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mattlucas's picture

Khoy Nhong Waiting For You

By mattlucas in Arrest Us

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Description

A former boxer, Dum, works hotel security on a rainy night in Bangkok. A young working girl brings trouble. Dum's past comes back and the rain continues to fall on the city. 

Comments

Nerval's Lobster's picture
Nerval's Lobster from New York City is reading Seiobo Down Below June 3, 2014 - 2:54pm

Cool story. Reminds me quite a bit of John Burdett. I really like how you play with the sound effect of rain throughout, especially the ending.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday June 4, 2014 - 7:39am

I really enjoyed this story.  It paced well, I liked that the environment never really changed, just the pieces inside it.  Each of the characters had enough depth to feel real.  The ending was open yet satisfying. Damn solid work.

W.a. Warner's picture
W.a. Warner June 4, 2014 - 10:21am

Great scene! Reminded me of Bankok 8. Nice noirish elements with some extremely cool lines! Thanks for sharing.

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb June 4, 2014 - 10:30pm

This didn’t really work for me. It’s got potential but at the moment it all feels lifeless. You could improve that by starting with the dialogue – a lot of it feels like narrative rather than the way people from that walk of life would speak.


You succeeded in putting me in the location well enough, thanks to some nice descriptions of the club and atmosphere, and then you spoil them by bringing in references to Justin Bieber and pop culture that all seem too western to belong there. Sure, these places probably have them sadly, but for this story I’d leave them out. The same sort of effect happens with the character description. You do pretty well describing what Dum looks like at the start, then you add ‘There was a gentle peace in his quiet earthy brown eyes.’ That last line seems far to dreamy and fairy-tale like to belong with the description of this guy who’s an ex-boxer working the doors. I would draw out the hard-ass side of him a lot more, even though you’re going for the good-guy-at-heart effect. We’ll get that through what he does in the story.


The girl opens up about her life to Dum, who she’s only just met, far too easily. I know space in a story of this length is precious so there isn’t a lot of room for him to get to know her first, but this could go in the backstory perhaps – give them something of a history, detailed in a few lines, and they will seem less like strangers and far more likely to get into the things they get into.


The ending of this disappointed me because I got the feeling you were building up to some action and then you left your main character still waiting for it, and he seems almost resigned to the outcome for him being either death or something else that isn’t good. He seems to have very little lust for life throughout the entire story. I get the washed-up idea but I’d feel far more interested in a character who somehow wants to come back from washed-up. I felt more interested in the backstory concerning his boxing career and how it ended than I did for what he was doing in the present.


I’ve got to add this just as a last point: I would choose a different name for your main character than Dum. I know it’s an eastern name, but I couldn’t get ‘dumb’ out of my head despite that. This character is supposed to be badass in many ways, and that’s just not a name that fits. Similarly, calling a character Beer didn’t work for me either. I’m a great one for odd character names I admit, but there have been times when I’ve had to accept that they just don’t work. Personally, I’d change that in this story.

madsmaddox's picture
madsmaddox from Berkshire is reading Fated June 5, 2014 - 5:22am

Matt,

Have you ever been to Thailand? Do you know the people well?

I really wanted to like this. I don’t usually cop out on comments but please see Chacron’s above, the guy clearly has a time machine and mind reading device cos he’s already said what’s on my mind and posted it before me.

Also, Dum is an ex-boxer, this didn’t seem to really make a difference to the story, perhaps you could’ve shown him off more? I’m not saying for him to go Ong Bak on everyone but you get the idea. You picked a great setting, a protagonist working to a classic trope (I love Muay Thai btw), south-east Asian underworld knocking at the door, a would-be femme fatale – this should be more fun than it is.

But I would still rather read this than watch ‘Only God Forgives’ ever again.

All the best and happy writing.

Mads

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 6, 2014 - 1:39am

There is a good story trying to break free here, but it feels oddly shackled at the moment. It builds, but it doesn’t quite go anywhere.

There were things I liked. Dum is a good protagonist, believable and reasonably compelling. The central premise could be good, with him getting caught in the middle, and his common decency coming through in the end. This is not a fight he is throwing. Likewise the Isaan girl is a good character, and she has some of the best lines – “Isaan girls don’t jump Dum. They hang on- and they whither.” Sak is a neat counterpoint to Dum, showing what the latter could have turned into had he taken that other path. The hunted guy is a little generic though.

Chacron is right on the money with many of his comments. The dialogue doesn’t feel like real speech, “With her mouth, those beautiful hummingbird lips that flapped all the time.” Dum’s description of the suicide is far too narrative to be dialogue. Nobody talks like this. Everybody is completely open to each other as well. The information needs to be harder won, the trust shown earned.

Like some of the others, I felt the story was building to a climax that just never came. Dum will stay the course and not run this time, but will he fight or will he simply await his fate? Give us more of a hint as to the fire inside him. Has the girl reawakened his pride and self-worth? He’s too passive in his own story at the moment. He’s a hardened boxer with soft hands and peaceful eyes. Either give him fire, or change his backstory, because at the moment you aren’t making the most of what you’ve given yourself to work with.

One thing, am I missing something with aDum’s apple references? Was the protagonist called Dam at one stage and you’ve replaced all with Dum?

The story has potential, and you have a lot to work with. It could be fun, or it could stay dark, but it needs something more at the moment.

I second Mads’ comment on Only God Forgives though. I would never put myself through watching that again.

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 18, 2014 - 1:09am

I liked this, it reminded me of Robert Ludlum in places. Watch your autocorrect, you've replaced every instance of 'dam' with 'Dum' (aDum's apple, etc.). The timbre of the writing suits the setting, and personally I found the dialogue to fit well. Nice one.

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 26, 2014 - 1:46pm

Matt,

I think that this could use a little more work. I was often confused about what was going on in the story. Your character's seemed a little underdeveloped and I'm not sure what Dum being a boxer has to do with the story itself. The dialogue between Sak and Dum seems flat and vague. I'm not sure if that was intentional to create a sense of secrecy.

There were a few passages were I was unsure of the meaning.

" 'I haven’t gotten flowers and a card since my mother died. Don’t waste time, get out of here.' " Is this supposed to mean that no one he knows has died since his mother?

" rinse his fingers in her flesh." I'm not sure what this means.

The girl says that he's not bad and Dum is left wondering if he's worse or worst. I didn't understand this part but maybe I missed something.

" 'We aren’t coming for you but we’re not saying we’re not.'" this line is confusing, maybe you should say. "We're aren't saying we're coming for you, but we're not saying we're not"

You have a good control of language and some good bits. I especially liked 'Isaan girls don’t jump Dum. They hang on- and they whither.'" Overall I was distracted by how confused I was. I think with another draft this story could come together a lot better. Good luck.