It’s a start

This is one of those bits of writing I have sitting around. I can’t figure out what the hell to do with it. I dunno where it goes, I didn’t start with a plot. I just started with an opening line and it went from there. Went this far and then… Nothing. Here it is […]

This is one of those bits of writing I have sitting around. I can’t figure out what the hell to do with it. I dunno where it goes, I didn’t start with a plot. I just started with an opening line and it went from there. Went this far and then… Nothing.

Here it is anyway.

It starts with:

I picked her up at a funeral. Which should tell you something.


I picked her up at a funeral. Which should tell you something.

She was all in black. But everyone was. She wore it different, though. She wore it like armor. And like an invitation.

What is it with the little goth girls? Why do I always fall for them? I can meet a demure and willing young lady, secure and professional, and feel nothing but a mild interest. But find me a girl in black, with hair some outlandish shade, death-pale skin and a fuck you, fuck me look on her face, I’m lost.

She was wearing a veil. That’s why I noticed her. I figured, you wear a veil, you’re hiding. And if you have something to hide, I need to know what it is. Maybe it’s bad. Maybe it’s ugly. I gotta have it though. I’m like that with the secrets.

I also liked her boots. Black, shiny, little skulls for buckles. The toes pointy enough to drill holes.

“Nice boots,” I said to her. I think she just sneered at me, though it was hard to tell behind the veil.

I think she dismissed me as a – what do they say, a mundane? After all, I was in a suit. That would have been enough. It wasn’t even a cool suit. And it wasn’t exactly clean and it wasn’t exactly pressed.

She was obvious about it; Turned her head away. Her hands where gripping some weird little bag that had a spider-web pattern woven into it. She was trying to build some psychic wall; Pretending I wasn’t there, or pretending to pretend that.

I thought about letting the wall stand up. But it’s part of the challenge. I would have tried to make her grin but I could’nt see her face.

“So you don’t see too many veils these days.” It was all I could think of. Just start her talking, was what I was thinking.

She mumbled something.

“So how do you know the, um. The Deceased?” I asked.

“Look, I SO do not want to talk to you,” she said, still looking away.

Got her. I could tell.

“Yeah, I know, but.”

Let it hang. See if she takes it. Silence makes people uncomfortable sometimes. Eventually they have to fill it.

She turned her veil toward me. I could see coal-black hair under the weird hat she had on. It wasn’t really a hat, actually, just some weird clippy thing that seems to just be there to hold the veil.

“What do you want?” she asked me.

“Oh, there’s a hard one. I could use a beer.”

I made a great show of thinking about it. I scratched my head. Rubbed my chin.

“And maybe a cheese-steak sandwich.”

I think she was starting to crack a smile under there. It was hard to tell, the light wasn’t that good.

“How ’bout you? What do YOU want,” I asked her. See if she’ll play along, I thought.

“I want to be the fuck away from here,” she said.

I jingled my car-keys. Like I said. Got Her.

* * *

“You call this a fucking car?” she said.

“No, I call it the Batmobile,” I said.

What? It’s a car. Or something like one. It smokes a little, sure, but who doesn’t?

“There’s a fucking HOLE in the fucking FLOOR,” she said.

“Think of it as air-conditioning.”

“Do you have rats nesting in here? It smells like rats” she said.

“Squirrels, actually,” I said. She was right, it did smell like rats.

“So where we going?” I asked, hoping she didn’t decide to climb out the window when I slowed down for the red light at the bottom of the hill. The door on that side doesn’t open from the inside, fortunately, so it would make it harder for her to jump ship. The window still kind of works, though the hand-crank looks a lot like a pair of vice-grips.

She still hadn’t taken off the veil. I was wondering if I should be afraid.

I thought she smelled pretty nice, though it’s hard to tell in my car.

“I think we should go someplace where we could torch this car” she said. I thought that was a pretty good idea.

“Hmmm.” I said. Checked my hair in the rear-view mirror. “That’d be ok. But maybe we should have a drink first.”

She sighed. A great theatrical thing, like she practiced it at home. I bet there was a pout with it, but I couldn’t say for sure. Bet she practiced that in the mirror as well.

“Fine,” she said, eventually. I’d let her stew. “But I’m not going anywhere with you dressed like that. Not in public”.

Hey, it wasn’t that bad a suit. Though it was pretty fucking square, I’ll give you that. And needed the attention of the local chinese laundry.

I still hadn’t figured out what to do with her. I figured I’d hang a while, and then improvise.


So what next? I’ll be damned if I know. I have a dozen of these. Bursts of creativity that don’t sustain long enough to get a whole story out of.

I need to figure out if that’s a short story, an erotic piece, or something darker. Once I know that, the characters will speak to me again.

0 thoughts on “It’s a start”

  1. Hah. The writer’s closet.

    Yeah, I have a bunch of those. Did I ever show you the story with the collar? It’s weird, I was at a street art fair last week, and saw a collar just like the one I described. Reminded me of that unfinished story.

    Good luck.

  2. Your character is thinking the same thing you, the writer, is: “I still hadn’t figured out what to do with her. I figured I’d hang a while, and then improvise.”

    Why don’t you keep hanging out with them…instead of being him, why don’t you be a spy in the backseat? See what they do?

  3. From William Gibson’s blog: “I took this idea of Forster’s immediately to heart, upon first discovering it. I likewise took to heart his idea that authors fully or even predominately in control of their characters just aren’t doing their job. Indeed, the two are really the same: A fascist can’t write a good novel because writing a good novel, in the end, is about relinquishing control of the text. ” This sounds like some of the problems you are having with writing–let go and let your characters run.

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