Login   Sign Up 


A Taste of the Outside World

by TheGodfather 

Posted: 11 August 2004
Word Count: 4072
Summary: I dramatically reworked this one, took the proverbial hatchet to it, taking much of what was said to heart. Your thoughts invited.

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

I decided to do my reading today down in Seal Beach. I had the novel idea to combine it with my exercising and tanning my white body and just traipse down the beach with my book in hand. After parking the car, I walked in between two beachfront houses on a strip of sand that formed a path out to the beach.

Stopping to remove my sandals and shirt, I tucked both sandals into the right pocket of my shorts and my shirt around a section of my belt. I placed my wedding ring in the change compartment of my wallet so as not to lose it anywhere in the sand or water. This is not a habit of mine, taking off my wedding ring, I mean. I know some men do it to appear single, but I would never do that. I am happily married.

I noticed a young woman sitting down to sunbathe on her back patio in a hammock she had strung up between two weather-beaten wood posts, the kind you might see a yacht tied up to in a small harbor. I assumed she had strung it up herself, when in all actuality it could have been anybody who put it there. I guess that is how I am – I like to assume that people are incredible human beings of upstanding character and that there are very few actual miscreants living around me, incredible, as in capable of unexpected decency to humanity.

You can see all kinds of things washed up on the shore if you walk for long enough. Small mollusk shells ranging in color across the spectrum, colors you would not think to see on shells except maybe when the sun glances off their wet surface. Flies that – I have good eyes, and I could hardly see them – were hovering in swarms around small holes in the sand. Eyes like a hawk people tell me. I can almost read the green-lighted street signs a block away at certain times of the day when the glare is down.

My cell phone rang, so I unbuttoned my cargo shorts pocket to answer it without dropping my phone in the water while trying to tuck my bookmark into my book. I could tell it was my brother by the caller id.

“Hello, Nate,” I spoke into the receiver.

“Hey, brother,” he answered back. “What are you up to?” He does not like to call me Nate ever and has almost as much trouble calling me Nathan, like my birth certificate says. My parents were lacking some creativity that day my brother was born. Is that all they could come up with – Nathan and Nate? We have managed to work through it though and do not let it hinder our relationship much, aside from the occasional jest.

“Just walking down here on the beach. You’re at work right?”

“Yeah, yeah. Rub it in why don’t you. Every time I call you, you make sure to let me know that I’m at work and that you are off someplace relaxing. It always makes me think about teaching for a while, but I talk myself out of it equally as quick.”

“Well, it’s not for everybody,” I reminded him. “I talked to another girl for you today. I didn’t get her number though, just set the stage for you.”

“What? Are you kidding? I thought we talked about this already.”

“I know, but I had too. She was a gorgeous one.”

“Even if she was, it doesn’t matter. Let me do my own dirty work. Sometimes I don’t know about you.”

“I was just thinking though…what if you’re not there when I meet the girl you’re supposed to be with. I can’t just not say anything to her and leave your meeting to the gods of fate.”

“Yes, you can, Nathan. You must.”

“What’d you call for anyway?” I asked.

“You know…I’m not in the mood to do this right now. I was calling to tell you about my date last night, but I think I’ll do that later.”

“Suit yourself. Listen, it’s not that big of a deal. It really isn’t. Just think of me like your field ops specialist or whatever you’d like.”

“I’ll think of you as a laid-off controversial nuisance.”

“As you wish.” I hung up on him at that point. Most people are generally good people I think, even my brother, but he was not understanding me here. It had sound logic too. I was full of it.

W H E N I talked to that girl this morning I was at a quaint restaurant my wife and I had often seen while driving to and from school. One of her friends from teaching had recommended it to her. It was their favorite restaurant or something like that. It had an intriguing sign anyway, a chalkboard design with various primary-colored letters spelling Blackboard Bistro.

I walked up to the gate adjacent to the outdoor patio but noticed a sign they had purposely placed there to direct customers around to the front door. Apparently, they did not enjoy customers seating themselves. Indeed, they probably had waiters (or waitresses for that matter, I want to avoid coming across as in any way sexist, or genderist) who would become genuinely confused to come back out to the patio after retrieving a pitcher to refill someone’s drink and find an extra table filled with people, or person in my case.

So I went around to the front. I like to submit to the general laws whenever possible, pulling up my end of the ideal that all people are sincerely good people. They are, aren’t they? Don’t tell me now. I think it might disturb me to some degree. Tell me some other time.

The owner, in her early forties it seemed, directed me to my table after I had prepped myself at the counter with a menu to see if I actually wanted to eat there and if the prices were satisfactory, not that I would actually tell anyone about my frugality. I had completed a card from the front counter that entered me in a contest to win a free forty dollar bottle of wine. I always figure, why not? Sometimes I win.

My waitress was a young woman of about twenty-two, maybe twenty-three, but who knows. She could not have been older than twenty-five though. Once a woman gets to be that age, she begins developing a certain older woman demeanor that quite distinguishes the older from the younger. Yes, she was definitely still the younger, but a subtle, attractive, and still noticeable younger. She carried herself confident and calm, like serving people was what she did and did well.

Her short blond hair stopped before her shoulders, feathered in the back to the point where she probably could not put it in a ponytail if she wanted to. She would have to let it grow a couple weeks. She had spacious blue eyes and a slender face. She reminded me ever so slightly of the girl my brother had jitterbugged with a few weeks ago at Memories down in Los Angeles.

You see, my brother is looking for a girl. He is seriously looking for a girl, not a girl like young men of today who are always looking for a girl to spend some money on and hope for the lucky. He is looking for a depth that girls who would date a guy for the lucky do not have or ever contemplate. So he has been dating every young woman he can. I know it sounds similar to other guys, but it is not even close to the same. Trust me. He is really looking. He still believes there are good girls out there waiting for good guys.

At my table, I quickly ordered the bacon and avocado omelet, the one I had settled on while up on the counter. I only brought the menu with me to my table in case I forgot what it was called and had to look back at the menu. I was lucky I brought it too.

“People do that all the time,” she said.

“Do what?” I asked.

“Look back into their menus after they’ve forgotten what they were going to order. It’s common. Don’t worry about it.”

“Oh, I…”

“Let me take that from you,” she said, gesturing toward the menu I was now leaning my elbows on after I had confidently ordered my breakfast. “I’ll have your toast out to you in a second.”

She walked inside through the open patio doors. I noticed she was wearing a black skirt unlike all the other waiters and waitresses, or are they all called waiters now? It was not too tight on her but complimented her figure nicely, tucking close around her waist and extending smoothly down her legs. “Daggom, she’s attractive,” I thought to myself.

She brought me my toast and homemade raspberry jam and told me, “If you need anything at all, please let me know.”

She moved to the table to my left where two older ladies were standing to leave. They were not old, but older. There is a difference. Most ladies and even some men get offended if you refer to them as older. It isn’t meant to be derogatory though. “You’re both leaving on me are you?” She asked jokingly. “Thank you so much for the generous tip you left me.” She smiled honest and endearing. “I hope you enjoyed your meal.”

“We will. Thank you, and you deserve all the tips we ever give you. You’re a fine waitress,” said the taller lady in elastic blue jeans high up around her waist.

The waitress smiled as she pushed in the chairs around the table. I wondered if her skirt had anything to do with how people tipped her. That would be a fine strategy. Instead of the black pants of the latest trend with the grommetted black and silver belts, she presented herself noticeably classy for a morning waitress.

“Smart,” I thought.

They brought me my food in much less time than I imagined it was going to take. I was busy reading a book that I later finished and began eating, fork in my right hand and book in the crick of my left hand, pinky and thumb spreading the pages apart.

The food was above par for breakfast joints. Toward the end of my meal but before I wanted to tell myself I was finished, I had set my fork down and was just reading my book, occasionally nibbling at the bacon and avocado that I had yet to finish. I had even taken a few forkfuls of sour cream just to see what it might taste like, all sour cream on a fork.

“Are you finished there?” The young waitress asked me, wanting to reach down to grab the plate but not wanting to appear that way for fear that I was not finished yet.

“Not yet. I’m just relaxing.” I smiled to her, hoping she would smile back.

She did. “Ok. Let me know when you’re done, and I’ll clear that for you.”

I resumed my reading. I was almost finished with my eighth book since June when school dismissed for summer. I keep track of the books I read, a small thing I do to entertain myself and offer some incentive to read now that my father does not pay me anymore. The list pays me now.

A mother with her son and two daughters came in through the back gate. “Can’t they read,” I thought. They made their way over to the other side of the patio to a table with a large green and white striped umbrella. The father came in shortly afterwards while they were busy joining another table to the umbrella one to make a larger table.

Just then the young waitress came back out onto the patio and noticed them. She pleasantly approached them and said, “Well now. You guys are breaking the rules you know.”

She paused a short moment to see if they would pick up the humor and then laughed for them not wanting to sever any customer-waitress relationship. She helped them arrange the chairs around the tables and unexpectedly sat in one of them in the sitting space crack between the tables. She held her arms out to the sides, palms up in a questioning manner, obviously addressing the potential comfort problems with the seating arrangement.

A few minutes later, a different waitress came by to fill up my water and asked me if I was finished. I had accomplished a few more bites of my hash browns and bacon, so I relented. “Sure, I’m done.”

“All right. I’ll have your waitress bring out your check then.”

“Thanks,” I said. I began thinking about what I was going to say to my waitress. I had to say something. I wondered if it would be acceptable for me to say something for my brother. I would not get her phone number or anything. I would simply…I don’t know what I’d say. Something like last time.

I started role-playing different lines in my head. I think my writing helps with that. She approached my table before I was ready with the check.

I had cash but quickly decided that paying with my credit card would give me a few more moments to think it through while she went inside to slide it.

“Thanks,” she said. “I’ll be right back out with it for you.”

I rehearsed a few more thoughts, finally deciding on one that I believed would come across as not too forceful or awkward. When she returned and set the black tray with my card pinned under its lip with a receipt, I spoke up.

“This might sound a bit strange, but I was wondering if it would be alright if I recommended this place to my brother, so he could come check it out…so he could meet you.” Up until my pause she looked slightly confused, but her confused looked turned flattered as I finished talking.

“Wow. Ok.” The slightest flush appeared in her cheeks, adding a perfect accent to her face like a living room that didn’t look like it was missing anything before but seemed complete with the newfound supporting dash of color. “That’d be great.”

“What’s your name?” I asked, realizing I had not bothered to even think about her possible name.


“I’m Nathan. Do you usually work in the mornings?”

“No, I actually only work the breakfast shift once a week or so. I work the evening round almost all week.”

“Good. Thanks. Have a good morning then,” I said over to her. She looked at me and nodded, acknowledging my departure as she smiled and went to clearing another one of her tables.

I signed the receipt and left a six dollar tip, rounding it to a flat fifteen. I am not usually a big tipper but wanted to leave something more for my brother’s sake, in case he ever came in here and mentioned me. Or, I don’t know, maybe it was the skirt.

I F O C U S E D on a mass of seaweed that had washed up on the sand. It was wrapped partially around a light bulb, an interesting item to find on a beach. I played with it with my feet for a while, grabbing it between my toes and turning it around a couple of times, wondering how long something like that has to float around in the ocean to end up on sand where it will be picked up by somebody or wash out to sea again.

How could any single good person discard any trash into nature? They must have a sound rational for it. Perhaps it is the jobs. Litter creates jobs. If we stopped littering, those upstanding citizens who attended work every day cleaning up our city streets would be out of work. That is one explanation anyway. There are sure to be several more. I guess it is acceptable if someone else picks it up, all part of the cycle or whatever. I never really paid attention in science class.

The sand on this stretch of the beach was a taste of the outside world I wasn’t used to, shining with flattened miniature sand dunes, maybe smaller, more like ripples, glittered with pyrite that settled itself down in the valleys as the waves pulled themselves out, leaving the slowly trickling clear layer of water to do its work with the glistening ore.

I decided it was getting too late to walk down to the jetty since I had already been out in the sun far too long for my fair skin, so I continued to make my way back toward tower eighteen.

I thought back to the conversation with my brother and how adamant he was about me talking to women for him. It was irrational. I sort of got a thrill out of it. It was like dating again, but different. It was the same kick, only free of rejection and the responsibility of the follow up. It might come in handy some day too – one never knows what can happen in life. I may someday look back with fondness and appreciation on my decision to help my brother out like this.

A woman kneeling near a long spread of small mollusk shells was talking with who appeared to be her granddaughter. They were both choosing particular shells from the sand and placing them in a Ziploc baggy for later use.

“What are you collecting shells for, ladies?” I asked, approaching them slowly, so I would not startle them at all.
The older woman, probably in her mid-to-late sixties answered, “For my class. I teach kindergarten.”

“She uses the shells for all types of projects with her kids,” the younger woman chimed in.

“I use them to teach the children all kinds of things. They can sort them by shape. They can sort them by color. They can sort them by size,” the older woman continued listing their potential uses.

“She was doing this yesterday morning for a while. She must have listed fifty uses or so. I don’t know, maybe not fifty, but it was a lot.”

“That’s great,” I said. “Sort of like Bubba, popcorn shrimp, gumbo shrimp,” I chuckled.

They both laughed heartily. It seemed they understood.
That was good. It is always so awkwardly disappointing when someone does not recognize humor when it is presented. It was a darn shame really. So much of the time I feel like I am presenting humor to entertain myself. In fact, I would almost certainly continue telling jokes even if I was positive that no one around me would comprehend them. It is sort of an intellectual accomplishment, a quick database search and connection to my present situation. It truly is tough to do sometimes, especially with women.

The younger woman was slightly overweight with curly brown hair and a smile, attractive, one I could tell was just waiting to burst with so much more conversation than I was ready to handle at the moment. I addressed her anyways.

“What’s your name, Miss?” I asked politely, knowing that I might be setting the stage for my brother to come along later on.

“Flora. Flora Jane Matthewson. I think it’s German, but I’m really not sure. My parents are both part German with some English and Irish. I don’t think it’s Irish though. What’s your name?” Her barrage of words seemed it could not have taken more than a single second, and yet each word was intelligible.

“Nathan, my name’s Nathan.” I was still stunned by the swiftness with which she spoke.

“Nathan is a good name. Grandma, didn’t I have an uncle named Nathan? Uncle Nathan? It sounds so familiar to me. That must be the case, Grandmother. It just must be.”

I was beginning to rethink my plan. Maybe Nate was in the right this time. I would certainly need to proceed warily if I was going to do the right thing with this woman.

After further talk, it was becoming ever so evident that I had made a critical error in judgment. This woman was a verbal geyser, a bursting dam of words and smiles. Whatever value Flora had shown on first sight had been long washed away her endless torrent of conversation. It was situation not becoming to any person.

I weaseled my way out of my position with some clever wordsmithing and continued down the beach. I made sure to offer a courtesy wave and a “Good day” to them as I resumed my walk back to the car.

When I had reached tower eighteen, I noticed that the young woman in the hammock was no longer out on her back patio. She had probably had enough sun for the day. Chances were pretty good that I was good and burnt all over my shoulders and chest. I realized I had forgotten to put sun screen on my feet. That promised to leave a mark.

As I approached my car, I noticed an array of unbecoming scratches in the black paint on the side panels of my car. “Somebody keyed my car,” I thought. “Why the hell would somebody...?” My voice trailed off in disbelief. Starting at the driver’s side door, it appears they scraped their way around across the back bumper, up the wheel well, and then up onto the roof.

As I had just begun to try to adjust to the shocking display of vandalism, I looked down and noticed the tires. Both of the passenger side tires had been slit in multiple places, allowing the tires to rest more of their weary souls on the hot pavement than they were accustomed to. I assumed the tires on the other side were likewise flattened.

I counted backwards from ten. When I realized that it had not worked as my psychiatrist had suggested it would in these situations, I upped the number to thirty. The totaled forty count did the trick, and I was able to gather myself enough to call for a tow truck.

As I sat on the curb out on the main thoroughfare, I thought about any other possibilities or potentials for Nate. The problem is that he always has been sort of shy. I was shocked really that he went out last night. Things probably went smoothly, typical for him when he acted on his thoughts, like I do.

I waved the tow truck down, directing it into the lot and leading it on foot to my car. The red reverse lights and concomitant beeping were warning enough to stand on the curb. When the engine shut off, she exited the cab. She.

I had never seen a female tow truck driver, not to say these are not any out there. I had just never seen one. I hadn’t seen many at all like her, period, chestnut braided pigtails, cut off blue jean shorts, and boots. Inside I hoped, my chest jumping beats, that it would be my chance. It was becoming a game for me, one I didn’t want to let myself know I wanted.

I speculated how I might go about this while she lifted the car, pulling it up her ramp and adeptly docking it into place. I climbed into the cab as directed and sat, wondering if her work shift ended soon, if she was spoken for, what stage of life she was in. I entertained thoughts of dinner with her. I saw her across the table in a chic red top with matching chiffon belt in her low cut jeans. Her face didn’t need make up, most don’t, but she wouldn’t even benefit from it. My mind quickly exchanged her face with my wife’s then back to hers.

“Where do you want me to take you?” She asked, hands at ten and two.

My apartment, the tire center, the body shop. I had to decide, but I couldn’t get my mind off the evening and my deep desire to ask her. Things feel so much different when they are for you. Still, something needed to be said before the situation became awkward, and I was getting hungry.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Becca at 07:37 on 12 August 2004  Report this post
Hi God.
I did wonder what this story was actually about, and decided it was about your MC rather than him wanting to score women for his brother. I really like the way you describe the sand and things found there, it's very elegant. It's difficult to think what to say about it on a structural level as there's no central event, .. a series of chance meetings with different women. There doesn't seem to be any concluding thoughts. In the first sections you write about people being essentially good, then his car has been vandalised, but his first musings are not returned to. What was it you were getting at in this story? It has a strangely restful, abstract quality about it, and I found it quite visual, so there was much to enjoy, but I was frustrated by the lack of 'critical mass' perhaps?
I found a couple of typos:
'..but her confused looked turned flattered..'
'It was (a) situation not becoming..'
I'd love to be on that beach myself right now.

Hamburger Yogi & PBW at 08:55 on 12 August 2004  Report this post
Literary critics mention that there is a trend away from short story plots as rising action/denoument to more like journeys of discovery.

I tend to militate against the former attitude in my own writings. I'm not keen on writing to order - the story as a puzzle that is resolved in the penultimate paragraph - but I do wonder what the focus of this tale is about.

It has more action than the earlier version - less subjective - but I thought there may still be too many inconsequential asides - unless thay are planted to divert us from his real motivations. Difficult to defend this impression, but that was how it went for me. This may be connected to a 'rising action' expectations mentality - I thought many leads petered out.

It could be that I have missed your point - were you 'taking a wander'? Or was there a central idea for unfoldment behind the incidentals? My assumtion is that it is mainly about the fancies of the narrator and his vacillating tendency to have 'a wandering eye'. Or is he a 'sussing psychologist with timid tendencies'? The fact that he doesn't seem to have any aim creates a slightly sinister quality for me. What is he up to? what is he after? Intended?

And the scratched car. A revenge? for what?

You have some lovely descriptions of the beach.

I get a feeling of a writer who loves nuance and the details of what happens when much is unspoken in relationship. A strong subtext in the making. This can be very effectively used - Paul Theroux does it well. I also get a feeling of 'something waiting to break out'. What is it?

The dialogue was interesting - a bit quirky just like people do talk.

The caller ID capitals.

You've got something - not in this story, but the way you write. How would you shape it in other contexts?

Hamburger Yogi

Bianca at 14:30 on 14 August 2004  Report this post
Hi Godfather

After the first page or two I realised that this was not going to be a straightforward tale of a guy seeking out a partner for his brother. This did leave me searching for a thread to follow, which was difficult.

I think it could work o.k. without the many incidentals.

The main theme seems to be a married guy with an itch maybe, or have I got that wrong? If it is to be about him then it needs to have more focus on him and how his day goes with regard to women and/or sex. The reference to his psychiatrist hints at something different about him.

I am reading a novel at the moment about a number of characters idling a two week holiday away in Tuscany. It is written in a similar vein to your story but stays with the characters happenings and doings. It is certainly not "an unputtable downbook" but it is intriguing, which I think your story could be with more focus.

I did enjoy the descriptive pieces of the beach - seaweed, shells, etc.

Good luck with any changes you make with it. I think the base is there,


MikeC at 17:21 on 15 August 2004  Report this post
HY says "Literary critics mention that there is a trend away from short story plots as rising action/denoument to more like journeys of discovery." - I agree three should not be one framework for all stories.

Orbson Scott Card says there are four factors in a story:

milieu, idea (that can be discovered), character, event

In this story we have a milieu (places or places)

There is no strong idea that I can fathom. If it is there to be discovered I missed it.

We have a character but I have to be honest he was very ordinary.

event - he is going to recommend the cafe to his brother(!)

Either I have misunderstood this or you can do much better. I would appreciate it if you could explain to me the purpose of this story, what it is trying to get over. Maybe you are trying to be TOO subtle.


TheGodfather at 22:47 on 15 August 2004  Report this post
Your candid comments are as always welcome. I am probably being too subtle, the main thing I am working on, keeping some subtlely but offering enough to get the reader to it. Apparently, I am not finished with this one yet. Thanks also Becca, Bianca, HY for your very similar but diverse suggestions. I'm sure this story will be back someday soon for further perusal.


p.s. others please feel welcome to leave your thoughts. I relish every opinion.


I edited the story. It's back now with appropriate changes. If you get the chance I would appreciate a reread.

Jim Beard at 10:32 on 19 August 2004  Report this post
Hi Godfather

Similar to most other comments made I could not find any coherent threads from which to make any critical observation and I found some of the sentences
convoluted. However, there seems to be a story in there somewhere. I'm sure that if you simplified matters it would take on more meaning.

Good luck with the re-write



TheGodfather at 16:47 on 19 August 2004  Report this post
Hello WW.

I dramatically reworked this one, took the proverbial hatchet to it, taking much of what was said to heart. Your thoughts invited.


Hamburger Yogi & PBW at 04:31 on 20 August 2004  Report this post
My impression is an improvement in flow and interesting particularities, but a lot of our comments about 'the idea' remain valid.

Great to see you writing whilst everyone else is on holiday!

Hamburger Yogi

Becca at 14:03 on 20 August 2004  Report this post
Hi God. I read the revised version and the fact that you draw it together more at the end does enhance it.
You haven't said what 'level' of crit you were interested in receiving so I don't know how much detail you would like in this second crit.
I had a lot of thoughts about it and if you would like me to voice them, I will do, just let me know; they are quite tough ones.

TheGodfather at 20:38 on 20 August 2004  Report this post

Go ahead. Shoot at me. If it turns out it needs a total revamping, they need will force my hand. Looking forward to hearing them all.


Becca at 08:36 on 21 August 2004  Report this post
I do think the new ending helps to give the story structure, shape. But within it there are ideas or thoughts that seem to be leading somewhere, but don't, such as 'I assumed she had strung it up herself, when in all actuality it could have been anyone who put it there.' If this is just a passing thought, an aside, how does it serve the story? The thought that follows it on the page doesn't quite link up with it, in that a woman putting up a hammock can hardly be described as an 'incredible human being' etc. So if there was meant to be a link between these two thoughts, it seems artifical.

Another point at which an idea seems to be leading somewhere and doesn't is where you write that your MC has good eyesight, what is it's significance in the story?

I liked that the brothers had similar names, it added a touch of the bizzare to the story, but I thought explaining it was superfluous. You could have the brothers calling each other by their names and leave the reader to smile about it. Again, though, was there any significance in the names, or was it an irrelevent aside?

It's good that in this version you have removed the exposition around the issue of Nathan scoring women for his brother, it's much better- the reader gets the message immediately from the dialogue.

At the point where the telephone conversation ends, as the reader, I imagined the action was going to begin and the 'plot' develop, (I use those two words in a loose sense). But although the story seems about to pick up here, it doesn't.

I didn't understand what 'It had sound logic too. I was full of it!' meant.

Does the para that begins 'I walked up to the gate..' add in anyway to the story?
Does your MC need to mention that people are good a second time?

'She carried herself confident and calm', this is OK, but to get a better grammatical sentence: 'She carried herself calmly and with confidence.'

'She probably could not put it in a ponytail if she wanted to. She would have to let it grow a couple of weeks.'- Is this sentence a way of letting the reader know something about the MC, or did his brother have a thing about ponytails, so making the mentioning of it relevent to the story?

Your Mc suddenly seems to come alive at 'You see, my brother is looking for a girl..' Here, I sat up and thought we were getting to the point.

Other elements in the story act as deflections such as '.. the one I had settled on while up on (at?) the counter.'- The reader will assume he read the menu ealier, so again is it necessary?

I can't see the relevence of the dialogue about forgetting what he'd ordered unless it was a device for getting Nathan into conversation with the waitress. But I felt it to be a bit laboured given that the waitress has to talk to customers anyway.

This next thought I hate to say: you have 'I noticed she was wearing a black skirt unlike all the other waiters and waitresses..' here I thought you had used what was simply a mistake and made something of it in the text in the form of '.. or are they all called waiters now?' Challenge me if I'm wrong here but it felt like a sort of indulgence leaving in an obvious error, (I've seen it done before occassionally in other stories, and it irritates mightily).

You mention earlier in the story the difference in age between the boss of the restaurant and the waitress, then again you refer to two older people, so here, as the reader, I am thinking that the story has something to do with ageism. But by now I begin to suspect that this is not the case, as there have been other ideas that seemed to be leading somewhere and didn't.

The section in which the MC is eating and reading slows the progress of the story down. Has it any relevence, what is its function in the story?

I go back to my original thought that the story is about a man spending a day on the beach and musing upon things he finds interesting along the way, and the reader is invited to join him on that walk and share his thoughts.

But, as I said in the beginning, the way your MC meets a girl he wants for himself, (and one that isn't so 'fem' as the waitress), improved the story a lot, it gave it more tautness. Then when I thought about the relationship between the two brothers I wondered if it wouldn't have given the story a sharper turn if you'd had the younger brother continually pestering the older one to find him a girl. That way round the MC would come over as a more empathetic character, (ignoring the fact that he's about to cheat on his wife), and also Nathan wanting the girl for himself is more 'loaded' as an idea because his brother wants her too, whoever she is.

TheGodfather at 17:27 on 21 August 2004  Report this post

Many thanks indeed. They don't call you site expert for nothing. That one crit alone may have been worth the whole subscription cost for the year. I was sort of hoping it didn't need an entire overhaul, far more than my first one, but alas it does. Know in the future that level of crit is always welcome, to anyone for that matter. I enjoy it thoroughly. I truly can and desire the taking of it, for the sake of the work. This piece will no doubt be back someday, as a different story it seems.


To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .