something he doesn’t have the courage to face quite yet. His journey will take him to even more places in the future, but for now, we focus on a 12 hour piece of his life. 12 hours that can’t be explained by logic or reason. Sometimes there are no answers… or are there?

    It is 1:30 a.m. and James is trying to get some sleep in a bed of grass along side Interstate 10, some 50 miles east of Tallahassee, Florida; but sleep would not be in the cards for him tonight. One of James’ upper teeth on the left side of his head has abscessed and the pain is so unbearable that he cannot sleep. He decides to roll up his temporary domicile and start walking down the long stretch of Interstate. He can feel the pulse in his left temple and it is getting worse, “My God! This is too much! God! Please! Someone! I need help! The pain is too much!” he begins to weep, holding his head with his left hand and trying to light up a heater with his right. He is approaching the end of the onramp of the freeway; there isn’t much activity out there this hour. All he can hear is the chirping of crickets. It is now 1:55 a.m. and the freeway is vacant, “Nothing but cops and serial killers out at this time of night” the kid thinks to himself. The pain is getting even more intense, “Oh my God! Why is this happening to me? What did I do to you! I thought we had a deal! I leave you alone and you leave me alone! We had a deal!” he shouts at the heavens above. Then, just as he got the last word out of his mouth, he could hear something in the distance to his rear, it was a car! He lowers his left hand from his throbbing skull; he can’t even keep his head up, “Please let this be a ride! Please God! If I did something that was deemed a ‘deal breaker’, I will make it up to you! If you just get me through this! Just this one time! I will heed your wishes whenever they enter into my thought process! I swear!” Then, the sound that he would grow to love over his days of being a freeway tramp, the sound of a car slowing down, “No ****in’ way!” he thought. The lone red car on the freeway was slowing just past our young traveler; it pulls off to the shoulder some fifty yards ahead of him! He starts to pick up the pace, “Please! Please don’t be one of those assholes that take off right when I get to the rear bumper!” But this would not be one of those times. He gets to the passenger side window and the driver leans over to the window and rolls it down, “Hey! You need a ride? Where’s ya headed?” the man shouted. “I’m headed to New Orleans! Can I please get in?” cries James. “Sure! It musts bees yo lucky night! I’m goin’ ta N’aulins myself! Get in!” and off they drove into the early dawn.

    The man looks the youngster up and down. The driver is a black man in his mid-thirties; he is showing signs of graying which is peppered throughout his short cut hair. He has a goatee, which is also showing signs of age, and is dressed somewhat shabbily, donning a pair of grey sweats with holes scattered indiscriminately throughout them. He sees the kid is in pain and inquires to his affliction, “You okay man? Wus yo problem tonight?” James is writhing in pain at this point, “Do you have any pain killer? Any aspirin? At this point I would take anything to get rid of this pain!” winces James. The driver starts to laugh uncontrollably and shoots back with, “Pain killah? Yup, I guess you kin say I got a ‘pain killer’.” The kid is getting short with his new found friend and shouts, “Well? Can I have it? Whatever it is? I am in such pain right now, you have no idea! I would sell my soul to the devil to take this pain away! Careful son, you don’t wanna be sayin’ such things. It might just happen ta ya!” the man warns. The man then reaches into the back seat of his year old ’87 Chevy Corsica and pulls out a flask, “I has sum whiskey! Will dat suitcha? Yes!” the young man shouts back at him and grabs the flask as if it were the last piece of food on the planet and guzzles down the bitter nectar. The man then asks him of his dilemma, “You sick or sumptin’? Wus a matter witcha? I have a terrible, terrible toothache!” says the kid in anger. The driver starts to laugh once again, “Damn son, you must be in sum pain!” as the kid finishes off the flask. But it’s no use, the pain is too strong, “Do you have anything else?” the boy asks of the driver. The driver then looks at the kid intensely for a moment and then asks him a very peculiar question; especially in these circumstances, “You a cop?” James looks right at him as though he’s lost his mind, “Are you ****ing serious man? Yeah, I’m a ****in’ cop, yer under arrest for picking me up! No! Of course I’m not a ****in’ cop!” snaps young James. “Okay, okay, calm down, I jus need ta be sure is all. Sure of what? asks James. “Sure dat you ‘aint no fuzz!” The man then reaches under his seat, he pulls out a candy dish container and pops the lid and hands the bottom half of the container to James, “Here, take sum a dis.” as he hands the kid a baggie with some white powder in it. James has seen this powder before (he had just come from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a town that sits just some thirty miles north of the city of Miami. That’s right; this powder was cocaine). “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh yeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssss!” the kid shouts! “Is this what I think it is? Um huh… help yo’self!” James then plunges his right index finger into the baggie and pulls out a nice pile of the Peruvian Marching Powder and shoves it straight into the pulsating tooth and starts to rub it incisively! The driver at this point is completely miffed, “What da hell ya doin’ youngin’? You outta yo ****in’ mind son?” The kid ignores him and keeps rubbing in the powder like his tooth is on fire and the cocaine is fire retardant, the effects from the whiskey and cocaine are now starting to take hold, “Ahhhh… this is much better! Whew!” sighs James. “I was a dead man out there dude!” James then sets up a big, fat “gagger” on the dashboard of the car and immediately becomes a magician by making the magic dust vanish—straight into his left nostril, “Ohhhhhhh… yes!” he then grabs his nostrils and pinches them, and then releases them to create a vacuum as to not waste a granule of the magical component. He swings his head back into the head rest and stares at the roof of the car, “Whew… you saved my life my man!” sighs James. “Ah…what did I do but give you a little booze and sum coke? What did you do?” exclaimed the kid. “Did you see me? I couldn’t even keep my head up! I was in so much pain! You killed what was the worse pain that I had ever had in my entire life up to this point! Thank you!” shouted James. “No problem youngsta.” the man exalted. “My name is Bobby, wus yose?” The kid starts shaking his head with a great smile to his face, and then extended his hand in friendship, “My name? My name, my fine sir, is James Richard Washum and I am forever in your debt! Where ya comin’ from?” asked Bobby. “I’m coming from south Florida, and you? No @!#$?” shouted Bobby, “I’m from Miami! I’m just drivin’ my sista’s car ta N’aulins. She’s movin’ dare and’s wanted me’s ta drives it dare fuh her; she’s leavin’ in a week. Really?” James said curiously. “What is she driving in the meantime?” the man hesitated for a second, and then came up with an answer, “Oh… well she’s… uh… she’s gots a friend’s wit a car dat’s helpin’ her out ‘till she flies outs ta N’aulins. Why you askin’ so many questions kid?—you a cop?” as he begins to laugh again, as does James, they then high five each other in approval. “Settle in kid,” exclaims Bobby. “We got a ways ta go yet.” James grabs the seat adjustment and lowers his seat to the back position, “That’s okay my man! As long as we don’t run out of cocaine, I’ll be alright!” exclaims the kid. Bobby looks at him with a somewhat puzzled look on his face, “We? I mean, I don’t mind if ya’s use sum of my medicine, but don’t git crazy on me!” James just laughed, “Nah, I won’t do all of your coke my man, but I would like to keep the pain at bay though, at least until we get to the ‘Big Easy’ that is. Then I can go to a dentist and get this tooth yanked! I kin handle dat.” says Bobby. “I also got another pint a whiskey back dare, you should make it ta N’aulins in time.” and, with that, they both zoned out for a while, not saying two words to each other for at least two hours. James had his eyes closed, resting them, but never actually sleeping. That is one of the many drawbacks with a drug like cocaine. But there is no edge, as the whiskey has taken care of that. A nice little meditation is what was in store for the kid this early morning; he needed it!

    Well, there it is! Hammer away!

    -Aladdin Sarsippius Suleminagic Jackson III



  2. #2
    James Armstrong II
    Guest

    Re: "The Big Easy"

    Anyone? Anyone?

    -Aladdin Sarsippius Suleminagic Jackson III

  3. #3
    Dawn Prince
    Guest

    Re: "The Big Easy"

    James:

    I say that your story starts in the second paragraph...skip the first bit and surely, these facts will unfold in the story. Try to work it into the story. It sounds like a piece of introduction for television. I only got that far because I have to go and buy stuff from wal-mar. Will read the rest later and give my opinion. Oh, separate the paragraphs so reading of it is easier--my 42- year-old eyes aren't what they used to be.

    Dawn.

    This is your beginning:


    It is 1:30 a.m. and James is trying to get some sleep in a bed of grass along side Interstate 10, some 50 miles east of Tallahassee, Florida; but sleep would not be in the cards for him tonight. One of James’ upper teeth on the left side of his head has abscessed and the pain is so unbearable that he cannot sleep. He decides to roll up his temporary domicile and start walking down the long stretch of Interstate. He can feel the pulse in his left temple and it is getting worse, “My God! This is too much! God! Please! Someone! I need help! The pain is too much!” he begins to weep, holding his head with his left hand and trying to light up a heater with his right. He is approaching the end of the onramp of the freeway; there isn’t

  4. #4
    Ruth-Ann Jackson
    Guest

    Re: "The Big Easy"

    Hi, James -- I don't know if the next chapters expand on these characters and explain this guy's tremendous generosity, I mean, offering cocaine . . . I did wonder about that. In this rough and tumble world seems like not many would just offer cocaine to a stranger. But then you might be explaining that further on in the story.
    I myself have actually experienced dental pain when I couldn't get to a dentist right away, and can sympathise with this guy's predicament (definately no powdery white substances around for me). I agree with Dawn, organize it into smaller paragraphs and it will be easier to read.

  5. #5
    Donna Eastman
    Guest

    Re: "The Big Easy"

    I hope you don't submit it in that format to an agent. No one will read it. Short paragraphs get read. Long ones get sent back.

  6. #6
    James Armstrong II
    Guest

    Re: "The Big Easy"

    Chapter 1
    The Toothache

    James Washum is 19 years of age. He is a nomad, or drifter in today’s terminology. Since he left home at the age of 15 he has seen much of the country through hitchhiking. He is running from something in his past, something he doesn’t have the courage to face quite yet. His journey will take him to even more places in the future, but for now, we focus on a 12 hour piece of his life. 12 hours that can’t be explained by logic or reason. Sometimes there are no answers… or are there?

    It is 1:30 a.m. and James is trying to get some sleep in a bed of grass along side Interstate 10, some 50 miles east of Tallahassee, Florida; but sleep would not be in the cards for him tonight. One of James’ upper teeth on the left side of his head has abscessed and the pain is so unbearable that he cannot sleep. He decides to roll up his temporary domicile and start walking down the long stretch of Interstate. He can feel the pulse in his left temple and it is getting worse, “My God! This is too much! God! Please! Someone! I need help! The pain is too much!” he begins to weep, holding his head with his left hand and trying to light up a heater with his right.

    He is approaching the end of the onramp of the freeway; there isn’t much activity out there this hour. All he can hear is the chirping of crickets. It is now 1:55 a.m. and the freeway is vacant, “Nothing but cops and serial killers out at this time of night” the kid thinks to himself. The pain is getting even more intense, “Oh my God! Why is this happening to me? What did I do to you! I thought we had a deal! I leave you alone and you leave me alone! We had a deal!” he shouts at the heavens above.

    Then, just as he got the last word out of his mouth, he could hear something in the distance to his rear, it was a car! He lowers his left hand from his throbbing skull; he can’t even keep his head up, “Please let this be a ride! Please God! If I did something that was deemed a ‘deal breaker’, I will make it up to you! If you just get me through this! Just this one time! I will heed your wishes whenever they enter into my thought process! I swear!” Then, the sound that he would grow to love over his days of being a freeway tramp, the sound of a car slowing down, “No ****in’ way!” he thought. The lone red car on the freeway was slowing just past our young traveler; it pulls off to the shoulder some fifty yards ahead of him! He starts to pick up the pace, “Please! Please don’t be one of those assholes that take off right when I get to the rear bumper!” But this would not be one of those times.

    He gets to the passenger side window and the driver leans over to the window and rolls it down, “Hey! You need a ride? Where’s ya headed?” the man shouted. “I’m headed to New Orleans! Can I please get in?” cries James. “Sure! It musts bees yo lucky night! I’m goin’ ta N’aulins myself! Get in!” and off they drove into the early dawn.

    The man looks the youngster up and down. The driver is a black man in his mid-thirties; he is showing signs of graying which is peppered throughout his short cut hair. He has a goatee, which is also showing signs of age, and is dressed somewhat shabbily, donning a pair of grey sweats with holes scattered indiscriminately throughout them. He sees the kid is in pain and inquires to his affliction, “You okay man? Wus yo problem tonight?” James is writhing in pain at this point, “Do you have any pain killer? Any aspirin? At this point I would take anything to get rid of this pain!” winces James. The driver starts to laugh uncontrollably and shoots back with, “Pain killah? Yup, I guess you kin say I got a ‘pain killer’.” The kid is getting short with his new found friend and shouts, “Well? Can I have it? Whatever it is? I am in such pain right now, you have no idea! I would sell my soul to the devil to take this pain away! Careful son, you don’t wanna be sayin’ such things. It might just happen ta ya!” the man warns.

    The man then reaches into the back seat of his year old ’87 Chevy Corsica and pulls out a flask, “I has sum whiskey! Will dat suitcha? Yes!” the young man shouts back at him and grabs the flask as if it were the last piece of food on the planet and guzzles down the bitter nectar. The man then asks him of his dilemma, “You sick or sumptin’? Wus a matter witcha? I have a terrible, terrible toothache!” says the kid in anger. The driver starts to laugh once again, “Damn son, you must be in sum pain!” as the kid finishes off the flask. But it’s no use, the pain is too strong, “Do you have anything else?” the boy asks of the driver. The driver then looks at the kid intensely for a moment and then asks him a very peculiar question; especially in these circumstances, “You a cop?” James looks right at him as though he’s lost his mind, “Are you ****ing serious man? Yeah, I’m a ****in’ cop, yer under arrest for picking me up! No! Of course I’m not a ****in’ cop!” snaps young James. “Okay, okay, calm down, I jus need ta be sure is all. Sure of what? asks James. “Sure dat you ‘aint no fuzz!” The man then reaches under his seat, he pulls out a candy dish container and pops the lid and hands the bottom half of the container to James, “Here, take sum a dis.” as he hands the kid a baggie with some white powder in it.

    James has seen this powder before (he had just come from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a town that sits just some thirty miles north of the city of Miami. That’s right; this powder was cocaine). “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh yeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssss!” the kid shouts! “Is this what I think it is? Um huh… help yo’self!” James then plunges his right index finger into the baggie and pulls out a nice pile of the Peruvian Marching Powder and shoves it straight into the pulsating tooth and starts to rub it incisively! The driver at this point is completely miffed, “What da hell ya doin’ youngin’? You outta yo ****in’ mind son?” The kid ignores him and keeps rubbing in the powder like his tooth is on fire and the cocaine is fire retardant, the effects from the whiskey and cocaine are now starting to take hold, “Ahhhh… this is much better! Whew!” sighs James. “I was a dead man out there dude!” James then sets up a big, fat “gagger” on the dashboard of the car and immediately becomes a magician by making the magic dust vanish—straight into his left nostril, “Ohhhhhhh… yes!” he then grabs his nostrils and pinches them, and then releases them to create a vacuum as to not waste a granule of the magical component.

    He swings his head back into the head rest and stares at the roof of the car, “Whew… you saved my life my man!” sighs James. “Ah…what did I do but give you a little booze and sum coke? What did you do?” exclaimed the kid. “Did you see me? I couldn’t even keep my head up! I was in so much pain! You killed what was the worse pain that I had ever had in my entire life up to this point! Thank you!” shouted James. “No problem youngsta.” the man exalted. “My name is Bobby, wus yose?” The kid starts shaking his head with a great smile to his face, and then extended his hand in friendship, “My name? My name, my fine sir, is James Richard Washum and I am forever in your debt! Where ya comin’ from?” asked Bobby. “I’m coming from south Florida, and you? No @!#$?” shouted Bobby, “I’m from Miami! I’m just drivin’ my sista’s car ta N’aulins. She’s movin’ dare and’s wanted me’s ta drives it dare fuh her; she’s leavin’ in a week. Really?” James said curiously. “What is she driving in the meantime?” the man hesitated for a second, and then came up with an answer, “Oh… well she’s… uh… she’s gots a friend’s wit a car dat’s helpin’ her out ‘till she flies outs ta N’aulins. Why you askin’ so many questions kid?—you a cop?” as he begins to laugh again, as does James, they then high five each other in approval. “Settle in kid,” exclaims Bobby. “We got a ways ta go yet.” James grabs the seat adjustment and lowers his seat to the back position, “That’s okay my man! As long as we don’t run out of cocaine, I’ll be alright!” exclaims the kid. Bobby looks at him with a somewhat puzzled look on his face, “We? I mean, I don’t mind if ya’s use sum of my medicine, but don’t git crazy on me!” James just laughed, “Nah, I won’t do all of your coke my man, but I would like to keep the pain at bay though, at least until we get to the ‘Big Easy’ that is. Then I can go to a dentist and get this tooth yanked! I kin handle dat.” says Bobby. “I also got another pint a whiskey back dare, you should make it ta N’aulins in time.” and with that, they both zoned out for a while, not saying two words to each other for at least two hours.

    James had his eyes closed, resting them, but never actually sleeping. That is one of the many drawbacks with a drug like cocaine. But there is no edge, as the whiskey has taken care of that. A nice little meditation is what was in store for the kid this early morning; he needed it!

  7. #7
    James Armstrong II
    Guest

    Re: "The Big Easy"

    Is that better?

    -Aladdin Sarsippius Suleminagic Jackson III

  8. #8
    Dawn Prince
    Guest

    Re: "The Big Easy"

    James"
    Ah,much easier to read. I will read it and post my two cents. Dawn

  9. #9
    June Mason
    Guest

    Re: "The Big Easy"

    Ditch all those! I think the premise of the story is good, but those make me feel like he's a cheerleader. And you lost me when he is talking out loud in the beginning, it feels forced, not realistic.

  10. #10
    Dawn Prince
    Guest

    Re: "The Big Easy"

    James:
    I responded in the thread that you connected to mine earlier. Dawn

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