Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Draft Theater

First draft theater presents the first in a series of posts featuring a page or two of a first draft. The following is the first draft of what could be the beginning of a story, novel, or nothing depending on whether I continue with this idea. Give it a read. Let me know what you think. Is it worth continuing? What do you think's going to happen next?

And now...First Draft Theater

Reggie grabbed the snow shovel and pushed the handle into a mound of slushy, heavy snow. It was his job, one of many at the restaurant, to keep the front entrance clear. It was a slow night. Four parties since six. He wanted to make the task last.
He walked along the front of the building, out of the lights, scrapping the snow before him. He had smoked a joint a half hour ago. It was wrapping loosely around his limbs, dislocating his arms and legs. Giving him that dulling sensation that calmed him, softened his mind, allowed his thoughts to run along wire dangling in darkness between points of light.
The yellow t-shirt he wore said Fuller Liquors, faded. From a few years ago when his sister rang up customers and bagged there. Then she married her high school boyfriend and moved to Mashpee. Might as well have moved to Uranus for all the times he saw her anymore. If Mashpee was Uranus, Orleans was—whatever planet was beyond Uranus. Was there a planet farther out? Or was it further?
The reason he smoked tonight was Amber’s phone call. Jonathan had contacted her and wanted to meet with both of them tonight. Jonathan would pick up Amber at their apartment and then drive over and pick him up after his shift ended. When you called Jonathan, you left a voicemail that was never returned. When Jonathan called you, that meant something was starting up.
Reggie was halfway to the road before he realized he had left the restaurant’s portico behind him. He was shoveling the parking lot and he was almost positive his boss, Mr. Daniels, had told him not to do this. Plus he was getting wet. Wet snow. Snow always turned to rain on the Cape. And he was cold, freezing. When he was in high school—
“Reggie.” It was Mr. Daniels standing at the back door. “Reggie. Over here. Forget about the parking lot. Mike plows that. Just do back here.”
Reggie watched Mr. Daniels lift his arm. Like a zombie. The walking dead. Mr. Daniels—
“Reggie! Come over here.”
He trotted to the back door. Frozen snow caked the bottoms of his pant legs, clinging like loose teeth.
“Hi,” Reggie thought to say.
“Just make a path to the dumpster,” Mr. Daniels said, pointing across snow-covered pavement to the green dumpster back along the fence. In the summer that thing smelled horrible. One July night maggots formed all over and inside it. In minutes. Reggie couldn’t stop watching those things wriggle. An hour later they were gone. The mass of them living and dying in unison.
“And put a jacket on, it’s freezing out here. Did you hear me?”
“Sure. To the Dumpster.” Reggie had trouble paying attention sometimes.


Cynthia said...

Great beginning to an interesting story. Not certain what will happen, but I would love to read more! :)

Liz (made in lowell) said...

I love your poetic similies: snow clinging like loose teeth to his pant leg, fantastic!

Cynthia said...

I also love the "First Draft Theater" concept. Very clever and I look forward to reading more.

Dell Smith said...

I'm not certain what's going to happen either. But I'm pretty sure I'm going to try coming up with more poetic similies.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dell,
I like the tension building (why is Jonathan calling) and then Reggie's backslide into almost a trance while shoveling. There's a stream of consciousness quality about this piece (ugh -- the maggots)! Keep going. Robin

Dell Smith said...

Hi Robin. Thanks. I too want to find out where this tension is going. I guess I better keep writing.