The fruit machine

20 02 2007

The old men at the bar turn to watch as she stretches up on tiptoes to feed the fruit machine. She looks like a busty goldilocks and they can’t help but notice the top of her thong as it pops up momentarily at the top of her jeans.

The game lights up and she begins her ritual. Pressing buttons, she focuses intently on the spinning chambers. The lights and music begin their merry dance. She starts to tap her feet along impatiently.

‘Come on baby’ she coos, ‘come on.’

Instead the machine lets out an apologetic sigh and her shoulders fall. She stretches up again to encourage it with more coins.

‘This time…that’s it now…’ she wills it like a lover.

The buttons are slammed harder now. She bounces in frustration.

‘That’s it’ she whispers, ‘that’s it…’

Her poor boyfriend waits for her at the door.

‘We’re going to be late for the party’ he says.

She appears not to hear him. He has plans to ask her to marry him but she does not know this yet.

Harder she thumps on the blinking red buttons. The lights start to climb higher and higher. The beeping reaches a crescendo until finally she throws back her hair.

Cachink-cachink-cachink.

The machine spits out its appreciation.

Clutching at her handfuls of gold she turns and he sees her broad smile. He mistakes this smile as his and together they walk out into the night.

The old men at the bar turn their attentions back to their pints.

(250 words)

This is for an exercise set in our online tutorial. We were given a couple of prompts to choose from. The story came from notes I made after watching a woman playing on one of these machines just a few days ago. I invented the boyfriend as I wanted to show just how intently she was focussing; she doesn’t even notice the man who loves her.

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9 responses

22 02 2007
Anita Marie

I thought maybe her boyfriend would get jealous of the machine 🙂

– this made me think of the love affair that a large part of the human race are having with their cell phones nowdays.

All in all, this was a very thought provoking piece

22 02 2007
puddlejumper

Thanks Anita, that’s exactly what I was trying to convey. We can see that probably he should be jealous but he’s blinded by love, and with them getting married we (I hope) can imagine that the marriage might not last.

22 02 2007
bipolarworks

Great stuff puddlejumper. You are definitely improving. This one has me hooked wanting more. Keep it up.
K

24 02 2007
Queen Minx

Loved it babe … cachink cachink … great stuff … very provacative too .. thongs popping up, bouncing blondes .. machines spitting … lots of subtlety and great imagery ….

you are waaaaay better at that stuff than I will ever be!

xx

25 02 2007
feartheseeds

One of the toughest things in writing is to use as few words as possible to make the reader care enough about the story to want more words. I think, for 250 words, you may have one observer too many. You have the men watching her thong, her boyfriend watching her and she’s watching the machine… and the machine seems to care about her as well (“Instead the machine lets out an apologetic sigh…”)

The time frame also seems a little fast. The story opens with her plunking coins into the machine (“The game lights up and she begins her ritual.”), but she seems to be there for just a few minutes before she wins a chunk of change then out she goes with the dude.

With so little time to introduce her and her addiction I’d turn some of the description of how she was playing the game into a straight description of her. The marriage thing also seems like one element too many. You definitely want someone in the story who can show just how far gone she is, and a kid would be too cheesy, so the fiance/boyfriend is important, but just showing that he’s willing to wait an ungodly amount of time for her might be enough without getting into his life…

“The old men at the bar turn to watch as she stretches up on tiptoes to feed the fruit machine. She looks like a busty goldilocks and they can’t help but notice the top of her thong as it pops up momentarily at the top of her jeans.
The game lights up and she begins her ritual. Pressing buttons, she focuses intently on the spinning chambers. The lights and music begin their merry dance. She starts to tap her feet along impatiently.
‘Come on baby’ she coos, ‘come on.’”

[ Like a broken Goldilocks the men at the bar had watched until she’d found the fruit machine that was right for her. Two hours later her boyfriend looked on enviously from beside her, holding a luke-warm beer as she stroked the machine like a lover who couldn’t give her enough. He could see her full red lips moving slowly.
“That’s it,” she moaned as she leaned forward on her high stool. The old men’s chatter faded to nothing as he watched her legs close gently around the machine and her bright pink hard-bitten fingernails slowly trace the glowing buttons. “Just a little more.” ]

I’m guessing that a “fruit machine” is what we call a “video lottery terminal”… kind of like a digital slot machine? I’ve watched people put paychecks into those things, they’re evil little bastards.

25 02 2007
J

Thanks for the input. You may have a point about the time-frame.

Not sure if a fruit machine is a video lottery terminal though. Maybe? Its a digital version of what we used to know as “one armed bandits” you have three chambers that spin and you need to match three cherries or whatever. Most pubs over here don’t have stools in front of them, it would be normal to stand.

You’re version is okay but for me, you lay on the sexuality a bit thick. (maybe its a guy/girl thing?)

You’re right though. Trying to create something meaningful with so few words is really difficult.

Thanks again. I appreciate this kind of constructive criticism. I figure it’s the best way of getting better.

25 02 2007
feartheseeds

I was kind of thinking that she was putting her addiction before her Man, and he knew it but was willing to put up with it… the wukka wukka music and the unicorn were in the next paragraph. VLT’s are little desktop devices with a video screen and a series of buttons that light up… they usually have five or six different games on them including Strip Poker (the woman onscreen strips, not you) and Slots. They’re mostly illegal here now but most restaurants (re: diners) around here still have them.

26 02 2007
Queen Minx

I kinda liked all the observers … in a pub such as the one that sprang into my mind … a busty blonde on a fruit machine would pretty much have most male attention … all eyes on the blonde’s thong!

But for 250 words … I thought you shoved a lot in there Puddle and I know it was just one of those bloody here’s a first liner go write something … so in that sense I think it worked very well …

I know what FTS is saying though … so maybe try the ‘less is more’ thing next time???!! Maybe just as a try-out for yourself, to see which styles/techniques you prefer??!

I always have to write ‘less is more’ because I am crap at ‘details’ … you know … the sky is blue and that’s that!

wink!

xx

26 02 2007
cindra

Right on. This is good stuff. I like to see your process. It inspires me, as I feel so sucky about my writing lately…hope you come play the word game again this week! Keep up the tasty treasures. You are a natural.

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