Sunday, March 20, 2011

Submission #2

Name: Amory David Day

Title: Pills and Plastic (Literary Fiction)

No one ever tells you how loud it is when you’re inside an ambulance. The sirens are blaring, and you’re at ground zero. Not to mention the EMTs are shouting at each other. Usually pleasant things like “his hearts about to stop! Can you find the Naloxone already?”

Also, if you are in your early twenties, and you're in an ambulance with a heart that is about to crash, it’s usually safe to say that old age and natural causes are not phrases that come to mind.

At sixteen I wanted to live forever, now, now I couldn’t care less if I made it one more minute.

It’s really too early to tell you that, you don’t have the context yet. I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Kar Daniel Kellerman. Now I know what you’re thinking, who in their right mind names their kid Kar?

Well, it was the eighties, Buddhism was hot, and anyone on Wall Street had to assuage their guilt for robbing the country blind somehow; there were worse ways than Buddhism, especially if you ignored the being poor part, but kept the authenticity you gained because it was eastern. I guess picking an eastern name for your kid was chic at the time.

For me, it was just one more way for people to give me shit, but, alas, I digress. You’re probably wondering right about now how I ended up in an ambulance, screaming through the New York night like a modern day banshee, my fate resting on some underpaid and undertrained med school washout struggling to find the Naloxone.


  1. I really like your opening paragraph. I like wit, and that covered it.

    I would make this into 3 sentences.

    At sixteen I wanted to live forever. Now? Now I couldn’t care less if I made it one more minute.

    The last paragraph I think would sound a bit smoother if broken down into another sentence.

    Nice job!

  2. I must state that this kind of voice is not my cup of tea. That aside the voice is consistant, which is good when you have a very palpable one like you do. You clearly have a problem here, but after the opening paragraph, I felt like the urgency went from 10 to about 3.

    Aside from that, I think this is pretty good.

  3. Very strong opening sentence. The abrupt switch into "context" dampened some of the tension of the scene so I'd think about holding off on that and giving us more of the scene. Take us right into the hospital (or the morgue?)

    I do like the explanation of the character's name, though. Good job--just needs a little tightening.

  4. I also liked the voice and urgency of the first three paragraphs, but the rest made me think that this is the type of story that starts at the climax and then backs up ("three days earlier...") to tell what led up to it. Not my fave: I don't know the character well enough at this point to care much if he dies, and since I don't have any clue what led up to it, I'm not all that interested in the WHY, either.

    I'd suggest either starting at a unique near-death point (SOO many people take ambulance rides--I have no clue why this one is unique) or starting at the beginning and building to this point. With a unique near-death story, I'll want to read to find out how he got himself in that weird mess. If you start at the beginning and build to this point, I'll care more about his ambulance ride because I'll care more about HIM.

  5. When starting a the ending to explain the beginning, I feel you need to explore more of the emotional upheaval that comes with being in an ambulance. In other words... make me care, gasp, cringe, you get the picture. Also, you skip around a lot and I am not sure which points are applicable. The 16 year old self? The Buddhism? The 20 year old self? Organize your thoughts and then clarify.

    I give you full marks for voice. :-)