Notices


Writers' Guild

A community for writers of all genres to hone our craft, with monthly exercises, challenges, and collaborative writing. Open to anyone who enjoys writing!


The Car Accident (Contains a scene of humorous violence)

 
The Car Accident (Contains a scene of humorous violence)

Awaking from slumber, Benjamin slid his long legs over to the edge of his mattress, which was stacked atop a box spring which was in turn resting on the warm floor of his boiler heated apartment. Standing up and in little more than his small clothes, he moved to the window and frowned as he looked out at the bleary rainy landscape of his slummy neighbourhood. His eyes were dark and heavy from a night of little sleep caused by listening to drunks argue in the back alley outside his window.

“Wonderful.” He stated with a sarcastic slur to his sleep-deprived voice. Finally clambering into an assortment of sweat-stained rags that managed to pass themselves off as a T-shirt and jeans, the young man slid on some travel-worn shoes and strode out of his apartment, keys in hand and locking the doors behind him.

He took a deep breath of the air. Garlic, onions and turmeric. Must be around noon, he thought to himself. Stepping into the gravel-choked parking lot behind his building, Benjamin sidled up to his apple-red ’95 Civic two-door with the cracked bumper and folded himself in. With a coughing chug, he started the car and drove out to his favourite vegan resturaunt, only a few blocks away (one of the major selling points for his apartment, plus the rent was under $800 a month, utilities included, which was an absolute steal).

Some days, the hipster couldn’t believe he lived like this. But some days, he was very glad he did. It gave him a unique perspective on life, and broadened his mind to new experiences. When you live in Hell, you aren’t surprised when you see a demon or two.

It was this broadened and open mind that kept him from being surprised when a large equine animal with a pure white coat and a single white horn suddenly appeared in the middle of the road, right in front of his car. Not that he was expecting it—however, when one is careening down the road at 80 km/h, you don’t really stop to consider what something is in front of you, and you focus more on how you can keep your car from smashing into it, especially when your insurance is already high from the accident you had two years ago on your way from work to a Blink 182 concert.

Just the same, Benjamin was certainly startled by the magical being’s sudden appearance, and he didn’t have much space to maneuver around it. Thus, his tiny little two-door econocar rattled into the creature.

Rainbow coloured blood splattered onto the windshield and mixed with the creature’s luminescent white fur, spelling panic for poor Benjamin as he leapt out of his car to inspect the scene.

“Oh hell!” He exclaimed as he paced around. Thinking quickly, he called the police to report the accident on his Blackberry (he has a very complex schedule, and he gets bored at work easily.)

“Hi, I’d like to report a major vehicle accident!” He shouted.

“Was anyone hurt?”

“Yes, I think I hit a unicorn!”

There was silence on the other line. It still hadn’t struck Benjamin that what he said was completely ridiculous and absolutely impossible. His broadened mind was simply to broad to even consider that someone might just think he’s crazy if he did something silly like report hitting a unicorn to a 911 operator.

“Sir, is this a joke?” Came the dubious reply from the over-worked young woman on the other line.

“No, I’m very serious! There’s blood all over my windshield! I have witnesses and everything, I’m on a major thoroughfare and I just hit a unicorn!”

It was true, by now at least three groups of children had managed to find sticks (as they always do in this situation) and were poking the rainbow mess of a corpse that had collapsed the front half of Benjamin’s red Civic, which was now a red-dominated rainbow scrap-heap.

“Sir, you realize it’s a criminal offense to waste the government’s—“

“Yes, I realize! I’m sure someone else must have called about this by now!”

“Sir, please hold on a moment.” She went silent for a few minutes, and then returned. “…Very well, it seems we have received several other calls from your location, and I suppose we do have to at least dispatch an officer to check out the scene.”

“Thank you very much!” Without even thinking about proper protocol, Benjamin hung up the phone and inspected the wreck that was his car.

Sirens blazed in the distance, and a police car arrived on site. The poor police woman just about crapped her pants with laughter when she saw the scene, the shock of the absolute insanity of what she was looking at was simply too much for her system to take in all at once.

“Well, crap, son, you hit a unicorn.”


END

Remove the swearwords and replace them with something else (heck, hell, crap, etc.). Putting a warning in the title doesn't make it okay to violate site rules. The rule is there because the site uses Google Ads and they require PG-13, not because the mods care.

The swearword has been removed. Original version still available on my dA account, http://wandio.deviantart.com

(Although, the swearword I used and the fact there was only one probably kept it PG13, better safe than sorry)

Now that's been dispensed with...

The opening sentence is a little unwieldy and clunky. It's also missing some commas.

"Awaking from slumber, Benjamin slid his long legs over to the edge of his mattress, which was stacked atop a box spring which was in turn resting on the warm floor of his boiler heated apartment."

I've certainly read much worse, but it could use some tightening up. We don't really need to be told he's 'awaking from slumber', since you mention later in the same paragraph that he didn't get enough sleep. Beyond that, given the tone of the piece, 'slumber' is really the wrong word. You want 'sleep' or 'waking up', or possibly 'rubbing away the sleep that determinedly clung to his eyes', or even 'forcing himself up despite the sleep inertia that wanted to keep him lying there'. Word choice should be reasonably consistent all the way through, and 'slumber' is a more poetic word than the piece wants.

Perhaps you could explain why he woke up. Did an alarm go off? Some obnoxious noise outside? His girlfriend (I know one wasn't mentioned, but there could just as easily be one as not) poke him?

Were I to write the opening, I believe I would go more like this:

The morning started much, much too early. Benjamin lay there while the alarm chirped cheerfully at him, the incessant beeping enough to make him growl wordlessly at it. He sat up slowly, rubbing sleep from eyes that didn't want to open, and smacked the clock to make it shut up. Idiot drunks were in the alley last night, keeping him up for hours with endless yammering and retching and singing and whatever the rest of it was. Even with the window shut, he still couldn't get to sleep over the racket until the wee hours.

Of course, this way doesn't pack nearly so much information into one sentence. If that's a more important goal than flow, then I'd go more like this:

Rubbing sleep from eyes that weren't ready to accept morning, Benjamin swung his long legs over to and off of the edge of the bed - there was no frame, just the mattress on the box spring, and that right on the floor - so his bare feet could enjoy the feel of warm hardwood, a happy side effect of the apartment's boiler heat.

Once you get past the first sentence, it moves like you're rushing to a conclusion, which is fine. The interesting thing about this conclusion, though, is that it doesn't remotely relate to the opening. If you're going to go to the trouble to tell us how tired he is, at least make the accident a result of his being tired. Otherwise, who cares? If it's not relevant to the accident, it's not relevant to the story, because the accident is the whole story.


Will have a second draft up within the hour!

The morning started much too early for Benjamin, the sun peering through the slats on his dust covered blinds and straight into his eyes. He slid his long legs over to the edge of his mattress—there was no frame, just a box spring and hard wood floor. His room stank of body odour and humidity, resulting from a warm night caused by the heat from the boiler. Standing up and in little more than his small clothes, he moved to the window and frowned as he looked out at the bleary rainy landscape of his slummy neighbourhood. His eyes were dark and heavy from a night of little sleep caused by listening to drunks argue in the back alley outside his window.

“Wonderful.” He stated with a sarcastic slur to his sleep-deprived voice. Finally clambering into an assortment of sweat-stained rags that managed to pass themselves off as a T-shirt and jeans, the young man slid on some travel-worn shoes and strode out of his apartment, keys in hand and locking the doors behind him.

He took a deep breath of the air. Garlic, onions and turmeric. Must be around noon, he thought to himself. Stepping into the gravel-choked parking lot behind his building, Benjamin sidled up to his apple-red ’95 Civic two-door with the cracked bumper and folded himself in. With a coughing chug, he started the car and drove out to his favourite vegan resturaunt, only a few blocks away (one of the major selling points for his apartment, plus the rent was under $800 a month, utilities included, which was an absolute steal).

Some days, the hipster couldn’t believe he lived like this. But some days, he was very glad he did. It gave him a unique perspective on life, and broadened his mind to new experiences. When you live in Hell, you aren’t surprised when you see a demon or two.

It was this broadened and open mind that kept him from being surprised when a large equine animal with a pure white coat and a single white horn suddenly appeared in the middle of the road, right in front of his car. Not that he was expecting it—however, when one is careening down the road at 80 km/h, you don’t really stop to consider what something is in front of you, and you focus more on how you can keep your car from smashing into it, especially when your insurance is already high from the accident you had two years ago on your way from work to a Blink 182 concert.

Just the same, Benjamin was certainly startled by the magical being’s sudden appearance, and he didn’t have much space to maneuver around it. This, compounded by the fact he was tired from his lack of sleep, caused him to maneuver his little econocar right into the creature.

Rainbow coloured blood splattered onto the windshield and mixed with the creature’s luminescent white fur, spelling panic for poor Benjamin as he leapt out of his car to inspect the scene.

“Oh hell!” He exclaimed as he paced around. Thinking quickly, he called the police to report the accident on his Blackberry (he has a very complex schedule, and he gets bored at work easily.)

“Hi, I’d like to report a major vehicle accident!” He shouted.

“Was anyone hurt?”

“Yes, I think I hit a unicorn!”

There was silence on the other line. It still hadn’t struck Benjamin that what he said was completely ridiculous and absolutely impossible. His broadened mind was simply to broad to even consider that someone might just think he’s crazy if he did something silly like report hitting a unicorn to a 911 operator.

“Sir, is this a joke?” Came the dubious reply from the over-worked young woman on the other line.

“No, I’m very serious! There’s blood all over my windshield! I have witnesses and everything, I’m on a major thoroughfare and I just hit a unicorn!”

It was true, by now at least three groups of children had managed to find sticks (as they always do in this situation) and were poking the rainbow mess of a corpse that had collapsed the front half of Benjamin’s red Civic, which was now a red-dominated rainbow scrap-heap.

“Sir, you realize it’s a criminal offense to waste the government’s—“

“Yes, I realize! I’m sure someone else must have called about this by now!”

“Sir, please hold on a moment.” She went silent for a few minutes, and then returned. “…Very well, it seems we have received several other calls from your location, and I suppose we do have to at least dispatch an officer to check out the scene.”

“Thank you very much!” Without even thinking about proper protocol, Benjamin hung up the phone and inspected the wreck that was his car.

Sirens blazed in the distance, and a police car arrived on site. The poor police woman just about crapped her pants with laughter when she saw the scene; the shock of the absolute insanity of what she was looking at was simply too much for her system to take in all at once. After regaining her composure, she walked over to Benjamin.

Just as she was about to talk, she blinked and wrinkled her nose.

“Ugh, you smell like sweat.”

****


Altered the ending a bit. Not sure if I like the old last line or the new one better. I'm, of course, trying to maintain a sense of absolute absurdity and trying to paint a picture of the main character in under 1000 words. The idea of this new last line is "It's absolutely insane that the officer would comment on his hygiene when, quite clearly, he just hit a unicorn with his car."

I like the original last line better.

One issue I found the first time I read over it was that the only information he gives the 911 operator about his location is "I'm on a major thoroughfare...." but the 911 operator seems to know where he is, even though he's calling from a cell phone. It wouldn't take away from the story if he said something like "I'm on the corner of 97th and Central...." It would give the operator a reason to know where he is, at least.

With a stated goal of keeping the word count to about 1000, consider starting the story in the car. Does it really matter that he's tired? It's still not really a part of the story except in the beginning. It's mentioned, but thrown away as a trifle. Does it matter what kind of apartment he lives in, or that his bed doesn't have a frame, or his building has a boiler? All of that has really nothing to do with the accident. Why does he have semi-unusual clothes? That also has nothing to do with the accident.

TheWhiteFire, I like the premise behind this short. It is a euphemism of one's life. I can easily put myself into the seat of this car, knowing exactly how the driver feels and how hectic things become when one hits a unicorn.

I do agree with Dauphinous, it needs to be "tightened" up. The sentences seem haphazardly placed and I feel like I am bouncing around through the lines. I find that I need to create my own anchor point, or baseline, so I can keep reading through the story. Also, be cautious of using similar words too close to each other. Maybe this is personal preference, yet I think it detracts from the quality of writing. For example "His broadened mind was simply to broad to even consider..." You should lay off using broadened and broad so much. Please remember, spell check does not catch words spelled correctly but misused. "His broadened mind was simply to [correction: too] broad to even consider..."

Your new ending does not work with the story. It breaks the flow. It takes the story completely away from the accident and the unicorn and turns it back to the guy and his 'condition'. The first ending was better. However, be cautious not to use crap, or it's variations too much. The first one you used describing the police lady and then again when she began to speak.

Another note, when you refer to his neighborhood and surroundings relating it to hell and demons, you do not need to capitalize Hell. When I read it the first time it made me believe he was really in Hell and demons were surrounding him. I think when you refer to a general condition use the lowercase hell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magicdragon
One issue I found the first time I read over it was that the only information he gives the 911 operator about his location is "I'm on a major thoroughfare...." but the 911 operator seems to know where he is, even though he's calling from a cell phone. It wouldn't take away from the story if he said something like "I'm on the corner of 97th and Central...." It would give the operator a reason to know where he is, at least.
Magicdragon, I think Whitefire explained himself through this part when he said he disregarded all protocol and hung up on the 911 operator. When I was in high school I was walking to early morning Jazz band and was hit by a car. I was in shock, yet still felt I could continue on to school. When I arrived and after some discussion with others I called my mother on the phone and said "Mom, I have been hit by a car." Then I hung up the phone, not giving her any details or description of where I was or what happened. When one is in shock you don't do or say things you normally should or want to say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanavel View Post
TheWhiteFire, I like the premise behind this short. It is a euphemism of one's life. I can easily put myself into the seat of this car, knowing exactly how the driver feels and how hectic things become when one hits a unicorn.

I do agree with Dauphinous, it needs to be "tightened" up. The sentences seem haphazardly placed and I feel like I am bouncing around through the lines. I find that I need to create my own anchor point, or baseline, so I can keep reading through the story. Also, be cautious of using similar words too close to each other. Maybe this is personal preference, yet I think it detracts from the quality of writing. For example "His broadened mind was simply to broad to even consider..." You should lay off using broadened and broad so much. Please remember, spell check does not catch words spelled correctly but misused. "His broadened mind was simply to [correction: too] broad to even consider..."

Your new ending does not work with the story. It breaks the flow. It takes the story completely away from the accident and the unicorn and turns it back to the guy and his 'condition'. The first ending was better. However, be cautious not to use crap, or it's variations too much. The first one you used describing the police lady and then again when she began to speak.

Another note, when you refer to his neighborhood and surroundings relating it to hell and demons, you do not need to capitalize Hell. When I read it the first time it made me believe he was really in Hell and demons were surrounding him. I think when you refer to a general condition use the lowercase hell.

Magicdragon, I think Whitefire explained himself through this part when he said he disregarded all protocol and hung up on the 911 operator. When I was in high school I was walking to early morning Jazz band and was hit by a car. I was in shock, yet still felt I could continue on to school. When I arrived and after some discussion with others I called my mother on the phone and said "Mom, I have been hit by a car." Then I hung up the phone, not giving her any details or description of where I was or what happened. When one is in shock you don't do or say things you normally should or want to say.
Thank you. I will take another re-read to try and tighten up the beginning a little more.

With regards to capital-H hell: It's a metaphor. It's not describing the condition of his neighborhood so much as the fact that he, in some ways, feels sort of forsaken by the God that is so-called 'Normality'. As a note of personal preference in the matter, I'll keep the H.

What you say about the Cr-word (to differentiate between it and the other C-word, and let's just leave it at that) is valid, and as such I shall endeavor to improve upon this.

I too preferred the other ending. That being said, in both cases I think it wasn't enough of a 'twist' or 'punchline', and I think I will hold off on coming up with another ending until I have worked on the flow of the rest of the shortstory.

As for the 'disregarding protocol', that is precisely it. I am basing much of what I do in the story (as it is indeed me in the story) on what it is very much like to be in a very real car accident, as I have been in two. I also purposely avoid giving a specific location or setting for the story, because the story doesn't just feature me, but any other poor hipster living in a crummy part of town, and I want it to remain that way.

As for repetition of words: This is a problem I just seem to have, however with regards to the "his broadened mind is simply too broad," in that specific example, the repetition was intentional. However, as I think your citing it shows, it loses much of its impact from being amidst other repeated words.




 

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Myth-Weavers Status       Advertise with us