Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Secret Agent #22

TITLE: Irony
GENRE: Adult Literary

When I come to, there’s slobber all over my face and the window. On the other side of the glass is nothing but gray skies and clouds. And to top it off, my wrists and ankles are shackled to the seat. I shake to get loose, but there’s no give.

“What are you in for?” says this middle-aged guy next to me with a pageboy haircut. If it weren’t for his blue jumpsuit, and the matching shackles, and the fact that I’m on a plane, I’d be half-expecting him to blow a trumpet and announce some king’s arrival.

I don’t say a word, because it’s complicated.

“I killed a few people at work,” Pageboy says. “Like five or something.”

I give him a forced smile and say, “Cool,” before a flash draws my attention to the nearest cloud. It’s getting awfully black outside now.

“Scared of flying?” he says.

“Sort of.” My sweaty hands dig into the armrests. “A friend of mine, he took me up once to blow off some steam. It didn’t end too well.”

“It didn’t end well for my bosses, either.” When I look, Pageboy is nodding really fast. “I filed them into the men’s bathroom and drowned them one by one. ‘Swirlies of Doom’ is what the newspapers called ‘em.” He licks his cracked chops. “The two women were pissed to be in the men’s stall, but I said, ‘For some reason, women’s restrooms are always filthier, so you should be thanking me, no?’”


  1. It seems like you started in a good place. It draws me in right away. I wish I could read more.

    My only suggestion would be to remove the "and to top it off" from the first paragraph. It makes the shackles seem almost like an afterthought then.

    Good luck!

  2. This sounds like a pretty wild story! I'm definitely intrigued... The first line made me think she was waking up from being beaten or something, not waking up in a plane (which is maybe what you're going for) but it confused me right away. Good luck!

  3. Great opening! I like how you start with the MC already in trouble so it leaves the reader wanting to find out what happened. The only thing I'm confused on is if the MC is male or female. I'm guessing male because he's with another male on the plane and usually men and women are kept separate. It might be good to clarify.

  4. Interesting! Although it doesn't seem like something I would personally want to read ( just not my cup of tea), it definitely hooks the reader with an intriguing scene and situation. I can easily visualize creepy pageboy guy. If I had a suggestion (and I'm not sure I do), it would be I wonder if we could get a bit more of a feel for the MC. I wonder what he's thinking and feeling about this strange and unpleasant (to say the least) situation he's in.

  5. I was a bit turned off by the use of the word 'slobber' in the opening line.

    I didn't understand from anything written why the pageboy haircut guy seemed like one who would blow a trumpet and announce a king's arrival. Seemed like this didn't belong here.

    That said, the sudden realization that the characters are on an airplane was a pleasing surprise.

    The way they relate to their victims is a bit unusual, and makes me curious what will develop in the story.

  6. This reads more like a thriller to me than adult literary, unless you're writing something along the lines of Palahniuk, maybe? It's exciting and I want to know what's going to happen, but adult literary isn't the first thing to come to mind, which I think tends to be more on the poetic side. Still, I'm curious as to what happens!

  7. I'm with Rin that this doesn't necessarily read like lit fic to me. That said, I like the voice and this Pageboy guy is cracking me up. I assumed that the MC was a man.

    The only thing that really gave me pause was that I always thought the stereotype was that the women's bathrooms are cleaner, not the men's.

    Best of luck with this!

  8. I agree with Rin and Tara, I didn't get a literary vibe from this. For some reason, the line about slobber made me think there was a dog involved. I had to reread it a few times before I got it. Maybe drool would be better? Or 'my own slobber.' Just a thought. I also didn't get the trumpet reference. There are more negatives there - aside from a, b, and c - than there are positives comparing him to the trumpeter.
    The line about swirlies of doom made me smile. I am curious as to what this guy did and how he ended up on the plane. I'd read more.

  9. "Irony" is a tough title to get away with, seems to me : )

    I'm torn, because some of this seems like it's just trying to shock the reader into staying with the story, but at first, the irreverence is intriguing...the nonchalance of the first interaction (Pageboy's line, 'Like five or something,' and our hero's response, 'Cool,') is interesting and just toes the line of absurdity and crassness, whereas the further description of the drowning pushes it over the line for me, doesn't have that restraint that can be so effective in this particular type of story...