Untitled Time Travel WIP (1355 Words)

Discussion in 'Critiques' started by Cli-Fi, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi Well-Known Member

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    My take on what it's like living in a world where people have the capability to travel through time:

    Chapter One: Israel Falls

    “Temporal processing facility, how may I take your call?” It was the standard greeting of technical support representatives for Los Angeles’ new multidimensional hub Henry Wilson heard in the background. Behind the bullet proof glass that protected him, he stared out at the chattering support agents, the clicking of keyboards and the dreary cubicles that made a modern office complete. Along with the response which Henry had memorized as well, “I’m sorry sir/ma’am, but the facility is not processing claims yet, please check back in a few hours.” It was like that for the past two days.

    He rolled his eyes and sighed, leave it up to the U.S government to mess up the opening.

    Why they had assigned him to be a babysitter to a bunch of eggheads was beyond him. He didn’t know if they cared about how it all looked on the outside. People were nervous and anxious to get enrolled. The demand was huge!

    To set up security here, out of the way in a back room in the middle of tech support, seemed half-assed and to make matters worse he only had a few people on his staff. If those crazies tried something this wouldn’t be enough.

    However, in the chaos, he learned to stop asking the wrong questions. Questions that would never get answered anyway. At least the back office was small and comfy. He leaned back on his chair and put on some headphones and started to watch the video again.

    “Johnny McIntire Everybody!” The host on the most popular Youtube video clip of all time was ecstatic.

    “Wow, he’s actually here!” The audience was emotional, and for Detective Henry Wilson thanks to a cryptic voicemail that was left on his cell phone, he was over it.

    It must have been the thousandth time he viewed the clip, and even though Henry was taught never to believe anything you read or watch on the internet, he couldn’t explain it. To many Johnny McIntire proved he could travel through time with that ridiculous announcement and subsequent appearance on The Tonight Show.

    Henry’s father was a skeptic, a boring analytical scientist that relied on cold hard data in place of love and compassion. His mother was a researcher who spent her days over looking charts and trends in some dusty University basement and she never came home at proper times of the day. Yet here he was, a cop on the force of the LAPD no doubt, watching a Youtube clip wondering what the hell was happening! He hoped to get some answers.

    His parents tried to protect him from this sort of craziness, but due to the nature of his particular job title inside the LAPD, it sort of came with the territory. The main suspect (?) was due to come in at any moment. The shade that was thrown his way from the other officers on the staff kept him alienated inside his precinct, which he guessed was part of the reason he ended up here in the first place. They didn’t get it. As much as he begged them to listen to his pleas that the chips just fell his way. They insisted he was in on the scam, to help his career.

    “Today’s the big day huh?” Henry heard the muffled question through the plump headphones that cushioned his ears with the sounds of a screaming and applauding audience. He looked at the views on the video clip, and he sighed, before staring up at his partner. He took off the headphones and watched as Eddie Dorf, leaned over his desk. “Damn, McIntyre got another billion views? Did you expect it would get this popular?”

    “I didn’t ****ing know!” Henry snapped. It was the tenth time today someone asked him when he was going to tell them that he was in on it. There was an office pool after all…

    Eddie stood back up at full attention. He puffed out his flabby chest and raised both arms at ninety degree angles, “Jeez, settle down, I wasn’t insinuating anything. I was asking generally.”

    “f*ck you Eddie! Your name is at the top of the God-Damn pool for crying out loud. Don’t act all innocent now.”

    Eddie, ran over to his desk like a scared little boy, but Henry was in no mood to apologize today, “Connie, is he here yet?” He yelled into the speaker phone.

    A young, perky blonde stuck her head out of the front desk area. “He’s waiting for you in interrogation, Henry.”

    “Thank God.” Maybe now this nightmare will finally end.

    Henry Wilson put both palms down on his desk, rose slowly, straightened out his uniform and walked into the bleak interrogation room where he saw Johnny McIntyre sitting there looking a bit too smug.

    “What’d I tell ya? I’m back!” Johnny outstretch his muscular arms which seemed to pop out of the tight t-shirt that he was wearing. Is that the same T-shirt he wore in the video? The same T-shirt he wore in the one from three years ago too? Henry didn’t want to believe it, but it was getting harder and harder to ignore the hype.

    “For the past three years you made my life a ****ing nightmare, you asshole. You pissed a lot of people off. How about all the resources we used trying to track you down, who is going to pay for that? So you are going to sit there and answer all my questions. Starting with where the hell did you actually go?”

    “I told you when I made the announcement. I just time traveled here. Why do you think we are meeting like this?” Johnny looked around and seemed proud of himself. He answered this question as if it was a perfectly normal thing to be talking about. Like he just hopped into a time machine and used it all the time, and it was no big deal. “In fact, I’d like to show everybody how it works. I’m meeting with some top government officials this week to set up a time travel exploratory committee to start the work—.” Henry interrupted.

    “Let’s just say that I believe you for a second. What ****ing idiot would just time travel to the same exact TV show three years later? With this so-called time machine at your disposal you could have gone anywhere! Why don’t you take a ****ing selfie with a dinosaur and prove it you fake prick! I don’t believe in any of this crap!” Henry threw his notepad across the room and the pencil circled the floor.

    McIntyre shrugged, “If you are done with the ranting now, Henry, maybe I can start to explain. Did you keep the voicemail I sent you?”

    Henry nodded, he must have listened to that thing more than he watched the video clip of Johnny’s return. “Of course, but you got me. I have no ****ing clue what it means.”

    Suddenly the chair under Henry vibrated. “Hold that thought,” Henry pulled out his cell phone and saw the caller ID said Israel Falls. “Oh sorry, I have to take this.”

    It was the retirement home where is mother stayed. He sighed and answered it without bothering to get up and leave as was protocol.

    “What did she do now?” He sighed as he answered. Then listening intently to the woman on the end of the line, he got up and left the interrogation room. Leaving Johnny McIntire all alone.

    When he slammed the door on his way out he told the guard standing watch, “You better not let him ****ing leave. I’ll be right back.”

    The guard nodded and Henry was on his way to Israel Falls Nursing Home. The quaint little Jewish Community was nestled just north of the city, and it would give him enough time to process Johnny’s startling return. He turned on the radio in his Honda, it was tuned to NPR.

    “Los Angeles’ Temporal Airport continues to experience a horrible backlog of signups for time travel requests. Is Johnny McIntyre’s return to blame for this? Story and analysis next!”
     
  2. dannymcg

    dannymcg Raoul Mitgong won't help

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    Hello. One question, in your WIP it states

    "His parents tried to protect him from this sort of craziness, but due to the nature of his particular job title inside the LAPD, it sort of came with the territory"

    However it just says he's a detective in your extract - are you planning to reveal his job title as your story continues?

    Danny
     
  3. Brian G Turner

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

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    My reservation with this is that nothing much really happens - Henry doesn't do much, other than listen to stuff, watch stuff, then swear a lot.

    The way you handle the internal monologue is quite good, and it definitely brings life to the piece. But it still feels like this chapter is little better than "Henry sat in his office and felt bored" which will always be a weak way to open. I suspect you recognise that on some level, and why you fall to swearing so much - an attempt to bring a sense of action to a piece that is otherwise lacking in conflict. IMO that's not enough to compensate, especially when the discussion is effectively an infodump anyway.

    I know starting a story can be really, really hard - finding the right place to open. If it's any help, it might be worth just starting at Chapter 3 - by which time we'd expect something to be happening and be wrapped up in the events - and then simply insert anything needed from earlier chapters into later ones to make up for it.

    Just a thought.
     
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  4. tinkerdan

    tinkerdan candycane shrimp

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    Either I'm dense or this interface doesn't like me
    I liked this despite that nothing much happens; but for a few niggles.
    One would be the use of over looking; which would be better if it were overlooking. Though I can see where there might be a problem from the context in understanding which meaning is being used for this word and that might cause the brilliant notion of splitting the word into two. If you must split the word then perhaps it would work better as looking over which comes closer to saying what you would mean by overlooking in this case. It doesn't sound quite the same but I think it is clearer.

    My next thought echoes someone else. The over use of profanity might work if your character has a limited vocabulary and does this throughout and yet even then for me it would just be too much. I've walked out of Eddie Murphy movies because to the overuse of the F word that seemed to be so prevalent that there was nary a piece of dialogue without it. So this second one is just me.

    The first might find some support in Strunk & White Elements of Style.
     
  5. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Brian, I have a lot of ideas for this story so I will keep writing it from this point and see what happens by chapter 3, maybe if it works as a beginning I will post that in a week or 2. It's been really hard to start this story. I have been working on it off and on for about seven years now and I just finished fleshing out the plot over the weekend.
     
  6. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that bit about over-looking I didn't catch that, when I went over it, but this is just a rough draft.

    The cop is your run of the mill jock type despite his parents both being scientists. He never excelled in school like that and I am going to be touching upon his education background and how his parent's success in academia basically stunted his education and is a big factor in his personality. eg why he is angry at the world. The introduction of the time travel industry does not help make matters any better, here because he barely understand physics.

    Yet his finance is a researcher, so there is an Oedipus complex going on too.
     
  7. Brian G Turner

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

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    Oh, heck - if you haven't completed a first draft yet then don't sweat it! Once you finish that you'll get a lot better perspective on where your story starts best. :)
     
  8. cyprus7

    cyprus7 Stories about life, reality & worlds unknown

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    The chapter title caught my attention and my first thoughts were that the Middle East is in for a tough time in this story... so, a nice spin on what you actually used it for! For a short extract from a first draft it flows quite well and I found myself imagining the corporate cubicle world and the masses trying to book (I guess) a time travel trip. So, I am hooked there on how the location will be used.

    The characters? Too early to tell in just a short extract but I get a sense that the cop is the antagonist and (perhaps) Johnny is the driver of the plot, the protagonist. I could be wrong but would read on to find out more.

    btw - in what time period is this scene occurring? From the objects and location it sounds like mid 21st century?

    I don't have a problem with a character swearing when the story requires it but I was wondering if 21st century LA society might have made the public use of F-bombs and a host of other words and phrases extinct. Then again, time travel is a funny old thing haha!
     
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  9. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the read! I'm glad you liked it. BTW, the title for chapter one? That's growing on me as the title to the book. Thoughts on that?

    To answer your question. I am thinking that this will an alternative present day LA. Pretty much everything is the same except for the fact that this world has time travel and we don't. So F-bombs are still present and I think they will still be 30 years from now too
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  10. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi Well-Known Member

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    @Brian G Turner. I am playing around with your concern that nothing much happens in these first few pages, so I added a scene where the National Transportation Safety Board confiscates Johnny's time machine due to an accident in the timeline Johnny never told to the government. This may or not be a prologue page. I might just add it to the beginning of chapter one. It would give more reason for Henry to be angry and it would add more backstory to his job title.
     
  11. cyprus7

    cyprus7 Stories about life, reality & worlds unknown

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    Israel Falls? I could see those nursing home residents being the source of much time travel confusion and mischief. I could also see it being an interesting and coded metaphor for time travel itself. Enjoy the ride!
     
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