First Page Challenge, 2nd place winner: "Good Gravity"

Good Gravity, by Brian Lott (2nd place winner of the First Page Challenge 2020 by Darling Axe Editing)


By Brian Lott


Let There Be Air Conditioning, or Goliath as a Boy

An American car, hopefully fast, was his way out of scrubby nothing Georgia—Creighton’s escape from home, God, all of it. The 10-year-old came this close to hotwiring a blue Buick Skylark one Sunday after church in 1969.

“Ho, dangit!” Papa’s shout clattered, Creighton’s clumsy scramble from under the dash. In a scuff of gravel the kid bolted around the car’s trunk for the towering pines as Papa snagged him by a sleeve, jerking the hot day quiet except for the bugs’ drone in the trees. Creighton, slight and blond, getting taller, hung his head. Sighed.

You had to show shame. Papa, breaths heaving, slapped dust from his coat while his other hand clutched his son’s arm like the boy dangled half-off a cliff.

Slim with a bum leg, Papa had crease-hollowed cheeks, dark hair slicked back. Today he wore a brown suit and hat, black tie, cuff links. Slapping his pants. The sun carved pine needles and the cars left in the parking lot with a tapestry of midday shadow. The boy winced as Papa’s stinging grip yanked him back toward church.

Creighton knew how to start a car. If only he’d had time to prove it! Now they
would emerge. To hurt him. He had to focus on something, anything, the slightest ironies.

“Li’l bastard,” Papa snarled low, short of breath. “Y’know that?”


Brian Lott, author of Good Gravity, 2nd place winner of the 2020 First Page Challenge by Darling Axe Editing

Brian Lott is from Houston, Texas and now lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and daughter. As a writer, he’s published a few scattered works of short fiction in Creative Loafing and F(r)iction over the last 20 years. In that same time, he’s produced a massive amount of corporate copy, too much to take stock of, for companies like the now-defunct Home Shopping Network. He’s having a so-so day—thanks for asking.   

About the Darling Axe

We are professional editors as well as award-winning writers. We understand the intense effort and emotional investment you have poured into your work. It's our job to help you take your manuscript to the next level.

Work with a professional fiction editor from the Darling Axe: manuscript development and book editing services

Darling Axe Academy – Query Quest: a self-paced querying course

Darling Axe Academy – Best-laid plans: a self-paced outlining course

Book a sample edit with a professional fiction editor from the Darling Axe: manuscript development and book editing services

Related Posts

Building a Fictional World: A Novelist's Guide
Building a Fictional World: A Novelist's Guide
Repeat this to yourself: the world is merely the backdrop. It is not the story. It will want to be the story. It will tr
Read More
Is Save the Cat! for lazy novelists?
Is Save the Cat! for lazy novelists?
You’ll never be able to create an engaging plot with deeply nuanced and compelling characters simply by using a formula.
Read More
Reading Deliberately
Reading Deliberately
Whenever I’m editing someone else’s work, I always read it more than once and am astonished by what I missed the first t
Read More

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published