Black and White: 1

Click “today on Cooking L..” Click “You too can loose”..Click “ riots at the G-8 summit today” Click “Mommy, can I” Click. The Images and sounds rapidly flew across the TV screen. Dave kept clicking, then clicked back a few stations. Saturday morning TV was terrible in London, and his hangover made it very hard to see anything. He went back to SNN Satellite News Network. It was showing images which caught his attention. It seemed that some people wearing red bandannas as masks were having a bottle-distance-throwing competition with some police officers. So far it seemed the police were winning, but Dave figure that was because they were cheating. The protesters were hurling bottles at the police, which happened to be filled with gasoline and burning. The police were hurling bottles back, which happened to be spuing CS gas. But the police were cheating because they were using tear-gas launchers. Dave was just memorized by the images, and was totally losing the words the announcer was saying.

This, what has become a bloody tradition of protesting globalization” the announcer continue. Dave figured it was a moot point. Globalization was nearly complete, with only the poorest countries not being a part of the World Trade Organization. But all this thought was well beyond his minds current abilities. He looked around the room. Empty whiskey bottles, vodka bottles, beer cans lay strewn about everywhere. It looked like he had a big party…but he was quite sure just by the state of his head, that he had drunk most of this alone.

He went into the kitchen to get a glass of water and get some liquid into his parched throat. He nearly tripped over a few bottles, stumbled to regain control, stepped on a glass, which luckily only tumbled away and did not break, then finally found himself at the sink. He pulled a glass from the cabinet, poured some water from the filter, and drank it, then drank another, then another. This was not going to be enough, so he headed for the bathroom to get some Advil. He made it into the bathroom without incident, and fumbled for the light switch. He found it, and went to wash his face. All these normal tasks seemed to border on impossible.

Ok, Dave, why did you drink so much” He asked himself in the mirror, staring at his red eyes. The last time he felt this bad was after playing a drinking game in college which involved a video game, and as many friends as you could get into a room, and as much booze as you could get into your friends. Except this time it had just been him and his roommate, but they drank enough for all the friends who should have been there, and then were sick enough for all of them too. Now Dave had a suspicion that he was drinking for a different reason, but what it was was alluding him.

If I drank that much of my expensive liquor than I must have been trying to forget something” Dave said, as he washed his face again, and turned on the shower. He climbed into the shower, and it felt like he was shedding layers of grime. This made him feel better, but failed to clear his head anymore.

Now if you were trying to forget, and you spent all that good liqueur on trying to forget, why are you trying to remember” he told himself. He had obviously tried very hard to make his mind forget, and it had worked. Yet he could not let his mind bump against this complete blank without trying to figure it out.

He put on his robe and exited the shower. He looked at his face again in the mirror, and realized he would need to shave, but he was not in any condition to put a razor to his face now.

He was still pondering what it was he was trying so hard to forget when he poured another glass of water, and sat down on the couch again. He flipped on the TV, which was still set to SNN.

Dave’s cup shook in his hands, then teetered, and fell to the floor. His eyes were wide, and his skin pale as ash. The images on the tv flickered past, but Dave saw them in slow motion. It felt like he was having an out of body experience, he was on SNN, and as he watched what he had lived through the night before, the images and sounds came flooding back to him. The reason for his drinking binge was immediately obvious.

This was the most recent attack in a string of attacks..” the announcer was saying standing in front of a hospital. Dave’s mind was on a conversation he had the afternoon of the previous day…

John, I do not like this supped up babysitting for rich snobs, you know that.” Ryan was saying to John Malcom.

Ryan, none of us like these assignments, for one, because of the unpredictability of them, and two, it is far easier to be on guard and bored sitting outside a diplomats home, or while they are in a meeting, than it is to be bored while your clients party away…especially if there are distractions you would rather be paying attention to” John Replied, “ none of us like babysitting partying teen snobs, but this is not that bad. I have been on Rachel’s guard teem before, and she is usually very cooperative”

Well, you should appreciate that!” Ryan laughed, snidely referring back to the time John lost the twelve year old he was supposed to be guarding somewhere in largest amassment park in the world.

Well, that time all the kid did was sneak away on a few rides and smoke a cig or two, I do believe we have had worst missing cases” Dave jumped in after hearing the first part of the conversation. But tonight just got more interesting, I have added two more people to the detail, and ordered the armored limo instead of the Lincoln’s.”

Why is that” asked Ryan.

It seems Rachel has a few friends over, and we are escorting them around London tonight” Dave Stated.

Oh, doesn’t this keep getting better.”

How many friends” Asked John.

There will be six we are directly responsible for. Two are cousins, both daughters of Benjamin Rabin, One is a British diplomats daughter, then there are Jennifer, and Brittany, both of whom we have guarded with Rachel before.” Dave said, in a flat tone.

Well, this should prove an interesting night” Ryan said…

The death toll in last nights bombing attack stands at 10, with dozens others wounded.” The newscaster was saying in a voice-over as the TV showed the nightclub as a living hell playing video from the nightclubs security cameras. Red and blue strobe lights flashed, a dark-light made everything glow, the music still played, its heavy bass thumping distorting the sound quality of the microphones pic-up, and yet over it all the screams of panicked teens could be heard. In tenth of a second frames, as the strobe dance lights flashed, people were scrambling away from a the smoke filled center of the dance-floor. Blood poured from gashes and cuts. One girl stumbled past the camera , her near- see-through dance cloths ripped and tattered, soaked in blood from a wound above her eye . Others pushed and shoved to get out of the way. One teen boy, his hair a bright orange spike, his leather clothing skin tight, with studded metal on it,–everything saying I am tough, stay away– was collapsed on the floor crying and shaking.

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5 thoughts on “Black and White: 1

  1. This is a good beginning. I’m interested enough to read further, primarily because of the way the story is unfolding and we’re gradually learning about the tragedy.

    I have a few suggestions. (Which will not include spelling or punctuation; a draft is a draft.)

    You can omit the line “The images and sounds rapidly flew across the TV screen.” You’ve already shown us that. Trust that your readers will get it without blatantly spelling it out.

    I’d like more detail about where the conversation is taking place and who’s involved in it. The current set-up is a little confusing.

    Beware characters explaining things to the audience! The beginning of the guards’ conversation sounds like it’s being held for the benefit of the audience, not like something they would actually say. At the risk of being self-promoting, this blog entry might better explain what I mean. http://edgesandactions.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/the-csi-problem/

    But none of that takes away from my interest, and that’s what counts. Bring on part 2!

    • Unfortunately this is a story I started a decade ago. It had three more chapters hand written, and the pages are gone. It is in my list of stories to come back too, but that is a ways off.

      • Hey, this blog is all about finishing stories, right? The original writing came from you… and you’re still here. It’ll probably be better the second time anyway.

      • Mwah ha! Touche, Matt! 😉

        And I’ll give my thoughts here. Matt’s reviews are quite nice. He covered the technical details more than I do (or notice).

        I thought this was a good start. I enjoy the “what did I do?!” factor, and your description of his current state was good. I think you could work on a bit more of the dramatic moment around his realization, but the current pass at it nicely conveyed his shock at himself.

        I’d keep reading.

  2. A protagonist dealing with a huge professional failure is a great way to begin a story. I agree with Matt that the conversation with the bodyguards is too rote, and needs to be more subtle in its exposition.

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