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e.h.mcneely's picture

Fool's Gold

By e.h.mcneely in Arrest Us

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A wanna-be hood will do anything to impress the girl he loves. Will it be enough?


Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 12, 2014 - 2:16pm

Consistent, authentic, heartbreaking. Great story.

e.h.mcneely's picture
e.h.mcneely from American South June 14, 2014 - 3:42pm


Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations June 12, 2014 - 6:43pm

Hi there,

Good piece. A few things you could possibly tweak for improvement. There's some flashback and forwards in here, you might want to make sure they're signposted clearly. (The first flash back to the hospital with mama is hard to disentangle from his current ghostly state). But otherwise it's solidly written, no typos that I can remember.

There's a few things where I wanted more. First off, the fact that Molly etc go through with the getting and delivering the ring is remarkable - so maybe work that in to your "poor people stick together" bit. The fact that he's being beaten in a punch up, and THEN gets stabbed, seems unfair - maybe have him land a few blows before his opponent escalates?

And then there's this guy and Carla. Need a little more how unusual this is to him - the way it confuses him that she doesn't put out, the fact he's somewhat in awe of her. All of this will make her betrayal stronger, but it also explains why he goes to such lengths.

P.s. Strictly, he isn't killed because of the ring, but he does claim that. Which is a bit odd?


e.h.mcneely's picture
e.h.mcneely from American South June 14, 2014 - 3:42pm

Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions. I will definitely consider these points.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 24, 2014 - 7:43am

The central premise is good. We’ve all been there, wanting to impress someone and willing to do almost anything to achieve that goal. He’s clearly self-deluded, but would rather live that way than face the truth, that Carla will never be his. I like the lengths he goes to, thinking that all it would take is that one demonstration of his love to win her over.

Writing in the first person like this is tricky, and it does feel at times that we are getting a fair bit of exposition to fill us into what’s gone on. The weakest part for me though is the dialogue. It doesn’t feel genuine, and it’s all very similar. Nobody here has their own distinctive voice, apart from the narrator. If anything it feels as if the narrator is paraphrasing them. There are two moments in particular for me:

“I know, that was fuckin crazy. I knew him back in high school, he was a real homey. Fuckin shame. But I ain't lettin a slut keep this shit. You just gonna smoke it up. If anyone's gonna get high it's gonna be me. But he did a solid favor for my nigga James, so I'm gonna do him a solid favor. Don't go thinkin I care about yo skank ass.”

I know why you feel you need this part, to cover Kelvin’s motivation in not just keeping the ring for himself. His motivation is weak though, and his dialogue is stereotypical at best. Right now he’s not coming across as a real person. From what I’d gathered Molly was the go-between here, so I’m not sure how Kelvin even knows who the job is for. It would make more sense for him to give the ring to Molly, and then for her to get it to Carla, maybe due to some lingering feeling towards the protagonist. Otherwise, why is it important for Kelvin even to come to see Molly? Just so the ghost can pick him to follow him around?

"Some douche. He was always trying to get with me. You remember him."

You have built up Carla to be a class apart. She’s rich, or at least that’s how she’s referred to throughout. Give her a little class to go along with the contents of her purse. I can understand why you’ve gone with the ‘sucks to be you’ ending, but it is a little jarring, and at the same time an obvious twist. If she thought so little of him, why would she have been hanging around with him at all? Just because he can pick up dope for her? Again, that motivation is a little weak. I’d take out the laughter, and have her say a simple, “Just some guy.” That’s enough, especially when he can compare the ring he’s given her to her other jewellery.

You have a good foundation here. The concept is good, and the main voice is consistent and compelling. If you could develop the other characters a little and soften that ending, I think this could be a very good story.

e.h.mcneely's picture
e.h.mcneely from American South June 24, 2014 - 10:58am

Thank you for taking the time to read and give suggestions!

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday June 26, 2014 - 7:19am

I enjoyed this piece.  It was dark and paced well.  I agree with some of the other readers that there are a few flaws in regards to motivation, mostly with Kelvin.  Nothing that couldn't be fixed in a paragraph or two.  Thanks for sharing.

e.h.mcneely's picture
e.h.mcneely from American South June 27, 2014 - 8:40am

Thanks for taking the time to read it!

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine August 1, 2014 - 3:12pm

Nice job on the action scenes.  I really liked your ending, but I personally always prefer an ending where the hero looses. It seemed to me that there was a little bit of voice inconsistency, where the MC speaks correctly then switches to dialect. I liked the idea of splitting up the sections the way you did, but there were times where it was unclear if they were flashbacks or not.

You say that the two start "dating". I'd like to hear about what this guys idea of dating was because it was obvious that Carla didn't have the same idea. When he sleeps with Molly he says that it isn't unfaithful because he doesn't love her, to me the main character seems fully devoted to Carla. This part sort of comes across as the"I'm not getting it at home" cliche. I think it might be truer to his character if he justifies Molly by saying that Carla is unfaithful, or not thinks of their relationship as open. Just a thought of course. Decent story overall.

e.h.mcneely's picture
e.h.mcneely from American South August 2, 2014 - 3:28pm

Thank you for taking the time to read it. I will definitely consider your suggestions!