To read this story or to participate in this writing event, you only need a free account.
You can Login with Facebook or create regular account
To find out what this event is about click here

tooth's picture

Farewell Tour

By tooth in Arrest Us

How It Rates

Voting for this event has ended
Once you have read this story, please make sure you rate it by clicking the thumbs above. Then take a few minutes to give the author a helpful critique! We're all here for fun but let's try to help each other too.


(REVISED) After a botched assignment, friendship is tested as a crew must eliminate one of their own.


Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 1, 2014 - 4:13am

Don't know if you can resubmit in time for competition end, but this would be easier to read if it WASN'T in Time BOLD...? Will get to proper comments shortly!

tooth's picture
tooth from Dallas is reading City of Thieves July 1, 2014 - 5:21am

Wow - I have no idea how that happened. I exported it to Word format and something must have been mangled along the way. Thank you for pointing this out. I certainly did not intend to shout at the reader for ten pages!

The formatting is fixed.


Kip Casto's picture
Kip Casto from Norfolk,VA is reading Jonathan Kellerman Novels July 2, 2014 - 5:28pm

The story started out very typical. However, I really liked the scene with the clerk and coupon. The scene with the lizard seemed to build up to something that never happened. I would have liked to see Ray stand up to the guys messing with the lizard. I believe by having more assertive characters, this story would improve exponentially. I think Oscar should have had more character development to make him sympathetic or more of an asshole to show he deserved it. I think there is potential here, but you need to take more risks with this material for a crime contest. There are so many awful and great stories that happen in real life from the different perspectives of crime to play it safe and passive. 

tooth's picture
tooth from Dallas is reading City of Thieves July 3, 2014 - 1:49pm

Thanks for the feedback. I'm sorry it missed, but your notes are helpful. I've been struggling with the lizard allusion with various revisions. I bounce between it being painfully obvious and telegraphed and being too subtle or non-existent. Clearly, there's more work to do on that front. I've also edited out some violence from the backstory because the story was bogged down in backstory... but perhaps it lost any bite it had in the process. After I get more feedback, I'll have to weigh the options again.


Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 4, 2014 - 6:36am


I think theres some good moments here, but the story feels a bit too vague and scattershot right now.

The beginning didn't really do much for me. I think you were switching POVs so quickly that I never really got a sense of any of the characters. I personally would recommend staying solely in Ray's point of view through the whole story.

I did like the scene in the gas station, but  don't know how much that added to the story. For me, the story didn't really pick up until page six or so, when Ray remembers him and Joe as kids. From that point on, I felt like the writing got stronger, and more importantly, you developed a kind of melancholic mood that I wanted to see more of.

Early on, I couldn't really tell the ages of the characters. I also sometimes got the idea that Joe was a little...slow? Was that intended?There's parts that feel like it was, but at the end he becomes almost a completely different person. I would suggest really thinking about your characters, what ech of them is meant to bring into the story and starting from there to really make each of their voices stand out.

Regarding the vaguness of the story- From my understanding, Oscar and Ray are tasked with killing Joe, is that correct? If that' the case, the last scene really doesn't make any sense to me. Ray and Joe walk off to the forest, presumably so Ray can kill Joe, but instead Ray lets him go. Ray goes back to the car, only to find Oscar missing, because Oscar followed them ad did what exactly?And then Joe shows up and kills Oscar. With what? If they are going to kill Joe, you think they would have pat him dow or made sure he wasn't a threat.

Again, this was my interpretration and I might be wrong, and if so, please let me know.

Writing, I found that the first part was the weaker half, with everything following the forest scene to be stronger. You have a habit of telling the reader what the character's backgrounds and emotions are, rather than showing them, and I think thats the main area to focus on in a rewrite. For example:

He acted casual, but he always focused on the business at hand

Oscar learned not to let emotion control your actions. He was always level and took pride in being a professional.

His partner followed a code and did not tolerate mistakes or deviations.

This are all good traits for your characters to have, and they'll create a nice conflict, but right now I don't really see them.

I hope some of this helps. I'll be happy to read a second pass of this, as I think this has potential, it's just not quite there yet.


Harper's picture
Harper from Johannesburg, South Africa is reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie July 15, 2014 - 1:39am

Hi Tooth,

You've got some good ideas here and characters that, if taken a bit further, could go in interesting directions.

Some challenges: The intro is somewhat confusing. It takes six paragraphs to introduce the character Joe, who we learn is also in the car with the other two. This gradual reveal creates confusion, because I had to re-adjust to a new person in the vehicle, and it left me with doubts about who else might be in the car that you haven't mentioned yet. Maybe just introduce us to all of them right away to set the stage.  

There's some editing needed in your descrption of physical space--for instance, you mention twice that Oscar is in the car. Another one: in your description of Tevis threatening Ray, it not clear how the blade can rest into his mouth.

The flashback to Ray and Joe's younger years didn't really work for me. I think it interrupts the tension of the road trip scene before all the characters have been fully introduced. I think seeding in some memories and associations throughout would be more effective than a big section that cuts the narrative's flow.

In the ending, I was thrown by Oscar's strange change of heart--it seems out of character for him given how you've portrayed him up to that point. Why would he not kill Joe? Also, when Joe saves Ray, his voice and demeanour shifts unexpectedly. From the innocent, slightly naive youngster you introduce earlier, he has now become more mature, in control and assertive--the transformation doesn't ring true though.

Hope that helps! Good luck with the story!


Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK July 17, 2014 - 3:33am

I started reading this and within two or three sentencing was thinking "I'm sure I've read this before." I skimmed to the end and yes, I have. Then I see you've put 'revised' in your description. So I read it again.

I think it's better than it was, but you've still got some work to do. The Of Mice and Men element is still there, which I like. Take the comments on board. It's not there yet, but getting there, and it's better than the previous draft.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 17, 2014 - 8:56am

Solid thumbs up – I did like this one overall.

I do have a few observations to share. I like the three guys, though I agree with previous comments that Joe’s sudden change of character at the end is jolting. I’m sure you could have him pop up while still keeping that slightly slow demeanour you’ve built up well over the rest of the story. Personal gripe – does it have to be an Impala? Is it the only car Stateside driven by slightly dodgy characters? As soon as I see an Impala mentioned, my eyes automatically roll back.

I agree with Harper – the flashback with the lizard adds nothing to the story, though it does help it past the 3,000 word lower limit. If you are going to flashback at that point, at least give us some glimpse as to the depth of their friendship which explains why Ray is so conflicted. I get that they are like the lizard, trapped in the situation and forced to move the way Tevis wants them to. It adds nothing to the story though. It would be good to get more of a glimpse into Tevis, why they are so afraid of this guy.

The gas station sequence is great. I get Hector’s point that it doesn’t add much, but it’s a nice little scene that gives us a bit more of a glimpse into Ray’s character. I like that this is a guy who will haggle over 20 cents while buying snacks for his friend. That’s the kind of incidental detail that really adds to the characterisation.

Best of luck with the story.

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 29, 2014 - 6:41pm

You did a lot to develop the relationship of these two friends, at least from Ray's prospective. I think that the flashback to the boys childhood was a nice touch and would like to maybe see a bit more into their history. Joe seems sweet and loyal to his friend obviously, but we don't get too much about him other than that he's a little silly. It might also be a good idea to add some details about the work that the men do including a little more about the boss. These are really just things that you could add if you wanted to make it a bit longer, as it is, I think it's a solid story.