Major Hoss

Discussion in 'Critiques' started by Perpetual Man, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Tim James

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    5,785
    As some of the older (longer serving)Chronners will be aware I've been reduced to near silence of late, only managing the challenges and even then it's been a fight to get them done.

    I still have a multitude of stories bouncing around my head but have little time to don anything with them :(

    However having an hour free today I managed to put this down. First thing I've written in nearly a year. (Other than the challenges, of course.)

    Just thought I'd share it and see what you think.

    Major Hoss

    I am old, impossibly so.

    In this age of longevity and falsely proclaimed immortality, people suffer the ravages of false pride when celebrating their 100,000 years of living. Hah! How they would shudder and fret to know that even the greatest of their multi-millennia diminish into mere ticks of the clock compared to me.

    No this, oh dim and dank room, loneliness that eats in the grey shadows, I’d give it all for the rest I desire, the cosy encompassing warmth of release. Death.

    Perhaps now, perhaps at last I can fall into that darkness, allow oblivion to take me. Ever has it been my curiosity that has led me to my fate.

    Back, back in the days when life was simpler, when it was perfect I always had to see what was around the next corner; over the hill, around the lake, in the cave. It was the same compulsion that made me sit and watch the strangers when they first came in their bloody city.

    It was the curiosity that made me creep ever closer to the one man who sat quietly; then like a damn blasted fool follow him into the city where he ‘gifted’ me with all that.

    Bastard.

    Heh, I still miss him.

    The curiosity ever drove me on. As I began to wind down there was always something else that caught it like a fish on a hook, and off I’d go again. By the time we reached the stars I was so engrossed with the ever expanding playground of man that the years sped by like shooting stars…

    And what I have seen and done!

    But now this is it.

    I have done all I can and at last I begin to fade.

    Age claims me like it never has before. My sight grows dim, my hearing muted. The muscles that once caused me to walk are weak, my hair beyond grey.

    This is the end of days.

    My days.


    “Well hello there Major Hoss, how are we this morning?”

    “BLEEP off.”

    “And here I am to get you dressed and give you breakfast, and you speak to me like that.”

    “If I wanted some young tart to fondle my genitals I’d pay a hooker.”

    “Well aren’t you lucky I do it for free. And less of the fondling I’m afraid.”

    “Too skinny for me anyhow.”

    “Well that’s a relief. Now, I know that you were quite a name in your time, the military and exploring, weren’t you?”

    “Heh. What of it. Don’t matter much now. I’m just a grumpy old sh!t.”

    “Well there is some news that might interest you…”

    “I doubt it, but go on.”

    “The Emperor has announced a new expedition. They’re going to take one of the new generation Slice Drive Ships and try and travel to the next galaxy.”


    I am old, impossibly so.

    I’ve seen it all. Done it all. There is nothing left for me.

    But at her words my heart quickens, my pulse beats. A finger twitches.

    That old devil of mine whispers of unseen wonders in my ear one more time.

    I breathe in deeply.

    I’m sure in the subdued light of the room my eyes shine.

    “Bugger.”

     
  2. Victoria Silverwolf

    Victoria Silverwolf Vegetarian Werewolf

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,863
    Location:
    Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
    You have done a very impressive job of taking on an extremely difficult challenge. To convey such unimaginable lengths of time in short a short piece is remarkable.

    The character comes alive, particularly in the second part. Quick, sharp characterization.

    If you plan to expand this, I wonder if you could interweave this second part with the more expository first part. The reader would see the cranky old soldier, then learn, bit by bit, the incredible truth. Just a thought.

    (Tiny technical point: Is the first word in the third paragraph supposed to "Know"? Otherwise I can't quite make sense of it.)

    I would like to learn more about the strangers and the city, and the man who gave the narrator the gift of immortality. This is one of those rare short stories that I wish were longer.

    It may be just me, but the extension of the "normal" life to 100,000 years seems somewhat extreme to me. I think the contrast with the immortal narrator would just as well, or maybe even better, if this were something like 1,000 years or even a few centuries.

    In any case, well-written and engaging.
     
  3. Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Tim James

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    5,785
    Thanks Victoria, greatly appreciate your very kind words.

    And you were right about the 'No' it should be 'Know'
     
  4. pambaddeley

    pambaddeley Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2015
    Messages:
    635
    Good work! I agree that this would work even better with the interweaving of the grumpy old man dialogue with the reflective side in the first part.
     
    Perpetual Man likes this.
  5. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Messages:
    18,772
    Location:
    Highlands
    There's a lack of focus at the start - if you are going to do a reflection, I'd suggest going with something specific rather than something generic. Otherwise there's a danger the opening might come across as filler and not-believable.

    The conversation that comes after makes me uncomfortable because of the sudden leap into sexual content. Someone who claims to have led such a long and interesting life IMO shouldn't come across as just a dirty old man chasing young women. Give me something unbelievable to catch my imagination - the character should be able to provide that.

    Otherwise, it is actually interesting: there is a decent voice coming through, and I do actually like the way you've structured the conversation - it is clear who the two people are without describing them or giving them speech tags.

    Just ... give me specifics. And make them so amazing that I really want to read on. If this person has seen something incredible then you're missing a trick by not opening with it to wow the reader.

    Hope that's not too harsh. :)
     
    Perpetual Man likes this.
  6. Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Tim James

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    5,785
    Thanks Pam!
     
  7. Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Tim James

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    5,785
    I don't think there is such a thing as too harsh. (Well maybe there is, but this wasn't it.)

    Some of what you have said has made me think, either in a way of justifying how I have done it or to change it. I particularly like the idea of something unbelievable...
     
Loading...

Share This Page