Today I will present to you the opening of my first NaNo novel “The Search For Goth Disco”. Over the next few days, I may share the openings of my other novels. In this one, I wanted to write a story about what makes us happy (in my case the Goth Disco from the title).
It did not really end up that way though. I experienced the free style jazz fusion writing that I seem to be unable to escape from. It’s fun though and interesting as a write to do but the end result…well I really do feel grateful that anyone manages to read all the way through anything I have written. It can’t be easy. When I go back and re-read my stuff, I am often surprised by how good some of it is (trust me, I am not really the kind of person that blows their own trumpet!) there are bits I wish I could change, or wish I had not written because I cannot remember why but on the whole, I really like my first drafts. One day I may even do a second draft on some of my novels….I really should!
Anyway here is the opening of that first NaNo novel of mine, presented unedited and probably badly spelt. The story that gave birth to a recurring character of mine Colonel Montgomery McSwine and included a Gary Numan reference that started me off on adding him somehow to all my stories. So come in, take a seat, pour yourself a drink and enjoy for what it is.
The Search for Goth Disco
By Alex P. Reaney
The Traffic light turned green as the last of the people rushed across the road. The cars had started to move but were confused by the lone figure stood in the middle of the crossroads. I could see that others had noticed him too. Quizzical looks passed between strangers.
He was crying. His body was shaking uncontrollably as the horns started. Some cars even just steered round him, anxious to get to their destination. Suddenly he stared straight up and screamed.
“Just Kill Me!”
Then he collapsed and kindly people slowly moved out to help him. I felt I should join them but very quickly he was ushered to the side, still crying. Briefly a thought as to why he hadn’t jumped off of Union Terrace Bridge, flitted across my mind, but I quickly shook it off.
You see I knew exactly how he felt. Not so long ago I was in the same position. Nothing to live for but the fear of not being able to actually end it all.
Good thing really, in hindsight, then I would have missed my awakening. Sounds a bit wanky really but its true.
This is my story. And a few others!
Why do they resist me? I see them suffering and all I want to do is help them. Reaching out I implore them to grasp my hand and let me take all the pain away. It really is that simple. One touch and their bad feelings are gone. It’s the past that makes people sad. Things said, things done to them and by them. The past is a minefield of missed opportunities and pain. No one is exempt from this; we all have dark sides that we would rather bury. Of course by burying them, they sit there in the dark, gestating into something else, something worse. The old saying about venting a problem when it first appears is so true but
most of us choose to ignore it and leave ourselves open to more pain at a later date, when we are at our weakest.
I can remove those memories, those words said in anger, designed to hurt. One touch is all it takes.
Yet most people don’t accept my hand and suffer through the bad times until they eventually break.
Or accept it and move on. I remove that process and then they can go on their way, safe in the knowledge that the next time it hits them, it won’t be as intense.
One touch and all the pain is gone. Just reach out.
The Happy Trails shop was quiet. I hadn’t seen anyone actually go in there but it was still there after 6 months. Union Street rents were not cheap, so it must have had some customers. The sign above the door stated, “We can show you happiness” but strangely didn’t actually say how. The temptation to go in was strong and I was sure that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Yet I hadn’t actually seen anyone enter. Hadn’t seen anyone inside either. Whoever owned it sure kept a low profile. The closed sign was on there every time I had passed. Every time I spoke to my friends about the shop, no one seemed to know where I was talking about. Eventually I gave up trying, letting them think that it’s a shoe shop, or whatever. I know the truth. The bus arrives at the stop and I board it, immediately annoyed because it’s full of kids. I make my way up to the back of the bus and my ears are assaulted by the cacophony of mobile phones playing horrible squeaky noise. At least three different avalanches of noise hits me and I turn my MP3 player up a little bit louder to try and drown out the racket.
Sitting staring straight ahead I choose to ignore then idiots when they start to argue about which of their dirges is the best. Ideally they would wipe each other out in some sort of Battle Royal reality TV show, where we could all vote. I would spend so much money on that. Of course that thought isn’t really the “Done Thing” as far as society is concerned. Indeed I am a little bit ashamed of myself. What I should do is just ask them to turn the racket down. Do it politely and they couldn’t complain surely. Could they? Hell I know they would.
The Bus driver could say something, at the end of the say this is his bus and he has a responsibility to his passengers. Actually what of the
passengers? Why aren’t they saying anything? Why should I be the only person sitting here, seething and getting my blood pressure up for no reason?
My stop comes soon after and I can leave the madness of the bus behind. I really shouldn’t let things like that get to me. They really aren’t that important, yet they annoy the hell out of me. Once we had people playing huge ghetto blasters at full volume on busses, then we had walkmans and their annoying tinny drum beats that escaped from the bulky headphones. Then came what I like to call the “Golden Age” where most people had decent ear phones and there was rarely any noise pollution on my daily bus rides. Then some genius decided that what the general public wanted was the ability to play music on your mobile phone! The annoying folk who sat there shouting their loud conversations into the ether of the bus weren’t bad enough. I swear on a weekly basis I would hear an argument via phone, or a supposedly secret conversation between lovers. I could zone in and out of them, although they did piss me off from time to time. Once I was sure I heard a dodgy deal being set up and I sat there training my hearing to concentrate only on the girl behind me. Limited success was had but it did make the journey more interesting than I had expected. So before the Mobile disco phones that populate our buses now, the worst I suffered from them was the people who had just bought a new one and had to, just HAD to try out EVERY ring tone that it contained. Now we get the latest dance hit as sung by what sound like the chipmunks and all at a speed that I am sure can only be heard and understood by dolphins. Often repeated over and over because “It’s a really good tune that one…play it again”. One day I will actually stand up and ask them to turn it down. Or tell them because I think they probably need to be put in their place.
As the bus pulled away I saw a guy running in my direction. Normal looking with a long coat flapping in the wind. He slowed as he got closer to me and seeing me shy away, he gasped out.
“Wait…I think I have what you are looking for” I sincerely doubted that
How wrong I was!
There are many ways I can be reached. Many different forms of communication exist that will connect you to me. It could be as simple as looking at a great painting and losing yourself in the landscape. A great novel, where the characters envelop you into their world and
show you their lives through your eyes. Sometimes people find their way to me via a good actor. A film or a play can work.
Mostly though, I reach people through music. Music has that unique way of triggering the memories that lie deep inside us. A simple tune can make you feel like a child again and you can sense exactly what you felt back then. I reach out through the music and await your touch. As the words and music spill over you, the hurt is open and makes it so much easier for me to take away. Think of the times that a song has moved you close to tears. I was almost in your grasp. Yet you didn’t take advantage of my offer. I wonder why? Oh yes, I have heard all of the arguments against my power. The old “It’s what I have been through that has made me the person I am today” crowd. Yes I suppose in a way you are right. The concept of “Life Lessons” is not lost on me. I tire of explaining that I don’t take the pain away completely, just the worst part of it. The part that stops you in your tracks when you are about to do something different. Humans are so scared of new things, the fear of change that keeps them in jobs they hate. Makes it easier to stay with someone you no longer love, indeed you may even hate, just simply because it is easier that way. To start again would take too much, would take a leap of faith that you just don’t believe you have in you. You do but it is hidden behind so much emotional debris that it often gets forgotten about. All I do is remove the fear, the hurt, and the embarrassment and allow you to cope with the twists and turns of life. Yet still many choose to ignore my gift and suffer day after day, until it burst out far larger, far worse than the original sin.
Consider the name calling you received as a child. Maybe you were called fat or ugly or that you smelt. At the time it hurt and you probably ran away to be alone, to cry the pain out. That was the end of it as far as you were concerned.
But was it?
The pain was still there and as the years pass it grew, probably only a little bit. Then when you are older and supposedly wiser, it is still there, just out of sight, hidden in the darkness and then a completely unrelated event happens. Maybe you break up with someone you were in love with, maybe something else. At your low point, it comes back and you start to think maybe you are ugly. Maybe they were right back then, maybe you are useless, a complete waste of life. For most people that feeling subsides and they get back on track. The crying sorts it out, the demon is back in the bottle and you go on living your life. Trust
me on this. Its still there. It may be years later before it returns but during that time it is growing bigger and the next time it returns, it will hit just that bit harder. I can take that away. The experience will still be there, you can still learn from it. You will still be the person you are. You just won’t be hurting inside.
The alternative is to let it one day overcomes you and then you find yourself on that bridge and it is so much harder to take my hand then.
But not impossible.