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mpride1122
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mpride1122

Number of posts : 31
Registration date : 2011-03-25
Location : NY

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PostSubject: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 6:19 am

Another (slightly longer) excerpt from my unplublished project, Considering Phil (opinions appreciated):

Setting:

Present day…

Downtown Philadelphia

8:36 p.m. Sunday, June 6, 2010

After an earlier scene the story continues below...

*******

...Unsettled by the rising tension between the bartender and the stranger, Phil quickly finished his drink, pulled out his wallet and left cash and tip on the counter. As he started to push away, the stranger turned to Phil and said, “Listen, friend, remember something for me, will ya?” The man swiftly grabbed and sparked the lighter, this time holding the flame out between him and Phil.

“You might think your life is hell, but I think you’ll find hell ain’t all that bad once you get used to the heat…” and he lifted his hand and placed his palm directly over the flame and started to laugh. Phil stared at the man and thought this fool is insane! He backed away, keeping his eyes fixed on the laughing stranger. He waited for the man to remove his hand from the flame, but he simply continued to laugh harder and harder.

Phil turned away from the man and noticed the table behind him was empty of all except the one man who seemed downtrodden. He stared at Phil with tired eyes and seemed sorrowfully mourning some misfortune. Shook up, Phil took a step back, turned, and headed towards the exit. He took a final glance back to the two men at the bar as they stared at one another from across the counter. The lighter was still lit, emitting a haunting glow in the dim tavern that cast a dark shadow over the stranger, while something moved very quickly just behind the bartender as he straightened up and stared unflinching at the stranger. Unsure of exactly what he saw, Phil thought one glass will definitely do for tonight, and he quickly walked through the exit back out into the humid city air, the sound of the stranger's laughter stifled by the rumble of passing buses and cars on the busy warm night.

He travelled toward where he parked south on 6th street, deciding to cut through Washington Square Park, but stopped halfway through the park to rest near the northeast corner of Washington Court Fountain. In the distant, the sound of traffic from interstate 95 and the Delaware Expressway rumbled as Phil sat forward on the bench with his head down. He thought what was all that back there?

Then Phil's thoughts quickly went from the bar scene to his plan for the evening as felt the bulge from the bottle of the anti-depressants in his pants pocket. He pulled the white paper bag out and shook the bottle, listening to the pills rattle against the inner lining of the bottle. He chuckled lightly to himself. Something about the size of the small pills compared to the grandeur and finality of his plan for the pills caused an awkward amusement to settle in over him. He started to laugh harder, masking his hurt and pain with an insincere attempt at senseless humor driven slightly by alcoholic intoxication. Somehow his hurt and pain found him and forced his laughter to slowly transition into a deep, despairing sob. Phil sat on the bench, stuffed the pills back into his pocket, and dropped his head back into his hands. The palms of his hands pressed against his forehead as he thought finally, tonight it ends.

As Phil sat there alone, he heard a faint distant clamor of excitement nearby. A commotion somewhere within the park sounded as though it moved towards him. At first he ignored the sound, his head still buried in his hands, but as the sound grew closer, he realized it too grew more violent. He raised his head to see that near the southwestern corner of the fountain, four men stood over what looked to be an older man lying on the ground. The men circled the old man on the ground like a pack of wild hyena stalking their wounded prey; every time the old man got to his knees or attempted to stand to his feet, one of the four men would kick, push, or punch the old man back to the ground. They jeered, and mocked, and sneered at the older man, laughing as they beat and kicked him over and over.

The men all looked to be in their early twenties. Through the night, Phil could see that the group was a diverse mix of white, black and Hispanic men. Their clothes hung loose. They wore large-sized dark hooded outer apparel with different colored straight brim Phillies baseball caps all cocked at different angles.

The largest of the men said in a deep voice to the others, “eh yo, I’m gonna make him puke all over himself. He’s gonna wish he never came here.” Then he pointed down to the old man and yelled, “What’d you think was gonna happen huh?” and he kicked the old man in the gut, flipping him over to his back. Phil was close enough to notice the old man never said a word. Strike after strike, he never whimpered. He just received kick after hit, and then attempted to rise to his knees or straighten up after every strike.

One of the four looked in Phil’s direction just as Phil stood up from the bench to turn away, and said “hey, I think there’s someone over there” and he gestured towards Phil’s direction. Phil paused, thinking he should walk from the park, but an overpowering deep compassion for the beaten man compelled him to intervene. One of the men called out, “you better run boy!” and laughed along with the other three.

Phil stood in place and watched the four young men, not sure what he should do next. The largest of the four, a tall solid black man about 6’1”walked towards Phil and said in a deep voice, “If you know what’s good for you boy, you’d turn around and forget you saw anything.”

Phil just stood there. He thought what the hell am I doing? He felt a urge to run, but another stronger feeling compelled him to remain in place. Internally, he struggled between ‘fight or flight’ reflexes. He watched nervously from across the court as one of the four, a large black man walked halfway around the fountain and pulled something out of his jacket pocket. A nearby light post reflected a light off the object, which appeared to have a sharp edge. Phil gasped silently as his heart began to pound in his chest. Before Phil could be certain what the object was, the man moved back into the shadows and continued to move toward him. The other three men stayed near the bum, who by this point laid flat on his back at the base of the fountain.

“I’m gonna say it just one more time man, run away!” the man sneered, raising his voice while moving to within just a few feet of Phil. As he emerged from the shadows, his face was twisted into a frightening grimace.

Something within Phil compelled him to remain where he stood, with his eyes locked on the man to his front. “You know, you’re a God damned fool. You don’t think I’ll stab you with this?” and he raised the knife to chest level and waved it in front of Phil. Phil’s body tensed and he clenched his fist, flexed his muscles, and prepared to hit the man if necessary. Just then, one of the men from across the court yelled, “Eh yo, Andre! Come on man, let’s get outta here. This fool ain’t worth all this!”

Two of the three turned away from the fountain and walked off into the shadows. The third, who called out to Andre, stayed where he was and yelled again, “Yo Andre, I said let’s go!”

“I’m coming.” Andre said, his eyes locked on Phil. He softened his brow, but kept a menacing look on his face and said, “This ain’t over. I ain’t going anywhere and when I get you again, next time, I ain’t letting go.” He dropped the knife and turned away from Phil, saying, “yea, I’m coming man, you ain’t gotta wait for me!” The two walked off and disappeared in the shadows, their footsteps grew distant until faded completely.

Phil felt dizzy and nauseous. He thought what the hell was I thinking? He moved forward to the base of the fountain to where the old man lay flat on his back with his eyes closed. The man appeared to be in his early fifties. He was very thin and had a scraggly beard that had grown patchy and uneven. He had dirt on both his tattered clothing and his hands. His face was bruised, his arms lay flat out on the ground. He smelled awful; he was saturated with a foul stench that reminded Phil of a nauseating combination of alcohol and vomit.

After a brief moment, the man rolled over to his side slowly. Then, he pulled himself close to the fountain, where he sat back against the base and exhaled audibly. He cupped and buried his face into his hands and rested his arms against his knees. Dirt was caked deep into fingernails that were longer than usual. Strangely enough, Phil felt the same passing feeling as earlier in the bar, that this old man was somehow familiar, but dismissed the feeling immediately.

Phil felt slightly in over his head. He wasn’t sure exactly why he intervened, but he decided he wasn’t going to get any deeper involved than he had already. He turned his back to the man and started to walk away without a word. The man dropped his hands from his face and placed them in his lap, laying his head back against the fountain. Though his eyes remained closed, after yet another audible exhale he said, “Thank you.”

Surprised to hear him speak, Phil stopped and turned around to face the man. His voice was calmer than Phil had expected and came out stronger than both his appearance and apparent age gave credence. He looked at the man leaning back against the side of the fountain and took slight pity on his pathetic appearance and condition. He said in a low voice, “You’re welcome. Are you ok? Can I get you anything? You want me to call the police or something?”

With his forehead pressed against his palms, head facing downward, he breathed in deep, held it for a second, and then exhaled. He finally lifted his head and looked up at Phil, who took a sudden step back when his eyes met with the old man’s crisp blue eyes. The old man stared at Phil for a few seconds with a discerning gaze before saying, “I’ve taken worse beatings.”

“Listen,” Phil said with a yearning desire to depart after already having spent longer in the park than he had intended, “I can get some help, but I have to go. I’m really sorry about what happened to you, and I’ll call the cops or something. Take care.” And with that, Phil turned away to depart.

“You got a few dollars? I could use a bite to eat,” the man said.

Irritated at the old man’s request, Phil said, “No, I’m sorry, “ and continued walking away, not looking back. The old man called out after him, “Please, just a few dollars.”

Phil continued to walk forward, now halfway around the fountain. He said as he walked, “Sorry, but I said I don’t have any money.”

“Phil,” the man said quickly. Phil immediately stopped and turned around and found the man standing, facing him. “Please,” the old man said.

Phil’s heart jumped, immediately saying, “How do you know my name?”

The man’s gaze remained fixed on Phil. He responded as though never hearing Phil’s question, “I just want something small, sir, please. I only need a few dollars.”

“Hey! Did you hear me?!” Phil snapped. “I asked how you know my name?!”

Again, the man acted like he never heard Phil’s question, saying, “You don’t have to give me the money directly, you can buy it for me. Please, just a small bite.”

Angrily Phil snapped back, “Hey!! You just got jumped and almost beat to death by some punk kids, man!” Phil raised his voice, “They pulled a knife on me and could have stabbed me! Now you’re asking me for a dollar! You use my name, and you act like everything’s alright! I’m going to ask you this question one last time…how do you know my name??” With that, Phil took a few steps towards the old man, who simply stood beside the fountain staring at Phil.

After a very brief silence, as though deliberating carefully his next answer, the old man said, “There’s a lot I know about you, friend.”

“Hey,” snapped Phil in anger. He had raised his voice to a yell, “First off, I’m not your friend! Secondly,” moving forward quickly to within a few paces of the old man and looking at him angrily, “you don’t know anything about me! Why don’t you quit this act because apparently you are not who you pretend to be. You better start giving me some answers or I’m calling the cops and then my lawyer. Who are you and what do you want with me?!”

The man stood in silence. Phil, now closer to the man, realized he was about two inches shorter than the bum. The old man’s hair was matted and his face filthy with dirt and dried blood. However, his eyes remained crisp and deeply blue. An expression of sadness visibly settled over the man’s face as he bit down on his lip before saying, in a low calm voice, “I know you were released from St. Jude’s Psychiatric wing today diagnosed with clinical depression after successfully intoxicating your system with carbon monoxide from your vehicle four days ago, while parked in your garage. And I know you’ve resolved that your life has no meaning or purpose and that you are now on your way home intent on consuming 150 pills of Prozac before you lay down to sleep tonight.”

“What the…How did you…?” Phil asked, his angered settled into a suspended disbelief. He took a startled step away from the man. He thought how could he possibly know these things? He asked, “Who the hell are you?”

“Who I am won’t bring you answers Phil. The question you should ask is who are you?” The man responded, pointing at Phil and moving closer.

Phil said surprised, “What do you mean who am I? Listen buddy, I’m going to ask you one more time or I’m outta here! Who the hell are you and how do you know me?”

After a brief silence, the old man smiled gently and said, “We have known you since birth Phil, and we have heard every silent prayer. We have seen your heart grow and have felt it shrink from the pressure that burdens your mind and plagues your soul. We have heard you cry out for help and we know you have given up on your search for meaning and purpose in life. He has sent me here now to answer a prayer and to give an answer to your question.”

“We? Who are we? I don’t understand. Please, tell me, who are you?” Phil said. He took a slight step back from the man, his face tensed with confusion and disbelief.

The man extended his hand firmly to gesture a hand shake and said, “I am a messenger.”

“A Messenger? From who?” Phil asked.

With his hand extended, the old man slowly lifted his head and stared up to the sky and gently smiled. Phil looked up and then back down at the man. He slowly raised his hand and pointed to the sky and said, “Who? Him?”

The old man nodded.

Phil said, “Is this a joke?” The old man shook his head and said, “I am here to answer a prayer and to bring you a message.” Phil, whose father was a Presbyterian minister, had always held a deep personal faith in the existence of God, but lately struggled with any notion to the loving nature of such a being that would unreasonably force Phil to suffer the unimaginable loss of Elizabeth. In that instance, Phil recalled every unanswered prayer, every angry cry for help, every sorrowful agonizing word uttered simply to hear God’s voice to understand Phil’s pain. Angry and confused at the old man’s assertion, Phil looked at him in disbelief. “I… I don’t think I understand,” Phil said, refusing to shake the old man’s hand.

The stranger slowly dropped his hand as a gentle cool wind blew. He said, “I am here to bring you meaning of the ineffable one, the one who will be, is, and has been. The one who is Jehovah, Adonai, Dominus Deus Patrum Vestrorum Deus Abraham Deus Isaac et Deus Iacob."

After a brief pause, he continued, "… Adonai has witnessed your affliction and has heard your cry, and knows well that you suffer.” The old man kept his hand extended, his eyes locked on Phil and smiled.

Phil stared at the old man in disbelief and said, “I don’t believe this…”
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gjhsdik
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 8:11 am

I liked it, confused but I guess you would want me to be, I mean I get it but I don't know where it's going Very Happy . Is it about Phil's life in general? Nice.
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mpride1122
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mpride1122

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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 8:31 am

Thanks AJ-- yea, the excerpt fits into a larger context that fits into the overall story, so I can understand your sense of confusion.
To provide you a little context, here is a summary of my story (and I am glad by the way that you liked it...):

Sometimes the prayer you need answered the most isn’t your own. Considering Phil describes how a man in crisis finds redemption through a selfless child’s innocent prayer and how a peculiar stranger sent with a message changes his life forever.

Phil and Anne Harris are separated after their child dies in a tragic swimming accident and Phil is fired from his job. After attempting suicide, Phil rests unconscious in the hospital where a young seven year old Indian cancer patient named Nivedita says an innocent prayer for his recovery (there is a further explanation of this latter point). Because of the unique nature and innocence of her prayer, God answers it sending an angel to visit Phil while he rested in an unconscious state. In the dream, Phil departs the hospital and plans a second suicide attempt, but not before he happens across an old man who is being viciously attacked by four other men. Phil reluctantly intervenes only to find out the old man reveals a peculiar knowledge of Phil’s life. Angry and confused, Phil inquires who he is, to which the old man replies that he is a messenger from God.
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gjhsdik
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 8:41 am

Cool, that could almost be a blerb, what you just wrote. Complex idea! How did the ideas and stuff come about?
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mpride1122
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mpride1122

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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 8:56 am

That's an excellent question, and one I'll probably ask in another forum at another time-- where do the ideas come from for all these wonderful stories we all write. The idea for this story actually derived in the few moments I first listened to the opening line of the American rock band The Fray's hit single You found me.

[Imagine a poorly sung rendition as I serenade you with the following]
"I found God on the corner of first and Amistad, where the west was all but won.
All alone, smoking his last cigarette. I said, "Where you been?" He said, "Ask anything..."

Good song. Anyway, from that moment, my mind spiraled out of control... haha... After some careful thought mixed with personal pain, family tragedy, creativety, and a combat experience, et voilà. Now all I need to do is convince others of it's genius and get it published, which I am in the process of now so...

Thanks for expressing interest...

MP
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gjhsdik
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 11:10 am

No is's good, inspiration can come from anywhere! And our mind work where, we think about a thought and analyse that thought before thinking about the thought about analysing the thought. Got me? And we create small movie in our heads. Nice. Very Happy
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 12:08 pm

Quote :
"I found God on the corner of first and Amistad, where the west was all but won.All alone, smoking his last cigarette. I said, "Where you been?" He said, "Ask anything..."

Whoa! I don't experience much modern music (my baby boy turns 40 this July. His sisters have been there for a while.) But I like this. Allusions galore!

I like your concept, and am looking forward to seeing it develop.

Somewhere you mentioned being a KoolAid drinker. Many of us here have been called by that name. I'm curious as to where you picked it up.

Ann
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mpride1122
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 1:15 pm

Ann-- I must agree with the symbology and rich imagery in those few words. I'm certainly not endorsing any genre of music over others, but the song struck a particular chord with me, excuse the pun.

As for the term, 'KoolAid drinker', it can be used disparagingly depending on the context and usage. I hope as you read what I wrote in my introduction, you would find my usage of the term in a more self-deprecating way. I picked it up through pop culture-- someone who is considered by another to be a 'KoolAid' drinker generally adheres to a set of beliefs that differ staunchly from the individual using the term.

The best example I can offer is current day American politics-- A conservative would consider Obama supporters 'KoolAid' drinkers, and of course vice versa. I called myself a KoolAid drinker because I have yet to be published, so I am more here to receive support and seek advice, rather than give advice.

Hope that's clear ma'am-- MP
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 1:56 pm

Just wondered. It is a term that has been used against some of us here, by a group that does not approve of the publisher we used.

Probably best not to go into it again; it was curious, seeing the name again.

Ann
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mpride1122
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 3:45 pm

Interesting. Certainly the connection between the two instances in which the term was used is strictly coincidental... you can be sure if you ever "hear" the term again, it won't be from me.

Your short explanation explaining your "problem" with the term couldn't help but call to mind another cliché: It seems to me your story is a typical case of the pot calling the kettle black :-)
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 5:59 pm

Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't complaining or criticizing. Just curious. It clearly was coincidental.

Ann Very Happy
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Domenic Pappalardo
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyTue Mar 29, 2011 9:47 pm

cc


Last edited by Domenic Pappalardo on Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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mpride1122
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 4:14 am

Thanks Domenic-- great observation! It's interesting you drew the conclusion that it may lack the stench of fear possibly due to the author's lack of experience with fear. Thats very good.

I am going to have to do a better job bringing my characters to life emotionally. They do and say things out of an emotional need to express their frustration and anger, but (and I know this is obvious...) adding an exclamation point to express they're angry may not be enough to convince readers.

I think I may have tried to keep an objective view of what was happening to my characters, inserting as little of myself into their lives as possible. What I would do in a situation didn't matter as I tried to imagine how Phil would react to danger. But I agree it may be a little flat.

Without going too deep into my past, I've fought 32 collegiate boxing matches, nine in a national tournament which I won, and I have been fired on and involved in deadly attacks while deployed to Iraq on a combat deployment; I know fear. I've spent most of my professional career eliminating fear, its going to be interesting inviting fear in...

Thanks again Domenic-- anymore observations?
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 5:45 am

Mypride,
I like the story line. It is strange that two days ago I had a vision of writing something similar. I made the mistake of not writing down my thoughts and they have all but disappeared. Your story reminded me of it.
Continue to write. Don't worry about the gaps until you finish your work. Write while you have the thoughts. The rest can be fixed later.

A person who is about to commit suicide wouldn't necessarily show fear. That's my opinion.
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mpride1122
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 6:08 am

Abe-- fascinating. Somehow I need to find the middle ground between your point and Domenic's observation.

Somehow, I need the reader to experience fear FOR my main character, while he himself remains at a point in his life where he doesn't struggle with his survival instinct, and therefore, as you aserted in your final point above, doesn't experience fear. You're absolutely right that he wouldn't care what happens to him, but everyone has an instinctual urge to live whether they're concsious of it or not, and I want that AWAKENING effect-- that brief fleeting sense of DESIRE TO LIVE to urge Phil to react to this situation.

I am truly grateful to have joined such an insightful group of literary professionals. These conversations will make for a much better final product when my story is "finished."

Thanks... MP
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 6:57 am

MP.
The following is from my book, "To Beirut and Back". It is a true story. Chapter 16 is where I contemplated suicide and experienced fear when I came to my senses.

CHAPTER 16
END OF THE LINE
September/October 1975

The once plush hotel district had been under siege for sometime. The St. Georges hotel and the Phoenicia hotel were in ruins. The Holiday Inn loomed against the skyline like a skeleton, with its walls scarred with gaping holes, blackened by smoke.
Opposing factions to the conflict had taken positions in these hotels and blasted away at each other. Nearby stood the tall-unfinished structure of the Muir Tower building whose strategic vantage point provided an excellent position for snipers and for the launching of rockets and mortars.
Beirut was finished and I realized that I was as well. Everything I worked for, accumulating the money to get to Beirut, putting it all on the line, finally succeeding all had literally gone up in smoke. To think of starting over again, placed me in a deep state of depression. Even if the fighting stopped, the financial means to continue were gone.
In my mind, I relived the struggle to make it: how my wife and I had worked and saved; how we sacrificed and did without things over the years to accumulate money and have possessions, the perpetual struggle to "make it," and having finally become a millionaire, to be flat broke. All this hard work and struggle, for what? Where would I go and what could I do? How would I support my family? I thought of assets, but there were none. I was wiped out. I had liquidated all my possessions to accumulate the money to start the business in Beirut. I thought of the farm that I had sold; the wonderful memories and the satisfaction of achieving my goal to own a farm. I thought of my office building, the cars, the good times. Everything now lost, due to this senseless war.
The only thing of some value was my life insurance. "That's it!" I thought, "That's the solution. If I were killed, at least there would be money for Gisela to get a fresh start and care for the children." Planning my death now possessed me. I'll get a gun, or maybe I'll just jump off the cliff at Pigeon Rock where distraught lovers often jumped to their death. Would my insurance pay in case of suicide? Could I actually pull the trigger or make the jump? If I only had my car, I'd ram it into a tree or building. I suddenly recalled the loss of my car to thieves and my depression deepened. Suddenly an idea occurred to me. What if I were to get shot? My insurance policy has a double indemnity clause in case of accidental death. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to be the solution to my predicament. I was unaware of my insanity in my depressed mental state.
On impulse, I decided to go to the battle area and let it happen. Oblivious to my surroundings, I was obsessed to do something drastic to fix my financial problem, yet I knew that if Gisela suspected my intentions, she would stop me.
When I left the house, I appeared calm telling her I was going for a walk. I began walking toward the hotel district where the sounds of battle were the loudest. I walked down Rue Hamra, the main street of town, allowing the sound of gunfire to direct me. At the east end of Rue Hamra, I passed tanks and soldiers that were positioned near the Etoile Cinema to defend the Hamra business district. The soldiers did not challenge me when I passed them. All was quiet as I neared the Myrtom House, a small Viennese restaurant that had been our favorite eating-place. I recalled the good food and the pleasant atmosphere of the restaurant. I remembered the evenings we spent there as a family, the business dinners, the laughter, the camaraderie of friends - all gone now. Burned-out cars and other debris littered the street mixed with remnants of the restaurant. I spied a human hand lying next to a pile of rubble; it did not effect me.
I proceeded down Rue Du Mexique and stood for a moment looking at the building that had been our first home. I visualized the pots and pans we used to collect the drinking water. The barrels on the roof for collecting bath water were no longer visible. I recalled standing on the balcony with Peter Jennings, the soon-to-be-well-known news correspondent, who had visited us. Peter had wanted the vantage point of the balcony to photograph a wedding that took place in the church across the street, and we had chatted over a cup of tea while he waited for the wedding party to emerge. There were no windowpanes left in the house, and the balcony where Peter and I stood, had vanished.
I turned right onto Rue Clemenceau and passed the press building peppered with bullet marks; its sidewalk cluttered with shattered glass. Sand bags once used as bunkers were strewn over the next intersection. The street was cratered and a stream of water coursed through the gutter winding its way around debris and into the craters, leaving a trail of sludge.
The battle in progress seemed to be just around the next corner. Shots from the Muir Tower were answered from the Holiday Inn. The gunfire echoing through the streets grew louder. I hoped the shot meant for me would happen suddenly and without my awareness.
I turned left at the next corner. At the end of the street, part of the Holiday Inn became visible. A pool of blood with a sandal lying next to it caught my eye. The trail of blood continued a short way and then disappeared from view at the edge of the next building. I followed the trail and stopped for a moment staring at the motionless body swarming with flies. The stench filled my nostrils and I wondered if my end would be like that. I continued walking and studied the Holiday Inn looming larger in front of me. The only movement I saw was the curtains flapping in the breeze through the broken glass of the hotel windows. As I got closer, I could see a tank protruding from the lobby. The skeleton of another tank blocked the driveway in front.
I suddenly realized that the shooting had stopped - the silence got my attention. I sensed I was being watched. "Why don't they shoot and get it over with," I thought. As I neared the end of the street where I expected the fatal gunfire, my thoughts turned to my family. I visualized the faces of each of my children and my wife. I saw them weeping for me. The emotion of love I felt for them overwhelmed me and I wanted to be with them. "What am I doing?" I thought. "We can make it! We'll find a way! If we have love, it won't matter if we are without money." I stopped abruptly.
I was seized with desperation to get out of my dangerous predicament. I stood frozen in the open street directly in front of the Holiday Inn. As my eyes darted from building to building, I spied a red and white 'koufieh' at the top of the Muir Tower. Movement from the windows of the Holiday Inn also caught my attention.
I turned away from the hotel and began walking fast along Rue John Kennedy, the long street leading to the American University. I then broke into a run; my only thoughts now were to get out of danger. There was no alley to turn into and all the buildings were boarded-up. The only way to get out of sight was to reach the end of this long street and turn the corner. The impending gunfire I expected caused my feet to fly over the pavement. "If I can only make it to the end of this street," I thought. "I've got to make it." When I reached the last building, I knew I would make it. As soon as I turned the corner, I stopped. The sound of gunfire meant the battle had resumed but I was safe. I stood leaning against the building wall, weak and shaking. Why they stopped shooting and permitted me to escape could not be comprehended. Overwhelmed by this harrowing experience, I remained by the building a short while, allowing my emotions to subside and took control of my senses. I then gave myself a mental lashing for my stupidity. Life was too precious to be thrown away. I would find a way out of my predicament.
I then walked home to be with the woman I loved.
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Domenic Pappalardo
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Domenic Pappalardo

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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 7:13 am

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mpride1122
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Registration date : 2011-03-25
Location : NY

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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 7:26 am

Sir-- Thanks for the insightful excerpt. Putting it mildly, it must have been quite an experience (how's that for an understatement?).

It is challenging to write from the perspective of someone who commits to the idea of suicide. The emotions necessary to convey to the reader that the perspective of the main character is one of an individual at wit's end are extremely challenging to grasp-- I have not personally experienced this. Your excerpt and the emotion therein are helpful.

I try to imagine the thoughts of a man with a revolver in his mouth the second AFTER he pulls the trigger to learn there was a mechanical malfunction-- does he take it as a sign from God? Does he muster up the strength to try again? Is he afraid? The thoughts must race a million times over.... what must it be like? My main character takes less dramatic steps to end his life, but he is at the same place (he tried once and failed... and means to try again).

Thanks for the great insight. Your thoughts on the subject are raw and invaluable. MP
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mpride1122
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mpride1122

Number of posts : 31
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Location : NY

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PostSubject: Re: Another Excerpt...    Another Excerpt...  EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 7:34 am

Thanks Domenic...

This has all been very helpful ideas. I think I understand where I need to bring the story. I have the story written (beginning / middle / end), so now I am in the process of breathing life into it. This has all been very good.

By the way, good luck with your story. With a father and mother who endured the civil rights era first hand and as a member of community still struggling with the legacy of suppression, I can appreciate the immensity of the project you are undertaking. my best to you...
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Domenic Pappalardo
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Domenic Pappalardo

Number of posts : 2557
Registration date : 2009-04-27

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