NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
nmatkovich
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Joined: October 5th, 2020, 3:18 pm
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by nmatkovich » October 5th, 2020, 3:21 pm

Title: The Squeeze
Genre: Coming of Age

An innate sense of location makes me a bitch for potential kidnappers. It’s a gift should a loved one cross a well-connected bookie or a drug lord.

The comfort of my current location, based on surface and room temperature told me I spent the night on the bathroom floor. The pink and beige linoleum tile and a balled-up hand towel offered enough comfort for six hours.

I opened one eye to survey ground level. Peters did a good job yesterday. The empty waste basket and outer base of the toilet glistened. No markings or mystery liquids either. He might be due a permanent promotion. No other television trays deserved to die when the Hoover’s cord fooled his size-twelve Nikes. But enough about my comfy digs and plush surroundings. Time to move. I put both hands under my shoulders and pushed up. I rose to one knee and gripped the toilet. The sparking ceramic provided coolness and relief from our sweatbox.

In my current form I shrunk the distance between the toilet and myself so I could muffle noise of anything going into the toilet. Five hours does wonder for one’s reputation. If I threw up last night in the middle of the Back on the Farm party and kept drinking it highlighted my iron-clad perseverance to keep the evening alive. Not so for today. Throwing up in the morning was rookie league, freshmen year first semester shit. The reward of some hacking coughs and half-a-mouth full of phlegm did not justify my effort.

Rainbow Girl
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Joined: July 13th, 2020, 5:54 pm
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Rainbow Girl » November 10th, 2020, 2:26 pm

When the Watcher popped by for its food delivery routine, I was scared. Genuinely frightened. But like always, the Watcher’s painted smile gleamed with an impossible air of friendliness, and the silver, floating machination began rummaging through its bag with its metal claws to give us whatever dehydrated Meals we had earned. My mother’s expression mirrored mine, and Dusty anxiously buried his head into my arm.

Had we honestly earned enough food through all our combined Earnings? Could we feed the whole House? Me and the other adults in the family had been working overtime in the Glory Corps with our Community Service work, the Schoolboys and Schoolgirls were attending school every day, earning exceptional grades, and we had just managed to dodge flu season. But knowing our combined wages, on top of the taxes, bills, and medical compensation for Aunt Clarissa, we would be lucky to get one Meal.

Finally, the Watcher pulled out three Meal Packages, and handed them to my mother, who hugged them to her body. “That will be all, Jefferson family. Maybe if you deposit more of your money into the Megabanks, you would be able to feed your household and then some.” It said with a chuckle-or as close as a robot can come to a chuckle-before it hovered through our doorway, over the sand-colored ground, and to the Mendelsohn House.

Mother Joy felt on her knees and wept with happiness, holding the Packages in her hands, treasuring them, before standing back up and setting them down gently on our table. Father Dave hugged her as a smile bloomed on the lips of Grandmother Erica, which was a rare treat. Grandfather Arnold leaned back in his old chair, pulled out his paper, and began to read with a sigh. Sister Luna whispered something in my Cousin Alice’s ear, and she gasped, before singing with joy. Nephew Dusty hugged me harder than he had before, while Uncle Milo sat in his corner and began to draw.

Juner
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Joined: November 20th, 2020, 6:34 am
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Juner » November 20th, 2020, 6:38 am

“Are ye a feen-yin or a proddy dog’?
“Are ye a feen-yin or a proddy dog?
The year was 1966, the place a greasy street on a run-down Glasgow council estate. To judge by his expression, the answer was critical to this congested looking, ferret-faced boy.
“Well? Whit are ye?”
I hesitated. For I neither understood the question, nor knew the answer.
Rolling his eyes at his open-mouthed pals, ferret-face sighed and tossed me a life ring:
“Whit school dae ye go tae?”
Ah. Now this I did know.
“Craigie Park”.
“A proddy dog then.”
This was clearly the right answer. Satisfied, the boys leapt onto their Choppers and sped off into the deeper recesses of the estate.
I didn’t know what I was. I only knew what I wasn’t, since no-one had thought to mention what I was. I wasn’t Feen-yin, I knew that much for sure. I had been told that we hated Catholics. Why? No-one had thought to mention that either. I suppose I might have worked out that I was a Proddy had I known that Proddy was the opposite of Feen-yin. But you can only work with what you’ve been given.
So here I was, just seven years old, confronted with the knotty concept of religious affiliation. Except it wasn’t. This was my introduction to tribal affiliation. A quite different thing altogether.

coatimundi
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Joined: November 20th, 2020, 3:55 pm
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by coatimundi » November 20th, 2020, 4:16 pm

Title: Quar Corners
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic

Ana flinched, sensing the inaudible screech that always agitated the street dogs just before the synthesized chimes began. There were more than twenty boxes now, all mounted high on phone poles, and Silverton was small enough you could hear the announcements from anywhere. No need for Mayor Dave to address weary citizens from the decaying steps of the courthouse, the way things worked in the first two years of the quarantine. Last fall Ana's brother and his friends had killed a box down by the low-head dam. Three 12-year olds caught with stones in their pockets and slingshots in their hands. First offense, no detention but it went on their records. "Skeeter," she'd admonished. "You kill the camera first. Sneak up on it. Did you even look for it?"

When the familiar tones sounded Ana peered out the dirt-spattered window of her trailer at a gap in the trees, focusing on a streetside pole bathed in late-afternoon sunlight. Force of habit, watch the talking box. But something fluttered in her stomach; this was different. Usually the announcements came at noon and consisted of guidelines, reminders, administrivia. Toward sundown people were steeling themselves for the night. Feeding their dogs before chaining them in the yard.

Parley let himself in without knocking, letting the flimsy tin door slam closed behind him. Oblivious to the moment, Ana thought. And feeling entitled, as if he was still her boyfriend. She glanced at him, put a finger to her lips.

“Silvertonians!” proclaimed a reassuring voice.

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