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Thread: "Bill F.1" (plus new here!)

  1. #1

    "Bill F.1" (plus new here!)

    Hi, all! I stumbled on this forum in my Internet travels and was REALLY intrigued. I saw this section in particular and wanted to throw one of my pieces (still in first draft stage) and see what people thought. So, here it is! I'd really appreciate you giving it a look--I'm always looking to improve in my craft.


    "Bill F.1"

    The Democratic Senator Archie Wade of New York sat with what was left of the Senators of the 130th United States Congress. Fear and confusion permeated throughout the Senate Chamber as debate on their grim piece of business dragged on like some dying animal. Currently, his Republican counterpart, Senator Radcliff, was preparing to speak, or rather shout. Even the microphone she was using barely drowned out the cacophonous roar of protestors in, and around the Capitol building.

    Radcliff paused, at first shaken by the rather intimidating shouts. But, with a breath, she began, recognizing the President of the Senate: “Thank you, Mr. President. Now, I was born, as was our other New York senator, Senator Wade, in New York City. And, I’m sure most, if not all of you, have visited the City. Now, can you not tell me that that city is, for lack of a better word, glorious? Can you look me in the eye, and tell me with a straight face, that it is not a testament to what we as Americans can do?”

    Wade, as well as Senator Clark, a Republican from Virginia, rolled their eyes and gave each other a look, as if to say, Here she goes again.

    Not noticing, Radcliff continued. “So, I propose a simple question: would you trade away, no, surrender, the crown jewel of this…once great nation, with other spectacular jewels as well: Boston, Philadelphia and our own Washington D.C.? I mean, these 13 states that are left especially signify what the…” Her voice trailed off, but then continued uncertainly. “United States of America truly is, and who Americans truly are. And I dare any of you to rightly justify in your mind our county’s government abandoning its people. Thank you.” And with that, the shaking woman hurried back to her seat.

    Wade had to admit that Radcliff raised a good point about a government and its relationship with its people. Why should an institution meant to stand for the people it governs, simply give up?

    “Erm…thank you, Senator Radcliff,” said Vice President Greene, also the President of the Senate. As I’m sure most of you know, the Senate, which I am voting in now due to the…shortage of senators…passed a motion for cloture almost 30 hours ago. This means that we will only have time for one more speaker before the final roll call on this bill. Would anyone care to take the floor?”

    Wade did not want to speak. He was about as on-the-fence about the subject as anyone could be. Thankfully, the Republican Senator Tanner wasn’t as in a gray area as Wade was. He raised his hand and, with a nod from the Vice President, walked to the podium without hesitation. He took a pause, gathering his thoughts, and spoke: “Now, we have been in debate on this subject for at least a week. Nearly every senator has been up here to speak on the subject,” Tanner said, looking directly at Senator Wade. “And, I’ve noticed an alarming trend among our senators. There seems to be, even in such a dire situation as ours, a party divide has occurred. Some of our Republicans have been suggesting that the Democrats are betraying our constituents, and vice versa. But I’d like to speak as at least one senator who disagrees with my party’s supposed stance.

    “Senator Radcliff, and some other senators here, will have you believe that by selling off and dissolving what remains of the United States, you are abandoning our country and principles. But what they seem to forget is the cost of holding our ground. I’m sure you all remember what happened when the Pan-Asian Union first invaded Washington state. I’ll remind you. Governor Ricardo Johnson refused to surrender the state to the Union. And you know what they did? They took it anyway, killing anyone in their way, and when they captured the capitol, they took Johnson out in front of the building, threw him to his knees, and shot him in the head like a dog. Or, or in Wisconsin, when Senator Reddler was led up the stairs to a scaffold with ten other citizens and hanged publicly. Or in Florida, where Governor Preece was lashed on a cross and crucified due to his lack of surrender.

    “And I can keep going with nearly every major political figure in what’s no longer America, with each execution worse than the last. And if we don’t give over our land to the Pan-Asian Union peacefully, and finally settle out massive debt to them, then we would be abandoning Americans, and ourselves, condemning us all to death. All the arrangements are made. The President of the United States will support whatever we decide, and the Union has already agreed legally to change control of the territory with as few casualties as possible. So, it’s up to us to do what’s right. Thank you.”

    Exasperated, Tanner shuffled back to his seat. Wade was fairly stunned by this speech, but, as always, was still indecisive. Radcliff and Tanner both made great arguments. Logically, Tanner made sense. But, thought Wade, we’re still abandoning the country we’re representing. But then again…

    Wade continued to ponder to himself how he would vote as VP Greene called role for the final vote. “Bill F.1, short title, ‘A Resolution to surrender the United States of America to the Pan-Asian Union. Roll call will begin now:

    “Adams.”

    “Nay.”

    “Andrews.”

    “Nay.”

    “Barry.”

    “Nay.”

    “Bond.”

    “Ay.”

    “Carson.”

    “Nay.”

    “Christianson.”

    “Ay.”

    “Clark.”

    “Ay.”

    “Dennis.”

    “Nay.”

    “Fields.”

    “Nay.”

    “Frederickson.”

    “Ay.”

    “Garth.”

    “Ay.”

    “Geoffries.”

    “Nay.”

    “Greene. Ay. Jackson.”

    “Nay.”

    “Jefferson.”

    “Nay.”

    “Jones.”

    “Nay.”

    “Kendricks.”

    “Ay.”

    “Luke.”

    “Ay.”

    “Matthews.”

    “Ay.”

    “Parks.”

    “Nay.”

    “Radcliff.”

    “Nay.”

    “Rodriguez.”

    “Ay.”

    “Stephens.”

    “Nay.”

    “Tanner.”

    “Ay.”

    “Vang.”

    “Ay.”

    “Vera.”

    “Ay.”

    Oh s#!7, Wade thought.

    “Wade.”

    13 and 13. I'm the tie-breaker. Of course. When they look back in the history books, I'll be the one who gets blamed if things go sour.

    “Wade?”

    Well. It's now or never.


    Wade leaned forward and voted.

  2. #2
    Welcome, and well done for posting your first piece on here.

    Having read it there's no doubt at all that you can write well enough. And you have mastered punctuation and spelling which is more than some posters manage!

    But of course, there's a but. . .

    After reading this I was left thinking 'So what?'
    It's a fictional account of a Senate vote on whether or not the remaining states of a diminished USA should become part of some pan-Asian union. The poll is a dead heat so the New York representative gets to cast the deciding vote - and we're never told which way he votes.

    Ok, that's not the problem. Many short stories begin part of the way into the 'plot' and finish before most of the 'plot' is resolved. But I have to say I found this rather meagre fare.

    You spend a long time teasing the reader - not identifying what this monumental vote is about. The fact that not all senators are present seemed to be significant but again you kept us waiting - and when the denouement became clear it didn't exactly blow me away.

    Trusting the reader to fill in the blanks by using their own imagination is all well and good but you don't give us any clues to work with before letting the cat out of the bag so we're not engaging with the plot on any level. I was expecting something much more intriguing.

    As far as the writing style is concerned - it was mostly dry and lacking in drama or wit. A lot of it was overloaded with long-winded dialogue and far too many name checks. Political speeches and party rhetoric is in my opinion the dullest of the dull, so your decision to record both at such length killed the story stone dead for me. Other bits were just tedious : the casting of the vote - 52 single-word lines of dialogue. Really!

    If I had picked this up off the shelf in a book store and skimmed the first page I would have replaced it without a singe qualm, I'm afraid. It's such hard going, right from your opening paragraph.

    The Democratic Senator Archie Wade of New York sat with what was left of the Senators of the 130th United States Congress. The first thing I assumed was that the rest of them had been abducted by aliens perhaps - no such luck. Fear and confusion permeated throughout the Senate Chamber How do we know this? It's not enough to tell us. You have to somehow show us. Also, 'fear and confusion' seems rather melodramatic for what follows as debate on their grim piece of business dragged on like some dying animal not the best of similes. Currently, his Republican counterpart, Senator Radcliff, was preparing to speak, or rather shout. Even the microphone she was using barely drowned out the cacophonous roar of protestors in, and around the Capitol building.

    The first paragraph is meant to hook the reader - grab our attentions so we're desperate to learn more. Your opening doesn't do this unfortunately. And the next 6 paragraphs merely make matters worse. I eventually figured that there were only 13 states left who hadn't sold out to the pan-Asian marketing monopoly or whatever. An echo of the first 13 states of the union presumably. But that's hardly enough to keep the plot afloat - and I'm afraid you manage to make something fundamentally unexciting appear even less so.

    There might well be a market in the States for this kind of 'political' satire (?) but I'm afraid it left me cold.

    H

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