My Writers Circle

Workshop => Review My Work => Topic started by: herron on November 09, 2010, 04:19:43 PM

Title: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 09, 2010, 04:19:43 PM
    It was late August in 1962 when I first saw Albert Parker. After all this time, I still remember the year quite distinctly. It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition, and I had been waiting months for something special to happen, something magical. Something like having Marilyn Monroe show up on my doorstep. In my dreams she would ask me, in her breathless whisper, to take her. At the time, I wasn’t even sure what that meant. Hell, it didn’t matter. Just having her show up would have been enough, as long as the rest of the gang saw her. Of course, Marilyn never came to 722 Reichold Street in Brickdale. Albert did.


Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: A.W.M on November 09, 2010, 04:29:41 PM
Sounds interesting, please continue. ::)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 09, 2010, 04:37:19 PM
And then... ??? [don't tell me - 2nd paragraph  ;)]
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 09, 2010, 04:42:43 PM
Hello

I think this is the first time I seen your writing. Nicely done on the opening para.

what I have to suggest can be just thrown away.

Myself I don't like messing with people's comma placement, but sometimes I find that one puts a pause where it feels it shouldn't

ie

After all this time I still remember the year. - just to keep the flow of connection between 'time' and 'still remember' the 'quite distinctly' i'm on the fence about, i think its strong enough that you remember and are willing to tell the reader. but that's just my thought.

'in my dreams she would ask me.' - the reason i think you should consider removing this 'dream' mention, is to keep it on the memory. Start right away with Marilyn's breathless whisper, so its a true special thing, even though I know it didn't happen, it brings her that much closer to the mc. so ie

She would ask me in her breathless whisper.....-  again the comma I am not on about, you want to keep the 'ask' and the 'whisper' together, not in separate moments.

I liked this, well written, smoothly voiced.

thanks for the read
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: twisted wheel on November 09, 2010, 04:48:36 PM
i liked it too - it felt natural. i won't crit here because i want to read more, but you've hooked me into knowing who albert is ...
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on November 09, 2010, 04:51:42 PM
If this is the opening to a larger piece Herron, it's great. Actually, I like it no matter where it sits.

Good hook to make me want more.  :D
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: WildCityWoman on November 09, 2010, 06:36:10 PM
Hi, Ron - I'm Carly - a writer from  Toronto, Canada. Don't know if you've seen me online or not - I usually work under the user name of Wild City Woman or Wise Woman.

I visited your website; linked from your profile - you've a heart like me own, Laddie - photography, gardening . . . have a look at my forums (no longer writing forums), gardening, snappers, travel, books n' movies and just plain ole discussion.

Feel free to show your photos there, of course.

http://wildcity.proboards.com/index.cgi?

Anyway - about this paragraph of yours . . .

You'll see my suggestions in blue . . .  

It was late August, '62,   in 1962 when I first saw Albert Parker. After all this time, I still remember the year quite distinctly. It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition, and I had been waiting months for something special to happen, something magical. Something like having Marilyn Monroe show up on my doorstep. In my dreams she would ask me, in (her) breathless whisper, to take her. At the time, I wasn’t even sure what that meant. Hell, it didn’t matter. Just having her show up would have been enough, as long as the rest of the gang saw her. Of course, Marilyn never came to 722 Reichold Street in Brickdale. Albert did.

Hope that helps you out. I'll poke a little something of my own in.

***********************************
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Emeraude on November 09, 2010, 07:57:41 PM
Hey,

Good opener, certainly leaves the reader with more questions than answers about 'Albert' (something personally I like as a reader) so it's really making me what to know more about him and about where the narrative will go.

I'm looking forward to reading more =)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 09, 2010, 08:15:50 PM
Thanks, everyone.

I appreciate the feedback. Yes, it's the opening of short story that I'm working on. As soon as I get a second paragraph that I feel I can stop editing, I'll post a follow-up.  ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Strawberry on November 10, 2010, 07:29:58 PM
  I like it.  The voice/flow seems smooth and natural.  I thought the part about him imagining Marilyn Monroe saying 'take me' and not knowing what it meant was funny.  If the rest of the story was there, I'd read it based off of this paragraph.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 11, 2010, 05:48:25 PM
Thanks.

I'm visiting my grandkids right now, and will post more when I get back.

FYI - tentative title of this one is simply "Albert."
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: gooper on November 11, 2010, 07:49:44 PM
I like it.

One thing: Do you really need "After all this time"?
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Maimi on November 11, 2010, 08:44:27 PM
Hello Herron,

I like the way you left Albert hanging out there for us. Nice one. ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 20, 2010, 01:24:10 PM
Got home late last night (early this morning, actually). Almost unpacked. Have more paragraphs ready. Need coffee....  :P 8)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 20, 2010, 10:40:38 PM
OK.  Paragraphs 1-3:

     It was late August in 1962 when I first saw Albert Parker. After all this time, I still remember the year quite distinctly. It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition, and I had been waiting months for something special to happen, something magical. Something like having Marilyn Monroe show up on my doorstep. In my dreams she would ask me in her breathless whisper to take her. At the time, I wasn’t even sure what that meant. Hell, it didn’t matter. Just having her show up would have been enough, as long as the rest of the gang saw her. Of course, Marilyn never came to 722 Reichold Street in Brickdale. Albert did.

     It was a humid, hurt-your-lungs-on-a-deep-breath morning. A blistering sun was rising over the railroad switching yard at the far end of the street. Its orange glare filtered through exhausted-looking trees. Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes like so many slumbering beasts.

     I was already sitting on the curb under the big oak, trying to find relief in occasional humid puffs of air, when a battered gray panel truck pulled up. A tortuous squeal signaled its stop across the street. An angular middle-aged man unwound from the driver’s seat. Sunlight lit the edges of his short brown curls that were rapidly turning gray, and gleamed brightly from his balding crown.


Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: ArteEtLabore14 on November 21, 2010, 02:28:30 AM
OK.  Paragraphs 1-3:

     It was late August in 1962 when I first saw Albert Parker. After all this time, I still remember the year quite distinctly. It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition, and I had been waiting months for something special to happen, something magical. Something like having Marilyn Monroe show up on my doorstep. In my dreams she would ask me in her breathless whisper to take her. At the time, I wasn’t even sure what that meant. Hell, it didn’t matter. Just having her show up would have been enough, as long as the rest of the gang saw her. Of course, Marilyn never came to 722 Reichold Street in Brickdale. Albert did.

     It was a humid, hurt-your-lungs-on-a-deep-breath morning. A blistering sun was rising over the railroad switching yard at the far end of the street. Its orange glare filtered through exhausted-looking trees. Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes like so many slumbering beasts.

     I was already sitting on the curb under the big oak, trying to find relief in occasional humid puffs of air, when a battered gray panel truck pulled up. A tortuous squeal signaled its stop across the street. An angular middle-aged man unwound from the driver’s seat. Sunlight lit the edges of his short brown curls that were rapidly turning gray, and gleamed brightly from his balding crown.
Herron -

I just read the first paragraph, and then this updated version with paragraphs 1-3. I like it.

Your writing is very visually expressive and the few qualms I have with it are mostly minor.

1) Something feels off about about the first few sentences. I can't quite put my finger on it but I definitely think that section could be improved. "After all this time... to take her." Again, I'm not sure what it is but something there is striking me as not quite right. The end of that paragraph is, in my opinion, the best part of the whole thing.

2) Others have pointed it out already, and it's partially a personal preference thing, but there seem to be a lot of commas. They bog down the story a little bit and I think if you reworked some of those sentences to get rid of some of the commas it would read smoother.

3) Just some editing things, and again probably preference.
- Change first sentence to, "It was late August, 1962, when I first saw Albert Parker."
- 3rd paragraph. "An angular middle aged man unwound himself from the driver's seat."
(Italics denote suggestions)
- The last sentence of the 3rd paragraph with the description of the man's hair doesn't make sense to me. I'm struggling to picture it in my head. I think it's the curls and the balding crown that are giving me trouble. It's probably just me, but you might want to rework that as well.

None of the things I suggested are absolutely imperative, but all the same you might want to have a look. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more of this short story.

- AEL14
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: A.J.B on November 21, 2010, 11:37:56 AM
Quote
After all this time, I still remember the year quite distinctly.

I would remove the comma as there isn't need for a pause.

Quote
An angular middle-aged man unwound from the driver’s seat.

I, personally, wouldn't use 'unwound' as it makes him sound like he was tangled about it. Descended from, got out of, perhaps?

So far it looks good. I found very little, as stated above, that needs tweaking or looking at in any way. It reads well and the description is very good.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 21, 2010, 11:53:58 AM
Hi Sweets - I also found the sunlight/hair sentence hard to picture. Possibly giving the focus from the balding crown first then drawing the eye down to the hair tips might make an easier read? JMO

Sunlight lit the edges of his short brown curls that were rapidly turning gray, and gleamed brightly from his balding crown. [put this part immediately after 'Sunlight' and then continue as is.

Thanks  :-* :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 21, 2010, 03:33:00 PM
Hi Sweets - I also found the sunlight/hair sentence hard to picture. Possibly giving the focus from the balding crown first then drawing the eye down to the hair tips might make an easier read? JMO

Sunlight lit the edges of his short brown curls that were rapidly turning gray, and gleamed brightly from his balding crown. [put this part immediately after 'Sunlight' and then continue as is.

Thanks  :-* :-*

Thanks.  I agree about the hair section. I've read it aloud to myself a few times now, and find it awkward.  I'll work on it some more.  Was at it until 3:30 am and actually finished the story.  Needs some tweaking (anything I write at 3:30 am needs tweaking  ::)).

 :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 21, 2010, 04:07:11 PM
And that tweak will take you only seconds to do!

More please [okay, that might take a little longer]. :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 21, 2010, 06:57:54 PM
5800 words worth of tweaking.  ::) ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 21, 2010, 07:00:49 PM
You say that like it's a hard thing to do. Get on with it you damned gifted wordsmith!
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 21, 2010, 07:02:08 PM
You're too cute to say "no" to.   ;) :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 21, 2010, 07:03:23 PM
Good - get yourself motivated - no...not that way - that's a distraction - that can be a treat as a reward for work well done. ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 21, 2010, 07:04:23 PM
I'm hoping you think it's worth the wait.   ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 21, 2010, 07:05:05 PM
I only ask for good stuff - standards! Standards! :D
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 21, 2010, 07:06:10 PM
I'll try not to disappoint.   :D ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 21, 2010, 07:07:08 PM
You'd better not, I trust you are a man of your word/s.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 21, 2010, 08:24:32 PM
I think I might start a new thread for the whole thing.  Will call it "Albert."  (what else?)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 21, 2010, 09:04:20 PM
I think I might start a new thread for the whole thing.  Will call it "Albert."  (what else?)

Or maybe not.  At 6,000 words it's a bit too long to put down complete.  ::)

I'll post a couple more paragraphs tomorrow.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 22, 2010, 10:12:29 PM
Several paragraphs now ... I may have to do it in pieces.  It's just as well. Comments will help and I need them to come slowly.   ::) ;)


ALBERT

    It was late August, 1962, when I first saw Albert Parker. After all this time I still remember the year quite distinctly. It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition, and I had been waiting months for something special to happen, something magical. Something like having Marilyn Monroe show up on my doorstep. In my dreams she would ask me in her breathless whisper to take her. At the time, I wasn’t even sure what that meant. Hell, it didn’t matter. Just having her show up would have been enough, as long as the rest of the gang saw her. Of course, Marilyn never came to 722 Reichold Street in Brickdale. Albert did.

     It was a humid, hurt-your-lungs-on-a-deep-breath morning. A blistering sun was rising over the railroad switching yard at the far end of the street. Its orange glare filtered through exhausted-looking trees. Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes like so many slumbering beasts.

     I was already sitting on the curb under the big oak, trying to find relief in occasional humid puffs of air, when a battered gray panel truck pulled up. A tortuous squeal signaled its stop across the street. An angular middle-aged man slowly unwound from the driver’s seat. The sun lit the edges of his hair, short tight curls that were already turning gray, and gleamed brightly from the center of his balding crown.

     He stood with his hands firmly on his hips and stared past the collection of dents and rust on his old Chevy toward the old Cantwell place. He didn’t acknowledge my presence. He just stood with sunglasses perched on top of his head, chewing a toothpick and staring at that old white clapboard house.

     The Cantwell Place. No one thought of that old house as anything else. Cecil Cantwell, the only son of one of Brickdale’s founders, had built it and lived in it with his wife for more than seventy years. People in town knew where it was and used it as a landmark. “Meet you by Cantwell’s!”  Everyone knew that meant the east end of Reichold Street.

     Cecil had died the previous fall, about the time leaves were turning. The maple in front of Mrs. Murphy’s house was already a beautiful golden color the day I heard about his passing. I never knew exactly why he died. He was ninety-five and I presumed he just wore out. His wife, who had been a frail old stick anyway, followed him a few days before Christmas. The house had been empty since. Someone regularly mowed the lawn but no one tended the flowers, or pulled weeds, or repainted the shutters from the old can of Leaf Green #502 on the shelf in the garage.

     Then the Toothpick Man showed up.

Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 22, 2010, 10:44:27 PM
... and it continues from there ....  8)



     I sat under the oak tree across the street and watched. My friends, Puz, The Twins and Sticks soon joined me. Nobody said very much. It was too hot.  “Wassup?”  Ken Pozanski’s question was slurred around a jelly doughnut. Puz was the fattest kid on the block, but he was also the strongest. He worked, unofficially of course, since he was underage, with his uncle at Barczak Cement. His job was lifting odd-lot orders of cinder block into the back of pickup trucks. His arms were more enormous and foreboding than his belly and he took no guff from the other kids.

     “Looks like it could be moving day,” I told him.

     “Cool!” The Twins said, together. Eleven months apart, Danny and Randy weren’t really twins. They didn’t even look alike. But it was uncanny how they always spoke in unison.

     “Neat-o!” Puz rasped, wiping jelly on his wrist. “Any babes?”

     “And just what would you do with babes?” sneered Billy Strate, the wiry blond kid everyone called Sticks.

     “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

     “Yeah, Puz,” smiled Sticks, “I would.”

     “Well, someday I’ll tell ya, Worm.”

     “Won’t hold my breath,” mocked Sticks.

     “Me either,” said both of The Twins.

     Puz was taking a step toward Sticks when a brown ’51 Hudson – the one that always looked to me like a giant metal bug – pulled up behind Toothpick Man. It rattled and spat dark smoke over the street as it finally shuddered to a stop. It seemed to wheeze, almost in relief, when the ignition was turned off.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 23, 2010, 06:52:06 AM
I really do like your style..casual and engaging - I feel as if I am being told the story and I can see the images very clearly...I don't know where any of these places are but I can imagine them now.

2nd paragraph posted
Hardly a thing irked me, perhaps this sentence sounded a little clumsy though:
His arms were more enormous and foreboding than his belly and he took no guff from the other kids.
Possibly it's the placement of it...maybe better after you mention that he was the strongest [two sentences earlier] and slightly rearrange those two.

Puz was the fattest kid on the block, but he was also the strongest. His arms were more enormous and foreboding than his belly and he took no guff from the other kids. He had a job, unofficially of course, since he was underage, lifting odd-lot orders of cinder block into the back of pickup trucks for his uncle at Barczak Cement. [That now sounds clumsy but I think the order of the ideas is better??????Something I'm sure you could fix, whatever way you approach it.]

Kids dialogue realistic - get a good idea of their characters already.

Thanks! :-* All JMO, disregard what doesn't suit/make sense.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 23, 2010, 11:11:07 AM
Needed to tie his strength-development, whatever, at that age, to the surreptitious job he held. However, I like the idea of the transposition.

Thanks.   :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: KenFP on November 23, 2010, 01:50:44 PM
Loved this! Definitely want to find out more about Albert! I was slightly confused whether this was written from a male point of view or a female as the fantasy was of Monroe but the subject compared was Albert. Then I realised you compared the summer, not the person, to Monroe. Maybe there is a way of avoiding this clash of ideas in the reader's mind?

You evoke an atmosphere beautifully though - can't wait for more!

Ken
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 23, 2010, 02:34:37 PM
Loved this! Definitely want to find out more about Albert! I was slightly confused whether this was written from a male point of view or a female as the fantasy was of Monroe but the subject compared was Albert. Then I realised you compared the summer, not the person, to Monroe. Maybe there is a way of avoiding this clash of ideas in the reader's mind?

You evoke an atmosphere beautifully though - can't wait for more!

Ken

Thanks.  Thought the reference to Marilyn and "the gang" established gender ... but it's something to think about.   :)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 23, 2010, 03:44:38 PM
... a little more ...

     Toothpick Man walked over to it. Strutted, really. He leaned into the Hudson’s open window, grabbed the woman driver by the back of her bleached-blonde head and kissed her. Then he opened the driver’s door. As she attempted to get out of the car he fondled her ample behind.  She jumped at his touch, her brow an angry furrow. “Cut it out, fool,” she spoke in quick, hushed tones and wagged her head in our general direction.  We all strained to hold our laughter.

     He looked toward the oak tree, apparently seeing the five of us for the first time. He made a loud clicking sound with his tongue, as if saying “shame on me,” and pulled his shades back down over his eyes. With slow, deliberate movements, he raised his right arm waist high, thrust his thumb into the air, pretended to pull a trigger and smiled at us. It must have been Toothpick Man’s way of saying hello.

     The woman shook her head in disgust and marched up onto the Cantwell porch, followed by two kids from the car. One a little boy; one a pretty girl I guessed was near our age. Getting out last was a boy, also about our age, with an unruly mane of auburn hair. He was solidly built with massive arms and a thick neck. By size alone he looked like a worthy opponent for Puz, only without the belly.

     His hair looked as if it had been sheared with a mower. He must have been asleep in the hot car as one side of it stood straight up in large cowlick, while the rest was plastered rather darkly to the side of his head. He looked like an angry clown.  He spotted us and fixed us with a glare. He stomped over, his gait almost a carbon copy of the Toothpick Man’s swagger.

     “What you sissies lookin’ at?” were the first words out of his mouth.

     I put out my hand. “Hi,” I said, “I’m Paul –“

     “Save it, asshole,” he interrupted. Surprised, Puz was suddenly coughing up moist little bits of doughnut. The angry clown-kid just looked at him.

     “My name,” the new kid said, “is Albert.” He looked at each one of us in turn. “Albert Parker.  Not Patton. Parker.  Patton’s my stepfather’s name, not mine.” His look seemed to be daring us to speak. “And it’s not Al,” he warned. “It’s Albert. Get it straight, asswipes.”

     “Whoa-a!” I stammered, withdrawing my hand. “Nice greeting. Who do you think you are, anyway?”

     His stare would have melted ice faster than the heat. ““Look,” he snapped, “I didn’t ask to be here, and I don’t answer no questions.” He looked at Puz, who was still coughing. “So don’t even think of asking.”  He practically spat the words at us, and when he took a step toward us we, as a group, all took a step back.

     “Besides, you all look like a buncha wuses to me.” He seemed to consider his statement for a moment. Perhaps he was really considering us. “Yeah,” he repeated. “Pansies and wuses.” He stuck out his chin and looked directly at Puz. “I don’t much like the looks of any of you.”

     I could see Puz bristle. No one in the neighborhood ever talked to the Puz that way. “You ain’t so hot your own self,” Puz said through clenched teeth.

     Stepping up to Puz and pushing his chest out, Albert said quietly, “I ain’t askin’ you to like me.  Just stay outta my way!”

     “That could be hard to do,” Puz said, more calmly than I’m sure he felt. The two of them locked eyes and neither one moved. I saw Puz clench his right fist. Albert did the same, but the sound of a screen door slapping interrupted.

     “Albert!” shouted the Toothpick Man. “Get over here!”

     “This ain’t over,” Albert said to Puz as he stomped away.

     “Bring it,” whispered Puz, looking angry but not sounding like his confident self at all.



Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Gatsby on November 23, 2010, 06:26:11 PM
I enjoyed this. Thanks for the read. I want to know more about Albert.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 23, 2010, 07:21:02 PM
Overall happy - a little niggle with 'she wagged her head in our direction' perhaps it's more of a US expression but for me trying to picture it once I got beyond thinking of fingers or tails wagging, it still didn't work for me - is it the same as tilting her head to the side and shaking it to indicate stop it?

One a little boy; one a pretty girl I guessed was near our age. [I don't think this is a complete sentence, probably needs to be attached to the earlier one with the action of getting out of the car]

As you have described Albert so beautifully I think the first thing the gang might notice is his hair leading him out of the car then the observation that he was also their age once he has fully appeared.????????

I know you have described Puz earlier and we know he is a big unit for his age but I think the 'only without the belly.' reference needs to go with Albert's physical description rather than as a tag on to being a worthy opponent of Puz ...or -- just lose the afterthought.

And he's called Toothpick Man because....always has a toothpick playing at his teeth, he's as skinny as hell, he has a pointy head and toes? We haven't seen that yet [I don't think so, anyway] - might be worth incorporating that somewhere in his actions.

Still engaging and coloured well.

Thanks! :-* :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 23, 2010, 07:57:49 PM
Overall happy - a little niggle with 'she wagged her head in our direction' perhaps it's more of a US expression but for me trying to picture it once I got beyond thinking of fingers or tails wagging, it still didn't work for me - is it the same as tilting her head to the side and shaking it to indicate stop it?

It seems to be well understood here.  It's really a movement of the head in one direction or another, in this case toward the group of boys watching. It's a flippant, transient kind of movement. Not sure what else would really describe it without getting into more description than I wanted. Will have to think about it.  

One a little boy; one a pretty girl I guessed was near our age. [I don't think this is a complete sentence, probably needs to be attached to the earlier one with the action of getting out of the car]

There was, at one time, more here ... a short description of the girl ... but I thought it didn't add anything to the story.  You will see, near the end of the story, that it's covered ... sort of.  Another one to think about.

As you have described Albert so beautifully I think the first thing the gang might notice is his hair leading him out of the car then the observation that he was also their age once he has fully appeared.????????

?? The only real description of any kind is of Albert.  

I know you have described Puz earlier and we know he is a big unit for his age but I think the 'only without the belly.' reference needs to go with Albert's physical description rather than as a tag on to being a worthy opponent of Puz ...or -- just lose the afterthought.

Hmmm ... interesting.  I saw it as a direct reference to Albert's description, rather than an afterthought.  May have to revisit that one, too.

And he's called Toothpick Man because....always has a toothpick playing at his teeth, he's as skinny as hell, he has a pointy head and toes? We haven't seen that yet [I don't think so, anyway] - might be worth incorporating that somewhere in his actions.

LOL!  Well, he is "... an angular middle-aged man ..." and he does have that toothpick he chews on.  I saw it as a kid's instant take on the persona.

Still engaging and coloured well.

Thanks! :-* :-*

Thanks. I really appreciate the feedback.  :-*

Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 23, 2010, 08:13:44 PM
As you have described Albert so beautifully I think the first thing the gang might notice is his hair leading him out of the car then the observation that he was also their age once he has fully appeared.HuhHuh??

?? The only real description of any kind is of Albert.

I probably didn't explain what I meant clearly - sorry - You list the children in the car:   
...followed by two kids from the car. One a little boy; one a pretty girl I guessed was near our age. Getting out last was a boy, also about our age, with an unruly mane of auburn hair.

I just thought the our age bits tumbled on top of each other and as the piece is about describing Albert that the first thing they would notice as he emerged would have been his head - you know the way you kind of lead out of a vehicle head first, then legs unfolding till you stand.

One a little boy; one a pretty girl I guessed was near our age. [I don't think this is a complete sentence, probably needs to be attached to the earlier one with the action of getting out of the car]

There was, at one time, more here ... a short description of the girl ... but I thought it didn't add anything to the story.  You will see, near the end of the story, that it's covered ... sort of.  Another one to think about.

What I meant was:
The woman shook her head in disgust and marched up onto the Cantwell porch, followed by two kids from the car; one a little boy and one a pretty girl I guessed was near our age.

Toothpick Man -I love, just the sort of name kids would give, just wondered what had caused them to give him the name and could we the readers see that?

Have I made more sense this time???????

 :-* :-* :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 24, 2010, 01:48:15 AM
Gotcha!  I'll work on it.  Thanks!   :-*

As to Toothpick Man ... How about a slight addition near the beginning:

     He stood with his hands firmly on his hips and stared past the collection of dents and rust on his old Chevy toward the old Cantwell place. He didn’t acknowledge my presence. He just stood with sunglasses perched on top of his head, chewing a toothpick and staring at that old white clapboard house. I smiled as I thought: Hello, Toothpick Man.


For the kid descriptions:

    The woman shook her head in disgust and marched up onto the Cantwell porch, followed by two kids. One a little boy, younger than us; one a pretty dark-haired girl I guessed was near our age. Getting out last was another boy. He had an unruly mane of auburn hair that looked as if it had been sheared with a mower. He must have been asleep in the hot car as one side of his hair stood straight up in large cowlick, while the rest was plastered rather darkly to the side of his head. He looked like an angry clown.

     He was also about our age, solidly built with massive arms and a thick neck. By size alone he looked like a worthy opponent for Puz, only without the belly. He spotted us, fixed us with a glare and stomped over, his gait almost a carbon copy of the Toothpick Man’s swagger.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 24, 2010, 12:54:17 PM
Yep - although you don't have to add in the 'thought'. Just by seeing his action you can guess that kids would jump to a nickname.

Reads much easier without the extra 'our age'... moving that to the description of Albert and the assessment of him compared to Puz is much better placed.

Excellent stuff! :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 24, 2010, 02:09:04 PM
Thanks, Love.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 24, 2010, 02:35:18 PM
Hello

take a lot at the number of 'his' and 'old' you have in the first part of this section

you wrote:

He stood with his hands firmly on his hips and stared past the collection of dents and rust on his old Chevy toward the old Cantwell place. He didn’t acknowledge my presence. He just stood with sunglasses perched on top of his head, chewing a toothpick and staring at that old white clapboard house. I smiled as I thought: Hello, Toothpick Man.

is there a way to thin them down.

Nice way to add to the character, I almost wanted to put his body shape in, like a toothpick, all lanky, just to type his new nick better.

You wrote:

The woman shook her head in disgust and marched up onto the Cantwell porch, followed by two kids. One a little boy, younger than us; one a pretty dark-haired girl I guessed was near our age. Getting out last was another boy. He had an unruly mane of auburn hair that looked as if it had been sheared with a mower. He must have been asleep in the hot car as one side of his hair stood straight up in large cowlick, while the rest was plastered rather darkly to the side of his head. He looked like an angry clown.

     He was also about our age, solidly built with massive arms and a thick neck. By size alone he looked like a worthy opponent for Puz, only without the belly. He spotted us, fixed us with a glare and stomped over, his gait almost a carbon copy of the Toothpick Man’s swagger.


I like the description. In a way wanted to see "He looked like an angry clown.' before his description. so I have a starting point that something strange is coming, but its a direction. The 'mane' I'm unsure of because of the sheared with a mower, I think the 'sheared' is a stronger image, where 'unruly' can hold the first image well enough with the colour.

The 'age' mention, all those comparisons was a bit much. is it important if only one was not their age enough to mention it at all? so don't overwrite.


But I like these two segments, interesting characters

Temp


Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Kendrick on November 24, 2010, 07:41:38 PM
Here are a few wordcraft observations, minor stuff:

“It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition”
 Any way to avoid using ‘first’ twice?

“Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes like so many slumbering beasts.”  
This sentence goes off the rails just a little.  It sounds as if the sinuous heat ribbons are like slumbering beasts.  And I’m not sure how heat waves define subtly.  

“I was already sitting”
Don’t see why ‘already’.  Is it early to be sitting there?  Same with “already turning gray”.  If he’s middle-aged, gray would seem normal.  (I understand there was some discussion of the hair already).   Also, “The maple…was already a beautiful golden color…”  You said the leaves were turning, so it seems normal that the leaves were golden.  Could just cut that ‘already’.  

“He worked, unofficially of course, since he was underage, with his uncle at Barczak Cement.”
Bothers me a little to have the ‘of course’ before the reason for the ‘of course’.   This might be better as two sentences.  

Aside from those details (probably already mentioned by others): I do want to know what the deal is with Albert.  You have me wondering.  Hope you’ll post more.  That makes this successful writing
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 24, 2010, 08:38:54 PM
Hello

take a lot at the number of 'his' and 'old' you have in the first part of this section

you wrote:

He stood with his hands firmly on his hips and stared past the collection of dents and rust on his old Chevy toward the old Cantwell place. He didn’t acknowledge my presence. He just stood with sunglasses perched on top of his head, chewing a toothpick and staring at that old white clapboard house. I smiled as I thought: Hello, Toothpick Man.

GOOD POINT   ;)

is there a way to thin them down.

MAYBE   ::)

Nice way to add to the character, I almost wanted to put his body shape in, like a toothpick, all lanky, just to type his new nick better.

You wrote:

The woman shook her head in disgust and marched up onto the Cantwell porch, followed by two kids. One a little boy, younger than us; one a pretty dark-haired girl I guessed was near our age. Getting out last was another boy. He had an unruly mane of auburn hair that looked as if it had been sheared with a mower. He must have been asleep in the hot car as one side of his hair stood straight up in large cowlick, while the rest was plastered rather darkly to the side of his head. He looked like an angry clown.

     He was also about our age, solidly built with massive arms and a thick neck. By size alone he looked like a worthy opponent for Puz, only without the belly. He spotted us, fixed us with a glare and stomped over, his gait almost a carbon copy of the Toothpick Man’s swagger.


I like the description. In a way wanted to see "He looked like an angry clown.' before his description. so I have a starting point that something strange is coming, but its a direction. The 'mane' I'm unsure of because of the sheared with a mower, I think the 'sheared' is a stronger image, where 'unruly' can hold the first image well enough with the colour.

The 'age' mention, all those comparisons was a bit much. is it important if only one was not their age enough to mention it at all? so don't overwrite.

ANOTHER GOOD POINT. ONLY ONE OTHER OF THE "KIDS" IN THE CAR IS MENTIONED AGAIN (EXCEPT ABERT, OF COURSE). WILL HAVE TO COGITATE ON THIS ONE A WHILE.  8) 


But I like these two segments, interesting characters  THANKS :)

Temp
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 24, 2010, 08:51:47 PM
Here are a few wordcraft observations, minor stuff:

“It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition”
 Any way to avoid using ‘first’ twice?

I THINK IT COULD BE AVOIDED, BUT I WAS LOOKING FOR A QUICK STATEMENT, WITHOUT MUCH EMBELLISHMENT HERE.  SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT.  :-\ 

“It was my first teenage summer, one of life’s great transitions.” ??


“Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes like so many slumbering beasts.”  
This sentence goes off the rails just a little.  It sounds as if the sinuous heat ribbons are like slumbering beasts.  And I’m not sure how heat waves define subtly.  

HOW ABOUT...
“Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes AS IF THEY WERE SO many slumbering beasts.” 

(AND I TAKE IT YOU'VE NEVER SEEN HEAT RIBBONS OVER FREIGHT CARS)
  ::) :D

“I was already sitting”
Don’t see why ‘already’.  Is it early to be sitting there?  YES ... MEANT TO IMPLY EARLY AM...OBVIOUSLY NOT STRONGLY ENOUGH  :-\  Same with “already turning gray”.  If he’s middle-aged, gray would seem normal.  ?MAYBE  ??? (I understand there was some discussion of the hair already).   Also, “The maple…was already a beautiful golden color…”  You said the leaves were turning, so it seems normal that the leaves were golden.  Could just cut that ‘already’.  YES. GOOD EYE (OR IS THAT EAR?)   ;D

“He worked, unofficially of course, since he was underage, with his uncle at Barczak Cement.”
Bothers me a little to have the ‘of course’ before the reason for the ‘of course’.   This might be better as two sentences.  

YOU MEAN LIKE -- "HE WORKED WITH HIS UNCLE AT BARCZAK CEMENT. UNOFFICIALLY, OF COURSE, SINCE HE WAS UNDERAGE."
Aside from those details (probably already mentioned by others): I do want to know what the deal is with Albert.  You have me wondering.  Hope you’ll post more.  That makes this successful writing

Glad you're wondering.  ;)  Thanks.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 24, 2010, 09:11:21 PM
HI - it's great to have fresh eyes look over a piece and it is interesting to see how others see things.

Just like to say I disagree with some of Kendrick's comments..because:

I think the repetition of 'first' in this case is important - to the tone of the piece, the narrator's voice and to how much this 'first' means to a teenager. [Would have thought any reader would have picked that up...and I'm not normally a fan of repetition unless it's relevant or for deliberate effect]

No trouble with the sinuous heat ribbons - they can only define things subtly because they're hazy and the comma makes it clear it's the rusty cars that are the slumbering beasts.

JMO - as usual :) :) :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: KenFP on November 24, 2010, 11:46:46 PM
“It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition”
 Any way to avoid using ‘first’ twice?

I see your point Herron. Why not

"It was my first teenage summer and my life's first great transition"

which is just two words more but now makes the word 'first' important and connected to both phrases rather than just redundant repetition which I think is Kendrick's point.

:)

Ken
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 25, 2010, 10:17:17 AM
“It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition”
 Any way to avoid using ‘first’ twice?

I see your point Herron. Why not

"It was my first teenage summer and my life's first great transition"

which is just two words more but now makes the word 'first' important and connected to both phrases rather than just redundant repetition which I think is Kendrick's point.

:)

Ken

I appreciate the critique but still think, on this point anyway, that it stands as it was.  The whole point of it was to illustrate, as 510bhan points out, how important that time was to a "new" teenager. I'll still consider the options, but like it best (so far) in its original form.

Thanks for the read.  ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 25, 2010, 10:23:08 AM
lol now you all have me looking at that sentence :P

do you need 'and my life's first great transition'

the fact that the mc mentions it was his 'first teenage summer' hints at the transition from another summer prior, that something has changed, otherwise, why mention the teenage at all.

we go through puberty and it is understood that transition takes place.

Hard to say. could be just a matter of style and preference :)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 25, 2010, 10:26:06 AM
lol now you all have me looking at that sentence :P

do you need 'and my life's first great transition'

the fact that the mc mentions it was his 'first teenage summer' hints at the transition from another summer prior, that something has changed, otherwise, why mention the teenage at all.

we go through puberty and it is understood that transition takes place.

Hard to say. could be just a matter of style and preference :)

Exactly.   ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 25, 2010, 10:28:02 AM
lol now you all have me looking at that sentence :P

do you need 'and my life's first great transition'

the fact that the mc mentions it was his 'first teenage summer' hints at the transition from another summer prior, that something has changed, otherwise, why mention the teenage at all.

we go through puberty and it is understood that transition takes place.

Hard to say. could be just a matter of style and preference :)

And on looking back with adult eyes would probably make that remark as a teenager had in fact seen it then. A wow!

I can see all the style/grammatical points but I think it is essential to the tone of the speaker/narrator. JMO :D
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Kendrick on November 25, 2010, 10:29:00 AM
That's why they call 'em suggestions   :)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 25, 2010, 10:29:47 AM
Exactly Kendrick :)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 25, 2010, 10:31:21 AM
And I welcome them all.  Thanks.   8)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 25, 2010, 10:33:39 AM
Exactly - suggestions...or opinions, all we can do.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 25, 2010, 11:01:40 AM
I always have to push myself to remember that the story I'm reviewing is not written in my voice, so I shouldn't try to change it. I especially find that in YA stories which have a voice based on experiences that are outside my time-frame of 'growing-up' so my perception is different, wording is different. I learn a lot for different styles, many have opened my eyes to other ways.

So, I like the voice here, probably said that before. I'm still learning to critique.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 25, 2010, 02:48:52 PM
I always have to push myself to remember that the story I'm reviewing is not written in my voice, so I shouldn't try to change it. I especially find that in YA stories which have a voice based on experiences that are outside my time-frame of 'growing-up' so my perception is different, wording is different. I learn a lot for different styles, many have opened my eyes to other ways.

So, I like the voice here, probably said that before. I'm still learning to critique.

I hate reviewing my own writing!  I am endlessly editing and nothing ever gets done!   ::) ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 25, 2010, 02:51:25 PM
I am often guilty of that same deed, herron.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 25, 2010, 10:09:17 PM
I am often guilty of that same deed, herron.
:-\
Alas, it's easy enough to do.

Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 26, 2010, 08:38:39 AM
I think that's just secret man talk between you two now...hmm?
:-\
Alas, it's easy enough to do.


Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 26, 2010, 08:40:27 AM
Ha!
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 26, 2010, 09:11:41 AM
I think that's just secret man talk between you two now...hmm?

LOL!  More of the story to come when I get back home later today.  ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 26, 2010, 07:17:12 PM
I think I'll get out of word games for a while.  :P


More of "Albert."


     I suppose we all saw it coming.  Albert fought with Puz before the week was out, blacking his eye and loosening a tooth. I never thought to see the day Pozanski would go down so fast.  Albert established himself quickly after that.  Frequently a bully to the younger kids, he was pushy and obscene with the rest of us; mouthy and obnoxious to all the adults. I once overheard one of our neighbors, Mr. Dixon, tell my father, “Albert’s the kind of kid who likes to keep everyone about an axe-handle away.”  All things considered, I guess that summed him up rather well. 

     I’m not sure why, but I got along with him.  Maybe it was because I was as big as he was and didn’t take any shit from him, but I didn’t push him about things either. It went on this way, one day blending pretty much the same into the next.  Kids are remarkably resilient beings.

     We would soon learn one other thing was a constant. Albert fought with his stepfather, Carl, the Toothpick Man, loudly and often. It was no secret theirs was an ongoing battle that escalated at the slightest provocation. Carl usually started it by picking up a fifth of bourbon from Food Town after work.  Every day he was either very mellow or awfully pissed by dinnertime. It seemed, however, mellow seldom won.

     The neighborhood quickly learned to stay away from their house when Carl drank, at least until the shouting was completely over.  It became a regular occurance.  About three years after they moved in and their neighborhood circus began, there was once more a tremendous slamming of doors and screaming coming from their house. It was louder than usual but by now everyone just rolled their eyes, shrugged and thought, “Here we go again!” That day, however, amid a great deal more shouting and banging than usual, there was also a woman’s scream. 

     When most of the neighborhood gave in to curiosity and looked outside, there was Albert, standing at the side of his house, shouting obscenities and angrily swinging a shovel in the direction of his drunken stepfather. His disheveled mother, her face bruised and lip bleeding, stood weeping in the front yard, wringing her hands around a bloody dishtowel, pleading with Albert to stop.

     “He’s never gonna touch you again!” Albert screamed.  “Never!  I’ll kill the son-of-a-bitch first!  I’ll kill him!”

     “Please, Albert . . . .” his mother pleaded, in a shaky voice.

     “Bas-sard …” a drunken Carl mumbled, slurring the words.

     “You’re a dead man, Carl!  A dead man!" Albert screamed. "I swear I’ll kill you!” 

     Albert was crying profusely, and his tears that night were different from any I had ever seen. He was as unlike the puffy little braggart I thought I knew as it was possible to be. There was absolute rage in Albert’s face.  I honestly believed he was going to kill Carl with that shovel.

     Someone else must have thought so, too. Within moments the sheriff and several deputies came. They all seemed to have met Albert before. They broke up the argument, handcuffed him and none-too-gently put him in the back of their patrol car, ignoring Carl.  “My baby!” his mother wailed, putting her hand on the car’s windows and running alongside as it slowly pulled away. “My baby!” 

     And just like that it was over.



(more to come)

Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 26, 2010, 07:22:50 PM
I'm too much if a fan to be able to find anything niggly - which I guess is meant to be a compliment to your writing..and it is.

I like your style and can't find anything that needs an obvious fix to my eye. :D
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 26, 2010, 07:28:10 PM
I'm too much if a fan to be able to find anything niggly - which I guess is meant to be a compliment to your writing..and it is.

I like your style and can't find anything that needs an obvious fix to my eye. :D
Thank you, love.    :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 26, 2010, 07:47:09 PM
more --->

     Albert was gone for a long time.  Kids at school whispered “joovie” whenever his name was mentioned. When he returned he seemed more subdued, but there was a new, angry look in his eyes. The neighborhood kids avoided him.  He still always seemed to be in trouble. That part of him hadn’t changed, it just got worse.  

     He seemed determined to develop his poor attitude and gutter vocabulary as if they were the high points of a career, to be proudly displayed on his resume. His grades plummeted even more and that didn’t seem to surprise anyone. It wasn’t because he was stupid. He wasn’t. He just didn’t care what people really thought of him. He had a knack for being just what people expected and not much more.  

     For example, Albert was the only kid in the state to make a perfect score on the Air Force Aptitude Test they administered in our junior year.  Actually, the first time he took it, he only finished in the ninety-eighth percentile – which was still better than anyone else in the county, let alone the school.  Principal Booker took that high percentile as a reason to accuse him of cheating. He was going to throw out the score and expunge it entirely from his academic record, until Albert’s mother walked the two miles to the high school and pleaded with him to reconsider.

     “Personally, I’m surprised he’s lasted long enough to even take the test,” Booker said to her.  He relented on the condition Albert retake it, alone and closely monitored.

     There were four counselors in the room with him during the second test, Booker being one of them, with Albert the only student. None of them ever took their eyes off him.  He got no bathroom breaks. He couldn’t even take out a tissue to wipe his nose. The whole school knew about it.  I could only imagine how humiliated he was. It was then Albert scored his ace.

     His mother came to school again on the day Booker announced his score. I was sitting outside the principal’s office waiting to get a Letter of Recommendation to send with my application to State University.  I heard every word.  Mrs. P was sitting in the office with Albert, a sad little smile tugging at the worry lines on her face, when Booker said simply, “He passed.”  Mrs. P took a deep breath and asked him the score.

     “He got every question right – 100%.”  Principal Booker looked disappointed as he handed the results to Albert. “I guess he wasn’t cheating after all.”  You didn’t have to see his face to hear the sneer. Mrs. P looked relieved. “Albert, I’m so proud…” she started to say, but Booker shushed her loudly.  “Given the … um, circumstances,” he sniffed, “his less than stellar academic record and his … um, reputation …”  Booker paused and gave a disdainful glance at Albert’s mother, “…we had to be sure the first results for Mister Parker were … credible.”

     He turned his back on Albert and looked directly at Mrs. P with a little smirk.  “I’m sure when you’ve had time to think about it,” he continued, “you’ll both understand.”  Booker was always a prick.

     Albert looked from Booker to the test result paperwork for a long time without saying anything. Then, he slowly hawked-up a nasty, green lump from his throat and, as if savoring the effect, spit it into the results tally. He crumpled the sheet into a small wad, threw it on the floor and ground it first under one heel and then the other. His mother simply sat there, too stunned to speak.

     “Oh, I’m sorry,” Albert said as he picked up the test score and threw on Booker’s desk, “Did you need that?”  He walked casually out of the office, and just beyond the door he looked back. “You fucking moron,” he added.  Principal Booker promptly suspended him for a month. Albert shrugged and kept walking until he had left the building. His mother, head bowed, silently shuffled after him. He was a school hero by three o’clock, but it didn’t last long.

     He began to spend even more time with a crowd very much like him, frustrated and angry. Certain the world was rigged in favor of everyone else. In his case, I’m not so sure it wasn’t. But his piss-in-your-eye attitude turned everyone off.  Eventually, most of the school shunned him, just as the neighborhood kids had done long ago. His circle of what could only loosely be called “friends” was a mere handful of the worst losers in town.

     I guess I was one of the last of the so-called “regular” kids to have anything to do with him, and that was only because I lived across the street and saw him nearly every day. I never hung around with him or anything. I was just decent to him and he sometimes used me as a sounding board.


more to come

edit was to fix paragraph breaks and add a couple of missing commas ... also to slightly change the last paragraph on this page  :D
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 26, 2010, 08:39:09 PM
Certain the world was rigged in favor of everyone else.       This isn't a complete sentence - needs to tag on to the one before or the one after.

“friends” “regular”  [think it's just single quotation marks ]

Given his rudeness would Albert really have bothered with the I'm sorry part?
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Albert said ....
Probably just as effective, maybe more so, without it.

under one heel and then the other.

walked casually [exactly???? strolled/dandered/dawdled/sauntered/strutted???? show the reader]

See - I do read them! :-*

Maybe there are some things there that might be of use.  JMO
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 26, 2010, 09:27:54 PM
Certain the world was rigged in favor of everyone else.       This isn't a complete sentence - needs to tag on to the one before or the one after.
I'll revisit.  :-\

“friends” “regular”  [think it's just single quotation marks ]
Probably.    ::)

Given his rudeness would Albert really have bothered with the I'm sorry part?
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Albert said ....
Yes.  It was meant to be out of character to accent the rest of his response.  :)
Probably just as effective, maybe more so, without it. Don't think so.

under one heel and then the other.

walked casually [exactly???? strolled/dandered/dawdled/sauntered/strutted???? show the reader]
Good point!  Thanks!    ;)

See - I do read them! :-*

Maybe there are some things there that might be of use.  JMO
 :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 26, 2010, 11:31:48 PM
Good man - yer Da.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 26, 2010, 11:51:30 PM
I've reprised a bit of the previous post (with some changes) and added a bit: 


     Albert looked from Booker to the test result paperwork for a long time without saying anything. Then he slowly hawked-up a nasty, green lump from his throat and, as if savoring the effect, spit it into the results tally. He crumpled the sheet into a small wad, threw it on the floor and ground it first under one heel, then the other. His mother simply sat there, too stunned to speak.

     “Oh, I’m sorry,” Albert mocked as he picked up the test score and threw it on Booker’s desk, “Did you need that?”  He sauntered out of the office and just beyond the door he looked back. “You fucking moron,” he added.

     Principal Booker promptly suspended him for a month. Albert shrugged and kept walking until he had left the building. His mother, head bowed, silently shuffled after him. He was a school hero by three o’clock, but it didn’t last long.

     Even after scoring in the 99th percentile on the SAT’s, putting him in the top one percent in the country, he still began to spend even more time with a crowd very much like him, frustrated and angry. He seemed certain no matter how well he did the world was rigged in favor of everyone else. In his case, I’m not so sure it wasn’t. But his piss-in-your-eye attitude turned everyone off. 

     Eventually, most of the school shunned him, just as the neighborhood kids had done long ago. His circle of what could only loosely be called ‘friends’ was a mere handful of the worst losers in town.  I guess I was one of the last of the so-called ‘regular’ kids to have anything to do with him, and that was only because I lived across the street and saw him nearly every day. I never hung around with him or anything. I was just decent to him and he sometimes used me as a sounding board.

     Just before the summer break a story started making the rounds saying Albert had decked Terry Meister, the most feared ‘greaser’ in the school. The rumor said he hit him so hard Albert broke his hand. It also said T-Meister’s infamous solitary upper tooth cut Albert enough to require stitches.

     Terry had been taken to the hospital having suffered a severe beating and Albert’s hand was in a cast, a ragged wound across his knuckles.  It was probably Meister’s old man using Terry for a punching bag again, but where Albert’s part in the rumor actually came from didn’t matter. T-Meister never returned to school and everyone believed the story. Albert did nothing to stop the rumors. Some say he even started them.

     “The king is dead, long live the king!” he smirked.

     I knew better because I had been there. Albert had been reaching for little Samantha Riddle’s kitten, which was stuck in a tree. I was spotting for him.  He was stretched out about as far as he could reach when the thin branch he was standing on snapped. Albert fell and his hand had a rather abrupt meeting with the top rail of the cyclone fence.

     “Oh, shit, Paulie!” he yelled, “It’s broke!”

     “Are ya sure?” I yelled back, scrambling to get him up. One look at the second bend between his knuckles and wrist confirmed it. We rushed into his house, looking for help. Carl was already passed out on the sofa and his mother, frantic, couldn’t find the car keys. She finally took Albert to the hospital emergency room in a taxi.  The next day, when the rumors started, Albert came looking for me.

more to come
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 26, 2010, 11:56:18 PM
and more


     “On your mother’s grave,” he spat at me through clenched teeth, as he grabbed my shoulders and spun me around.

     “What the hell you talking about?”

     “I got it decking T-Meister,” Albert hissed. He held his cast up in front of my nose and shook it. “Swear it, Paulie!” 

     “Oh, that,” I said. “Sure.”

     He grabbed the front of my shirt. “Say it.”

     “C’mon, Albert ….”

     “Say it, dammit!”  He had me pinned against my locker.

     “All right, all right. I say it.” I was pissed, but knew better than to start anything.

     “Say what, Paulie?  I don’t hear nuthin’.”

     “You got it decking T-Meister,” I said, flashing him a look, “and I won’t tell anyone how you really broke it.”  I pushed him away with a soft shove. “I swear it on my Mama’s grave. You happy now?”

     “You tell anyone, Paulie,” Albert whispered, “anyone.” He made a cutting motion across his throat with his good hand. “You’ll wish your Mama never bothered to have you.”

     “I’m shakin’.”

     “You think I’m kiddin’?” There were sparks in Albert’s eyes.

     “I swore, didn’t I?” Like I said, I didn’t push him much.

     “Just makin’ sure…” Albert said quietly. “…got a rep to consider.” He walked away whistling, with a smile on his face. He held his cast out in front of him like a beacon.

     I made much more effort to avoid him after that, but we lived so close together it was hard to keep from seeing him occasionally no matter how hard I tried.

     One Sunday afternoon, about mid-July, I saw him kneeling on the side drive of the house next door to him, Mrs. Anchor’s house. He was near the rear gate. Never married, Mrs. Anchor had been retired for years. She spent most of her summer days tending her flowers. Every summer her yard had the most beautiful flowers in Brickdale. They were something even the kids looked forward to each season, even if we never said so.

     Every other Sunday, Mrs. Anchor dutifully caught the morning bus to visit her brother’s family across town, helping her sister-in-law with her garden. This happened to be one of those Sundays. I knew she was gone, but I saw Albert digging with his bare hands, making a hole in her best flower bed. 

     I liked Mrs. Anchor, so I walked back to find out what he was doing. As I drew near, I could see the clean white tracks of tears parting the dirt on his face. Startled, he jumped when he heard me approach and tried wiping away his tears. The muddy streaks he created made him look so funny I almost laughed out loud.

     Until I saw the bird.

     For years, Albert had a small, blue parrot. He called it Captain. His real father had given it to him. He took meticulous care of it. Whatever he was like with people, Albert had loved that little bird.

     Captain now lay in the earthen cradle Albert dug, neatly wrapped in a sheet of leftover Christmas paper. The paper’s wrinkles had been carefully smoothed and a loosely-tied red ribbon held it all together. Although most of the package was hidden by the flowers, I could still see blue tail feathers coming out one end of the wrapping.

     Albert looked at me, unblinking, and I saw pain clearly reflected in his eyes.  “Carl…” he whispered. He never finished the sentence, but the implication was clear.

     Carl had killed the bird.

     “I’m sorry, Albert,” was all I could think of to say. “I really am.”  Years after ignoring me when we first met, Albert extended his hand. “Thanks, Paulie,” he said.  We touched fingers for a few seconds. Then he knelt to finish burying his little friend. Sensing the audience was already over, I quietly walked away.



more to come  

Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 12:04:28 AM
and the last bit for tonight ....


     Albert grew increasingly difficult to be around. His outbursts and run-ins were becoming notorious, and our circle of friends had become quite different.  Like everyone else, I eventually found coping with Albert too much to do. I avoided him the rest of that summer and we hardly saw each other.

     The last time I spoke to him was early in the fall of our senior year, when he surprised me by knocking at my front door just after dark.

     “Can you come out, Paulie?” He shuffled nervously on the doorstep.

     “Guess so,” I said, trying to ignore my father, who sat on the sofa, scowling over his newspaper. “What’s up?”

     “Nuthin,” he shrugged, not bothered by my father’s glare. “I just, ya know, wanted to talk for a minute.”

     “That I can do.” 

     “Don’t be late, Paul,” my father said curtly as I went out the door. He was not happy to see Albert there. None of the adults ever were.

     “He won’t be,” Albert said quietly before I could respond. We both heard my father’s snort and the crisp snapping of his paper as the door closed.

     “He always such a tight ass?” Albert’s mouth curled upward slightly, almost a smile.

     “He’s OK,” I said, “you just bring out the best in him.”

     “Yeah, I got a way about me.”  We went all the way to the corner in silence.

     “You see the game?” he finally asked, his shoulders shrugging as if he was searching for something to say.

     “Baseball?  Did they play?”

     “Guess ya didn’t,” he said and dropped the subject. Albert remained silent and we kept walking. Each time I thought he was about to say something else, he hesitated.

     I finally stopped walking for a moment.  “You really bring me out here to talk about a baseball game?”  He stood with his hands in his pockets and didn’t answer. “Look,” I told him, “it’s your nickel.  But I … well, I just gotta get back soon or my old man is gonna expect long explanations.”

     “Yeah, I know,” Albert said.  Still, we went completely around the block without him saying another word.

     Finally, as we passed near Albert’s house again I could hear Carl inside, shouting and cursing. His hoarse croaks were immediately followed by the crash of something hitting the wall.

     “Oh, no, Albert!”  I moaned, “Your Ma!”

     “It’s OK,” he said, wincing. “He’s by himself.”

     “Drunk?”

     “Paulie, we been in the neighborhood a long time. Whaddya think?”

     “Sounds drunk to me.”

     “Give the man a gold cigar,” Albert grimaced, “’cause he done say the magic word.”  He hunched his shoulders and continued to walk.  “Sorry to put you through this,” he finally said. I could tell the apology was real. “I just don’t want to be alone in there with him.”

     “Don’t blame you,” I said, and we were silent again.

     “Paulie, you ever hate anybody?” he finally asked.

     “Truly hate?”

     “Yeah. Spill their guts, truly.”

     “No, I guess not. Not really”

     “I do,” he said, looking at the house. “Every damn day of my life.”

     “That’s rough.”

     “You don’t know the half of it.”  Something else hit the wall inside and shattered.

     “Guess I don’t,” I said.

     The sounds finally subsided and then quit. We found ourselves leaning on the fence in the open alley at the back of Albert’s yard, tossing pebbles at the garage.  “I thought he’d never pass out,” Albert said. He stopped tossing pebbles and just stared at me for a long time. He didn’t even seem to blink.

     “What?” I shrugged. His gaze made me uncomfortable.

     “Just wonderin’,” he said. “Why does everyone in the neighborhood think I’m always the cause of any trouble that happens?”  I thought he was joking, and said so.  “No jive, man,” Albert said. “Just yesterday the Gilsson’s gave Ma all sorts of crap ‘bout something I wasn’t even around to do!  Can ya believe it?”

     Albert tossed the remaining pebbles onto the garage roof. They made a loud racket as they fell into the rain gutter. He looked at me as if expecting a response, but I said nothing.

     “I mean it, Paulie. Why is it everyone starts pointing at me when shit happens? Why do all those dried-up pukes think I’m the cause of every bit of trouble around here?”

     Without thinking, I suggested, “Maybe because you are?”

     Albert stopped talking. His glare was ferocious. I’d been kidding, even though I knew there was a lot of truth in what I’d said. Too late, I realized Albert had been very serious. A large cinder suddenly flew in my direction. It smashed against a metal trash can and exploded into a huge shower of grit and dust. The top of the can went flying and Mrs. Angelini’s little dog started barking furiously.

     I looked at the mark the cinder made on the can. To this day, I don’t think Albert meant to hit me, but you never knew with him. He was so close it would have been hard to miss me. Yet it would have been easy to miss on purpose, too.

     With the metal still ringing, Albert stomped toward his house, paused, and looked back at me. “I bring a lotta shit down on myself,” he said angrily, “but I don’t deserve all I get.”  He took another step and looked back once more.  “And I certainly didn’t deserve that,” he said. “Not from you, Paulie.” I remember his eyes looking almost haunted. “Not from you, too.”

     “Albert …” I started. I wanted desperately to apologize.

     “Go straight to hell with the rest of ‘em!”  The door slammed as he went inside.

     “Albert,” I pleaded. “Wait … I’m sorry!” 

     I’ll never know if he heard me. I never spoke to him again. My father was transferred that fall and our family moved out of the neighborhood. The day we moved, I went to say goodbye. I knew Albert was home, but he wouldn’t come to the door.

     “Just tell him I’m leaving,” I told a bleary-eyed Carl, “and I’ll try to come back to see him.”  Only I never did.


more tomorrow ...   :)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 12:18:26 AM
I've reprised a bit of the previous post (with some changes) and added a bit: 


     Albert looked from Booker to the test result paperwork for a long time without saying anything. Then he slowly hawked-up a nasty, green lump from his throat and, as if savoring the effect, spit it into the results tally. He crumpled the sheet into a small wad, threw it on the floor and ground it first under one heel, then the other. His mother simply sat there, too stunned to speak.

     “Oh, I’m sorry,” Albert mocked as he picked up the test score and threw it on Booker’s desk, “Did you need that?”  He sauntered out of the office and just beyond the door he looked back. “You fucking moron,” he added.

     Principal Booker promptly suspended him for a month. Albert shrugged and kept walking until he had left the building. His mother, head bowed, silently shuffled after him. He was a school hero by three o’clock, but it didn’t last long.

     Even after scoring in the 99th percentile on the SAT’s, putting him in the top one percent in the country, he still began to spend even more time with a crowd very much like him, frustrated and angry. He seemed certain no matter how well he did the world was rigged in favor of everyone else. In his case, I’m not so sure it wasn’t. But his piss-in-your-eye attitude turned everyone off. 

     Eventually, most of the school shunned him, just as the neighborhood kids had done long ago. His circle of what could only loosely be called ‘friends’ was a mere handful of the worst losers in town.  I guess I was one of the last of the so-called ‘regular’ kids to have anything to do with him, and that was only because I lived across the street and saw him nearly every day. I never hung around with him or anything. I was just decent to him and he sometimes used me as a sounding board.

     Just before the summer break a story started making the rounds saying Albert had decked Terry Meister, the most feared ‘greaser’ in the school. The rumor said he hit him so hard Albert broke his hand. It also said T-Meister’s infamous solitary upper tooth cut Albert enough to require stitches.

     Terry had been taken to the hospital having suffered a severe beating and Albert’s hand was in a cast, a ragged wound across his knuckles.  It was probably Meister’s old man using Terry for a punching bag again, but where Albert’s part in the rumor actually came from didn’t matter. T-Meister never returned to school and everyone believed the story. Albert did nothing to stop the rumors. Some say he even started them.

     “The king is dead, long live the king!” he smirked.

     I knew better because I had been there. Albert had been reaching for little Samantha Riddle’s kitten, which was stuck in a tree. I was spotting for him.  He was stretched out about as far as he could reach when the thin branch he was standing on snapped. Albert fell and his hand had a rather abrupt meeting with the top rail of the cyclone fence.

     “Oh, shit, Paulie!” he yelled, “It’s broke!”

     “Are ya sure?” I yelled back, scrambling to get him up. One look at the second bend between his knuckles and wrist confirmed it. We rushed into his house, looking for help. Carl was already passed out on the sofa and his mother, frantic, couldn’t find the car keys. She finally took Albert to the hospital emergency room in a taxi.  The next day, when the rumors started, Albert came looking for me.

more to come

Nice revision - using 'mocked' has made that bit I queried earlier much better, The bit I've scratched...the score in SATs tell his position in the country so I don't think the explanation is necessary for your readers. Love the extra bit about Albert's lie and the rumour.

Will look at the other parts later. Lot of work done Mr Herron, kudos! ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 12:20:46 AM
Nice revision - using 'mocked' has made that bit I queried earlier much better, The bit I've scratched...the score in SATs tell his position in the country so I don't think the explanation is necessary for your readers. Love the extra bit about Albert's lie and the rumour.

Will look at the other parts later. Lot of work done Mr Herron, kudos! ;)

Thanks.  Truly.  I like the edit.  That whole part was bothering me, too.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 11:57:07 AM
and more


     “On your mother’s grave,” he spat at me through clenched teeth, as he grabbed my shoulders and spun me around.

     “What the hell you talking about?”

     “I got it decking T-Meister,” Albert hissed. He held his cast up in front of my nose and shook it. “Swear it, Paulie!” 

     “Oh, that,” I said. “Sure.”

     He grabbed the front of my shirt. “Say it.”

     “C’mon, Albert ….”

     “Say it, dammit!”  He had me pinned against my locker.

     “All right, all right. I say it.” I was pissed, but knew better than to start anything.

     “Say what, Paulie?  I don’t hear nuthin’.”

     “You got it decking T-Meister,” I said, flashing him a look, “and I won’t tell anyone how you really broke it.”  I pushed him away with a soft shove. “I swear it on my Mama’s grave. You happy now?”

     “You tell anyone, Paulie,” Albert whispered, “anyone.” He made a cutting motion across his throat with his good hand. “You’ll wish your Mama never bothered to have you.”

     “I’m shakin’.”

     “You think I’m kiddin’?” There were sparks in Albert’s eyes.

     “I swore, didn’t I?” Like I said, I didn’t push him much.

     “Just makin’ sure…” Albert said quietly.[maybe a comma here instead?] “…got a rep to consider.” He walked away whistling, with a smile on his face. He held his cast out in front of him like a beacon.

     I made much more effort to avoid him after that, but we lived so close together[sounds like they're in the same house, maybe so near to each other] it was hard to keep from seeing him occasionally no matter how hard I tried.

     One Sunday afternoon, about mid-July, I saw him kneeling on the side drive of the house next door to him, Mrs. Anchor’s house. He was near the rear gate. Never married, Mrs. Anchor had been retired for years. She spent most of her summer days tending her flowers. Every summer her yard had the most beautiful flowers in Brickdale. They were something even the kids looked forward to each season, even if we never said so. [Maybe change the second 'even' to 'though', or drop the fist one?]

     Every other Sunday, Mrs. Anchor dutifully caught the morning bus to visit her brother’s family across town, helping her sister-in-law with her garden. This happened to be one of those Sundays. I knew she was gone, but I saw Albert digging with his bare hands, making a hole in her best flower bed. 

     I liked Mrs. Anchor, so I walked back to find out what he was doing. As I drew near, I could see the clean white tracks of tears parting the dirt on his face. Startled, he jumped when he heard me approach and tried wiping away his tears. The muddy streaks he created made him look so funny I almost laughed out loud.

     Until I saw the bird.

     For years, Albert had a small, blue parrot. He called it Captain. His real father had given it to him. He took meticulous care of it. Whatever he was like with people, Albert had loved that little bird.

     Captain now lay in the earthen cradle Albert dug, neatly wrapped in a sheet of leftover Christmas paper. The paper’s wrinkles had been carefully smoothed and a loosely-tied red ribbon held it all together. Although most of the package was hidden by the flowers, I could still see blue tail feathers coming out one end of the wrapping.

     Albert looked at me, unblinking, and I saw pain clearly reflected in his eyes.  “Carl…” he whispered. He never finished the sentence, but the implication was clear.

     Carl had killed the bird.

     “I’m sorry, Albert,” was all I could think of to say. “I really am.”  Years after ignoring me when we first met, Albert extended his hand. “Thanks, Paulie,” he said.  We touched fingers for a few seconds. Then he knelt to finish burying his little friend. Sensing the audience was already over, I quietly walked away.



more to come  



And a new dimension to Albert - terrific. Some lovely descriptions and not 'over told'. Still want to read more. :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 12:04:12 PM
And a new dimension to Albert - terrific. Some lovely descriptions and not 'over told'. Still want to read more. :-*
Yeah, thought about that comma. I was thinking it wasn't enough of a pause, but I didn't want the pause to be two separate sentences either. I'll revisit that one in the final draft, too.  Thanks.   :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 12:05:51 PM
and the last bit for tonight ....


     Albert grew increasingly difficult to be around. His outbursts and run-ins were becoming notorious, and our circle of friends had become quite different.  Like everyone else, I eventually found coping with Albert too much to do. I avoided him the rest of that summer and we hardly saw each other.

     The last time I spoke to him was early in the fall of our senior year, when he surprised me by knocking at my front door just after dark.

     “Can you come out, Paulie?” He shuffled nervously on the doorstep.

     “Guess so,” I said, trying to ignore my father, who sat on the sofa, scowling over his newspaper. “What’s up?”

     “Nuthin,” he shrugged, not bothered by my father’s glare. “I just, ya know, wanted to talk for a minute.”

     “That I can do.” 

     “Don’t be late, Paul,” my father said curtly as I went out the door. He was not happy to see Albert there. None of the adults ever were.

     “He won’t be,” Albert said quietly before I could respond. We both heard my father’s snort and the crisp snapping of his paper as the door closed.

     “He always such a tight ass?” Albert’s mouth curled upward slightly, almost a smile.

     “He’s OK,” I said, “you just bring out the best in him.”

     “Yeah, I got a way about me.”  We went all the way to the corner in silence.

     “You see the game?” he finally asked, his shoulders shrugging as if he was searching for something to say.

     “Baseball?  Did they play?”

     “Guess ya didn’t,” he said and dropped the subject. Albert remained silent and we kept walking. Each time I thought he was about to say something else, he hesitated.

     I finally stopped walking for a moment.  “You really bring me out here to talk about a baseball game?”  He stood with his hands in his pockets and didn’t answer. “Look,” I told him, “it’s your nickel.  But I … well, I just gotta get back soon or my old man is gonna expect long explanations.”

     “Yeah, I know,” Albert said.  Still, we went completely around the block without him saying another word.

     Finally, as we passed near Albert’s house again I could hear Carl inside, shouting and cursing. His hoarse croaks were immediately followed by the crash of something hitting the wall.

     “Oh, no, Albert!”  I moaned, “Your Ma!”

     “It’s OK,” he said, wincing. “He’s by himself.”

     “Drunk?”

     “Paulie, we been in the neighborhood a long time. Whaddya think?”

     “Sounds drunk to me.”

     “Give the man a gold cigar,” Albert grimaced, “’cause he done say the magic word.”  He hunched his shoulders and continued to walk.  “Sorry to put you through this,” he finally said. I could tell the apology was real. “I just don’t want to be alone in there with him.”

     “Don’t blame you,” I said, and we were silent again.

     “Paulie, you ever hate anybody?” he finally asked.

     “Truly hate?”

     “Yeah. Spill their guts, truly.”

     “No, I guess not. Not really”

     “I do,” he said, looking at the house. “Every damn day of my life.”

     “That’s rough.”

     “You don’t know the half of it.”  Something else hit the wall inside and shattered.

     “Guess I don’t,” I said.

     The sounds finally subsided and then quit. We found ourselves leaning on the fence in the open alley at the back of Albert’s yard, tossing pebbles at the garage.  “I thought he’d never pass out,” Albert said. He stopped tossing pebbles and just stared at me for a long time. He didn’t even seem to blink.

     “What?” I shrugged. His gaze made me uncomfortable.

     “Just wonderin’,” he said. “Why does everyone in the neighborhood think I’m always the cause of any trouble that happens?”  I thought he was joking, and said so.  “No jive, man,” Albert said. “Just yesterday the Gilsson’s gave Ma all sorts of crap ‘bout something I wasn’t even around to do!  Can ya believe it?”

     Albert tossed the remaining pebbles onto the garage roof. They made a loud racket as they fell into the rain gutter. He looked at me as if expecting a response, but I said nothing.

     “I mean it, Paulie. Why is it everyone starts pointing at me when shit happens? Why do all those dried-up pukes think I’m the cause of every bit of trouble around here?”

     Without thinking, I suggested, “Maybe because you are?”

     Albert stopped talking. His glare was ferocious. I’d been kidding, even though I knew there was a lot of truth in what I’d said. Too late, I realized Albert had been very serious. A large cinder suddenly flew in my direction. It smashed against a metal trash can and exploded into a huge shower of grit and dust. The top of the can went flying and Mrs. Angelini’s little dog started barking furiously.

     I looked at the mark the cinder made on the can. To this day, I don’t think Albert meant to hit me, but you never knew with him. He was so close it would have been hard to miss me. Yet it would have been easy to miss on purpose, too.

     With the metal still ringing, Albert stomped toward his house, paused, and looked back at me. “I bring a lotta shit down on myself,” he said angrily, “but I don’t deserve all I get.”  He took another step and looked back once more.  “And I certainly didn’t deserve that,” he said. “Not from you, Paulie.” I remember his eyes looking almost haunted. “Not from you, too.”

     “Albert …” I started. I wanted desperately to apologize.

     “Go straight to hell with the rest of ‘em!”  The door slammed as he went inside.

     “Albert,” I pleaded. “Wait … I’m sorry!” 

     I’ll never know if he heard me. I never spoke to him again. My father was transferred that fall and our family moved out of the neighborhood. The day we moved, I went to say goodbye. I knew Albert was home, but he wouldn’t come to the door.

     “Just tell him I’m leaving,” I told a bleary-eyed Carl, “and I’ll try to come back to see him.”  Only I never did.


more tomorrow ...   :)

Aw! Now you've turned the reader round nicely to caring about Albert. Good move, excellent contrast between the two households and the respective fathers and although most of this is dialogue you have painted in a terrific backdrop for the scene. Smiles from me again. :D :) :) :) :)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 27, 2010, 12:08:58 PM
Can you post your version, Herron. I don't know which one to look at lmao
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 12:13:09 PM
He put 3 more up yesterday - I've only placed them here as quote boxes but anything I've done to them should be clear from the different colour I've used. Go back a couple of pages for the original originals. :) Haven't tampered with them.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 27, 2010, 12:16:33 PM
You look just like Sio, herron :P - thank you, Sio

lol I can't do all 3 cause how can writing change that fast :(

but I'll pick one :)

Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 12:21:12 PM
I posted three separate sections of the story yesterday (and I'll have more today). Sio has been kind enought to comment on all three, and I've made some responses.

As to fast changes ... you've never seen me edit my own stuff. I've had to train myself to get it down first, then edit!  LOL!  ;D
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 27, 2010, 12:23:19 PM
lol herron, edit/change two different things :) but hell I'm just slow at it, has taken me years :(

okay, I will pick a piece. I like the writing I've seen from you anyway, so any or all, its good with me

Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 12:24:30 PM
lol herron, edit/change two different things :) but hell I'm just slow at it, has taken me years :(

okay, I will pick a piece. I like the writing I've seen from you anyway, so any or all, its good with me


Thanks.  :)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 12:24:49 PM
comment
I made much more effort to avoid him after that, but we lived so close together [sounds like they're in the same house, maybe so near to each other] it was hard to keep from seeing him occasionally no matter how hard I tried.

[correction]
I made much more effort to avoid him after that, but he lived across the street and it was hard to keep from seeing him occasionally, no matter how hard I tried.


better?
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 12:34:01 PM
Yes - and it has your voice...much more 'neighborly'..see the way I went for US spelling there?
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Tempered on November 27, 2010, 12:49:37 PM
Hello

ETA - oh I did the ones starting with

think I'll get out of word games for a while.  Tongue


More of "Albert."



I'm just going over the phrasings if you don't mind.

Do you need to say 'I suppose we all saw it coming.' i mean if you all saw it coming why suppose it, or why not just mention the event
 

- since this is a continuation of a events building it can be assumed that everyone saw it coming without 'telling' I mean why draw the buildup so well if you are just going to tell me before it happens.

you wrote:

...mouthy and obnoxious to all the adults. I once overheard one of our neighbors, Mr. Dixon, tell my father, “Albert’s the kind of kid who likes to keep everyone about an axe-handle away.”  All things considered, I guess that summed him up rather well.  

I think this distracts away from the story too much, the mention of adults opinions and his opinions of them. this story seems more to be about the younger generation, so think you should stay with their thoughts, kind of a balanced by his peers then.

you wrote:

...Maybe it was because I was as big as he was and didn’t take any shit from him, but I didn’t push him about things either. It went on this way, one day blending pretty much the same into the next...

-since you don't really know, why guess, I mean I can see the use of size as a reason, but why give the reader that only choice. I liked the last line of this section, about kids being resilient, it shows it better, that kids can take a lot, even from friends.

I remember 'the toothpick man' - since you drew him in so nice, the use of 'Carl' threw me off, wouldn't he stick to addressing him in his mind as just 'the toothpick man' not 'Carl' I can see him voicing that name vice the toothpick, but in his mind it felt off.

In the para about the circus comparison and fight, check out the amount of 'there/their'  it caught my eye, but could be just me.

was the mother gone for a while? the woman's scream seemed like something unusual.

I have found a good way to switch the dialogue tags to not always be 'he said, she said' at the end, have a few at the start, that way the emotions come before the words and so they are felt better.

***

an interesting story, nicely wrote. my differences in opinions are just that.

enjoyed
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 05:24:45 PM
more --->

     I later heard Albert dropped out of school. He had gotten into trouble again. Bad enough to land him in court, where the judge gave him a rather unpleasant choice: “Join some branch of the service, or do time.”  So, the kid with the highest aptitude scores anyone ever saw never finished high school.

     I went on to college. Albert joined the Marines. Unfortunately, it was 1968. He was in his second tour of duty in ‘Nam in ’69 when he was killed. He was only nineteen.

     Maybe I remember all this so well because he was the first of my peers to die. There would be others, of course. A lot of them died in Vietnam. Others died later from a variety of causes. As you get older you learn, that’s life, but those are other stories. Albert was the first.

     He was laid out at McDermitt’s. I didn’t want to go. I don’t suppose anyone ever really does. When I arrived I went into the wrong room at first, peeking into an almost empty parlor where an ancient figure was nestled silently in deep white satin, awaiting eternity. I murmured an apology, said some quick condolences, and left. 

     I found Albert in the next large room on the left. He was in a white metal casket. The top half of it was sealed with glass. An American flag was folded into a neat triangle at the foot and the whole room was surrounded by more flowers than I had ever seen at one time. I had forgotten to send any and was suddenly embarrassed, hoping no one had noticed.

     His auburn hair was short and neat. Laid out in his dress blue uniform he looked properly distinguished, if slightly bloated. It just didn’t look like Albert. There had always been such life in him. Looking at the body behind the glass I thought, “This isn’t Albert.” I didn’t think it was possible he could have changed so much in such a short time. Perhaps this was a mistake, after all.

     I remember feeling oddly detached. There was a small degree of sadness, perhaps, but none of the strong emotion I had expected. I kept wondering if it was right I should feel so little.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it made me a terrible person.

     I briefly spoke to his half-sister. Janice had become very pretty. She was wearing a clingy black mini-dress, one of the really short ones that showed off most of her legs. Appropriate for the time, it’s strangely out of place now in my memory. She was with a man she introduced as her husband, but whose name I can no longer recall. A long, awkward silence followed, until the two of them moved to speak to someone else.

     Somber greetings were exchanged with the rest of Albert’s family, most of whom I really didn’t know. His half-brother wouldn’t even look at me. Holding my hand, his mother thanked me, over and over, for coming. “He always spoke of you as such a friend, Paul.” There were tears welling in the corner of her eyes. “Such a good friend.”

     Mrs. P had always been a rather attractive, if sad-looking, woman. I was amazed at how old she suddenly seemed to be. Carl looked old, too, but in a different way. He shook my hand and looked mildly surprised. He smelled of bourbon but seemed composed. I’m not certain he even knew who I was.

     One of several young, uniformed Marines introduced himself and told me how Albert died. He went on and on about it, but after a few sentences I was only half listening. All I really heard was Albert had died face down in the mud, in a place I couldn’t even pronounce.

     “…the Silver Star. Posthumously, of course.”

     “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

     “I was one of his buddies,” the young Marine repeated quietly. “Same platoon.” He lowered his eyes and took a ragged breath. I noticed an ugly scar that ran under his chin and disappeared beneath his collar.  “VC surprised us. I was shot up pretty bad. Couldn’t move.”  He noisily cleared his throat. “Could barely breathe.” The jagged scar above his stiff uniform collar still looked red and inflamed.  “I wouldn’t be here if Albert hadn’t brought me out.”

     His voice quavered. “I was the last one. He had already pulled out three guys. Had the crap shot out of him, but he still came back…for me.”  His eyes were liquid pools ringed by a red tide. “He could hardly hold himself up, but he came back.” He looked at me solemnly and said, “He was a good Marine…and a damned good friend.”

     I almost felt accused.

     “They gave him the Silver Star?” I repeated lamely.

     “Yes, sir. They did.” It felt odd having someone my own age call me sir.



more to come
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 05:27:49 PM
next part   ::)


     I looked down at Albert’s body and, as tragic and terrible as the situation was, I realized I felt nothing inside, as if I were suddenly hollow. No sorrow. No sense of loss. I had more thoughts that day about his sister’s great legs than I did about Albert. It didn’t occur to me to feel ashamed at the time, although I do now.

     Suddenly, I had nothing else to say – to anyone – and I began to feel hopelessly out of place. There were a lot of things I might have said to Albert (like, I’m proud of you), but he couldn’t hear me anymore. He was dead. So was whatever tenuous bond had existed between us. Never very strong, it had pulled apart like gossamer thread and drifted away.

     None of the gang even showed up. I left the funeral home a few moments later without another word, and have never seen anyone in Albert’s family again.

     What bothers me now is that it should bother me so much. We were not the best of friends.  He was hardly a friend at all, and not the easiest person to know, at that. I had half-heartedly tried to keep in touch, but Albert wouldn’t answer my calls or letters after that night in the alley. When he went into the service, I finally stopped trying.  After he died, I never cried for him. I still can’t. I went on with my life and almost forgot him.


almost at the end now....
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 05:31:15 PM
Oooh - Albert turns out to be a war hero!!! Great atmosphere/observations/reactions appropriate for the age of the mc at the time.

Didn't pick up anything immediately  -  smooth read for me. :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 05:35:53 PM
last little bit........

     However, when I suddenly thought of him again after all these years I remembered talking to him, in confidence, about girls, particularly Janice, his half-sister. He had rolled in the dirt, laughing uncontrollably, when he realized I was saying I liked her. I remembered a trembling gray kitten, a tiny blue parrot, and a silent, dirty handshake. I had the most vivid image of him, an enraged boy defending his mother, swinging a shovel wildly at his stepfather until the police took him away. My memories also included an accusing cinder, crashing with metallic thunder in the night.

     I don’t pretend to know what it was that made me think of Albert again after all this time. I forgot about him after the funeral, as if he had never existed. The world went on, with other wars and crises in the ensuing decades for new generations to think about.

     Yet I find, somehow, after all is said and done, now that I’ve started to feel old, I miss him. I see Albert differently, and wonder what kind of man he would really have become.

     I drove by the old neighborhood last night. I’m not sure why I did that, either. I have not been back there in such a long time. The house where I grew up is completely gone. So is the large oak tree that once dominated the front yard. Several other houses I remembered are gone, too. 

     Albert’s house is still there. I just realized it’s been a very long time since I thought of it as the old Cantwell place. The outside is painted differently but, other than that, it looks very much as it did all those years ago. There are even metal trash cans stored in the same spot in the back alley, sitting atop a rickety bench above the loose cinders.

     I almost caught myself looking for Albert.

     Mrs. Anchor’s house is still there, too. I wish I could say the whole neighborhood hasn’t declined, but it has, and her house is no exception. The current owners are not nearly as meticulous as she used to be. They haven’t planted very much, and they don’t seem to have ever fertilized the lawn. The yard looks pretty Spartan and run-down.  All the color she brought into our life for so long is missing. Except on the side drive, up against the rear gate, where I noticed there is still a lovely little patch of flowers.


                                                 *   *   *
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 05:37:07 PM
Oooh - Albert turns out to be a war hero!!! Great atmosphere/observations/reactions appropriate for the age of the mc at the time.

Didn't pick up anything immediately  -  smooth read for me. :-*

thanks ... I think it's harder when you don't see it all together ....    8)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 06:48:59 PM
Okay - so this is the wind down phase....recollections springing to mind.

The world went on, with other wars and crises in the ensuing decades for new generations to think about. [The arrangement of words sounds awkward maybe all the 'w' words and the 'u' and 'o' sounds too... or something???]

I’m not sure why I did that, either. I have not been back there in such a long time. [Think this would read better as one sentence...as a tag on rather than a complete break - kind of stretch the thought.]

Albert’s house is still there. I just realized it’s been a very long time since I thought of it as the old Cantwell place. The outside is painted differently but, other than that, it looks very much as it did all those years ago. [perhaps change the second 'very'??? to 'pretty' or just omit it?]

All the color she had brought into our life for so long is missing.

Is this guy telling this over a pint or a pot of coffee?...I can see him and hear him so well. Guess it's my turn to get the re-fills in. :)

Thanks!
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 09:10:15 PM
Okay - so this is the wind down phase....recollections springing to mind.

The world went on, with other wars and crises in the ensuing decades for new generations to think about. [The arrangement of words sounds awkward maybe all the 'w' words and the 'u' and 'o' sounds too... or something???]

I’m not sure why I did that, either. I have not been back there in such a long time. [Think this would read better as one sentence...as a tag on rather than a complete break - kind of stretch the thought.]

Albert’s house is still there. I just realized it’s been a very long time since I thought of it as the old Cantwell place. The outside is painted differently but, other than that, it looks very much as it did all those years ago. [perhaps change the second 'very'??? to 'pretty' or just omit it?]

All the color she had brought into our life for so long is missing.

Is this guy telling this over a pint or a pot of coffee?...I can see him and hear him so well. Guess it's my turn to get the re-fills in. :)

Thanks!

Points well taken.  How did you feel about the story as a whole?  Did you get 'into' the story, or do you feel as if the teller is speaking to you?


Subtle changes to the ending:


     I don’t pretend to know what it was that made me think of Albert again after all this time. I forgot about him after the funeral, as if he had never existed. The world continued, with different wars and other crises in the ensuing decades for new generations to think about.

     Yet I find, somehow, I miss him. I’ve started to feel old and I see him differently, and wonder what kind of man he could really have become.

     I drove by the old neighborhood last night. I’m not sure why … I have not been back there in such a long time. The house where I grew up is completely gone. So is the large oak tree that once dominated the front yard. Several other houses I remembered are gone, too. 

     Albert’s house is still there. Albert’s house. I realized it’s been a very long time since I thought of it as the old Cantwell place. The outside is painted differently but it looks much as it did all those years ago. There are even metal trash cans stored in the same spot in the back alley, sitting atop a rickety bench above the loose cinders.

     I almost caught myself looking for Albert.

     Mrs. Anchor’s house is still there, too. I wish I could say the whole neighborhood hasn’t declined, but it has, and her house is no exception. The current owners are not nearly as meticulous as she used to be. They haven’t planted very much, and they don’t seem to have ever fertilized the lawn. The yard looks pretty Spartan and run-down. All the color she had brought into our lives for so long is missing. Except on the side drive, up against the rear gate, where there is still a lovely little patch of flowers.


                                                   *   *   *
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 09:20:53 PM
Both - sort of like a voice over intro to a film while the scenes are being played out to fill in the background/set the scene then cut to the action. Suited me fine.

The 'voice-over' sounded relaxed and slightly world-weary [can't think of the right expression for this at the moment so that'll have to do - meant nicely not pissed-offedly - you'd think I'd know words wouldn't you? Imagine Samuel L Jackson's narrative tone in Shawshank Redemption] but then perked up with the recollections, heard the 'real-time' voices of the players in this drama, easily identified who was who and where they were coming from, could picture the scenes easily, enough detail without description overload to move from one thing to the next in easy transition.

Hope my blathering has been of some use. I really enjoyed all of this and you posted it well - episodic. :D :D :D :D
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 09:27:09 PM
Both - sort of like a voice over intro to a film while the scenes are being played out to fill in the background/set the scene then cut to the action. Suited me fine.

The 'voice-over' sounded relaxed and slightly world-weary [can't think of the right expression for this at the moment so that'll have to do - meant nicely not pissed-offedly - you'd think I'd know words wouldn't you? Imagine Samuel L Jackson's narrative tone in Shawshank Redemption] but then perked up with the recollections, heard the 'real-time' voices of the players in this drama, easily identified who was who and where they were coming from, could picture the scenes easily, enough detail without description overload to move from one thing to the next in easy transition.

Hope my blathering has been of some use. I really enjoyed all of this and you posted it well - episodic. :D :D :D :D

Thanks.  I've enjoyed the comments from everyone. You, Sio, have been particularly helpful.  
I would have posted it in its entirety, instead of in episodes, but the forum has an absurdly low word-count-per-post restriction.  ::) ;D

BTW - to be considered, even obliquely, to Shawshank Redemption makes me blush (feels good, too).   :) ;)

Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 09:29:02 PM
That would be Morgan Freeman - getting my 51st State mixed up with
A prison. Duh! Apologies.

PS What is the word total for the piece?
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 09:32:09 PM
Samuel L. Jackson should feel honored.   :D

Albert is just about 6200 words.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 09:35:03 PM
Is he going to be part of a collection or now that you worked with him do you intend expanding on the adventures you have outlined?
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 09:40:45 PM
I have a lot of ideas based on similar characters.

BTW - a lot of Albert is true. Many of those 'adventures' came from real life (the best place to draw from).
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 09:45:15 PM
It'd be very easy to theme - either as snapshots of an era, geographical link or people who turn out different to perceived expectations- a bit like Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected???
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 27, 2010, 09:50:49 PM
It'd be very easy to theme - either as snapshots of an era, geographical link or people who turn out different to perceived expectations- a bit like Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected???

Some of Dahl's works seem a bit - macabre (that might not be the right word ... but the only story that comes to mind is Lambs to the Slaughter).  But I have thought of a series that includes other stories and poems.
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 27, 2010, 09:58:58 PM
I didn't mean directly like RD anyway you already have Toothpick Man, Mrs Nice lady with the garden, Albert's military buddy, the Principal, Puz, his uncle, Julie, Albert's mum, his real dad, the kid who disappeared already mentioned and that's off the top of my head - probably the vet, the banker, the dentist, the sheriff and the doctor all have tales from the town too.

That's 15x6k= 90,000 words!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 28, 2010, 12:35:43 PM
I didn't mean directly like RD anyway you already have Toothpick Man, Mrs Nice lady with the garden, Albert's military buddy, the Principal, Puz, his uncle, Julie, Albert's mum, his real dad, the kid who disappeared already mentioned and that's off the top of my head - probably the vet, the banker, the dentist, the sheriff and the doctor all have tales from the town too.

That's 15x6k= 90,000 words!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sounds like a novel to me.   ::) ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 28, 2010, 12:37:36 PM
And what's wrong with that if you have all the material???????????????????????
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 28, 2010, 12:38:40 PM
And what's wrong with that if you have all the material???????????????????????
My dear, there's nothing wrong with that at all.   ;) :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 28, 2010, 12:42:39 PM
So...write a few more paragraphs that maybe, if you were so inclined, might lead to some more, which could at least be tied together as a collection of short stories and if you really got over-excited [be careful now] might be crafted into a novel with a few tweaks. Win win!
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: Griffin on November 28, 2010, 03:29:46 PM
So far so good.  Seems like a good hook!
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 28, 2010, 07:32:48 PM
So...write a few more paragraphs that maybe, if you were so inclined, might lead to some more, which could at least be tied together as a collection of short stories and if you really got over-excited [be careful now] might be crafted into a novel with a few tweaks. Win win!

I think I can make a whole series of 'Brickdale' stories. Since the idea draws directly from my own experience, there's a lot to choose from and it can all be related, in some way.
 ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 28, 2010, 07:41:35 PM
So -- a nice leisurely write that you can do whenever the muse is upon you - minimal research, characters and their stories already there....and a great excuse if you want to disappear "I'm writing!" ;D
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 28, 2010, 07:50:05 PM
LOL!!  Why didn't I think of this before?

Now all I have to do is kick-start the muse to kick me!   ::) ::) ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 28, 2010, 07:56:19 PM
I'll give you a kick up the arse if the muse forgets to! :D
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 28, 2010, 08:02:22 PM
You're hired.   ::) ;D ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 28, 2010, 08:31:12 PM
You have a smile in your communication...I'll have you know I'm not easy!

{And I don't care if that's the way you like it -- you won't unless you're good!}
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 28, 2010, 08:36:06 PM
You have a smile in your communication...I'll have you know I'm not easy!

{And I don't care if that's the way you like it -- you won't unless you're good!}
You, love, are definitely not easy. But pretty faces always make me smile. :-*  Drives the missus bonkers.   ::)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 28, 2010, 08:44:00 PM
That's all right then, because if there is a period of more than 3 months silence I shall PM you Jiminy Cricket style! :D :D :D :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 28, 2010, 08:48:10 PM
I expect to have a new story started soon. Promise.  :-*
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 28, 2010, 08:50:27 PM
You are allowed to have a break but now that you have the notion inside your head guilt will ensure you address it when you're ready. :D
Conscience hey?
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 28, 2010, 08:51:47 PM
 :-* a pretty one, no less.  ;)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: WildCityWoman on November 29, 2010, 02:02:15 PM
 It was a humid, hurt-your-lungs-on-a-deep-breath morning. A blistering sun was rising over the railroad switching yard at the far end of the street. Its orange glare filtered through exhausted-looking trees. Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes like so many slumbering beasts.

Ooooo! I like that 'hurt-your-lungs-on-a-deep-breath morning.

Sinuous ribbons of heat - rather than sinuous heat ribbons.

. . . like so many slumbering beasts - yeah - I like that. Puts me in mind of Willie Nelson's 'City of New Orleans' . . . and the graveyards full of rusted automobiles . . .

     I was already sitting on the curb under the big oak, trying to find relief in occasional humid puffs of air, when a battered gray panel truck pulled up. A tortuous squeal signaled its stop across the street. An angular middle-aged man unwound from the driver’s seat. Sunlight lit the edges of his short brown curls that were rapidly turning gray, and gleamed brightly from his balding crown.

There's something I don't like about 'sunlight lit'. Dunno' what you should do about it though.

short brown curls/balding crown . . . I take it he's bald with curls on the side?

....................

You mention just giving it the title of 'Albert' . . . what else, you say. Too bad you couldn't throw a lion in there - then you'd have 'Albert and the Lion'. But you're not old enough to know that story.

;-)

.....................

The sun lit the edges of his hair, short tight curls that were already turning gray, and gleamed brightly from the center of his balding crown.

Ahhhh . . .  much better.

Then the toothpick man showed up.

Oh, I have to see who this is.

“Neat-o!” Puz rasped, wiping jelly on his wrist. “Any babes?”

You guys didn't really say 'neat-o' when you were kids, did ya'? And 'babes'?

“Me either,” said both of The Twins.

Maybe that oughta' be 'neither'.

“Bring it,” whispered Puz, looking angry but not sounding like his confident self at all.

Bring what?

And he's called Toothpick Man because....always has a toothpick playing at his teeth, he's as skinny as hell, he has a pointy head and toes? We haven't seen that yet [I don't think so, anyway] - might be worth incorporating that somewhere in his actions.

Oh, I just thought Toothpick Man was the guy driving the car - the one with the fast greying curls.

That's typical of what kids would call him - we always called people by the first impression they made on us. Until we knew their name.


Tempered said . . . I always have to push myself to remember that the story I'm reviewing is not written in my voice, so I shouldn't try to change it.

I know what you mean - I myself hate the word 'dreamt' and always say 'dreamed'. Whereas most people like 'dreamt'. Well, I dreamed and you dreamt - it's all the same to me.

......................

I once overheard one of our neighbors, Mr. Dixon, tell my father, “Albert’s the kind of kid who likes to keep everyone about an axe-handle away.” 

Oh, I've never heard that one - like the 'arms length' thing.

“He’s never gonna touch you again!” Albert screamed.  “Never!  I’ll kill the son-of-a-bitch first!  I’ll kill him!”

Oh, goodie! I like that!

He seemed determined to develop his poor attitude and gutter vocabulary as if they were the high points of a career, to be proudly displayed on his resume. His grades plummeted even more and that didn’t seem to surprise anyone. It wasn’t because he was stupid. He wasn’t. He just didn’t care what people really thought of him. He had a knack for being just what people expected and not much more.   

Resume? I'm assuming you're speaking of the 40's 50's, or at the most - the early 60's. I don't think the word 'resume' was used a lot then. When job hunting, I don't remember being asked for a 'resume'. I didn't write one till the early 80's.

He turned his back on Albert and looked directly at Mrs. P with a little smirk.  “I’m sure when you’ve had time to think about it,” he continued, “you’ll both understand.”  Booker was always a prick.

Oh, gawd! We had one like that - Godbold! Prickmanship of the highest order.

He began to spend even more time with a crowd very much like him, frustrated and angry. Certain the world was rigged in favor of everyone else. In his case, I’m not so sure it wasn’t. But his piss-in-your-eye attitude turned everyone off.  Eventually, most of the school shunned him, just as the neighborhood kids had done long ago. His circle of what could only loosely be called “friends” was a mere handful of the worst losers in town.

Nowadays, they'd feed him choclate cake and tea, and call him 'gifted'. Ha ha!

 I made much more effort to avoid him after that, but we lived so close together it was hard to keep from seeing him occasionally no matter how hard I tried.

I made AN effort to avoid him after that . . . I don't like 'much more' in there.

 “Look,” I told him, “it’s your nickel.  But I … well, I just gotta get back soon or my old man is gonna expect long explanations.”

Oh, now that really gives the 'time frame' . . . it's your nickle. We used to say - it's your dime - shoot.

I later heard Albert dropped out of school. He had gotten into trouble again. Bad enough to land him in court, where the judge gave him a rather unpleasant choice: “Join some branch of the service, or do time.”  So, the kid with the highest aptitude scores anyone ever saw never finished high school.

I like the way you've slowly made Albert into a human being . . . some branch of the service might have been the best thing to do with him. The marines - yeah, that'd do it.

He was in his second tour of duty in ‘Nam in ’69 when he was killed. He was only nineteen.

Oh, damn! I was looking forward to watching him grow. I would have loved to see him in Nam though . . . maybe you can do something from there? From his own POV? Or from the POV of a fellow marine in Nam?

  “I was one of his buddies,” the young Marine repeated quietly. “Same platoon.”

Yah! Him! From his POV.

I've been enjoying this read - thanks for putting it up.

*************
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 29, 2010, 03:27:44 PM
Thanks for the comments.  :)

As to being old enough to know "Albert and the Lion" I take it you mean:|

There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That's noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.


If that's the one you mean, I'm quite old enough to have read it.   ::)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 29, 2010, 09:58:12 PM
Other story possibilities re: Albert....

1. Albert from his own POV
2. Marine friend
3. Janice (half-sister)
4. Mrs. Anchor
5. Puz
6. The Twins
7. Billy Strate  (Sticks)
8. Principal Booker
9. Carl (The Toothpick Man)
10. Mrs. P
11. Step-brother  (unnamed in story, but I think he's 'Keith')  ::)
12. Terry Meister (T-Meister)
13. Adult Neighbor POV
14. Sheriff
??  :)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: 510bhan on November 29, 2010, 10:03:30 PM
And they're just the real ones that come to mind! Nice to see you thinking of expanding this, I really did enjoy Albert's story. :) :) :)
Title: Re: First Paragraph
Post by: herron on November 30, 2010, 09:32:33 AM
It was nice to discover so many liked it.  Made the writing more fun than cathartic. Now ... to try and keep up the pace!  (and I already have ideas for characters that touch the original, but were not in it).  :)  Thanks.  ;)