It Started with a Bang

‘There is a place to begin a story.’

‘Is there?’

‘Yes. And this isn’t it.’

‘Why not?’ Jerrod glanced around. ‘After all, this is the top of the page.’

Arno sighed. ‘Just because it is the top of the page, that doesn’t mean it is the start of the story.’

‘Seems a god a place as any.’ Jerrod shrugged, wondering if they had established their names enough to do without dialogue tags for a while. He thought about experimenting when he next spoke.

‘Action,’ Arno said, thinking a few more dialogue attributions could be necessary.

‘What about it?’

‘That’s what readers want these days. Something to get their teeth into. Start with a bang.’

‘A bang? Is this erotica then?’

‘Don’t be facetious. We wouldn’t want them to think that this was meant to be funny.’

‘Why not? I like a laugh.’

‘Funny doesn’t sell. There’s no market for it.’

‘That’s the sort of thing traditional publishers say,’ Jerrod said, feeling a need to see his name in print again. ‘Usually, just before the next big thing breaks and it is exactly what they said doesn’t sell.’

‘Are you intent on making this opening a failure?’ Arno thought about doing some sort of action to avoid having to put ‘said’ at the end of his speech, but he couldn’t think of anything to do with his hands. The bloody writer hadn’t even sketched the barest of settings yet. Typical. Arno wondered if he had to do everything, carry the whole story again, like that time a while ago when the author couldn’t be arsed. It had served the idle bugger right in the end though. The book had only sold half a dozen copies and ten more when he had a free giveaway.

Some writers, they had no idea.

‘So if not that sort of bang, what then?’ Jerrod shrugged, hoping to do something a bit more dynamic in the 2nd draft. ‘I mean, no offence mate, but you are not my type.’

Arno looked over the top of the paragraph at Jerrod. ‘How do you know?’

‘I don’t… not that I’ve got anything against it. But I’m not into that.’

‘How do you know? He hasn’t even described us yet. I could be the man… woman… marmoset of your dreams.’

Jerrod blushed. ‘How do you know about the marmosets?’

‘Well… I’ve been in his stories before. Just when you think you know what is happening… bloody marmosets everywhere.’ He shrugged too. ‘Not that I’m entirely sure this author knows what a marmoset is. He’ always pretty vague on the details. Hates research.’

‘Oh.’ Jerrod looked down at his hand.

‘What?’ Arno took a step back. ‘Careful with that. Is it loaded?’

Jerrod raised the gun. ‘I don’t know. How can you tell?’

‘Don’t point it at me.’ Arno stepped back towards the left-hand margin, glancing over this shoulder at the edge of the page.

‘I think I have to.’ Jerrod aimed at Arno.

‘But we are mates.’

‘Are we? Are you sure about that? After all, we’ve only known each other for around 500 words.’

‘500 words? Oh, shit.’

‘What?’

‘500 words. That means this is the end.’

Jerrod fired. The shot was loud on the blank page.

Arno staggered back over the margin and fell from the edge of the page. Blood pooled around the full stop at the end of the sentence.

‘Bang.’ Jerrod said, letting the gun fall to the foot of the final paragraph.

 

Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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