The Incredible Race

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The Incredible Race

Post by Username » May 25th, 2010, 5:55 am

Edit: I originally posted the first 3 chapters of this novel, hoping for some kind of feedback. Most of the chapters are incredibly short and probably couldn't get any shorter. I then decided to post additional chapters. I ended up, over the course of a few days, posting the first 16 chapters - they're not normal chapters, though, and I think that what you're really looking at here is about three chapters' worth of material.

This novel is about a race around the world - it's supposed to be tongue in cheek. This opening section basically attempts to setup the novel.

I would love to hear some feedback about this opening section of the novel. As Nathan suggested, I've been trying to help other people with their work - unfortunately, I don't like being critical of what other people have written; it's not in my nature. But I'll try to help other people if I can.

Thank you.



Sir Hugo Cornelius Crumpet, of Crumpet Towers, had not been in good health as of late.

It was not entirely unexpected therefore that on the morning of his ninetieth birthday Sir Hugo was revealed on his bed like a waxed statue, pale, shinny, and apparently not drawing breath. Miss Jennings, his beautiful but somewhat incompetent nurse, had barged into his room, transporting his breakfast on a silver platter. “Good morning, Sir Hugo, and happy birthday!” she had shouted, “a beautiful new day is upon us! Come, come, Sir Hugo... tis time to rise!”

Presently Sir Hugo made neither sound nor movement.

And since Sir Hugo’s birthday breakfast was quickly getting cold Miss Jennings pulled back the bed sheets and gently shook the old fellow in attempt to revive his spirit from slumber.

Sir Hugo did not move a muscle.

Nurse Jennings took him by the wrist in attempt to take his pulse and discovered, much to her shock and horror, that indeed there was no pulse.

“Sir Hugo!” she shrieked.

Flinching, she let go of the cold stiff wrist. Then she slathered a scone with some butter, took a bite, picked up the phone, and placed a very necessary call.


Thirty minutes later The Mortician’s vehicle duly arrived.

With eyelids half shut, and a thin, sinister smile resting upon his wide, tight lips, the little mortician alighted from the front seat of his hearse and carried his gear, with slippery efficiency, up to the front step, where Miss Jennings stood drinking ‘her’ coffee and consuming a cold kipper - she saw no reason to let a good meal go to waste and was happily polishing off Sir Hugo’s final breakfast.

“Hello,” she said to The Mortician cheerfully. “I’m Miss Jennings, the one who called about the potentially deceased individual.”

“Good morning, Miss Jennings,” said he, smiling, and squinting up at Miss Jennings through a pair of tiny round spectacles, which perched precariously on the tip of his long thin nose.

“I suspect that Mr. Crumpet is dead,” said she. “Or rather, deceased. I require confirmation of this. And also,” she added, “an Authorized Certificate of Death.”

“We’ll have a look, then, Miss Jennings,” said he.

“Thank you very much,” said she, “and right this way if you’ll please.”

She led the short, dark man into the stuffy room in which Sir Hugo was ‘sleeping hard’. The Mortician, still smiling, donned a stethoscope, placed its receiver onto the patient’s bony chest, and commenced to listen for signs of life. He looked up at the ceiling and smiled some more. “Miss Jennings,” he said, “you did the right thing to call us on this fine, glorious morning.”

“Is it what I suspected?”

“Indeed, Miss Jennings, it is.”

“Then Sir Hugo has passed?”

“In my professional opinion, Miss Jennings, he has.”

He reached into his sinister looking black bag and removed an Authorized Certificate of Death, which he transferred into the possession of Miss Jennings. “It has been a pleasure doing business with you, Miss Jennings,” said he, and immediately went to work.


“What news have you from Crumpet Towers, Miss Jennings?” said her boss a moment later.

“It’s official, sir,” said Miss Jennings breathing heavily into the phone. “The patient has passed.”

“You have in your possession the Authorized Certificate of Death, Miss Jennings?”

“Yes, sir, I do.”

“Very well then, Miss Jennings,” said the man, as he took in the news. “Your services there are no longer required.”

“No longer required - sir, yes, sir.”

“You will return at once to company headquarters.”

“To company headquarters. Yes, sir.” She paused. “But what will happen to Sir Hugo now, sir - I mean, if I might ask?”

“What, Miss Jennings,” he said, “do you mean?”

“What I mean, sir, is that Sir Hugo, in his sleep, would often repeat that he was the last of the Crumpets. I assume this meant he didn’t have a family. So what will happen to his remains? I mean, will there even be a service of some kind? It’s such a sad, sad ending.”

“You are wrong, Miss Jennings,” said her superior coldly. “Sir Hugo does have a family, a rather large family, in fact, and each member shall be notified at once of The Passing.”

And with that he hung up the phone.

Miss Jennings, somewhat surprised to hear that Sir Hugo did have a family - she had certainly seen no evidence of this during her brief stay? - shrugged her shoulders, slapped down the phone, checked her look in the mirror, coiffed up her hair, shouldered her purse, clickety clacked across the room on her high heels, left Crumpet Towers right there and then.

The little Mortician, standing alone at the foot of the bed, removed the stethoscope from around his bony neck, and, with obvious delight, pulled out a black plastic body bag, which he zipped open with great glee.

Into this Sir Hugo Cornelius Crumpet was unceremoniously stuffed.
Last edited by Username on May 28th, 2010, 5:32 pm, edited 12 times in total.

Posts: 116
Joined: January 19th, 2010, 9:24 pm

The Incredible Race - Chapters 4-6

Post by Username » May 25th, 2010, 8:23 pm


Some dozens of miles southward of Crumpet Towers, and one week later in time, Mother Margaret, over at the orphanage, was storming through the hallways, voicing all sorts of incomprehensible utterances - just where was that good for nothing Waldo, she wanted to know! She needed him down in the kitchen to scrub the floor and peel the potatoes. But no doubt the young rascal was hiding in the basement bathroom again, daydreaming about traveling the world and seeing the sights. Young Waldo had been yearning to travel the world ever since he had gotten hold of that accursed encyclopedia and gazed upon his first images of the outside world.

Young Waldo, it must be said, was by far the oldest orphan at the orphanage: try as they might the nuns simply could not get rid of the little blighter.

On the first Sunday of each month the nuns would parade all the little boys and girls out into The Great Hall and sort them by their height, from the shortest to the tallest, and instruct them to line up accordingly against the far wall. The childless couples having endured a good long wait in the waiting room would then enter The Great Hall and commence to inspect each of the orphans in the hope that they would locate their special child: each month Waldo would stand at the end of the line, head and shoulders above everyone else, hoping and praying that a really nice young couple would select him and take him back to their home.

But it was always the same damned thing.

The couples would reach the end of the line and take one horrified look at Waldo.

“Oh my god!” the father would shriek, stifling a laugh, or a scream.

“Oh my goodness,” the mother would exclaim, putting a hand to her mouth and gaping in astonishment. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my entire life!”

“Is that even real!” the father would screech.

“Keep moving,” the mother would say. “Keep moving! Keep moving!”

Then as quickly as their four feet could carry them they would rush back down the line and quickly select another child from the group - and poor old Waldo would deflate against the wall like a plastic doll whose plug had been pulled. He would look up and watch, crestfallen, as mother and child, grinning from ear to ear, would exit The Great Hall, walking hand in hand, while father would head on over to The Administration Office where he would make an appropriate ‘donation’ to the orphanage.

Then, after the last couple had left, the nuns would clap their hands to get everyone’s attention. “What are you all doing dawdling there! Back to your rooms with you!”

And Mother Margaret, in a subdued voice, would exclaim: “Waldo’s been passed over. Again!”

And Sister Judy would add: “We’re never going to get rid of the little blighter!”

“Come children!” Mother Margaret would shout, raising her voice again. “Back to your rooms! Back to your rooms with you!”

Then young Waldo and all of the other rejects would plod back to the dormitory, each wondering what was so wrong with their appearance, or their personality, that they should not have been chosen? Back in his room Waldo would stare at himself in the mirror from every available angle - but try as he might he simply could not see what was wrong? At least he saw no physical defects that might deter a couple from choosing him to be their son?

But quite to the contrary.

There was one major thing about Waldo that distressed the couples.

It was this.

His nose was too large.

In fact, it was much too large.


Twelve years earlier young Waldo had been dropped off on the doorstep of the orphanage in the dead of the night. Sister Judy, assigned to night duty, had heard the front doorbell ring - cursing aloud, although doing so beneath her breath so that the other sisters would not hear, she had reluctantly set aside her knitting and stormed along the dark, damp corridors of the orphanage to the front door where, as expected, she found, not a person selling insurance, nor even a lost tourist in search of directions, but rather a young, sleeping babe, all snugly wrapped up in a white woolen blanket.

There it was.

Lying on the front doorstep.


Left behind by some young hapless mother perhaps?

Perhaps the baby was illegitimate and had been dropped off to avoid scandal?

“Not another one!” Sister Judy had cried, pressing her hands to her cheeks, and looking down, aghast, at the sleeping babe. “Jesus, Mary, and holy St. Joseph, if this sort of thing continues then we’re going to have to expand the dimensions of this orphanage.” She had picked the bundle up - none too happily, I might add - and carried it down to the nursery, where the accursed thing would be unwrapped from its white woolen blanket and thoroughly inspected before being permitted into the orphanage.

Mother Margaret, understandably, had not been pleased at having her sleep disrupted in the middle of the night by Sister Judy. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What, might I ask, are you doing shinning that infernal light in my eyes and waking me at this ridiculous hour of the night?”

“I’m sorry, Mother Margaret, but another baby has been dropped off on the front doorstep.”

“Ock! Jesus, Mary and holy St. Joseph, not another one!”

“I’m afraid so, Mother.”

Together the two ladies had trundled across the hallway and stepped into the nursery.

Slowly and carefully they had unwrapped the baby and set aside its white woolen blanket.

Together they had looked upon the baby and seeing the size of its nose had simultaneously cried: Jesus, Mary and holy St. Joseph, will you look at the size of that nose! What a muzzle! What a beak! What a honker!

And Mother Margret, on her own, had said: “We’ll have to consult with Father Flannigan about this child. A baby with a beak that large might have been sent up from The Old Place by Lucifer himself.”

Sister Judy had gasped at the mention of Lucifer, and quickly crossed herself: “Oh dear! Oh dear! This is just too much,” she had muttered. “Much too much! I’m going back to my knitting... and I sincerely hope that the front doorbell does not ring again during my watch.”

She had scurried off.

But before returning to her post she had stopped to wash her hands, perhaps a little more vigorously than is considered natural, perhaps believing that a touch of Lucifer himself might’ve somehow rubbed off from that accursed baby? Mother Margaret meanwhile had tucked the young babe into one of the remaining vacant cribs, which were all too few in number. In the morning she would consult with Father Flannigan about this babe.

Consulted, Father Flannigan, who was sensible, raised no immediate objections and in a firm voice affirmed that this baby would remain.

“But about the nose, Father.”

“And what about the nose, Mother Margaret?”

“It’s awfully large, Father.”

Father Flannigan had taken an instant liking to this child. His eyes, sparkling behind the lenses of his glasses, had gazed benevolently upon this sleeping babe with the big nose. “This child might indeed look a little different than most,” he had said. “But I ask you... in The Kingdom of Our Father, are there not many mansions?”

He had smiled majestically into the crib, believing he felt the approval of God.

“In The House of Our Lord,” he continued, “are we not all equals... not one person who approaches that Front Step with a loving heart shall be turned away.” His eyes had flooded with tears: “Not one Babe With A Big Nose shall be discarded from that Magnificent Front Veranda!” He had frowned with magisterial pomp at Mother Margaret. “As long as we are still bound to this earth, Mother, we must at the very least attempt to imitate Our Father.”

He had then removed his glasses and commenced to wipe them on a handkerchief. “In this particular case, we must welcome this babe with the big nose into our humble dwelling... we must-”

Mother Margaret had forced herself to interpose, knowing full well that Father Flannigan was quite capable of going on like this at length - her morning duties!

“A child with a snout that large will be difficult to get rid of,” she had sternly warned.

But Father Flannigan, who himself possessed a rather large nose, would not acquiesce, and had said: “No, Mother Margaret. I have made up my mind. This boy shall remain.”

And so the years continued to pass.

Waldo, meanwhile, continued to grow.

And so did his nose.


Then came The Day of The Disaster:

Waldo, at the age of six, had gotten hold of something called an Encyclopedia, which by the mistake of one of the Sisters had been left lying about in the library. Having opened that magnificent volume to the A-category he had read all about an incredible place called America.

He was speechless.

Hitherto he had assumed that the world began and ended somewhere just down the road from the orphanage. What do you mean, he had thought, astonished, there’s more to the world than Tunbridge Wells! Having never advanced beyond the boundaries of the village he had simply assumed that Tunbridge Wells compromised the entirety of the Universe.

He had immediately wanted to visit this America.

According to the encyclopedia America was the land of the free and the home of the brave. Its citizens believed, or so said the encyclopedia, that - Jesus, Mary and Joseph, could this actually be true? - it was their god given right to bear arms, and to shoot one another whenever they trespassed on each other’s property. Waldo had been taught that killing was wrong, that guns were bad, and that we must try not to trespass in the first place - and he began to wonder, really for the first time in his life, whether if what the sisters had been teaching him these many years wasn’t just a lot of claptrap and tingle tangle? Waldo had wanted to meet these Americans and chat with them about their governing policy, which they had dubbed The Constitution.

But before Waldo had been able to open the phone book and swot up The President’s mailing address Mother Margaret had abruptly returned to the library. “What are you doing reading that book!” she had shrieked.

“I was just-”

“You’re not to be reading encyclopedias. Encyclopedias are for people who will one day be traveling the world and seeing the sights.”


“No buts!”

“I was just-”

“No justs!”

Some people believe that rulers are meant for measuring things. Mother Margaret had always believed that they were meant for hitting children with. She had picked up the nearest (the things were lying about everywhere) and instructed young Waldo to hold out his hands, palms skyward.

“Now stay steady, you!”

Waldo, knowing full well what was going to happen next, had grimaced, and closed his eyes in anticipation of the ruler’s scalding sting.

“You are not to be reading encyclopedias!”

“No, Mother Margaret.”

Mother Margaret had commenced to whack away - and as the tears welled up in his eyes, young Waldo, a defiant spark igniting itself, promised himself that one day, he did not know when, he would escape the confines of this orphanage, and pass beyond the boundaries of Tunbridge Wells. He would go out and see the sights of this beautiful world. He had decided that one day he would even visit America and find out for himself whether or not it was true about the guns.

And so the years continued to pass.

And young Waldo’s nose continued to grow.
Last edited by Username on May 28th, 2010, 5:46 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Posts: 116
Joined: January 19th, 2010, 9:24 pm

The Incredible Race - Chapters 7-8

Post by Username » May 25th, 2010, 10:10 pm


A week earlier, Sunday morning:

Sir Hugo’s body had been removed from Crumpet Towers and transported to the morgue. The first of the Crumpets to be notified that morning of Sir Hugo’s passing would be Charles Cornelius Crumpet, the eldest of the six Crumpet offspring. Sir Hugo had always hoped that his beloved Charles would one day take the reins and run the family empire.

But although The Toothpick Manufacturing Business was a lucrative endeavor, and a noble and a necessary one, Charles Crumpet, no matter how hard he tried, had been unable to find it within himself to feel the same passion about toothpicks as his father.

Rather, Charles had yearned to become a priest.

Sir Hugo himself approved of religion but only if it did not interfere with his politics and his enterprise - the thought of his eldest son teaming up with The Pope had sent him into a blind rage. Who would run the family business if not Charles?

Sir Hugo, his voice rising, had severely threatened his eldest son: “Become a priest and I will never speak to you again!”

“I’m sorry, father,” a young Charles had said, standing firm, “but when destiny commands we must obey. I’m off to Rome.”

But Rome would not have him.

He had passed through seminary, and was now known simply as ‘Father Charles’. But although born of high stock, Father Charles was of little political value to the holy church, and upon ordination was sent, not to glorious Rome, but to Newfoundland, where he was expected to teach religion to the native populace. His talents, he felt, were being wasted out there on that damp, barren rock, and although a crooked smile had been plastered onto his face he secretively longed for the Italian sun.

Now, at long last, the call, which he had secretively longed for, came through.

Informed of Sir Hugo’s passing, Father Charles now glanced towards the heavens and smiled. His one sixth share of Sir Hugo’s estate would be considerable - and of course, having vowed a life of chastity, obedience, and poverty, he would dutifully transfer each and every cent of his inheritance to the church. The church would then transfer him! This priest, having brought in this considerable fortune, would suddenly be rewarded for his past priestly efforts.

Father Crumpet, his smile broadening, knew, as soon as he put down the phone, that it would be but a matter of time before he was walking the streets of Rome and bathing beneath that magnificent Italian sun.


The second of the Crumpets to be notified of Sir Hugo’s passing, that morning, was the eldest daughter, Lucy Lou Crumpet, whose life had been troubled from the start. At sixteen she had gotten herself impregnated with an illegitimate child, the straw that had finally broken the camel’s back.

“No daughter of mine,” sir Hugo had shouted, “goes out and gets herself impregnated with an illegitimate child.”

“But Daddy, I didn’t mean for it to happen,” she had pleaded. “Honestly I didn’t.”

“Nevertheless, young lady, you have disgraced the family name! You will leave this edifice immediately.” He had then pointed a bony, outstretched finger towards the door.

Lucy Lou, studying to become an actress, had flipped an internal switch, and salty tears had commenced to stream from her eyes.

But her theatrics were wasted on the great industrious man.

For Sir Hugo was a dedicated hardliner.

At any rate, she had been turned out onto the street with nothing more than the very clothes on her back.

A life of poverty and misery had soon followed. Lucy Lou duly had her child, duly married, duly divorced; she eventually remarried when she fell in love with her postman, a tall handsome man of modest means and intellect - but an excellent walker. Living off a postman’s wage had tested her resolve to the core. Indeed not a day had passed during which Lucy Lou had not thought back fondly and with bitter regrets on the soft life she had once lived at Crumpet Towers, way down there in Bedford Square. Now she lived up in Warwickshire.

That Sunday morning she was preparing to leave house for work - she had a job washing dishes at a local soup kitchen - when she received the call that her father, Sir Hugo Cornelius Crumpet, had passed. She raised her arms and screamed with joy!

This woke the neighbors, who were rather fond of sleeping in on Sunday mornings.


The third Crumpet kid to be notified was Joseph Crumpet.

Joseph, quiet unless provoked, had, at an early age, rejected his father’s wealth, and would frequently engage the old man in debate during dinner: “Why should one small family possess such a large percentage of the world’s wealth,” he would say between increasingly agitated bites, “when so many of the multitudes are starving?”

“Because,” Sir Hugo would respond between even bigger bites, “so many of those ‘so-called’ starving multitudes have not worked for their daily bread.”

“Oh, is that a fact is it?”

“It is. Those starving multitudes of which you speak expect someone else to pay for their meal ticket, well it won’t be me, my dear boy.” Sir Hugo would pick up a bit of bread and slather it with copious amounts of butter. Then he would stuff the bread into his mouth - a calculated act of defiance.

“But what about your own employees,” Joseph would respond, pointing a firm fork.

“What about them?” Sir Hugo would respond, chomping defiantly on his bread.

“They sweat blood and tears all day long at the factory making toothpicks - for you! - but they receive only a fraction of the net profits.”

“But did they invest any of their own money in the startup costs?” Sir Hugo would challenge, resting his knife and his fork as though shipping his oars.

“They didn’t because they couldn’t,” Joseph would respond, reddening, and cutting vigorously into the slice of roast beef on his plate. “They were poor to begin with and naturally had no money to invest.”

“And that, my dear boy, is why they do not share in the profits,” Sir Hugo would say, washing down his bread with a swig of tea.

“And so the rich get richer and the poor get poorer - is that it?”

Sir Hugo had not appreciated this line of reasoning, especially since its logic was sound. He had merely challenged his son to remedy the situation if he felt it so unjust. The years passed and Joseph duly enrolled at The North London Institute of Economics. He championed Communism, believing most heartily that the world’s wealth must be distributed evenly amongst its inhabitants. When the wall in Berlin fell, so too did his every economic theory. He exiled himself to Cuba where he fell in with Castro and that group. He pledged himself to the Communist cause in the hope that one day, he did not know when, The Revolution would commence: The Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat would become one, Capitalism would cease to thrive, and poverty and misery would vanish from the face of the planet.

When informed of his father’s passing, Comrade Crumpet thought not about all of the wonderful suppers he had shared with his father but rather about his one sixth share of the inheritance and of how it might be utilized to aid The Cause and accelerate the machinery of change.


The fourth of Sir Hugo’s offspring to be notified was the youngest son, Garth. Unlike his older brothers, Charles and Joseph, Garth did have designs to follow in his father’s footsteps.

His father didn’t want him to follow in his footsteps.

It was feared by Sir Hugo that Garth would attempt to commandeer The Crumpet Toothpick Company, and operate the enterprise strictly for a malevolent purpose. Garth, at an early age, had demonstrated a keen inclination towards industry. It seemed that young Garth was forever hanging about on the factory floor, watching the production of the toothpicks as the factory workers all scurried about, proceeding to do their business in what Garth deemed to be a highly disorganized fashion. He carried a clipboard and was always writing things down - nobody knew what - and would often stand for hours at a time at the end of The Assembly Line, watching and thinking, a silent sparkle glimmering in his cold dark eyes - nobody knew why.

At the age of ten Garth had gone to his father with The Plan.

He had had it bound in a beautiful black leather binder, and on a Monday morning had proudly presented it to his father for perusal.

Sir Hugo, frowning, had taken the black binder and opened it to page one.

Horror had gripped him as he began to read.

Garth’s plan was positively foul.

It was Garth’s intention to commission the company scientists to find a formula and create a special liquid concoction into which each Crumpet toothpick would be dipped. Like nicotine, this formula would be tasteless and odorless, and the toothpick consumers, when removing the bits of food caught between their teeth, would not even know that the toothpicks they were shoving into their mouths had been coated with an addicting ingredient which Garth had code named Agent-A.

Garth’s plan to transform his consumers into addicts was diabolical. It would soon become commonplace to see persons of all ages and social classes out in public, chewing away on the ends of their toothpicks. Garth had even developed a scheme to manufacture thousands of Crumpet Toothpick Vending Machines with which he would quickly and strategically litter the planet.

With the world’s populace under his spell, and everyone addicted to his special toothpicks, Garth would slowly and quietly raise the cost per package, and thus generate obscene profits each fiscal year.

His scheme was foolproof and diabolical.

There was only one problem with The Plan. His Father would not endorse it.

Sir Hugo Crumpet had scarcely been able to believe that his own son, flesh of his flesh, had devised such a malicious scheme. “You will leave this factory at once!” he had ordered. “Go home, Garth! I do not want to see your face in here ever again! Now go! Go, and do not return to this toothpick factory!”

Garth had been crushed.

His hopes and dreams had been dashed.

Eventually he would leave home and go to work for Big Tobacco, where he would quickly rise in the ranks. When informed of his father’s passing, Garth immediately strode to his secret safe, dialed in the secret combination, opened the safe’s door, reached inside, and carefully removed the old black leather binder.

He caressed the binder’s jacket and began to laugh - an evil laugh, which echoed sinisterly throughout the building’s empty rooms and lengthy corridors.


And then there were the twins, Bertha and Gertha - The Crumpet Twins, as they were known.

Unlike Garth, the twins were utterly incapable of malicious thought or action.

Between them the sisters could not do harm to a fly. If ever there arose the need for money, as to remedy a distressing societal problem, or to fulfill an environmental need, the sisters would supply such, happily and quickly - and for this they were bestowed with their father’s loving approval. But their father’s approval had its limits, for the money that was being so generously supplied was his!

Indeed, it must be said that the sisters, who thought nothing of where the money came from, and indeed lived extremely comfortably without ever doing a scrap of work themselves, were sometimes a little too generous with their father’s fortune.

Indeed, their generosities became lavishly absurd. They could not see that the donation of a sum of some one hundred million pounds to The Endangered Snails of Easter Island Society was perhaps a careless act, if not a dishonorable one. Sir Hugo, when presented with this latest bill, could only shake his head, throw up his arms, and notify his bank manager over at Baring’s that the monthly allowance alloted to his two twin daughters must be discontinued until further notice.

And so, cut off, the sisters could no longer donate to their favorite charities or causes.

“My darling dears, you know that under normal circumstances my money would be your money - but I cannot afford to feed the snails on Easter Island at this present expense!”

“Then we are leaving!” said they.

Sir Hugo, devastated, had collapsed into his chair. Clutching violently at his heart, which was broken, he had gazed, goggle eyed, upon his dear darling daughters.

“We are going to Africa to help save the local wildlife!” said the sisters.

“You will find that this is not so easily accomplished without the resources of currency,” he had warned, raising a stern finger. But they had departed. The ungrateful little do-gooders had gone off to Africa in an endeavor to help save The Spotted South African Mud Ant from extinction.

They had departed on a Wednesday afternoon, and this, it must be stated, was the day when Sir Hugo Cornelius Crumpet’s health, mental as well as physical, had first begun to deteriorate.

Informed of their father’s passing, the twins immediately turned to one another and simultaneously thought of the family fortune, and began to work out how their share could be utilized to benefit the planet earth and all of God’s creatures that were so haphazardly coexisting upon it.


These Crumpets, taken together, formed quite an eclectic crew. One other individual, however, would soon be notified of Sir Hugo’s passing.

The Barristers over at the law firm of McCreary & Dreary had been shocked when they learned of Sir Hugo’s passing - even more so when they discovered that an alternate will, found in the mailroom, had been delivered to the firm just days before the great man’s death.

An alternate will?

Found in the mailroom?

What could it possibly mean!

Sir Richard J. McCreary himself was called in to administrate.

“It would appear, according to these instructions,” said he, studying the fresh document, “that Sir Hugo desires his previous will to be nullified and this new will to be acknowledged.”

He sighed. “I shall therefore, as instructed, dispose of the old will.”

He fed Sir Hugo’s old will into the shredder (and that, as they say, was the end of that).

Sir McCreary, much aggrieved, paused to draw breath, and to scratch at his forehead. He looked at the new will, foreseeing all sorts of legal conflict and entanglement, and wondered, not for the first time, why the elderly always feel the need to revise right before they die?

“To work, people!” he enthused.

“We must gather the beneficiaries to London for the reading of the will - oh, and by the way, we must also locate a young twelve year old boy named Waldo Crumpet. It would appear that Sir Hugo fathered an illegitimate offspring, whose existence on this planet, after all these years, he has finally chosen to acknowledge.”
Last edited by Username on May 31st, 2010, 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 116
Joined: January 19th, 2010, 9:24 pm

The Incredible Race - Chapters 9-11

Post by Username » May 27th, 2010, 6:13 pm


Mother Margaret, still muttering incomprehensible utterances, continued to storm towards the basement bathroom. “Where’s Waldo!” she cried. “I need him now in the kitchen to scrub the floor and peel the potatoes.” Children of all ages were jumping out of her way as she stormed through the corridors. She passed Sister Judy. “Where is he? Have you seen him?”

“Have I seen who, Mother Margaret?”


“Jesus, Mary, and holy St. Joseph, that child has been nothing but a nuisance since the night of his arrival twelve years ago!”

“If you see him, Sister, send him down to the kitchen.”

“Down to the kitchen. Yes, Mother Margaret.”

“I need him to peel the potatoes and scrub the floors.”

“Have you checked the bathroom in the basement yet, Mother Margaret?”

“I’m on my way there right now, Sister Judy.”

“No doubt he’ll be in there,” said Sister Judy, nodding. “He’ll be daydreaming about traveling the world and seeing the sites. I curse the day that that boy ever got hold of that encyclopedia.”

“As do I, Sister Judy.”

“Isn’t it odd,” she said in a low voice, “how the various bits of that encyclopedia began to disappear from the library just after Waldo set eyes on the first book in the series. First the A-to-E book disappeared. Then it was the F-to-I book. Then the J-to-N book, followed by the O-to-S book, and finally the T-to-Z book. The whole encyclopedia up and gone from the library within the space of just one week. And in alphabetical order, too.”

Mother Margaret smiled at Sister Judy, identifying the thought in her mind. That Waldo had somehow smuggled the entire encyclopedia, book by book, out of the library, was a theory Sister Judy had advanced on a countless number of occasions. But Mother Margaret would not endorse it. A quick search of Waldo’s small room had failed to reveal any evidence.

Even now, six years later, Sister Judy was still finding ways of alluding to the mystery. “I always thought that Father Flannigan’s decision to allow that encyclopedia into this orphanage would prove to be a fatal mistake.”

“Yes, Sister Judy.”

“Encyclopedias are nothing but big brochures printed up by Lucifer himself.”

“Exactly, sister.”

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I knew that that boy was going to cause problems. Didn’t I say so twelve years ago when I first found him on the front doorstep, all wrapped up in that white woolen blanket of his?”

“You did, Sister.”

“That nose of his was a dead giveaway.”

“Indeed it was, Sister.”

“If I see him I’ll send him down to the kitchen - to clean that floor and peel those potatoes!”

“Thank you, Sister.”

Mother Margaret continued her march towards the basement bathroom.


Earlier that week, Sir Richard J. McCreary over at the posh law offices of McCreary and Dreary had been surprised to learn that Waldo was still residing at the orphanage.

“What? You mean he’s still there?”

“He is, sir.”

“But it’s been twelve years!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Why the devil didn’t he get adopted?”

“I believe that these photographs provide sufficient explanation, sir.”


“These photographs, sir. Taken by our private investigator.”

“Did we hire a private investigator?”

“We did, sir, to locate young Waldo. The investigator went to the orphanage to look into the records and of course discovered that Waldo was actually still there.”

“Jesus, I could have done that myself.”

“Yes, sir. The investigator actually took these pictures when Waldo was out on the playground.”

Sir Richard looked at one of the photographs. “Oh my god! Look at that honker!”

“Yes, sir.”

“That would certainly explain why he never got adopted.”

“Indeed, sir.”

“A boy with a nose that large would be extremely difficult to get rid of.”

“Yes, sir.”

Sir Richard sank in his chair. “Odd, that. Sir Hugo himself certainly didn’t possess a large nose?”

“No, sir. Some of us were thinking. Speculating, you might say. Possibly the nose is an endowment inherited from the mother’s side? We were wondering if perhaps Sir Hugo and one of the maids-”

“That will do, Henry,” said Sir Richard, silencing his young subordinate before he could generate the slander on Sir Hugo’s good name.

“It will not do to speak ill of the dead.”

“No, sir.”

“Sir Hugo’s personal life is of no concern to us.”

“Quite right, sir.”

He set aside the photograph and began to work on a formal communication, which would be posted for dispatch to Waldo’s legal guardian - in this case, Father Flannigan, over at the orphanage. But although he picked up his pen, and his hand began to write, his mind, drifting, began to sort through images of the various female domestics he had encountered at Crumpet Towers. Had one of those maids possessed an extremely large nose? He could not recollect one such, and by the time he was finished wrapping up the package of legal papers that would be sent to the orphanage he had dismissed the idea that this Waldo was the product of an internal relationship between master and maid.


Sister Judy, flustered, was walking along the corridor in the opposite direction in which Mother Margaret was presently storming. Alerted, she was now on the lookout for that no good Waldo, and would gladly send the wretched boy down to the kitchen to clean that floor and peel those potatoes! - and she would certainly do so with a good sharp flick of the finger on the side of the child’s head.

As she passed the front door she heard the doorbell ring.

“Oh goodness, what now?”

She threw open the door and presented a scowling expression to the world outside.

A courier was revealed holding a package.

“Package for Father Flannigan!” said he.

“For Father Flannigan? And who is it from?”

“I wouldn’t know. I’m just a courier, mum.”

“Mum! Do I look like your mother! My name is Sister Judy and I would be glad if you remembered it.”

“Yes, Sister.”

“I suppose I have to sign for this package?”

“You do, Sister.”

“Then give me that writing instrument.”

“Yes, Sister.”

“What class of writing instrument is this?”

“It’s an electronic pen, Sister. We don’t use paper anymore. You just sign your name here onto this computer palmtop display.”

“A pen without any ink! That’s got to be a tool manufactured by Lucifer himself.”

“Possibly, Sister.”

She began to look about for one of the other Sisters, hoping that she could shuffle off this responsibility onto one of them. But she only saw orphans, orphans, and more orphans. Humanity was streaming through the corridors with snotty noses and dirty faces.

“Oh dear, I’m in a real fix now aren’t I?”

“You are, Sister.”

Sister Judy pulled out a handkerchief, which she would often use to wipe the snot from the noses of the orphans, and wrapped up the pen so that she could write without actually touching the satanic device.

“You want me to sign my name onto this display thing, is that it?”

“If you will, Sister.”

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I’ve never seen such a thing in all my life.” She managed to etch her signature onto the display. “Now give me that parcel, you.” She slammed the door shut on this servant, who was probably sent up by Lucifer himself, and had a jolly good look at the parcel. It was addressed, not to Father Flannigan, but to the legal guardian of Waldo Crumpet, who happened to be Father Flannigan.

Waldo Crumpet?

What was this all about then?

Sister Judy, frowning, did not like the looks of this at all. No, not one little bit. Strange things were happening at this orphanage: doorbells were unexpectedly ringing, mysterious parcels were unexpectedly arriving - pens without any ink were being supplied to sign signatures, not on sheets of paper, but on computer palmtop displays!

And at the heart of it all, of course, as ever, was Waldo.


... Crumpet?

She had always known that this boy with the big nose was going to cause problems - and now this mysterious package had arrived to confirm it.

Posts: 116
Joined: January 19th, 2010, 9:24 pm

The Incredible Race - Chapters 12 - 15

Post by Username » May 28th, 2010, 5:12 pm


Mother Margaret, down in the basement corridor, applied the brakes in front of the bathroom.

She rapped at the door.

“Are you in there, Waldo!”

Waldo was seated on the toilet in the last stall, reading his encyclopedia.

An hour earlier he had gone in to clean the toilets and polish the floor, this being what he considered his office. Locked inside the paper towel dispenser had been his cherished encyclopedia. Having withdrawn the first book, he had repaired to he safety of Stall Number Five, the outer door of which was permanently marked with an ‘out of order’ sign.

He had commenced to read about his favorite subject: America.

He was reading up on the gun situation when he heard the sound of Mother Margaret’s voice booming through the door. “Waldo! Are you in there? Do you hear me, child? I’m coming in?”

Waldo snapped the book shut.

He grabbed for the dispenser key in the left pocket of his trousers, pushed his way out of the stall, and quickly made his way over to the paper towel dispenser - his safe. He slipped the book inside, wheeled around, and tried to erase the guilty expression from his face.

He looked up and saw that Mother Margaret, having ever so slightly opened the door, was peering through. His eyes immediately locked onto hers.

“There you are,” she said, throwing open the door.

“Yes, Mother Margaret. Here I am.”

“Don’t be cheeky, child.”

“No, Mother.”

“What are you doing in here? Daydreaming again!”

“No, Mother. I was just cleaning up the washroom.”

“Jesus, Joseph and Mary, will you look at how spic and span this bathroom is? If this place gets any cleaner we might actually have to move The Surgery in here.”

“Thank you, Mother.”

“It wasn’t a compliment, child. You spend far too much time in here.”

She began to look about, this being the first time she had stepped foot in the place. “Come out from there at once. I need you down in the kitchen to clean the floor and peel the potatoes.”

“Yes, Mother Margaret.”

“Get going then. Down to the kitchen with you!”

The sound of Waldo’s footsteps died away, and Mother Margaret, with a notion that it contained far more than just paper toweling, advanced on the paper towel dispenser.


Father Flannigan, reclining in his study, accepted the mysterious package from Sister Judy, and seeing that it was sent from a prestigious law firm in London voiced his astonishment aloud: “What is this then? From the law firm of McCreary & Dreary, in London no less!” Now this was business!

“Don’t you believe it, Father. That package does not originate from London.”

He looked up at her.

“Indeed, Sister,” he said, coldly, and commenced to open the package.

Sister Judy stepped back. “If you would be so kind, Father, as not to open that package in my presence. Some things are better left unopened,”

“Very well, Sister,” said he, drumming his fingers on the desktop.

“I’m going back to my knitting, Father. And I sincerely hope that the doorbell does not ring again during my watch this morning.”

“Good morning, then, Sister.”

“Good morning, Father.” At the door she paused to look back. “I’ll send someone down in a half an hour or so, to check on you - to make sure that you’re still here, so to speak.”

She had said this half believing that Lucifer himself would emerge from the parcel’s confines. She closed the door behind her in attempt to seal off that part of the orphanage.

Father Flannigan, exhibiting daring bravado, opened the parcel and removed its contents, which contained paper - paper only.

He read Sir Richard’s letter with fascination and incredulity.

Never before had an orphan been reclaimed by one of its natural birth parents - and certainly not under these extraordinary circumstances. A precedent was here being set. “The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways,” thought Father Flannigan. “Discarding souls but then reclaiming them at the most unexpected of moments and in the most unexpected of ways!”

For a moment Father Flannigan actually felt lightheaded.

He rang a bell on his desk.

His secretary, expecting orders, opened the door and peered inside.

He said to her: “Find young Waldo and bring him down to my office. If he’s not in the kitchen then he’ll be in the basement bathroom.”

“Yes, Father.”

He composed himself with a restorative, poured from a bottle that was secluded within the lower drawer of his desk. He would have to inform Waldo that his natural father had come forward, that a miracle had happened! But then, practically within the same breath, he would have to tell this boy with the big nose that his father, although having come forward, was no longer in the vicinity, so to speak.

This would require tact and understanding. He composed himself again, unaware that events within his own orphanage were unfolding, even now, in the most unexpected of ways.


Mother Margaret advanced, somewhat awkwardly with a set of books beneath her arms, through the corridors of the orphanage, heading more or less in the direction of Father Flannigan’s front office. The evidence had been found at last! Waldo... she could hardly believe it... indeed she did not want to believe it... had been concealing this encyclopedia in the basement bathroom for six long years. He had been living a double life, really, alternating his attention between the kitchen and the bathroom, where in all likelihood he had been developing subversive ideas. What knowledge of the world had he gleaned from those books? What sinister thoughts were brewing within his mind?

The magnitude of this crime, being far beyond that of Mother Margaret’s scope, would certainly command a sentence greater than anything she was capable of administrating. Indeed, this was a crime whose punishment extended beyond the mere sting of a wooden ruler. This was a matter for Father Flannigan no less, whose office would accordingly strain under the weight of scandal.

And so she marched towards Father Flannigan’s office, unable to think.

She passed the front room in which Sister Judy was quietly doing her knitting. The other shot out of that room like champion sprinter having pushed off from the starting blocks. “Mother Margaret, Mother Margaret, might I inquire if what you are carrying beneath your arms is the object that I think it is?”

Mother Margaret was having a difficult time juggling all of the various books, and indeed required assistance. “Yes, Sister, but Jesus, Mary and Joseph, don’t just stand there gawking, help me to carry this load down to Father Flannigan’s office.”

“Where was the object discovered, if I might ask?”

“Waldo was keeping it hidden in the basement bathroom.”

Sister Judy, fumbling to unburden Mother Margaret of half her load, nearly came undone. The theory she had been advancing for six long years had at last been confirmed - and if this part was true, then perhaps the other part was true too: specifically that Waldo had been sent up directly from The Old Place by Lucifer himself.

She voiced her concerns. “What will Father Flannigan do about this, Mother Margaret?”

“I’ve no idea, Sister Judy. It is not for us to speculate.”

“He must be firm.”

“Indeed, he must.”

“No wavering, I mean.”

“Precisely, Sister.”

“I’m a bit worried, Mother. He’s always had a soft spot for young Waldo, hasn’t he?”

“He has, Sister.”

“And do you know why - I’ll tell you why, it’s because The Father has got a big nose himself.” No person at the orphanage had ever dared to voice this observation aloud, although everyone knew it to be nothing more than the simple truth. Sister Judy perhaps felt that the time had come to acknowledge aloud this common bond between the two Big Noses.

Mother Margaret glanced at the other, spying the thought in her mind.

Sister Judy was of course suggesting that if the good Father did not act appropriately then the necessary steps would have to be taken as to have him ‘relieved of his duties’.

And of course the burden of this would fall on the shoulders of these two ladies. This was not the time for leniency and they both knew it - but did Father Flannigan know it?

The question would be answered soon enough, for events were unfolding with force and rapidity.

Together, the two ladies reached Father Flannigan’s office. The door, normally closed lest Father Flannigan be observed at work, was accordingly closed at present. His secretary glanced up at the two ladies, and at the jumble of books beneath their arms.

“You’ll want in to see Father Flannigan, no doubt?”

“Yes, a crises has occurred!”

“Well you’ll have to wait, I’m afraid. He’s talking with young Waldo - and it sounds important.”

“More important than this?”

“Goodness me,” she leaned back and put her hand on her chest, “that’s the missing encyclopedia from six years ago.”

“Indeed it is.”

Sister Judy said: “But it’s not missing anymore! Mother Margaret discovered that the encyclopedia was being concealed in the basement bathroom - by Waldo!”

“This is big,” said the secretary, identifying the size of the scandal.

“You better believe it’s big!” said Sister Judy.

“Just a minute, then. I’ll go in and see if I can have a word with Father Flannigan about all of this.”

She slipped through the door, and Sister Judy, unable to endure the strain any longer, collapsed into a chair, dropping one of her cargo, which opened in the middle to reveal a picture of Guttenberg’s printing press.


Mere minutes earlier, the same secretary had slipped in through the same door - this time with young Waldo behind her.

Father Flannigan looked up and, seeing Waldo, immediately stood from his seat, something he never did when orphans were brought into his office. The surprise of this alerted Waldo that something had happened. He was thus prepared for the news that Mother Margaret had discovered the missing encyclopedia in the basement bathroom, and that consequently he was going to be cashiered.

But the news, when at last it reached Waldo’s ears, was quite different indeed.

“We cannot question why things happen the way they do, my son,” said Father Flannigan at the end of a rather long speech during which he had frequently quoted from The Bible. “Suffice it to say that God works in mysterious ways.” He paused to frown at the boy. “Your natural father has come forward to acknowledge that you are his son - but unfortunately he does so from beyond the grave. His name was Sir Hugo Cornelius Crumpet, and I’m sorry to say that he died on Sunday morning.”

Waldo, twitching, shifted uncomfortably on his seat. This was devastating news, and yet all he could think was that his beloved encyclopedia had not been found.


“It would appear, according to these legal documents sent to my office, that you’ve been included in Sir Hugo’s will.”

Waldo was unable to grasp the significance of this, and indeed was far more excited that his encyclopedia was still comfortably tucked away inside his safe - or so he thought.

“You understand, of course, that Sir Hugo’s estate will be substantial.”

Father Flannigan removed his glasses and glanced thoughtfully at the ceiling. “In fact, if the estate ends up being divided equally between you and your six siblings then you’ll become a millionaire many times over.”

He donned his spectacles and picked up one of the legal documents mailed from McCreary & Dreary. “Your presence has been requested in London for the official reading of the will - your siblings, quite naturally, will be there also.”

Again he removed his glasses. “My boy, I will personally accompany you on your journey into London for the reading of the will... in fact, we depart tomorrow.”

Waldo, with sudden mental clarity, realized that he would be leaving the orphanage to visit the bustling metropolis of London. London! Where The Tower and The Bridge coexist! At last he would be leaving the orphanage to do a bit of sightseeing! He began grinning like a demented cat. Father Flannigan, misinterpreting this expression, was suddenly furious. “Material riches will not bring you happiness!” he wailed.

The grin faded from Waldo’s face. “No, Father.”

“Money is the root of all evil! How many times have I said that!”

“Many times, Father.”

“And besides, it is highly likely that your share of the inheritance will be held in trust until your eighteenth birthday. Do not begin to count your chickens just yet, my boy!”

“No, Father.”

He donned his spectacles and, put out, focused on the boy through angry eyes. “I thought that the news of your father’s passing would devastate you. I can see that I was wrong.”

“Sorry, Father.”

“You’ll return at once to your room and pack your bags.”

Waldo could scarcely contain his joy, and simply nodded in agreement.

“We’re catching an early train tomorrow morning for London.”

“Yes, Father.”

“Now go. Pack your bags!”

“Yes, Father.”

“We are leaving this orphanage.”

But before Waldo could proceed, the door opened and Father Flannigan’s secretary slipped inside to have a word with the good father, whose eyes increasingly magnified as news of the encyclopedia scandal was quietly communicated into his right ear.
Last edited by Username on May 28th, 2010, 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 116
Joined: January 19th, 2010, 9:24 pm

Re: The Incredible Race - Chapter 16

Post by Username » May 28th, 2010, 5:20 pm


The front doors of Crumpet Towers had been thrown open to welcome home the Crumpet siblings, and now they all sat in proximity, exchanging neither looks nor speech. Sir Richard J. McCreary sat alone at a small table, in front of the hearth, while Sir Hugo Cornelius Crumpet, tacked up on the wall behind, scowled down at his children from within the frame of a faded painting. Sir Richard had instructed the beneficiaries to arrive no later than three o’clock, and had even threatened to exclude any tardy persons from the reading. The Crumpet Kids had consequently arrived before noon, and were now, like music enthusiasts having waited long hours in lineup for concert tickets, utterly exhausted with impatience.

In just one minute the esteemed barrister would begin the proceedings.

He looked about the oppressive room.

There was Father Charles Crumpet, contemplative and tranquil in black robes. There was Lucy Lou Crumpet, feigning intense sorrow, and mopping up the salty tears from her cheeks with a thin tissue - a prop, really. Comrade Crumpet, scowling, sat with legs crossed and arms folded, scorning the room’s opulence, which he had rejected so many years earlier. Garth Crumpet, wearing Armani, sat with that infamous black binder on his lap. Bertha and Gertha Crumpet sat side-by-side, whispering astute observations into one another’s ears, and occasionally standing to admire the potted plants whose thirst they quenched with tap water administered from a watering can.

Waldo sat at the back of the room with yet another father - Father Flannigan.

“Are these people really my relatives!” said Waldo with mounting excitement.

“Yes, but keep your voice down.”

“Sorry, Father.”

Waldo had noted that Father Flannigan and Father Crumpet sat at opposite ends of the room. Like two sailors on shore leave who pass each other on the street, but refuse to interchange, the two fathers now declined to communicate. Waldo, who was curious in general, was wondering why they did not share the same couch, for they shared the same office! He did not know that priests are often distrustful of other priests, for being cut from the same cloth they can often spy in each other’s heart the deficiencies that remained cloaked to their parishioners.

“It’s time,” said Sir Richard.

He instructed one of his subordinates to lock the doors, whereupon a brief roll call commenced. This ridiculous formality would foreshadow the manner in which Sir Richard would conduct all of his affairs that afternoon. He insisted on formal procedure lest one of the Crumpets contest the will and benefit from some minor slip-up on his part.

And presently he began.

“Is Father Charles present?” he said.

“Present,” said he.

“Is Lucy Lou Crumpet present?”

She managed, between sobs, to croak out a theatrical: “Present!”

“Is Joseph Crumpet present?”

“I prefer Comrade Crumpet,” said he frankly.

“I’ll take that as a yes. Is Garth Crumpet present?”

Garth waved his black binder in the air.

“I’ll take that as a yes. Is Bertha Crumpet present?”


“Is Gertha Crumpet present?”


“Is Waldo Crumpet present?”

Father Crumpet stopped smiling. Lucy Lou Crumpet stopped sobbing. Comrade Crumpet, scandalized, spun around on his seat and spilled a drop of his tea. Garth Crumpet actually dropped his black binder. Bertha and Gertha Crumpet let out a collective screech, for which they immediately apologized. The entire Crumpet clan was shocked - shocked to learn not only that Sir Hugo, their father, had produced an illegitimate child, for it was obvious, just by looking, that this boy was not of their ilk, but also that a human being could actually sport a nose so large and yet remain upright without the aid of a walking support.

Lucy Lou Crumpet, revealing her true emotion, strode to the back of the room with the quality of a film star advancing on the podium. She looked at Waldo, and, frothing at the mouth, began to shout awful obscenities, which will not be repeated here. It was difficult to make out exactly what she was saying but the source of her wrath seemed to originate from the injustice that she had been turned out of Crumpet Towers by Sir Hugo for having produced an illegitimate child, while Sir Hugo had himself been doing likewise on the side.

“You’re not a Crumpet! You’re not a real Crumpet!” she shouted. “Look at your nose! You’re disfigured! No legitimate Crumpet has ever had a nose that big!”

Sir Richard instructed one of his subordinates to escort Lucy Lou back to her seat, and presently she returned, quivering with rage.

Waldo turned to Father Flannigan, and whispered: “Father, that lady said I have a big nose?”

“Never mind that. We’ll discuss that later.”

“I repeat, is Waldo Crumpet present?”

Father Flannigan nudged young Waldo.

“Present,” said Waldo, and raised his hand.

“Everyone is present and accounted for. We shall begin the reading.”

Garth Crumpet immediately protested. He wanted to stop these proceedings based on legal grounds.

Asked what the nature of his complaint was, Garth responded that an illegitimate person was present.

“To whom do you refer, sir?”

To the boy with the big nose, naturally... what’s-his-name.

“Waldo, you mean?”

Right. Waldo. He had no right to be there.

“Waldo Crumpet has every right to be here, sir. I assure you, he is a legitimate beneficiary of the Crumpet estate.”

Comrade Crumpet shot out with: “Where did he come from, then?”

“That is not the issue we are here to discuss, sir.”

Lucy Lou shouted. “He’s not a Crumpet! He’s not a Crumpet! Look at that snout!”

Bertha and Gertha Crumpet, distressed by this sudden outbreak of hostilities, pleaded for calmer heads to prevail, while Father Crumpet merely sat watching, a passive observer whose chief desire was to avoid conflict. He would contribute his services, but only if blood were shed, and then he would rush in to soothe the victim whilst the offender made off to commit further crimes elsewhere. Sir Richard, meanwhile, proceeded as though this minor outbreak had not even occurred; ignore the rabble, is what he thought, and it will die of its own accord. Besides, he had a rather different trick up his sleeve. As a thief might attempt to distract a menacing dog with a juicy bone, Sir Richard now attempted to distract the angry mob with a mysterious looking DVD. He removed the DVD from his leather bag and in an exaggerated manner placed the thing onto the table beside the will - all great lawyers possess this theatrical streak.

And indeed this sudden placement of the object named had its effect.

The entire assemblage ceased to make noise.

They looked at the DVD as though a high explosive had been planted, and in only a matter of moments might blow their lofty dreams to smithereens.

Could this DVD possibly contain a recorded message from Sir Hugo himself?

Had they been incorrect to assume that Sir Hugo’s estate would be divided equally between the six of them?

Sir Richard confirmed their fears.

“In point of fact, I will not be reading Sir Hugo’s will this evening.”

He detonated the bomb: “In point of fact, Sir Hugo, at the very last minute, and without informing my office, endeavored to have his Last Will and Testament digitally recorded, and will himself be revealing the manner in which his estate shall be divided.” He produced a dry cough. “I have foreseen that possibly one or two of you might be inclined to believe that such an unconventional approach as Sir Hugo’s might not stand up in a court of law - I can assure you that it would. Sir Hugo’s recorded verbal communication of his own Last Will and Testament was conducted to the letter of the law, and indeed was overseen by his own in-house team of legal representatives.”

Garth Crumpet, in a highly agitated condition, slapped his chair with his black binder, and cursed his displeasure aloud.

“My assistant will now dim the lights,” said Sir Richard, savoring the drama of the moment. He felt like a character in a play.

“They don’t dim, sir,” said his assistant, breaking a spell.

“Well just turn the damn things out then,” hissed Sir Richard.

“Yes, sir.”

As darkness enveloped the room a massive television was wheeled to the front by two shadowy figures. Sir Richard fed the DVD into a player and an image of Sir Hugo appeared on the screen. Thus Waldo was presented with the first official image of his natural father. “That’s him!” he shouted, surprising himself with the sound of his own voice. “That’s him, that’s my father,” he repeated as tears welled up in his eyes.

“Keep your mouth shut back there, you little brat,” shouted Lucy Lou, turning in her seat.

Garth informed her to pipe down herself.

“No! You pipe down!” she said. And not realizing the danger involved she pointed a theatrical finger straight at Garth. She tapped herself on the chest. “Don’t you tell me to pipe down. I’m a legitimate Crumpet. I can say whatever I want. I have the right to be here.”

“Pipe down, all of you,” said Comrade Crumpet, and sneered at them as though the corner of his mustache had been caught by a fisherman’s hook.

“No! You pipe down!”

“What! Me pipe down! Why you little-”

“Quiet in this room!” said Sir Richard. “The beneficiaries will remain silent throughout, or else appropriate measures shall have to be taken!”

He had voiced this threat so severely that not one Crumpet dared to respond. Indeed, each member was now quietly hoping that another would accidentally say something foul, and consequently be faced with the ‘appropriate measures’.

And, besides, the reading had already commenced.

Sir Hugo, reaching out from beyond the grave, was presently filling his children’s ears with preliminary legal nonsense: “My name, for the record, is Sir Hugo Cornelius Crumpet. I am - or rather, I was - the president and owner of Crumpet Toothpicks, manufacturer and worldwide distributor of premium quality toothpicks.”

Waldo could scarcely believe it.

Crumpet Toothpicks!

He was acquainted with the Crumpet name of course, since one of his duties down in the kitchen had been to make certain that the stores were sufficiently stocked. He therefore knew the many brand names of all the good things that you might find in a kitchen. It turned out that toothpicks were a priority item at the orphanage since both Father Flannigan and Sister Judy could not endure the strain of stale food caught between the teeth. The thing that Waldo loved the most about Crumpet Toothpicks was not that they were packaged in a bright red wooden box inscribed with pleasant yellow lettering, nor that when placed between the teeth a Crumpet toothpick would rarely ever snap or bend at the ends, but rather that each toothpick was lovingly wrapped in its own white paper jacket. Here was attention to detail! It was assurance that when placed in the mouth each toothpick would be sweet smelling, and clean tasting. Waldo, who was especially fond of the special mint flavored toothpicks, would often smuggle one or two out of the kitchen and chew away when he was down in the basement bathroom reading his beloved encyclopedia.

Never in his wildest dreams had he imagined that the Crumpet of whom Father Flannigan had spoken yesterday over at the orphanage was the very same mastermind behind Crumpet Toothpicks.

He could barely contain himself. His joy knew no bounds! He bit down on his tongue, as to vent his present excitement, and began to shake his hands like a spastic about to unwrap a birthday present.

“Let’s just dispense with the preamble,” said Sir Hugo dryly. “The reason that we’re all here - or rather, the reason that you’re all there - is because I’m dead and you want to know what percentage of my fortune you’ll be inheriting.”

Sir Hugo had never been one to mince words.

“I’ll start with the eldest of you,” he began coldly.

“Charles, your decision to become a priest displeased me deeply. Nevertheless, you being my eldest son are entitled to your fair share of the family fortune, which I’ve no doubt you’ll immediately pass along to that precious church of yours... in fact, Charles... you may claim the entire fortune for yourself if you so desire it.”

Father Crumpet’s heart nearly shot out of his chest at this.

“But unfortunately for you, you’ll have to earn it first.”


He would have to earn it first?

What did Sir Hugo mean by that?

What kind of a cryptic remark was this?

Sir Hugo feebly turned the page of his document. His hands shook violently, betraying the severity of his illness.

“Lucy Lou, you wanted to become an actress but instead got yourself impregnated with an illegitimate child - you disgraced the family name and disappointed me deeply. Nevertheless, you being my eldest daughter are entitled to your fair share of the family fortune, which I’ve no doubt you’ll immediately spend on acting lessons. In fact, Lucy Lou, you may claim the entire fortune for yourself, and then go purchase your own production company if you so desire it.” He scowled directly into the camera. “But you, like your older brother Charles, will have to earn it first.”

He turned another page.

“Joseph,” he said with a sigh. “How many arguments have we engaged in over the years? Too many, I’ll wager. Your disdain of Capitalism and love of Communism displeased me deeply. Nevertheless you are my second eldest son and are therefore entitled to your fair share of the family fortune, which I’ve no doubt you’ll immediately feed into the Communist cause. In fact, Comrade, you may seize the entire Crumpet fortune for yourself if you so desire it... but you, like the others, will have to earn it first.”

Sir Hugo, obviously frail, sipped from a glass of water before continuing. “Garth...” he said, pausing to shake his head. “There’s one of you in every family, I suppose. Your siblings merely disappointed or displeased me, but you, Garth, deeply distressed me! I would hope that during the interval since we parted company you have visited an appropriate institution and surrender yourself to a psychiatric evaluation - my instincts, however, alert me otherwise. You are a deeply disturbed individual, Garth. Nevertheless, you being my third eldest son are entitled to your fair share of the family fortune. I’ve no doubt you’ll immediately invest your share of the inheritance in promoting that foul Plan of yours - do you still carry that black binder of yours with you everywhere you go? In fact, Garth, you may lay claim to the entire fortune for yourself if you so desire it - and I know that you do. Indeed, Garth, you’re probably the only one who won’t immediately attempt to sell off the enterprise. I know that you’ll want to keep the family business, and I know what you’re planning on doing with it once you’ve got it! You will, however, have to earn it first.”

He paused for thought. “Bertha and Gertha, never did a father love his two twin daughters more than I loved you. When you went off to Africa to save that spotted mud beetle thing you did not merely disappoint me, or displease me, or distress me - you broke my heart! You never even thought to send me a postcard in the mail! Nevertheless, you two, being once my dear darling daughters, are certainly entitled to your share of my toothpick fortune, which I’ve no doubt you’ll immediately spend on acquiring vast amounts of snail food. In fact, girls, you may claim the entire Crumpet fortune all for yourselves if you so desire it... but you, like your siblings, will of course have to earn it first.”

Next up was Waldo.

“For complicated reasons that are too involved for me to go into at present, my boy, I have been unable to acknowledge your existence on this planet. I shall do so now. You, my dear Waldo, are a legitimate member of the Crumpet clan - do not allow anyone to convince you otherwise, especially your older sister, Lucy Lou. You are a Crumpet, through and through, and are therefore entitled to your share of my vast fortune. In fact, you may claim the entire fortune entirely for yourself if you so desire it... except, of course, that you’ll have to earn it first.”

He then explained the meaning of this ‘you’ll-have-to-earn-it-first’ business.

“Each of you, with the possible exception of Waldo, has managed to let me down in some significant way. You have estranged yourselves from me, and by all accounts, from each other as well.”

He scowled into the camera.

“I shall provide you with one last opportunity to make amends, to repair the family wounds so to speak.”

He stood from his seat.

His nurse supported him as he made his way up to the camera, where his face now dominated the screen.

“Unite now, my children,” he said, “or remain forever divided. I give you this one simple choice: Throw all petty differences aside and divide the family fortune equally amongst yourselves - or...”

He paused dramatically.

“... or compete for the family fortune individually.”

Compete for the family fortune individually?

What did Sir Hugo mean by this?

“And what exactly do I mean by this?” said he with obvious delight. “What I mean, my children, is a race around the world!”

Each Crumpet gasped.

Waldo in particular could hardly believe what he was hearing! A race around the world! It was like something out of a movie or a book!

Sir Hugo hardened. “The first party to circumnavigate the globe via land or sea would claim the entire Crumpet fortune entirely for themselves.”

“But don’t think,” he added, “that you would be able to circumnavigate in just any old fashion. Checkpoints have been predetermined. Only when you arrive at one checkpoint would you be informed of the whereabouts of your next. Your first checkpoint would be The Eiffel Tower, in Paris, France.” A wily grin spread across his face. “You now have just two minutes to make your decision: either make amends, my children, and divide my fortune evenly amongst yourselves, or race to determine which one of you will inherit it all.”

He came even closer to the camera.

Had he advanced any further he would’ve entered the room itself.

“Good luck to you all,” he said with the faintest of smiles. “I sincerely hope, my children, that you choose to unite. But... should you choose to race instead... then may the best party win.”

For a moment Sir Hugo’s face remained on the screen. Then the television was switched off and he retreated to the static confines of his portrait up on the wall behind.

Up there, as the lights came on, he looked like a new Sir Hugo Cornelius Crumpet, rejuvenated from this final chat with his children. Had his portrait somehow been altered during the reading? It was more likely that the people viewing the portrait had been altered. To learn that Sir Hugo had possessed this mischievous streak came as quite a shock to his children. Indeed Sir Hugo really did seem to look a little more mischievous now. A faint grin could now be detected curling up from the side of his mouth and a twinkle could now be seen sparkling in his eyes. By no means was he the gentle old man that outsiders had presumed him to be! The Crumpets themselves certainly never suspected that the old man had been concealing this little trick up his sleeve: what responsible parent would force their own offspring to race each other around the world in competition for the family fortune?

They all sat, stewing.

Although emotionally united in their wrath, the Crumpets remained physically divided by space, and continued to occupy separate pieces of furniture, save for Bertha and Gertha whose chaise longue strained to support their combined weight.

A momentary pause preceded debate.

They commenced to contemplate Sir Hugo’s offer - nay, ultimatum.

On the one hand they hadn’t exactly been denied their share of the family fortune. But on the other, it was apparent that in order for each to receive a slice of the family pie, then the group, as a unit, would have to agree to divide the family fortune equally, and this would naturally mean including the outsider, Waldo. Lucy Lou would rail against this. Could she be swayed within two minutes to acknowledge the legitimacy of this illegitimate child? It seemed unlikely. She was evidently poisoned against this child with the big nose and would likely do anything to deny him of his collateral share of Sir Hugo’s accumulated riches. What she failed to see was that Waldo did not even want the riches!

The precious seconds ticked away.

And so a necessary dialogue between the Crumpets commenced.

Father Charles Crumpet was quick to promote unity. “We should divide the inheritance equally amongst ourselves,” he said with devastating honor. “A race around the world would be a waste of time, resources, and energy. We must all benefit from the passing of our great father, may he rest in peace.”

“Agreed!” cried Bertha and Gertha simultaneously.

“I don’t agree,” said Lucy Lou, folding her arms across her chest in an act of defiance.

Garth echoed support. He hadn’t agreed to anything either.

Comrade Crumpet, neutral, refused to participate in this dialogue. His siblings were not his comrades. He simply would not conference with them.

Presently Sir Richard announced that their time was running out. This compelled Father Charles to inquire what measures would be taken if the clan could not decide one way or the other?

“If you cannot agree to unite then you will have no choice but to race - that is your legal standpoint, sir.”

Father Crumpet sighed.

He addressed his two younger siblings, Lucy Lou and Garth. “I ask you, with my deepest humility - let us put aside our differences and unite now.”

“You don’t get it,” spat Lucy Lou, pointing her finger at the father. “If we unite then we’ll have to include the big nose back there.”

“But he is a legitimate Crumpet, after all.”

“Nonsense. He’s a phony! He’s illegitimate!”

“Your time is running out,” warned Sir Richard severely.

“Lucy Lou, I ask you once again to reconsider.”

“No! Get your hands off me!”

He had attempted to put his arm around her, and was surprised by the sheer force of her resistance. It was confirmation, really, that a race around the world would ensue.

“But if we can’t agree to unite,” he argued, attempting to invoke logic, “then we will have to race, and if we have to race then only one of us will win. If, on the other hand, we unite, then we will all be victorious.” The logic of this escaped Lucy Lou, who was blinded by her anger. She was already beginning to plot out the quickest route to Paris. “I assume we’ll be given money to cover transportation costs?” she asked Sir Richard.

“Negative. You will receive no financial aid of any sort during the race.”

He added, with nonchalance: “But as long as you can foot the bill of your own accord, you may travel by public transport or by private, and in any manner you so desire. The only stipulation is that you must travel by land or by water - if at any point during circumnavigation your conveyance leaves the surface of the earth and enters the atmosphere then disqualification will automatically result.” What a puff of hot air! It was just a blast of complicated legal speak, really. Indeed, McCreary was really just saying that the race participants would not be allowed to fly anywhere. “And I need not remind you that Sir Hugo’s resources are vast... meaning, of course, that you’ll be watched during your journey... you won’t always know it, but there will always be someone somewhere, watching you from the shadows.”

“But I haven’t got any money!” wailed Lucy Lou suddenly realizing what a terrible fix she was in.

An evil grin spread across Garth’s face.

He was not a rich man - at least he was not as rich as his father.

And yet he did possess the necessary resources that would aid him in swift circumnavigation of the planet. In fact, he owned a Porsche. Seeing that he was in an advantageous position he too began to plot out the quickest course to Paris. His sister, Lucy Lou, on the other hand, suddenly reversed her position and decided to embrace unity. “All right, then, if we have to do it, we’ll divide the stuff seven ways. This doesn’t mean that I’m acknowledging the legitimacy of that big nose back there though.”

Father Crumpet, without speaking, leaned over and embraced his little sister, and this time she did not resist. Bertha and Gertha, letting out a collective sigh of relief, jumped to their feet, and joined the embrace between brother and sister. Comrade Crumpet refused to join this group hug, but agreed that dividing the fortune evenly amongst the entire clan was the most just course of action - indeed, an even distribution of the wealth was the very principle he had always championed.

Waldo, being an outsider, merely circled the group hug, and looked up with interest upon these funny looking Crumpets.
Nobody seemed to notice that Garth was standing alone in a dark corner reading a timetable. He was attempting to learn how best to traverse The English Channel. His table suggested that he travel beneath the channel by train rather than across it by boat.

Sir Richard indicated that their time would expire in just thirty seconds and that they must inform him soon of their decision.

To race, or not to race, that was the question.

“But we have already agreed to unite,” said a smiling Father Charles, continuing to embrace his three sisters.

“Have you?” inquired Sir Richard, raising an eyebrow.

“We have!” beamed Father Charles.

Oh no they hadn’t, said Garth.

The family members ceased to embrace, and gaped at Garth, who was already buttoning his topcoat in preparation for the sprint to his Porsche, which awaited him in the pouring rain outside. Sir Richard consulted his watch and announced that their alloted two minutes had officially passed. “I must have your decision now,” he said with authority. “Are you agreed to divide the estate equally amongst the seven of you? Or will you race?”

Garth stood alone.

His hand in his pocket had already located the key for his car.

The Crumpets gaped at Garth.

They turned and looked helplessly at Sir Richard.

“We will never persuade our brother to comply,” they shrieked.

“Then you shall race!” said Sir Richard. “And furthermore you shall commence to race now!”

He was overcome with excitement, and performed a little two-step, quite out of character. The Crumpets, meanwhile, turned around and saw that Garth was gone. Outside a car engine started up, and a moment later the sound of a Porsche could be heard slipping off in the direction of France.
Last edited by Username on June 3rd, 2010, 3:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Incredible Race

Post by deepsesh » May 29th, 2010, 3:10 am


You already got my feedback on this.... :) Can't wait to know whats going to happen next!! How are they going to race without money?!?!??! And who's gonna win?? I hope its not Waldo, cos that will make it too predictable!

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Re: The Incredible Race

Post by Username » May 29th, 2010, 10:36 am

Lucy Lou Crumpet has some money - just not as much money as the evil Garth. She'll be able to get herself around the world okay - but she might need to form a temporary alliance with her siblings.

The Crumpets are not united right now - as adults, they've been estranged from one another, and have not been communicating.

But that could all change during the course of the race!

(As for Waldo, he's not interested in the money - he just wants to see the world, having been stuck at the orphanage with an encyclopedia, which has only tantalized him, and informed him that there's a huge world out there that needs to be explored.)

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Re: The Incredible Race

Post by Aimée » May 30th, 2010, 7:52 pm

This is hilarious! Couldn't stop reading... I feel like a few of these chapters could be combined, like the first three are really just chapter one since it's all the same setting and time frame. Same with chapters 4-6 with Waldo. The image I got of Father Charles laughing up at the sky when he heard of his father's death was great. And Garth with the notebook. Ha!
I actually didn't have time to finish reading all of this. I only got to chapter eight. But I will definitely come back and read more! It was so funny!

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Re: The Incredible Race

Post by Username » May 31st, 2010, 1:51 pm

Aimée wrote:This is hilarious! Couldn't stop reading... I feel like a few of these chapters could be combined, like the first three are really just chapter one since it's all the same setting and time frame. Same with chapters 4-6 with Waldo. The image I got of Father Charles laughing up at the sky when he heard of his father's death was great. And Garth with the notebook. Ha!
I actually didn't have time to finish reading all of this. I only got to chapter eight. But I will definitely come back and read more! It was so funny!
You're an incredibly sharp person.

You say that a few of these chapters could be combined to form one chapter.

Yes, at one time many of these chapters were indeed a single chapter - I'm amazed (and also incredibly happy) that you were able to see that! You wrote, for example, that the first three chapters could be made into one chapter - those first three chapters originally were the first chapter. So why did I break the chapter up?

I don't have a lot of confidence right now. Forget about literary agents and editors, I'm having a difficult enough time finding family members who will read my work. I gave this excerpt to my niece and asked her if she would read it, and as is typically the case with the people I know, she didn't. So finally I asked her what was 'wrong' with my writing. She frowned and said it was too long.

I then asked her how much of the excerpt she had read. And she told me she had read the first three pages.

So that's when I decided to break up the chapters. My instincts told me not to, but I did it anyway in attempt to 'shorten' the story. You wrote that chapters 4-6 could be transformed into a single chapter - you got it right again! Those three chapters originally were a single chapter.

Interestingly enough, another person here at this forum sent me a private message (which I was incredibly grateful to receive - I appreciate all comments... especially when they're true), saying that I should probably break apart the lengthy chapter in which all the Crumpets were being introduced, since readers might think that that part of the story was not essential, and so skim over it.

I guess that different people must read in different ways? Anyhow, I welcome and appreciate all comments. Thanks for the comments. You have no idea how much this means to me.

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Re: The Incredible Race

Post by J. T. SHEA » May 31st, 2010, 5:18 pm

'Where's Waldo?' 'Encyclopedias are nothing but big brochures printed up by Lucifer himself!'

Marvelous, Username! I am reminded of those wonderful British comedy movies of the fifties and sixties, with Terry Thomas twirling his moustache evilly, and music by Ron Goodwin. And that need not be a cultural limitation. Look at Harry Potter. How very British.

And, the really great thing is, YOU COULD PUT TUNBRIDGE WELLS ON THE MAP! I don't know if it's there already. I haven't checked.

And Alec Guinness could play ALL the characters in the movie. Yes, I know he's long dead, but that's what CGI is for.

The North London Institute of Economics? Any similarity to the London School of Economics is purely coincidental, of course...

A couple of minor quibbles in Chapter 16:-
'Garth informed her to pipe down herself.' 'Informed' does mean 'told' but in the sense of imparting information, not commanding. Unless the error is deliberate?
I would remove the 'spastic' simile. It will offend some people and it's not important to the story.

Your niece frowning and saying your writing is too long reminds me of the Austrian Emperor in the movie AMADEUS telling Mozart his latest composition had too many notes!

I like short chapters myself, both as reader and writer. You have about 14,000 words here in 16 chapters. Say 900 words per chapter. Mine tend to be only slightly longer, just over 1,000 words, and I have chapter breaks without a change of scene or venue, though I do look for a natural pause in action or dialogue.

Perhaps you should challenge your niece and other family members to a race around the world...

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Re: The Incredible Race

Post by Username » May 31st, 2010, 10:28 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote: A couple of minor quibbles in Chapter 16:-
'Garth informed her to pipe down herself.' 'Informed' does mean 'told' but in the sense of imparting information, not commanding. Unless the error is deliberate?
I would remove the 'spastic' simile. It will offend some people and it's not important to the story.
I've read this story at least a hundred times - how incredible that I should've missed this.

I think that I was only subconsciously aware that the word 'informed' is not synonymous with the word 'told'. Now I'm aware of it consciously, so hopefully I won't make this mistake again. Thanks for correcting me. (Wow, it's true - you really do learn something new each day. :) )

Also, I'll remove the word 'spastic'. It never crossed my mind that that word might be offensive to some people. I guess I should've known this. I've come to regard the word 'retarded' as being offensive. (Decades ago, of course, we used the word retarded to describe the mentally handicapped... we all did it. Especially the way some people use that word today... it's often 'meant' to be offensive.)

Also, I was incredibly pleased to see that you picked up on the 'Britishness' of this novel. I felt that this story was something that might appeal to older British people, which is why I submitted to three British agents - no dice. (By the way, you strike me as being a highly educated individual - Harvard, perhaps?)

Again, thanks for the comments.

Thanks to everyone for the comments!

I've been writing for years and years, and nobody has ever said anything about my work. I'm just glad that some of you appear to have followed the story. These past years I've been wondering if I'm barking mad, and have no ability to write whatsoever. It's just incredibly gratifying to have somebody read my work for a change.

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Re: The Incredible Race

Post by Username » May 31st, 2010, 10:42 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote: I like short chapters myself, both as reader and writer. You have about 14,000 words here in 16 chapters. Say 900 words per chapter. Mine tend to be only slightly longer, just over 1,000 words, and I have chapter breaks without a change of scene or venue, though I do look for a natural pause in action or dialogue.
You deliberately aim for 1,000 words per chapter?

That's interesting. Fifteen years ago my chapters were typically eight-thousand words. I've kept a lot of that writing, and today I can't read it without wincing - god it's awful... just awful.

In particular, I didn't know about 'elimination'. I didn't know that removing material from the story strengthens it, or that knowing about something, and then not writing about it, will allow you, as the author, to tell a better story. (The master of this is E.M. Forster, "A Passage To India" being the most compact novel I've ever read.)

Was this something you evolved into? I think it's a smart decision. I wish I'd known about this when I was younger.

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Re: The Incredible Race

Post by deepsesh » June 1st, 2010, 2:19 am

I prefer sticking to shorter chapters as well. Its easy to read and it sort of keeps you going.

When i'm reading ... i'll think - ok 5 minutes more... until this chapter gets over and then i'll go and do 'so and so that i've been putting off for the past 1 hour' - but when the chapter ends, i'm just dying to know what's next and i continue reading.

If the chapter is too long - its probably cos its too descriptive (just my opinion) and then i'd leave the chapter half way in between to go do my 'so and so', the minute i get even slightly bored. Because i know its a long chapter - and i will have to wait a while until i can finish it.

So yeah - shorter are better for me.

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Re: The Incredible Race

Post by J. T. SHEA » June 2nd, 2010, 6:39 pm

Thanks, Username, but not Harvard. I was born and raised in the USA, but left as a child to live in Ireland.

1,000 words a chapter seems to be my natural writing rhythm, though I do vary lengths if needs be. James Patterson and others write even shorter paragraphs and subdivide even those short paragraphs with blank lines. I also name and number my chapters and list them on contents pages, like Arthur C. Clarke did. I am surprised more writers don't, though it is extra work and some readers might mistake the result for a short story collection!

In short, I like white space. More paper, but a better reading experience. That does not make Aimee, for example, wrong. It's a matter of taste.

'Barking mad' and 'no ability to write whatsoever'? Tell me about it! Search Nathan's blog and forums for 'Am I crazy?' or 'Am I crazies?' He and others have pointed out that even successfully published authors sometimes feel like that.

Your ability to write is not in question. I read your 14,000 words in one sitting, a rarity for me. I'm not generally a fast reader. Feedback is vital, and the Internet does provide many opportunities for it. Seek them out, on these Bransforums and elsewhere.

Don't worry about 'elimination'. Offhand, I saw nothing significant to eliminate from your piece, but editors are not the bad guys. Most of the time, anyway. I spend more time and effort editing my forum comments than writing them initially. And A PASSAGE TO INDIA is indeed superb.

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