WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction

Fiction Novel excerpts, short stories, etc.


Service with a Smile

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 11-08-2012, 02:06 PM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Icon1 Service with a Smile


The following is the result of "fleshing out" a storyline from an exercise in deductive reasoning, I hope you like it.


Claude Adams had seen many years in his lifetime with precious few remaining, though admittedly, the majority of them were rather uneventful. Such couldn’t be said for those most recent however since Claude was enjoying a whirlwind of instant celebrity as of late.

Publication of the firsthand account of his one noteworthy adventure was six weeks on the bestseller’s list and his newfound fame and fortune had brought him recognition and admiration unseen in previous decades.

A modest man, he preferred the simple, familiar life at first imposed by necessity dictated through limited resource and humble prospects. His generous new royalty checks afforded him the opportunity to purchase a moderately sized apartment centrally located in an upscale neighborhood of San Francisco. This he shared with his full-time living assistant, Caroline Baker.

Caroline readied the car for a very special appointment arranged weeks in advance by her employer. Claude was rather secretive about the affair, leaking only the slightest of details to the curious aid. The location given wasn’t particularly unique though the well-known local eatery did feature a rather novel menu … anything you could imagine to order.

Obviously, the Omnivore was prohibited from offering endangered game or inherently fatal cuisine but as long as the delicacy was free of legal as well as lethal restriction, anything was possible.

Apart from the six month ordeal that altered the course of her employer’s unremarkable life, Claude Adams was not a man given to extravagant exploits whether culinary or otherwise. Baker daily served meals that could only be described as conventional and commonplace … so why the sudden longing for the exotic?

They pulled up to the converted Victorian facade just as the hostess hurried from the restaurant steps to open the passenger door. Leading with his red-tipped white cane, Adams exited the auto reiterating final instructions before his assistant departed.

“Caroline, I’ll see you in one hour, yes?”

“Of course Mr. Adams, I’ll return in one hour.”

The hostess seated their new client at a small table near an ornate oak-mantled fireplace in the center of the room with a clear line of travel to the front entrance. He folded his cane, setting it in the chair seat beside.

“No need for a menu eh Miss? Not that I could read it anyway. Is your chef ready to serve?”

“I believe he’s plating right now. Would you like something to drink?”

“Just water please, and maybe some bread to cleanse the palette.”

“Right away Mr. Adams.”

Claude organized his table for easy access, placing the basket of hard rolls to the left and his glass of water to the right at arm’s length. Within minutes the chef arrived with a steaming bowl.

“Mr. Adams, welcome to the Omnivore! I’m Chef Paradiso and I wanted to personally thank you for giving me the opportunity to attempt this most interesting challenge.”

“Well thank you sir for your gracious indulgence, I know my instructions might have seemed eccentric but they were absolutely necessary I assure you.”

“I understand completely though I must advise you that we had to make a small substitution. Since you couldn’t identify the grain in the recipe with certainty, I had to select an alternate based on your description. We chose barley, I hope that’s acceptable?”

Adams fanned the rising mist, drinking in its aroma. “Of course Chef, as long as the key ingredients are there. I’m sorry that I can’t comment on your presentation but I’m sure it’s wonderful.”

Paradiso nodded with a smile, “Please enjoy”, then returned to his kitchen.

Adams sat for several minutes, reluctant to begin his meal, lost in thoughts surrounding the circumstance that brought him to this place.

The death of his younger brother in faraway Singapore two years prior had necessitated a Pan-Pacific flight with a brief stopover in Hawaii. Apart from his recurrent bouts with grief, the journey was essentially uneventful until the ship encountered turbulence several hours out of Honolulu.

Claude remembered little detail after the pilot frantically announced their dilemma, nor could he recall the probable hours spent adrift in the open ocean. His first recollection was of awakening with a mouth full of sand and an insistent male voice beckoning him to consciousness.

Alan Scott was his name, a fellow survivor of the fallen aircraft. Though suffering from a deep gash to his leg, he immediately rushed out from his makeshift shelter to rescue the waterlogged Adams.

Regaining his bearings proved an overwhelming challenge given the abstract sensory assault of a tropical shoreline fused with the traumatic events that led to his situation. The breeze was warm and constant, and the surf was repetitively persistent in its ebb and flow hiss, echoing along the sandy beach, the noise seemed deafening.

“Are you thirsty?” Scott asked. “We’ve got plenty of water; I found a steady spring beyond the ridge. Looks like we have an abundance of food too though not very appetizing, the place is infested with seagulls … and not a whole lot else.”

Claude gladly accepted water from the genial young man as well as a few shards of coconut meat.

Alan had managed quite a lot given his injury. He’d scavenged articles from the wreckage whenever they washed up on shore, building a hut roofed in metal sheets from the fuselage, bound together by lengths of shredded wiring harness. Unfortunately, none of the foodstuffs survived though he made use of several storage tins for stew pots and serving bowls.

Blind from birth, Claude was utterly dependent on the wounded man to guide him through survival on what might as well be another planet. His limping companion managed to string cords of vine to key locations like the latrine, the fire pit and the shelter, denoted by numbered knots for easy identification. Claude could “sound” his way to a certain degree but the persistent whisper of the breeze and whoosh of the surf made it difficult at best to orient himself effectively.

The days became weeks and the weeks, months, but still no sign of rescue. Alan’s leg would periodically break out with infection, forcing him to soak it in sea water for hours at a time until the redness and discomfort mercifully subsided. The pattern of pain, austerity and outright boredom weighed heavily on the pair, exasperated by the tedium of their daily fare at mealtime.

Scott’s limitations kept him from acquiring the numerous fish in the deeper waters beyond the shoreline and crab, though numerous, were far too small and evasive for him to bother with an attempt. This left the two with seriously limited options: coconuts, a wild seedy grain that Scott referred to as “sea oats” and the numerous white and gray scavengers populating the island.

Alan tried to diversify his offerings but the seagull meat tended to dry up when roasted on a spit or baked in a hot pan. He settled on a stew, the only palatable solution. Every morning Adams was greeted with sea oat porridge simmered in coconut milk and shavings while sunset brought a salty seagull stew with crispy oat tortillas, baked on a flat rock in the hearth.

Both men were grateful for their provision, mundane as it was, but they couldn’t help dreaming of pasta, steak, PIZZA! It was this longing that made Claude begin to question the veracity of his senses.

Early on in their captivity of circumstance, Claude thought for a moment that he detected the faint aroma of roasting beef in the shifting winds. It lasted only a moment but he was certain that he’d accurately identified the scent. Weeks had passed before the sensation recurred, but again, it was as fleeting as the fickled breeze. As time went on he occasionally started when the delightful bouquet returned to assault his nostrils.

Alan seemed oblivious to the phenomenon, citing wishful thinking on Adams’ part but Claude became obsessed by the occurrence. He trusted his generous companion implicitly, finding it inconceivable that he’d withhold red meat if available but he couldn’t deny his senses. Ultimately, he resigned himself that Alan must have been right; it was only wishful thinking, a ghost limb of the mind taunting him with unachievable temptation.

Midway in their fourth month, Claude thought he detected another departure from the norm, though this one was not nearly as pleasant. A considerably rancid odor had been captured on the wind, and he could tell by the uneven breaking of the waves that the source was just ahead in the roiling surf. Something dead had washed ashore!

Alan was preoccupied harvesting “oats” on the other side of the dunes, so Claude took it upon himself to investigate. He honed in on the distinctive sound as the lapping waves splashed against the carcass, its pungent reek giving confirmation that he was on target. Tapping his gnarled walking stick, Adams edged closer and closer until his feet became wet with the surf.

Suddenly from behind, he heard the voice of Alan, breathless from hobbling frantically across the dune. “Claude, Claude … don’t touch it! Walk back toward my voice, I’ll take care of this.”

“What … what is it!?” he responded.

“Oh Claude …” he paused, kicking himself for not spotting it first. “It’s another body … washed up from the crash. I’m sorry my friend, I’ve been trying to spare you from having to concern yourself. I’ve been burning them on the other side of the island since the beginning.”

Adams was visibly shaken. He took his comrade’s arm as Alan escorted him back to the camp. Claude sat brooding, alone in his thoughts, as Scott labored to roll the former passenger onto a tarp with grunts and disgusted groans. He heard the sound of the plastic sheet grinding across the sand as well as Alan’s limping barefoot gait retreating down the beach until all was silent again.

The incident profoundly disturbed the sightless man, his thoughts racked by the unseen tragedy and amplified by the internal torment of his own helpless dependence. Adams began to wonder what else Alan may have withheld about their situation not to mention their most fortuitous survival.

Even the familiar flavor of the evening meal inspired questions. Scott used to joke that if you closed your eyes, you’d swear it was chicken. Though Claude needn’t do the former, the latter result, he’d noted, was far from true. Surprisingly, the chunks of meat were unusually dense and devoid of the expected gameyness common with wild fowl. Alan attributed the texture and flavor to the abundance of diluted salt water in the stewing process but now Claude began to wonder.

“I think I’ve had enough of seagull for awhile, do you have any more of those tortillas? Some coconut would be nice if there’s any left.”

“Sure” Alan said. He handed him the rest of the crispy wafers in a bowl with the fruit on the side. “I could take another shot at trapping crab but I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

“This’ll do for now …thanks.”

Claude became increasingly morose as evening followed evening with his consumption of seagull dwindling ultimately to nothing. Adams loaded up on tortillas of sea oat with an abundance of coconut as the primary entrée. As a result, he was frequently stricken with fierce abdominal pains accompanied by bouts of vicious diarrhea.

Adams didn’t want to voice his suspicions over Alan’s claims as to the origin of his “stew” but by the same token, his mind wouldn’t allow him to indulge in the alternative.

“Claude … you need to eat some protein! Please …have some stew, at least drink the broth. You’re wasting away at this rate and frankly, I’m getting seriously concerned for your health.”

Adams bowed his head between his knees, searching for a solution. His nutrient deprived brain began concocting images of his good natured friend merrily stringing passenger’s bodies from the rafters of some palm covered smokehouse, shearing off portions of flesh for the evening meal.

Claude shuddered.

The aging blind man shook his head to blot out the sensory assault. His survival was truly on the line, he could not deny that, but was it worth crossing a line to achieve it? Adams wrestled with the conflict, personal ethics versus survival. Was there really a choice?

The most frustrating aspect of his struggle, he realized, was his own inability to be certain that there was any conflict at all. Alan gave no indication that the stew was anything more than what he claimed. He had proven himself trustworthy from the very beginning, a true friend in every sense of the word yet … he had chosen to hide one pivotal truth. Why would he do that if not to shield his disabled friend from unnecessary strife?

Adams’ head was swimming. His companion had never lied about the bodies, merely refraining from announcing their existence. Was he lying now about their pragmatic disposition? And was Claude only being prudish, possibly even selfish, in his refusal to transform their tragic deaths into an opportunity to redeem his own life? He began to wonder that what may have plagued him most was nothing more than the maddeningly unavoidable ignorance borne of his congenital affliction.

If he knew, then he could decide, but what if in knowing, he chose abstinence? Would it be better to simply believe Alan’s assertions and live or have him prove his claims and risk alienating the best friend Claude would ever have?

The troubled Adams settled on a compromise, he would take Scott’s word but only after first hearing all the tedious details of the process by which the stew came into being. If Alan faltered in his delivery or became reluctant to give disclosure on what should be a simple conveyance of recipe, then Claude would reassess his decision.

Adams was subtle in his approach, consistently forming his questions seeking information rather than leveling accusation, this kept Alan off of the defensive and free to respond openly without reservation.

Scott was a bit befuddled by Claude’s sudden curiosity of Spartan survival cooking methods, but he complied gladly if only to give comfort to his hesitant friend. He spoke of ratios, salt water to fresh, as well as ingredients like palm dates and seaweed. Oats were added to the mix in sequence then simmered for an hour, at least by Alan’s estimate.

Adams listened intently to each detail but gave most of his attention to the unwavering sincerity of Scott’s verbal demeanor. Satisfied that he’d detected no evasive guile or deception, Claude willingly and ravenously devoured the bowl.

In the weeks that followed, Adam’s health quickly rebounded though the same could not be said for his thoughtful partner. The incidents of infection had increased in frequency and severity, often forcing Alan to remain bedridden for most of the day.

Fortunately, providence delivered salvation in the form of a cargo ship, rerouted in an effort to avoid a deep sea tempest to the south. Due to a keenly observant crew and Captain, the campfire smoke was spotted and a shuttle dispatched, Claude and Alan were rescued!

Alan Scott had survived the voyage home but sadly passed away within a month due to complications with his injuries. Claude Adams was once again left alone, the sole surviving witness to what transpired those arduous months.

Claude treasured the memory of his fallen friend and never doubted that he always had Adams’ best interest at heart. He would never stoop to declaring him a liar even if time revealed that he had been less than truthful. Claude preferred to think only of Alan’s compassion, misguided or not, to spare him the agony of an ethical conflict in the midst of the greater good of survival.

He imagined that if Alan believed that withholding unpleasantness was the way to redeem his visually afflicted companion then so be it, he would bear the burden alone.

Adams rose above the tragedy, even thriving, but he couldn’t live another moment in doubt. If he had done the unthinkable, then he’d find a way to cope but if not, he’d thank God for his incredible mercy in sparing the two of them that terrible choice.



**********^**********



He took a deep breath as he held the spoon to his lips, wincing slightly at the bitter flavor of the salty broth. With a promise and a prayer, he took the morsel into his mouth, chewing slowly with reverence and hope. In an instant, the truth was known. He pushed the bowl away slowly, raising his sightless eyes heavenward as tears streamed down his cheeks. The broadest of smiles crept across his face as he fulfilled his promise, uttering words unheard by those who had ears.

His waiter approached as Claude wiped his eyes, reluctant to interrupt what was obviously a solemn moment. He glanced at the full bowl then back to the diner whose face reflected the epitome of fulfillment. The obvious contradiction baffled the young waiter but failed to faze him. He’d seen the motivations of Omnivore clientele vary widely over the years, often resulting in a mere taste of the forbidden.

Reading his charge, the waiter stoically asked, “So Mr. Adams … did you find your seagull to be … satisfactory?”

Claude leaned back almost giddy, “Oh yes young man … more than you could imagine!”

__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation

Last edited by AbdulaOblongata; 11-09-2012 at 01:21 PM.. Reason: two letters
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to AbdulaOblongata For This Useful Post:
Mutawintji (12-10-2012)
  #2  
Old 11-08-2012, 11:22 PM
Judith's Avatar
Judith (Offline)
Noteworthy
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: South Africa
Posts: 302
Thanks: 149
Thanks 85
Default

Deductive reasoning... mmm... sounds like a story to me. A very good one.
I think this story of yours is going to be very successful because of the strange popularity culinary skills is enjoying at the moment.

Obviously, the Omnivore was prohibited from offering endangered game or inherently fatal cuisine but as long as the delicacy was free of legal as well as lethal restriction, anything was possible.
Ha, no rhino horn for the Taiwanese!


Scott’s limitations kept him from acquiring the numerous fish in the deeper waters beyond the shoreline and crab, though numerous, were far too small and evasive for him bother with an attempt.
to bother?

This piece is particularly well polished. You know, I think it's my favourite.

Blessings
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jabulani Africa!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Judith For This Useful Post:
AbdulaOblongata (11-09-2012)
  #3  
Old 11-09-2012, 12:48 AM
Andy Mitchell (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 495
Thanks: 268
Thanks 119
Default

This is a good read and I like it - it had a good pace which I like and I can imagine what is happening.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Andy Mitchell For This Useful Post:
AbdulaOblongata (11-09-2012)
  #4  
Old 11-09-2012, 01:31 PM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Default

Judith,
Thanks! I really enjoyed doing this one.
I mentioned the "exercise" because the story came from a riddle that a friend presented while we were waiting for the next run of B-52s to come down our range while in the USAF.

Thanks for pointing out that oversight, I've fixed it in edit.
See you on the next project,
Abdula
__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-09-2012, 05:35 PM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Default

Andy,
Thanks for the positive feedback! The points you mentioned are exactly what I shoot for in a story.

I like how you've kept a good pace for your series and I'm seriously interested in where you plan to take old "Joe".

See you on your next,
Abdula
__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-09-2012, 08:25 PM
Rooster Smith (Offline)
Homer's Odyssey Was Nothing
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,090
Thanks: 38
Thanks 212
Default

Originally Posted by AbdulaOblongata View Post
The following is the result of "fleshing out" a storyline from an exercise in deductive reasoning, I hope you like it.



Obviously, the Omnivore was prohibited from offering endangered game or inherently fatal cuisine but as long as the delicacy was free of legal as well as lethal restriction, anything was possible.
I'll have a roastbeef hero from subway, a peanut butter twix and a shake from cold stone creamery. Can they make that happen? There is nothing I wouldn't pay.
Apart from the six month ordeal that altered the course of her employer’s unremarkable life, Claude Adams was not a man given to extravagant exploits whether culinary or otherwise. Baker daily served meals that could only be described as conventional and commonplace … so why the sudden longing for the exotic?
it's people! the meal is people!!!
They pulled up to the converted Victorian facade just as the hostess hurried from the restaurant steps to open the passenger door. Leading with his red-tipped white cane, Adams exited the auto reiterating final instructions before his assistant departed.
the hostess came outside?
“Caroline, I’ll see you in one hour, yes?”

“Of course Mr. Adams, I’ll return in one hour.”
not invited? Ouch ...


“Mr. Adams, welcome to the Omnivore! I’m Chef Paradiso and I wanted to personally thank you for giving me the opportunity to attempt this most interesting challenge.”
ah, that's the name of the resturant? nice one ...


Adams fanned the rising mist, drinking in its aroma. “Of course Chef, as long as the key ingredients are there. I’m sorry that I can’t comment on your presentation but I’m sure it’s wonderful.”
he's blind? Did I miss that above?


“Are you thirsty?” Scott asked. “We’ve got plenty of water; I found a steady spring beyond the ridge. Looks like we have an abundance of food too though not very appetizing, the place is infested with seagulls … and not a whole lot else.”
taste like chicken.


Blind from birth, Claude was utterly dependent on the wounded man to guide him through survival on what might as well be another planet. His limping companion managed to string cords of vine to key locations like the latrine, the fire pit and the shelter, denoted by numbered knots for easy identification. Claude could “sound” his way to a certain degree but the persistent whisper of the breeze and whoosh of the surf made it difficult at best to orient himself effectively.

this is something that i worry about as a writer. I want to get the relative desctiption of the character in the readers head right away. I would hate it if they went a few chapters or even one chapter thinking the character was say, a certain race that they assumed, and then later it turns out that they're another race.

I could say the same about hieght or hair color.

But I guess there's nothing wrong with it really, Clive Barkers mister B Gone took quite a while to tell the reader what the main character looked like, he was a demon.

but yeah, the blind thing has me thinking about that. it doesn't hurt the story at all. that's just something I think about when I write.



Early on in their captivity of circumstance, Claude thought for a moment that he detected the faint aroma of roasting beef in the shifting winds. It lasted only a moment but he was certain that he’d accurately identified the scent. Weeks had passed before the sensation recurred, but again, it was as fleeting as the fickled breeze. As time went on he occasionally started when the delightful bouquet returned to assault his nostrils.
there's a subway on the other side of the island.
Alan seemed oblivious to the phenomenon, citing wishful thinking on Adams’ part but Claude became obsessed by the occurrence. He trusted his generous companion implicitly, finding it inconceivable that he’d withhold red meat if available but he couldn’t deny his senses. Ultimately, he resigned himself that Alan must have been right; it was only wishful thinking, a ghost limb of the mind taunting him with unachievable temptation.
He's not even on an island! he's just in Alan's backyard!!!


Adams didn’t want to voice his suspicions over Alan’s claims as to the origin of his “stew” but by the same token, his mind wouldn’t allow him to indulge in the alternative.
it's people! the stew is people!!!!
“Claude … you need to eat some protein! Please …have some stew, at least drink the broth. You’re wasting away at this rate and frankly, I’m getting seriously concerned for your health.”



Adams rose above the tragedy, even thriving, but he couldn’t live another moment in doubt. If he had done the unthinkable, then he’d find a way to cope but if not, he’d thank God for his incredible mercy in sparing the two of them that terrible choice.

you know, keeping secrets is really hard for people. Most people talk about what's going on in their lives for social purposes. They need to talk to other people and have a give and take.

it must have been hard for Adams to have this on his chest for so long and never once talk about it with his friend.

The same with the other guy.



**********^**********



He took a deep breath as he held the spoon to his lips, wincing slightly at the bitter flavor of the salty broth. With a promise and a prayer, he took the morsel into his mouth, chewing slowly with reverence and hope. In an instant, the truth was known. He pushed the bowl away slowly, raising his sightless eyes heavenward as tears streamed down his cheeks. The broadest of smiles crept across his face as he fulfilled his promise, uttering words unheard by those who had ears.

His waiter approached as Claude wiped his eyes, reluctant to interrupt what was obviously a solemn moment. He glanced at the full bowl then back to the diner whose face reflected the epitome of fulfillment. The obvious contradiction baffled the young waiter but failed to faze him. He’d seen the motivations of Omnivore clientele vary widely over the years, often resulting in a mere taste of the forbidden.

Reading his charge, the waiter stoically asked, “So Mr. Adams … did you find your seagull to be … satisfactory?”

Claude leaned back almost giddy, “Oh yes young man … more than you could imagine!”

It wasn't people!!! It was a seagull!

IT WAS A seagull!!!

You son of a bitch! why would you make me remember that!?

Nah, sorry man, I just watched MASH.

this was good man. good narration. It's kind of tragic really. this whole time he was suspicous and it could have all been avoided if he had just asked his buddy.

You did a good job with the pathos too. i could tell it was important to the main character not to eat people.

just a little not so fun fact here, I feel like I could eat the crap out of people. If i was in that situation, I feel like I could totally eat someone and not have a problem with it.

question though, isn't it dangerous to cook rotted meat?
__________________
New Rule Guys!!! I can no longer remember all the names of people who commented on my work.
So if you got a piece out, private message me so I won't forget to give you a return critic.
I really wanna return the favor, and I feel like I'm forgetting people ...
Check out my blog:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by Rooster Smith; 11-09-2012 at 08:31 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-10-2012, 11:59 AM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Default

Rooster,
I love the way you reviewed this. As I read, I could see you picking up on what was next slowly and steadily, just like the progression of the riddle. It's done in 20 questions style so the players build their understanding sequentially just as you did.
That's why I didn't overtly let on that he was blind, the player has to figure that out.

By the way, Claude didn't think that the four month old corpse would be served up but the ones washed ashore in the beginning could well be preserved in the "palm covered smokehouse." Meat'll last almost indefinetly when smoked.

I'm like you on the cannibalism thing, I wouldn't do it if other things were available but meat is meat once it's dead.

Yeesh, I can't believe I'm talking like this.

Thanks again for giving me a read, I'll see you on your next.
Abdula
__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation

Last edited by AbdulaOblongata; 11-10-2012 at 12:01 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-10-2012, 06:14 PM
Gritsy's Avatar
Gritsy (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 439
Thanks: 289
Thanks 91
Send a message via Yahoo to Gritsy
Default

Wow...I think it is incredible to take a riddle, an idea, a promise or a simple thought of any kind and give it a complete back story. This was an intense exposition of friendship...true, loving friendship, survival, and seeing truth when one cannot see anything.

Great story. I think it is one of your best.

Always,
C
__________________
"What one believes they are, they will become!
What do you believe"?
**********

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-11-2012, 04:23 AM
rupaksom (Offline)
Pencil pusher
Official Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 22
Thanks: 5
Thanks 4
Default

I like the way you write.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:15 PM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Default

Gritsy,
High praise indeed, thank you!
I enjoyed the challenge but soon realized that all pieces of fiction are formed that way. In this case, I had a premise given to me but in all other efforts, the same thing happens, the only distinction is that the source originates from within.

Speaking of which, when can we expect another installment of WWYT in Free Writing?
Abdula


Rupak,
Thanks for the read and the comment. I haven't seen your stuff in Fiction but that doesn't mean that I can't go exploring other forums here in WB.
Can you toss me a link to some of your work?
See you in the pages,
Abdula
__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11-22-2012, 01:01 PM
Gritsy's Avatar
Gritsy (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 439
Thanks: 289
Thanks 91
Send a message via Yahoo to Gritsy
Default

Happy Thanksgiving Abdula,

You know, I liked this story so much that I just wanted to read it again. It is one of my favorites, along with the Kensington Vault. I just wanted to tell you that I was thinking about you and this story on this particular holiday and am awaiting impatiently for you next.

Your writing is getting deeper and tighter and your imagination, the way you put things together with such an intelligent outcome, is quite exciting to me. It's like seeing a side of you that I have never seen before. You have always been logical and easy to listen to when you are telling a parable or a story that's true, but taking those truths into fiction has been great! I wish I could transition my stories in that way. It's something I will have to start working on.

Again, God's blessings to you, now can you come help me finish up with supper? Thanks!

Always, Cate
__________________
"What one believes they are, they will become!
What do you believe"?
**********

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11-23-2012, 06:08 AM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Default

Gritsy,
Thank you for the kind words and holiday greetings.

Hmmm, this turkey tastes ... funny. No matter, pass me the gravy!?

Ever grateful,
Abdula
__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:26 PM
Gritsy's Avatar
Gritsy (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 439
Thanks: 289
Thanks 91
Send a message via Yahoo to Gritsy
Default

Hmmmmmm, turkey tastes funny huh? That's really because it's some kind of mystery meat. For all I know, Black Forest turkey could be people. Why do you think I won't eat it anymore? I wanted to let you know that I think this story should be nominated for the "Choice" award.

I'm going to find out just how to do that. This is really a solid creation. Sounds like something from Hitchcock and Hell's Kitchen. It's the one piece that I love to read again and again. Thank you for writing it.

Always,
Cate
__________________
"What one believes they are, they will become!
What do you believe"?
**********

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-02-2013, 09:40 AM
Emerald's Avatar
Emerald (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Dublin
Posts: 189
Thanks: 18
Thanks 27
Default

Hey there.
So, since you gave my thing a look-in, I thought I'd repay the favour.

First thing: this doesn't really have anything to do with your writing, but you actually don't need to apply your [FONT], [SIZE] and [COLOR] tags to each individual paragraph. You could do the whole post by just putting one set of tags at the beginning, and the closing tags at the end. Just thought I'd mention that, in case it saves you time in the future.

Originally Posted by AbdulaOblongata View Post

Claude Adams had seen many years in his lifetime with precious few remaining, though admittedly, the majority of them were rather uneventful. Such couldn’t be said for those most recent however since Claude was enjoying a whirlwind of instant celebrity as of late.
I like the opening. I notice it seems to be different from the original, and I think it works better to introduce the character of Claude.
One thing: On that last sentence, there should be a comma between "however" and "since". Also, use of "recent" and "as of late" in the same sentence seems a bit redundant.


Apart from the six month ordeal that altered the course of her employer’s unremarkable life, Claude Adams was not a man given to extravagant exploits whether culinary or otherwise.
This sentence confused me a bit. Caroline isn't mentioned at all in the paragraph, but Claude is still described as "her employer." The previous paragraphs seem like they're written from an omniscient point-of-view, so relating things to Caroline all of a sudden (as if it's from her POV) is a bit confusing. Then later on, Caroline leaves and the POV stays with Claude, so it makes even less sense.

I was confused about the POV for a while; it's an easy thing to forget about when you're writing (since it's clear in your mind from the beginning), but as a reader it's important to know whose perspective the story is being told from.


Claude organized his table for easy access, placing the basket of hard rolls to the left and his glass of water to the right at arm’s length.
I really like this sentence. It's simple and subtle, but effectively characterises Claude as both considerate and fastidious.

I also like the conversation which follows: you're very skilled when it comes to piquing the reader's interest and gradually building suspense. I was surprised I cared so much about something as mundane as what the main character is about to have for dinner.

Blind from birth, Claude was utterly dependent on the wounded man to guide him through survival on what might as well be another planet.
That was a well-executed twist (the blindness). I didn't imagine Claude being blind (especially with him arranging the stuff on his table), so it had me reading back over the previous part. Suddenly all the stuff about his personal aid (whom I figured was just a PA) and his "humble prospects" makes perfect sense.


Scott’s limitations kept him from acquiring the numerous fish in the deeper waters beyond the shoreline and crab, though numerous, were far too small and evasive for him to bother with an attempt.
This is something I first notice here, and which continues through the rest of the story: referring to a single character using interchangeable names ("Alan" and "Scott", or "Claude" and "Adams"). Generally, this should never be done outside of dialogue unless there's a really good reason for it. It's confusing and jarring to the reader, because you have to keep taking yourself out of the story in order to keep track of various names and surnames (or, if you lose track, they might even end up thinking there's a third character called "Scott" on the island).

I realise you're trying to be mindful of over-usage, but character names are like the word "said": they don't really count because the reader gets used to hearing them repeated so often. Definitely something to bear in mind.


it was as fleeting as the fickled breeze
I don't think "fickled" is a word. Fickle makes sense, though, so I presume that was just a typo.

it was only wishful thinking, a ghost limb of the mind taunting him with unachievable temptation.
The ghost limb metaphor is great on its own, but together with the cannibalism theme provides some delightful dramatic irony.

Claude became increasingly morose as evening followed evening with his consumption of seagull dwindling ultimately to nothing. Adams loaded up on tortillas of sea oat with an abundance of coconut as the primary entrée.
Here's another sudden name change. It's far from necessary: you could replace "Adams" with "He" and it'd make perfect sense. As it stands, it just makes me wonder at first who Adams is, and subsequently why you've decided to call him by his surname all of a sudden.


Adams was subtle in his approach, consistently forming his questions seeking information rather than leveling accusation, (I think this should be a full-stop/period instead of a comma) this kept Alan off of the defensive and free to respond openly without reservation.

Reading his charge, the waiter stoically asked, “So Mr. Adams … did you find your seagull to be … satisfactory?”

Claude leaned back almost giddy, “Oh yes young man … more than you could imagine!”
I have to say, I was sceptical about the story at first; I didn't see how a restaurant where you can eat anything as long as it's legal would be particularly interesting. But man, this was brilliant and had me engrossed the whole time.

And I love how the ending tied everything together in a really clever way. I can see where the deductive reasoning exercise came into it.

It's a very smart, well-written and satisfying short story.
Have you considered submitting it to a magazine?

Last edited by Emerald; 01-02-2013 at 09:44 AM.. Reason: forgot something
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Emerald For This Useful Post:
AbdulaOblongata (01-14-2013)
  #15  
Old 01-03-2013, 08:35 AM
MonseratTheFool (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 142
Thanks: 21
Thanks 44
Default

AO,

It was an absolute pleasure to read this piece. The story was not indulgent; it was patient and swift, tossing out morsels to the reader as soon as the appetite for curiosity would become unbearable.

The restraint and timing of the plot elements was mastery; the blindness, the corpse, the death of the companion, etc. were all skillfully balanced in order to preserve the structure of the deductive reasoning and the undercurrent of mystery. The impressive thing is that it all felt fluid and natural and integrated; they did not seem like set pieces. Well done.

My critiques are minor:

As time went on he occasionally started when the delightful bouquet returned to assault his nostrils. (this sentence seems a little at-odds with itself, and the imagery of a delightful bouquet executing an assault might be too stark a contrast.)

Claude became increasingly morose as evening followed evening with his consumption of seagull dwindling ultimately to nothing. Adams loaded up on tortillas of sea oat with an abundance of coconut as the primary entrée. (As another reviewer mentioned, the switching between first and surnames was more confusing than clarifying, and I'd recommend filtering that out wherever possible.)

Otherwise, it was a great read, nice way to spend my lunch break at work. Cheers!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to MonseratTheFool For This Useful Post:
AbdulaOblongata (01-14-2013)
  #16  
Old 01-04-2013, 03:10 AM
jigalowjugs (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 168
Thanks: 15
Thanks 27
Default

Yes Abdula. I really enjoyed this read. You have a skill for writing, no doubt.
I like the ending, it was very satisfying and i could taste the relief of seagul myself with every word.
Or maybe Seagul does mysteriously just taste like human? haha
how does Claude know?
Just a thought
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jigalowjugs For This Useful Post:
AbdulaOblongata (01-14-2013)
  #17  
Old 01-04-2013, 12:09 PM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Default

Emerald,
Thanks for the extensive attention you gave this piece. I'll try to address what I can.

I'm not sure of how to respond to the "tag" mention at the beginning. I don't input labeling when I post to WB, I write in Word then copy and paste directly to the window. I'm assuming that the formatting shows due to the platform that you view.

You got me on that perspective thing with Claude's assistant, I don't think the reader is necessarily confused at what I'm attempting but it's clearly inconsistent with the POV. I will take some time re-doing in my file copy first so I can resubmit it in edit with my Blog and WB.

As far as the name usage, you are quite correct in my motivation for doing it. I HATE repetition, even if they only sound similar. For me, hearing Claude this and Claude that would drive me up the wall. You'll notice that I employ this technique throughout ALL of my writings and I have yet to find a suitable alternative. Until then, I'll have to chalk it up to personal style and creative license but I will actively seek a compromise in the future.
Please note that I'm going to be posting a 3 part story in the next few days and it is rife with that technique so bear that in mind.

I'm glad that you and others picked up on the progressive revelation angle of the presentation, that's exactly how it plays out in the exercise.

Just a quick note on "fickled", it was intentional and it is indeed an acceptable word that's commonly used.
I must admit, it probably doesn't adhere to the "King's English" guidelines.

Again thanks for the review and though I have yet to submit this professionally, it is to be published in the next issue of WB Quarterly.

Monserat,
Thank You for checking out "Service." I agree with that comment of contradiction, it's probably rare for someone to experience a "delighful / assault." I'll revisit that for an alternative.

Sorry that I seem to be having trouble keeping up with your recent posts, I've been juggling my blog, correspondence and a new story with only brief opportunities to catch up on my reading. I hope to rectify that soon.
As far as the name thing, you'll have to check out my response to Emerald ...my fingers are already getting tired.

Jigalow,
Good point and a great potential element to the story. Maybe the restaurant owners are in cahoots with Alan! Perhaps he's not really dead ...hmmm, I smell conspiracy!
Nahh, sometimes a cigar really IS a cigar!
Thanks for giving me a read and I hope to see you soon on yours.
Abdula
__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 01-04-2013, 12:21 PM
MonseratTheFool (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 142
Thanks: 21
Thanks 44
Default :)

Abdula,

I appreciate the sentiment, and hope you'll read my stuff again, but no reciprocation is assumed or expected. Do your thing, follow what's lighting you up. A wise man once told me never to do anything out of obligation
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 01-04-2013, 03:32 PM
buckethead (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 71
Thanks: 8
Thanks 31
Default

This is very smooth and intriguing. Great writing.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to buckethead For This Useful Post:
AbdulaOblongata (01-14-2013)
  #20  
Old 01-04-2013, 08:14 PM
EllieLotus (Offline)
Pencil pusher
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 14
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default Interesting

I am a sucker for a story involving food. This was very interesting right from the beginning. I would love to read more. LOVE!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to EllieLotus For This Useful Post:
AbdulaOblongata (01-14-2013)
  #21  
Old 01-05-2013, 03:38 PM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Default

Monserat,
Wise council my friend and most appreciated. I take it that self-obligation is more than acceptable? Keeping track of writers that I like is getting harder and harder since the numbers have kept growing over the past few months. The difficulty lies in the balance between viewing your faves and the future favorites, newcomers.

I believe community support is an integral part of being a good writer ...'course there's the talent thing too.

Ever grateful,
Abdula


Buckethead,
With a moniker like that, I can't WAIT to read one of your posts!
Thanks for the good words and welcome to the WB.
Abdula


EllieLotus,
Man your name sounds familiar! Anyway, I have to give credit to my fiance' for that influence. She likes to watch virtually every cooking show imaginable and to be honest, I'm kind of hooked on them now. Looking forward to reading your work but in the meantime:
Great to have you on the "Beat"
Abdula
__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 01-13-2013, 08:42 AM
MightieMousie's Avatar
MightieMousie (Offline)
Dedicated Writer
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 200
Thanks: 12
Thanks 36
Default

One thought popped into my mind, which was the recurring leg injury. Perversely, I thought Scott might have been feeding him part of his own body. lol

Excellent story!
__________________
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information,
which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail
to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is
contempt prior to investigation." — Herbert Spencer
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 01-13-2013, 01:58 PM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Default

Mightie,
Now THAT'S an angle that I hadn't thought of, the ultimate self-sacrifice! Now that I have, I can't get it out of my head!!

Way to go Mousie,
Abdula
__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 01-13-2013, 04:06 PM
MightieMousie's Avatar
MightieMousie (Offline)
Dedicated Writer
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 200
Thanks: 12
Thanks 36
Default

LOL! Um... glad to be of service? *Smiles*

I thought you had put that in there, the leg injury, as another thing for us to wonder about... seagulls, corpses, himself. lol
__________________
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information,
which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail
to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is
contempt prior to investigation." — Herbert Spencer
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 01-13-2013, 06:47 PM
Gritsy's Avatar
Gritsy (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 439
Thanks: 289
Thanks 91
Send a message via Yahoo to Gritsy
Default

Dear Abdula,

I have to say, after reading all of the responses to this story, that it is, without a doubt, one of the best pieces I have seen you write. It was for this very reason that I had to nominate this piece for the Member's Choice Award and also put my vote in. Your writing has grown from really good to mostly outstanding in the short time that you have been writing. To me, you are a prodigy and you take to it so naturally. Not only do I know this about you but please understand that, you are also an inspiration to me and a great many others because of your writing.

I hope someday, to go from reporting and journalistic writing to story and fiction, like you have done. Your stylings have so much flair and panache that, with a little bit of hope and prayer, I am certain that you will reach the heights you wish to attain.

As Always,
Gritsy
__________________
"What one believes they are, they will become!
What do you believe"?
**********

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Gritsy For This Useful Post:
AbdulaOblongata (01-14-2013)
  #26  
Old 01-14-2013, 11:44 AM
Dazzo (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: West Yorkshire, England
Posts: 137
Thanks: 112
Thanks 22
Default

Really enjoyable read. Made me hungry, don't half feel like a Double McSeagul Burger right now....excellent writing.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Dazzo For This Useful Post:
AbdulaOblongata (01-14-2013)
  #27  
Old 01-14-2013, 12:58 PM
AbdulaOblongata's Avatar
AbdulaOblongata (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 399
Thanks: 34
Thanks 101
Default

Gritsy,
I take it that encouragement is one of your gifts of the Spirit?
Your very kind words have stricken me uncharacteristically silent.

Bear in mind that this is only a temporary condition ...
Thanks Again,
Abdula

Dazzo,
Welcome to the WB and one of my threads! I hear that the McSeagull is one of those regional menu items, available in New England only I believe.
Watch the tailfeathers!
Abdula
__________________
"The rightness of one's actions is not determined by the desirability of the outcome."
Other Works: My Profile>>statistics>>started threads

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Powered by #WriterNation
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 01-14-2013, 01:28 PM
Dazzo (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: West Yorkshire, England
Posts: 137
Thanks: 112
Thanks 22
Default

Thanks Abdula...yeah they really tickle your throat, I'm usually a breast man but I'd rather not go into that.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Creep World (WIP) MalReynolds Fiction 21 09-07-2017 06:06 AM
The Christdolou Gambit/Double Standard richards89 Fiction 3 06-07-2011 05:02 PM
just to see you smile downpourofwords Lyrics 0 06-08-2010 12:26 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:25 AM.

vBulletin, Copyright © 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.