Saturday, 17 November 2007

Nostalgia Trip #1: ADJUSTMENTS

Published Nov 2000 by the sadly defunct JACKHAMMER E-ZINE. Great Galaxy, Blenkinsop, that's 7 years ago! From this little acorn grew a feature length screenplay that my buddy Steve almost sold for me—long story, suffice to say it didn't happen so I'm not writing this from my Malibu beach house.

Barman leaned over counter. Kept hands where I could see them. Wise move. "I don't want no trouble," he said. "Finish your beer and get out." Waitress had told him. My fault. Should have put on sunglasses before coming inside.

Pushed glass away. Couldn't even drink the stuff, not any more. Digestion changes. Just wanted to remember....

"Thanks for hospitality," I said.

Opened door, went out. Don't know what I'd been looking for. Companionship? Mix with normal people? Stupid. Old life was gone. Had to accept.

Cop car turned corner, lights flashing, stopped. Big Texas Sheriff got out, hand on gun. Didn't draw it.

"You there, stay where you are," he said. "Take off your sunglasses."

Did as ordered. Sheriff got jittery.

"Raise your hands above your head, boy."

Did as ordered.

"Turn around, put your hands against the wall."



"Can't do that."

Sheriff stepped closer. Red face, cold eyes. Lips formed hard line. Made decision, drew gun. Left him lying there. Don't like to kill cops, fellow soldiers. Had no choice. Not my doing. Don't they understand?

[End of excerpt]

Here are some of the comments that "Adjustments" received during its publication period at the now-defunct JACKHAMMER E-ZINE:

Adjustments posted by altair posted on 12/28/00 6:22:16 AM

Well I gotta hand it to Roach, this is a damn fine pickup. This is perhaps one of the best stories I have read in the last few months and even if it was a tad cliche it was cliche well done. Though the ending wasn't really a surprise to me it was satisfying and that all a good story can ask for. I look forward to more work from this writer. Maybe a conclusion to this story. That would be good, good indeed. Ask him Roach.

Robert N Stephenson

Fine posted by Jeph posted on 12/12/00 5:27:56 PM

Great work! Interesting from a military perspective, since we get to see what becomes of the soldiers _after_ the explosions stop. The protagonist was a good sympathetic character, despite his frequent acts of violence.

Torrent of consciousness posted by crombieam posted on 12/1/00
5:25:08 PM

Like Kisanthe I've been making the aquaintance of Mrs Dalloway and Mrs V Woolf recently (and not enjoying their company) so this was a pleasant surprise. The stream of consciousness was more of a torrent and and exhilerating ride.

An immersive read posted by wendelius posted on 11/22/00
4:35:23 PM

Thanks for a great read Derek.

It's not long and yet it manages to set-up the background story, give a glimpse of the main protagonist's life and make the reader wish it were longer.

Here's hoping you publish many more.


Well Done posted by Kisanthe posted on 11/15/00 5:52:02

I thought this was a good, gritty story with an intriguing premise and an even more intriguing main character. The unusual speech/thought style was disorienting at first, but just enough to be interesting, not enough to make one back away from the text with the beginnings of a headache after the first paragraph. (I've been reading Virginia Woolf for a class this week, can you tell?)

In other words, great job!

Bravo! posted by Daniel_J._Bishop posted on 11/15/00 1:20:03 PM

Good story. Very impressed. Good use of language. Nice sustained mood. Liked soldier. Liked waitress. Need new sunglasses. Thanks for writing it.

Terrific Story posted by barry posted on 11/14/00 2:31:04 PM

I really liked this one. The speech style at first kind of threw me until I caught on that this wasn't a normal guy, and after that it worked well. A fun read, a good twist at the end. And, ya know, probably not that far away that we'll see people like this.

Rave Review posted by roach posted on 12/4/00 3:29:55 PM

Congratulations to Derek Paterson and his story "Adjustments."
Christopher Cobb of Strange Horizons reviewed Jackhammer E-zine and wrote " . . . you'll be surprised at the way the protagonist's strange mentality opens a window onto a quite different sort of tale . . ." Head on over to read what else he had to say about Derek's story and other e-zines.

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