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bryce.e.allen's picture

The Sin Bin

By bryce.e.allen in Arrest Us

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The post-playing ‘career’ of former minor league hockey enforcer and deranged Thelemite Kurt Owens takes a bizarre turn after a contrived bar fight goes awry.


...'s picture
... June 19, 2014 - 2:31pm

This was really interesting. I liked how vague it was about this guy's obvious mental instability and the weird perspective you wrote it from. You also have a really clear, definite voice that's cool. Good job.

Tim Hennessy's picture
Tim Hennessy June 23, 2014 - 2:09pm

I think you have an excellent premise – a former hockey enforcer with mental health issues now turned hired muscle, there are a lot of directions you can further develop it.

The biggest challenge that I had with the story was the second person point of view. I don’t think that was the strongest point of view for this story. You may have chosen the 2nd POV to enable you to submerge the mental issues, but when “the voices” emerged it was confusing.
I think there are ways to do that more effectively with another point of view. 
Try experimenting with same scenario with a first person POV or close third and letting him drop hints through other means – dialogue, physical mannerisms, descriptions, any other ways.

You have a fascinating character and trying to write from the mind of someone who is mentally unbalanced is a really difficult place to build a narrative. Perhaps there are other ways for you to explore this character and his actions with clearer sense of where the story might be going. I'm curious what got him to the place where he's now living in a trailer, making money as hired muscle? 

I enjoyed that he was so recognizable to fans and that it was an added conflict in scenes  and that he didn't have the anonymity to just beat the shit out people and disappear. How else could you use that to complicate his life?  I remember reading a great piece about the Minn. Wild's enforcer Derek Boogaard awhile back, and while I barely pay attention to hockey, it seemed like with all the mental and physical issues that come from the role of an enforcer you'd have a wealth of possibility in developing this character further.  

jorjon21's picture
jorjon21 from Wisconsin is reading Shotgun Lovesongs June 24, 2014 - 10:21am

I enjoyed the story.  The use of mythical characters to emphasize the main character's mental illness was creative and good.

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia June 24, 2014 - 3:20pm

I enjoyed the story and thought the premise was excellent.  The second person perspective worked for me, although you do accidentally drop out of it into first person halfway down page three ('Fenwick give me the finger") which needs to be changed. 

I did find that the pace changed drastically halfway through.  This may have been an attempt to show an escalation in his mental breakdown, however, it came across as the paragraphs being rushed and that the word limit was proving a little problematic.  Maybe this should be a longer piece, allowing you to keep the flow you established in the bar throughout.

Generally a solid story that needs some polishing to bring out what is an excellent concept. 



Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 25, 2014 - 2:31am

Relentless and brutal. Love the whole schitzophrenic pagan influence and gradual unravelling of madness as the story gains momentum. The second person perspective, although jarring, worked well once I adjusted to it. It felt a bit rushed, in terms of pacing, but I assume that was intentional. Nice.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 3, 2014 - 9:12am

Well… that swerve came out of leftfield.

It’s an interesting story, but to borrow a soccer metaphor, it’s a story of two halves. The first half is great, and I really like the character of Kurt, this guy still living off past glories in seedy bars, paid to beat on civvies occasionally. Tonally that first half is great. It has a nice rhythm and flow to it, and up until the fight, it stays believable and fascinating.

I wasn’t such a fan of the second half. The swerve came from nowhere, with no little hints or warnings, and it just threw me completely. He seems to be typical dumb muscle, then, with a little help from the Egyptian God voices in his head, he’s able to successfully cover up having carried out a massacre. He shoots a load of people, covers it up, and then walks out of the bar without anyone seeing him there to place him at the scene of the crime.

From then on his descent into madness is so quick and frenetic, that it’s hard to take stock of what is going on. Even though he is completely off his rocker, he does of course remember to kill the guy that recommended him to Corsi. So far he’s mad, but still pretty smart. Then those smarts desert him completely when he robs the bank, and the end result is utterly inevitable.

This is purely a subjective view of course, and I think this transition is probably going to split readers. You are going to have some that really like it, and some that don’t, so whether or not you change it is up to you. My personal view is that a little foreshadowing would have helped, and a slower descent into that madness. You have the word limit to play with, and a more gradual change would make a lot of sense.

Hope this helps in some way. Best of luck whichever way you take this.