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

Nerval's Lobster's picture


By Nerval's Lobster 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.


'Joyride' is about a fourteen-year-old girl who discovers her true calling in life... at the cost of a whole lot of dead bodies.


Raphaella Von'Mercer's picture
Raphaella Von'Mercer June 3, 2014 - 12:02am

It gets realy intense very quickly.

Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below June 5, 2014 - 7:37am

I'm glad you thought so! That was the intention... :)

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday June 4, 2014 - 5:04am

Overall good story.  I really liked the Preacher character.  I feel it could have used a bit more of him.  As for the ending, I feel it could have done without the 'ever again' section.  Leaving it off would leave it open to imagine what comes next.

Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below June 5, 2014 - 7:37am

Interesting... and a very good point. Will definitely consider that for the next draft.

EdVaughn's picture
EdVaughn from Louisville, Ky is reading a whole bunch of different stuff June 4, 2014 - 3:49pm

Terrific piece of noir. I enjoyed this a lot. The writing and editing was good and the characters and events interesting. What more can you ask for? The only criticisim I would give is that in part 3 I assumed her going into the diner was directly after the joyride or at least a few minutes or more. But she asks how Preacher knew what happened and he said somebody walked up and told him. She even asks if it was the internet, leading me to believe time had passed quite a bit for word to get around that quick. I don't know, it was just a little unclear on that bit unless I missed something. Anyway, again good story, I really dug it.

Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below June 5, 2014 - 7:38am

Thanks! And yeah, I can definitely see your point. In my head, it took her a couple hours to work her way over to the diner (on foot, mostly) but I should perhaps make that more clear.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 5, 2014 - 4:44am

This is a well written piece, with some great use of language, and interesting (and believable) characters.

I did have a few issues which obviously you can take with a pinch of salt.

One frustration I have is that the most interesting character is kept off the page until the end, and even then has very little to do. Preacher has real potential, and I love how he lives completely off the grid. I feel like the story would have been better had it been concentrated on the relationship between Preacher and Maxine.

The first section feels a little passive, despite a strongish start. It’s a little ‘tell’ over ‘show’, but there are some very good parts. Describing her role in the household immediately sets the scene very well. I’m not sure the No Crying Game adds much, but I can tell why you’ve put it in. I guess what I’d like to see here is more emphasis given to the tension between the locals and the cops. Up the conflict levels and let some of the other information drip through.

Maxine’s phone is very convenient. You do a good job at showing that she lives on the poverty level, with a mother who in her more lucid moments tried to make every penny count. I’m having a hard time buying that Maxine would have her own cell phone. Also does she call for Preacher at the end? If he’s off the grid how is that possible? I think it would have more impact if Ricky was clearly dying, and so Maxine’s impulse to steal the cash and the take a joyride would seem risk free.

These are all fairly minor points though. I like your writing style and your voice, and I think the story (like the character of Preacher) has potential.

Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below June 5, 2014 - 7:35am

Good points, all! I originally had a paragraph in there about her buying burner phones from Tony for super-cheap, but it threw off the pacing so I deleted it; I might try to figure out a way to get it back in... Thanks!

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 18, 2014 - 7:27am

I like this a lot, and as others have said Preacher is a really interesting character. The scene with him is fantastic, but the ending felt a little Deux Ex Machina (Preacher being God, in that sense). I almost wish it had just ended with him telling her not to worry, that he'd work it all out, and leaving her wondering if he would. A very good story.

Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below June 20, 2014 - 11:59am

A little ambiguity could be cool! Thanks for reading.

Dino Parenti's picture
Dino Parenti from Los Angeles is reading Everything He Gets His Hands On June 18, 2014 - 7:47pm

Really great start here. I love your use of detail in building her world, especially in the way the undertow of the details are meant to keep her in her world and never letting her rise beyond it. Love the visual of Ricky's puffing jumpsuit as he gets shot. You use a great, unforced noir tone that feels natural, which I appreciate. Love that "Heisenberg Blue" is now total pop-culture. My one minor suggestion is to start with her arriving at Oates' bar, right up to the moment that Preacher walks in. Since we don't know his motives yet, I think this will start your story with the requisite tension, while breaking up the beginning a little since it's filled with a lot of back-story, albeit colorful and well-written. In any case, this is wonderfully written. A hell of a solid effort.

Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below June 20, 2014 - 12:00pm

Thanks! And a great idea, in terms of bookending. The start *is* front-loaded with a lot of scene-setting...

Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep June 19, 2014 - 12:55pm

You have a way with words, my friend. The story was a ton-o-fun. Good, depressing fun.


I'm not going to say much here, because it was well-written all around. Awesome use of language, and great characters. If I was editing it, I'd have a lot of small comments, but I just have one particular edit I'd suggest:

- Your story ends at "You got a deal." Those four words hammer in the point of your story--tying it right back to the first sentence. Cut the last paragraph and you're golden; we don't need to know that stuff as it turns out.

Thanks for writing and sharing.

Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below June 20, 2014 - 12:00pm

Great suggestion! Thanks for reading!

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland June 25, 2014 - 1:08pm


I really, really, enjoyed this story. Really!

I agree with some of the others about ending a little earlier. I actually really like knowing that the dirty cops never came arround her house again. Like word got out that Preacher will make you dissapear if you mess with Maxine, but i think you can make it work as implied without saying it. Or you can write it in Preacher's dialouge. "They won't bother you anymore" or something. He'd know from experience and you've written him well enough for your audience to believe that.

I would like more of Preacher too. Maxine is a good character but Preacher is a great one. Dino's idea to start in the diner and go back is a good one.

I'm also unsure how she calls Preacher. IF you want to make it so she doesn't have a phone and doesn't buy one from Oats you could easily have her steal one from Ricky when she takes the rest of his loot. But I didn't think Preacher had a phone either. You do say no "smart phone" so maybe he does have a burner. Or maybe she called a third party who knew how to find him. And maybe that's the same person that told him about the accident(even if he didn't know she was invoved yet). Not sure if that all works.

Also, if Ricky is expected to live, then I have a hard time believing she'd steal from him, so make it clear what gave her the balls to do so, or make it look like he won't make it, or have her tell him she's doing him a favor. Taking his money, and car, to go stash it and his drugs, so that when the police show up he'll just be a victim and not have contraband to tie him to a crime. Even if that isn't really her goal, she could try to sell the lie to Ricky. Just a thought.

Other than those tiny issues, this piece displays alot of strong writing, a great voice, and well thought out characters. Great job.


Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below June 30, 2014 - 9:27am

Thanks! Excellent points, all... I'm coming around to the modified ending concept, as well.

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 3, 2014 - 9:32pm

You have some well developed character's here. The ending seems a little ambiguous to me and almost implies that either preacher has some inexplicable sway over the police or that the only reason cops ever showed up was because Billy felt like harassing her. Sorry, I was just a little confused.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations July 17, 2014 - 5:59am

Hi NL,

Mostly, this has a strong vibe and voice, and works pretty well. Excuse the novella below, it's how I review... Thumbs up.

You could probably trim some of Chapter 1. (A short story with chapters - pretending to be a novel! :) ) - it's quite a lot of background info. (It's good, but you need to know the backstory intimately, we, the readers, don't...)

Slightly odd that she watches TV on a tablet. An old CRT might be a better nod to their status.

I like - no,LOVE, the idea of making the taking of Ricky's Mustang more than just an opportunity. What if she knows the boot will be full of drugs, and reasons that drugs + adolescents skipping school = serious heat from the cops, so she takes the evidence away? Ricky can still fight about it, but it gives an edge, especially as she knows she has to do this without getting caught.

If the ambulance arrives as she leaves, Tony wouldn;t be doing anythung with the medikit.

You need to tell us where she learnt to drive. I want lessons.

The diner - I'd lose the "rubbery eggs" - keep the butter-soaked carbs. Lets make him a purveryor of unhealthy food, not BAD food?!

Two Billy's?

Maxine throws up in the ditch, and then orders "the works"? Something plain, perhaps?

Maxine should at least say it's her birthday when she excuses her school truancy to the Preacher? And the Preacher - a little TOO cool ?

Ending a little abrupt. I don't buy the "never found" either - Billy is a (corrupt) cop - he goes missing, there's a big search. More likely planted evidence, maybe Ricky doesn't make it through the night... leaving a search for a non-existant accomplice of a drug deal and corrupt cops. Also a little too easy "come work for me". "Go back to school when you're 18 (or whatever) - we'll see." - leave it open, perhaps?

Fun read. Thanks,





Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below July 29, 2014 - 4:11am

Great notes, all. Thanks!

madsmaddox's picture
madsmaddox from Berkshire is reading Fated July 21, 2014 - 6:57am


first off, my apologies I didn't get to this sooner, your tale was posted the same day as mine and it feels like I've been ignoring my next door neighbour, I'm blaming the random button for this ;o).

Onto your tale, this is a very fun read, the writing is pretty tight and has a strong voice. You set the scene well and have some very fluid world building which is a pleasure to read.

Like a few others, I think Preacher is a breakout character and wanted to know more, the ambiguous ending definitely leaves the reader wanting more, not a bad thing at all.

“You’re not thinking like a gangster, darling.” Preacher grinned. - Really like this line, really captures the spirit of her character. 

All in all, this is a solid thumbs up!

All the best and good luck with the contest.


Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below July 29, 2014 - 4:10am

Thanks, Mads! Good luck to you, too.