Warning, partial nudity ahead
Thanks Seamus, this was great! I’ll admit I was pulled in slowly at the outset, but once you settled into the scene with the topless flashers and, eventually, his girlfriend I couldn’t pull away.
As Chuck emphasized, the ending was out of left field in the best way. Not just placing the gun in the beginning but giving it baggage through that alliteration trick as well was brilliant.
I agree with the part where you say "unpack the breasts." Not even kidding. For someone who has seen a fair number of women flash as the narrator, it would be cool if he had his own language and categories for them. You can probably write a whole story like that haha
Really liked this story. As always, love reading Chuck's critiques as well. My only suggestion is also to delete the line near the end 'And then something happens.' Just let it happen. It's wonderful.
I love how you introduce what I’d imagine to be an awesome perk of the job - getting flashed a bunch - and then show how, no, actually, it’s absolutely miserable. Great work! Thanks for sharing.
That was a great story. I like stories talking about things i never payed attention to.
I'll never see workers with signs the same way, thank you for that.
As usual Chuck's advices make a lot of sense and will be usufull to everyone.
Your story reminded me of that one time i was hitchhiking when i was 15. A car stopped and i ran towards it. The driver had his red cock out and asked me "need a ride?" I never hitchhicked alone after that one.
Also, did any of you guys that got gloved off reworked stories ? If so, it'll be great to let us know so we can read the edited version.
Great story! I did not see the crash coming. If I might make a suggestion about the Mustang: The late 70s was an awful time for vehicles, especially muscle cars, due to gas crises and strengthening emissions regulations. By ‘77 the Mustang was basically a Maverick with some makeup on. What about a ‘71 Mach I ragtop? Seeing cars all day, your narrator would likely know a lot about them. He could even wonder if the block was a Windsor or a Cleveland. 302, 351, or 429? You’d be able to hear the difference. Just my two cents.
Hey Seamus! Thanks for sharing “Highwayman” with us.
My favorite scene is when you bring us to the guy’s home where we learn he’s having problems “performing” for his girlfriend. I love love love the part when she flashes him and he says, “It just…it kind of feels like I’m still at work.”
After that, you carry me forward with lots of meaningful physical action. Here are some of my favorites:
-She does an about-face (I like how you chose “about-face” instead of turned around)
-She fiddles with her seatbelt, grabs for the hem of her sweatshirt, and lifts. (NOTE: I think Chuck is suggesting this as stopping point for the section, but I feel that after some (ok lots) of rearranging, this line could also work as the final line of your story…)
Some Big Voice lines I like are:
-Why do I live somewhere I’m never comfortable? (Relatable because I often ask myself the same.)
-I’m not flipping the sign because I hate you, because I want to make you late for your meeting, or your wedding, or your therapy session. (This is just plain funny.)
-You have your power windows, your automatic heating and cooling, your AM/FM radio with seven presets. All I have are cigarettes, and I might not even have many of those left. (Great voice.)
-I guess I don’t know why it bothers me so much. It’s a perfectly natural thing, your woman flashing the neon-green man. (Again, great voice, and doubles as confirming the events for the reader)
Fun story, Seamus. Can’t wait to see where you take it!
Thanks for sharing your story, Seamus. Chuck's comment about where the story catches fire (moves from telling to showing) really hit home. Now I'm looking at something I'm working on. Sure enough, the place where the story catches fire is a few pages in. I can move this to the beginning, perform a bit of surgery, and wow--what a difference. Again, thanks for the story, happy revising, and thank you Chuck, for helping us all out.
All these stories you guys wrote are so inspiring. Every gloves off day i write so much more than a regular day.
Thank you, Chuck, for taking the time to do this. It's really generous, and your feedback on others' stories is absolutely improving my writing. I find myself thinking back to your comments often as I revise.
Chuck, thank you so much for taking the time to give such detailed and actionable feedback! Thanks to everyone else as well for the continued discussion in the comments section. You've all given me much to think about, and now that I find myself in post-grad limbo, I have plenty of time to toy around with this story and hopefully make it more engaging from the start, and also of course to deepen Harry's character by showing him as someone who knows his way around a set of knockers.
There were two main issues with the plot that came up when I talked this story over with my professor:
- The shift in point of view during the scene in which the girlfriend flashes Frank was highlighted as a problem. Before, my best idea was to have this come to light during an argument between the narrator and his girlfriend, but I think your suggestion of some type of communication between Frank and Harry allows for this while maintaining some unspoken tension within the couple.
- While I think the ending is fun and I am somewhat attached to it, my professor said that it is not wholly believable. Thinking it over, I think I agree as it does seem somewhat difficult to square this action with the narrator as a person who sees his job as an important and, though mundane, a noble one. I wonder if anyone might have suggestions for an alternate ending that could express his frustration with the position he's found himself in, while still being within the realm of possibility for the character I have established.
Once again, thank you very much -- this post has given me direction for the story, and has me looking forward to the revision process.
Question for Chuck. Whenever I try to burn the language, and show it to someone, people always try to correct it as a form of feedback or editing. How do you tell them that mistake or misstatement was intentional so they get it? I feel like not everyone thinks burning the language is a viable tool for storytelling.
Also Chuck, what do you mean by black-out gesture or action? Either you told me and I forgot, or I just never asked.
This was a wild ride, you had me laughing, great work Seamus!
Nice story, the feedback excellent as always. My only comment is (and this is only a detail I noticed), I worked in a heat, I get the tiredness and that when you fall into a microsleep you can lose a grip. That would make sense that the breeze turns the sign. But... If the character is using it partially as a crutch, probably leaning on it I find a bit jarring to believe it would turn just like that with the bodyweight against tarmac. But it's really just a detail.
Adding to that, it could be interesting to unpack the "clammy hands"? We had to work in rubberised gloves on construction site, my hand would sweat and the sweat would be trapped in the glove making my fingertips wrinkled.
Thanks for sharing.