Sunday, March 20, 2011

Submission #16

Name: Lori M. Lee

On his thirteenth lap around the block, London Howell ripped off the advertisement stapled to his neighbor's fence. There were only so many times he could read about City of London tourism before he got irrationally paranoid.

Dad used to say that naming him after the city they lived in had been a spur of the moment thing. To London, that meant Dad had looked around the hospital room, spotted a similar sign and thought, Sure, why not? He tried not to criticize. It could have been worse. He could be named Liverpool.

Anyway, he would have taken a dozen dumb jokes about the Tower of London over sprinting through his neighborhood at midnight.

He stopped to catch his breath beneath a lamppost, his hand braced against the cool iron. Groaning, he stretched out the cramp in his side. His mobile vibrated in his back pocket and, with a glance at the screen, he picked up.

"You sound like a goat on the rack," Amun said in greeting.

"How," London asked between breaths, "do you know what a tortured goat sounds like?" He shook out his legs, but it didn't help. Even running for two miles hadn't burned off the excess energy. Great. He considered just rolling into a ditch and staying there.

"Animal Sacrifices Hour. Wednesday nights at eight. Bring your own blood bucket."

"Brilliant mental image. Thanks."

"Did running work?"

"No." He didn't know what else to do. Insomnia alone he could probably endure.


  1. Really fun--I definitely want to read more. I want to know why he has insomnia and what other issues he has and who is Anum and what does he know. :) Love the bloody humor. :)

    The only thing that threw me was the reference to rolling into a ditch and staying there. If that were possible, why isn't he in bed, sleeping? Do ditches have magical energy-zapping powers? Wouldn't he be just as restless there? :)

    Great work.

  2. Having a character named London in the city of London seems like its going to make for an interesting story, but when you put both of those references in the opening paragraph, I can't help but reread a couple times trying to figure out what is what. Perhaps something like:

    "Running, London ripped down the poster. He thought about his dad. When London was born he must have...he looked back at the poster and crumpled it. He couldn't look at one more advertisement for the city he was named after"

    Oh, I also loved the animal sacrifice conversation. I felt that was both funny and realistic.

  3. Great beginning. The character already seems interesting and the story starts off witty.

    I agree with Robin, I don't get the reference to rolling into a ditch either. I don't see how that would burn of excess energy.

    Overall, nice attention-grabbing beginning.

  4. Great characterization! I get a clear mental picture of this boy right from the get go and his voice. I did get a little lost in the dialogue. It may be the difference in cultures, but I was a little lost, HOWEVER, I felt certain that should I read further it would become clear. If you want to appeal to a global market, either explain the culture or make it crystal clear.

  5. I really like the voice here - gives a great flavour of character. The conversation is very natural and amusing - obviously good mates.

    A couple of slips that a edit would pick up eg the (already mentioned) lying in a ditch to use up excess energy and I would say "image" instead of "mental image" as what other image is it going to be apart from mental?

    Anyway - great opening that quickly made me like the character (and his mate) and threw up a lot of questions I want to have answered.