Author Topic: Carl -- 70 word start  (Read 4959 times)

Offline herron

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Re: Carl -- 70 word start
« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2011, 04:22:20 PM »
C'mon! Tell me what you really think!  ::) ;)

Thanks.  Is this better?
  :-*


“Listen, I hope you don’t think I’m being too forward,” Carl asked her, “but Janice and I are going home tomorrow, and I was wondering….”

She cocked her head at his hesitation and looked up at him. “What?” Anna’s face was kind and open, as she waited for his thoughts.

“Would you mind if I called you sometime when we get home?"

She only paused a moment before she smiled. “I think that would be very nice.”

They dated for a while. Movies and dinner, long walks in the park. Concerts downtown and an art exhibit. Carl introduced her to his friend, Steve Doyle. He gave Carl a wink and a ‘thumbs-up’ as he left. Carl felt good again, really good, for the first time in a long, long while and it showed.

Janice was upset at first, but was soon smiling for her father. She liked Anna, too. It was not long before Carl asked Anna to marry him and she said yes.
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Offline herron

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Re: Carl -- 70 word start
« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2011, 04:25:05 PM »
Actually, put this in front of the recent post (and I dropped the weak, insipid line).  ::)

Carl also met Anna. Anna had lost her husband to a heart attack, about the same time Shirley had died in the accident. “It was too sudden and he was too young,” she whispered when they talked about it. Carl understood her feelings.

Short and pretty, in a plain, understated way, Anna had a nice way of carrying herself that made Carl think of Shirley. She seemed good with Janice, too. They had a lot to talk about and Carl enjoyed her company.
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Silt

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Re: Carl -- 70 word start
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2011, 04:38:15 PM »
Hello Herron,

You keep changing your writing around so its very hard to critique one area.


Quote
“Listen, I hope you don’t think I’m being too forward,” Carl asked her,= “but..." Janice and I are going home tomorrow, and I was wondering….”

She cocked her head at his hesitation and looked up at him. “What?”

Anna’s face was kind and open, as she waited for his thoughts.

“Would you mind if I called you sometime when we get home?"

She only paused a moment before she to smile. “Yes. I think that would be very nice.”


**You need something in here to show the time it took to call her for that first date**

The strikeouts are where you tell when you are showing me anyway. You do not know what she is waiting for, she doesn't know either, or what her face really meant.

Give the pause a better reason. Have her first answer his question, and then give her feelings towards his suggestion. Don't tell me about Janice and them heading back, it isn't important right now, their moment is.

***

Quote
They dated for a while. Movies and dinner, long walks in the park. Concerts downtown and an art exhibit. Carl introduced her to his friend, Steve Doyle. He gave Carl a wink and a ‘thumbs-up’ as he left. Carl felt good again, really good, for the first time in a long, long while and it showed.

Janice was upset at first, but was soon smiling for her father. She liked Anna, too. It was not long before Carl asked Anna to marry him and she said yes.

Your dates seem like a list of things to do rather than special moments.

really is like very - and should be controlled in use.

If he asked Anna to marry, it can be assume that it would be him.

***

Little things I peek at in this section

Feel free to ignore.

Silt
   
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 04:45:06 PM by Silt »

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Carl -- 70 word start
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2011, 04:44:32 PM »
Yes! Yes! Yes! ;D :o

Silt's suggestions are neat, subtle, little refinements too.

Offline herron

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Re: Carl -- 70 word start
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2011, 04:54:35 PM »
I'll have to take a moment to digest Silt's comments. But here is what I did in the past few minutes:

They spent a wonderful week together, remembering the good times they had spent there in the past. Carl and Janice laughed and hugged and played during the day. At night, when Janice had been tucked in, Carl would come back outside, sit alone around the dying embers of his campfire and cry.

Carl also met Anna.

“Are you all right,” the petite woman asked. Her voice was soft and full of concern. “I heard you crying and I just wondered….”

“I’m OK,” Carl said. He wiped away a tear and stood. He felt somewhat awkward, but he extended his hand. “I’m Carl and this,” he said and gestured at the dying campfire, “is my personal therapy session.”

“I’m sorry. I’m afraid I’m interrupting.”

“No,” Carl said. “Please, won’t you stay?”

“You’re sure I’m not interrupting?”

“Positive.”

“Well, all right.” She shook his hand. “I’m Anna Parker.”

“Patton,” Carl said, “my last name is Patton.”

“Pleased to meet you, Carl Patton.”

They talked until the fire died. Carl got up and added more logs and they talked some more. Carl told her the reason for his tears. Anna understood. She had lost her husband to a heart attack, about the same time Shirley had died in the accident.

“It was too sudden and he was too young,” she whispered. Carl understood her feelings all too well. Short and pretty, in a plain, understated way, Anna had a nice way of carrying herself that made Carl think of Shirley. They had a lot to talk about and Carl enjoyed her company.

The next day she seemed to get along well with Janice, too.

“Listen, I hope you don’t think I’m being too forward,” Carl asked, “but Janice and I are going home tomorrow, and I was wondering….”

She cocked her head at his hesitation and looked up at him. “What?” Anna’s face was kind and open, and she waited for his thoughts.

“Would you mind if I called you sometime when we get home?”

She only paused a moment before she smiled. “I think that would be very nice.”

They dated for a while. Movies and dinner, long walks in the park. Concerts downtown and an art exhibit. Carl introduced her to his friend, Steve Doyle. He gave Carl a wink and a ‘thumbs-up’ as he left. Carl felt good again, really good, for the first time in a long, long while and it showed.

Janice was upset at first, but was soon smiling for her father. She liked Anna, too. It was not long before Carl asked Anna to marry him and she said yes.
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Offline Raven's Quill

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Re: Carl -- 70 word start
« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2011, 09:23:39 AM »
I always look forward to reading your posts! Nothing to add editing wise (by the sounds of it, Sio's got your back on this one ;)) - just wanted to say I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the read!
On the wings of words
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Offline herron

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Re: Carl -- 70 word start
« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2011, 01:07:20 PM »
I always look forward to reading your posts! Nothing to add editing wise (by the sounds of it, Sio's got your back on this one ;)) - just wanted to say I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the read!
Thank you.  :)
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Offline herron

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Re: Carl --(70) Now at 2,000 words start
« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2011, 12:11:27 AM »
Revised the ending.

Anna divorced Carl the year after the funeral. He had a very lucid moment the day the divorce papers were served. “Why?” There were tears in his eyes he couldn’t help.

“It isn’t malicious, Carl,” Anna sniffed. “I care for you, I really do. I just can’t deal with this anymore. It isn’t fair to either of us.” She looked at him and saw the great sadness in his eyes. “I don’t think I can ever make you understand.” She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “But I pray you do someday, for your sake.”

After Anna took Kevin and moved out, Janice found Carl yet another doctor. He prescribed a different medication. “This is brand new and shouldn’t make you such a zombie,” the doctor told him.

Carl just looked at him.

“I hope you’re right,” Janice said. “After all this time I hope someone is right.”

Although he didn’t know why, Carl tipped an imaginary hat and thanked the doctor as Janice led him out of the office.

The new medications brought about a dramatic change. Carl no longer stumbled around the house with his mind dull and his thoughts so much gray smoke. He became able to care for himself. Janice stopped the home help she had hired when Anna left.

She spent a few days telling Carl all the things he had done to cause Anna to leave. She told him about Troy and the grandson he would never know. She told him about Albert and what he had done for her, and why Albert had been in the Marines.

When she was finished, she picked up her purse. Her bags were already in her car. “Goodbye, Daddy.” She kissed him on the cheek and left. The screen door slapped noisily behind her and, after that, Carl spent his days alone.

He called Anna once, and asked again why she had left. She gave him the details of everything he had done but forgotten. It took her over two hours. She wasn’t spiteful about it, just very matter-of-fact in her descriptions.

“I honestly didn’t know,” Carl said when she finished. He broke down and cried.

“I know,” she agreed, “but it doesn’t make a difference. We couldn’t stay any more, Carl, it was too hard.” There was a long silence. “And there was nothing left,” she said.

“I’m sorry,” Carl said softly into the phone.

“If it’s any consolation, Carl, I am too … and I forgive you.”

Carl started to say thank you, but Anna had already hung up.

He was lucid now and remembered every one of the awful things they had told him. He realized the bulk of the memories everyone had of him were bad.

When he had finished the two shots of bourbon that remained in his bottle, Carl walked the eight blocks to The Ranch, a bar on the main drag in Brickdale. He climbed up on a barstool at the far end of the bar and struck up a conversation with the bartender. Before long, he was well on his way to being drunk.

Carl asked the bartender for the phone. “Want to call the wife to bring me home,” Carl slurred. The bartender handed the phone across the bar with a look of relief. Carl’s fingers fumbled in the dial but he finally got it right. Anna answered on the second ring.

“Come meet me,” Carl mumbled into the mouthpiece. He told her where he was.

“I’m not at your beck and call any more, Carl,” she sighed. “Remember?”

“I’m drunk,” Carl said. “Just get me home. We can talk that long can’t we?”

There a moment of silence on her end. “This is the last time,” Anna told him, “the very last time.”

“I know,” Carl said. He hung up to wait and while he waited he ordered another drink. The aroma of French fries wafted through the room.

Anna walked into The Ranch with her purse clutched tightly in both hands. She wore a print dress that Carl remembered and he noticed she had on the heels he liked. Her legs still looked good. He got off the barstool and staggered a bit as he went to a nearby table. He held out a chair for her.

“We’re not staying,” Anna said, “remember?”

“Just talk to me for five minutes,” Carl said. “Just five minutes.”

“It won’t change anything, Carl.”

“Five minutes,” Carl repeated.

“All right,” Anna sighed, “Five minutes. Not a second more.”

Carl sat in the chair closest to her and motioned to the bartender. “Drink?”

“No.”  Her reply was terse. “I just want to get his over and take you home. I know what you want.”

“You think you know, but you don’t.” Carl said it with a faraway look in his eyes that was so melancholy it might have made a grown man want to cry. “I want my wife back,” he mused, “the wife who loved me and thought I was special.”

His sigh was a palpable presence in the room. Anna said nothing.

“I want the wife who looked at me with delight and whose eyes sparkled when she thought of me.”  His head rocked as he looked around the room in an absent manner. He was not really interested in anything he saw. “The wife who never once gave sneering looks or said ‘harrumph’ when someone talked about their bum of a spouse, as if saying ‘What do you know? I could tell you something about bums.’”

He looked directly at Anna.

“Carl—” she bowed her head.

“That’s what I want,” Carl interrupted. “Can you give it to me? Can you?” His hands fidgeted with the wedding ring on his hand. “I don’t think so,” he said, “I’m not going to get it here anymore. Not in this lifetime.” He wanted to reach out and touch her, but couldn’t make himself do it. “It’s all fucked up,” he said.

“Oh, Carl,” Anna sighed. She shook her head.

“Sometimes it’s so overwhelming,” Carl said in a whisper, “I want to get my gun.”

Her head whipped around to look at him. “Don’t do this, Carl.”

“I think about it a lot,” he sighed, “getting my gun.” He looked down at his hands for a moment before he looked back into her eyes. “Using it.”

Anna gasped and clutched her throat. Carl saw her lean away from him.

“No, not on anyone else,” he said. “Only me.”

“Carl, this is insane.”

“Is it?” his voice was little more than a croak. He smiled a bit. Not a happy smile. “You don’t have a fucking clue.” His attempted smile curled into a sneer. “I want the woman who used to love me, but now disrespects the ground I walk on.”

He stopped to take a long, shuddering breath. He looked into the distance and then around the room, before he looked back at her. Anna opened her mouth to speak, but closed it without saying a word.

“You’ve made yourself dead to me,” Carl said. “I can see it in your eyes, Anna. Dead. No joy. No life. No sparkle anymore.”  A little gasp, almost a sob, broke from his chest. “It makes me want to cry, Anna,” he said, “but I can’t cry.”  His sigh was deep and his whole body rose with it.

“Carl,” Anna’s voice sounded far away and small.

He looked at his hands again, brushing one absently with the other. “My life is worthless without you,” he sighed, “and I want to die.”

“A bit melodramatic, don’t you think?” Anna said. “This is hard for everyone.”

Carl shook his head. “You think you know despair? You don’t have a clue.” He got up and paced the area by the table, like a hungry tiger in a cage. Other patrons paused what they were doing to watch him.

“How dare you say something like that, Carl,” Anna spat the words at him, “after all you’ve put this family through?”

“It hurts,” he said, “You don’t laugh with me anymore. You’ve forgotten how – and I wish I was dead.” He sat down again and his chair made a loud noise on the floor. More bar patrons turned to look at them. “Did you know that? That I wished I was dead?”

“Carl, stop it!” Anna hissed, “You’re drunk!”

“Oh, don’t think I don’t know how,” he choked back a sob. “I know how. I have the gun. It’s loaded. It would be so easy.…”  He paused and it took him a moment to continue. He looked at Anna and smiled again, only this time the smile was horrifying. “I could end the pain,” he said. “Only I’m afraid.”

“Please, Carl.”

He ignored her. “One moment of courage, that’s all. Just one moment,” he said. “Put the gun in my mouth and pull the trigger.” His smile departed. “You just fucking don’t understand,” he grunted, “and I don’t think you ever will.”  He stood, as if he was going to pace again but abruptly sat down.

Anna was silent, her face toward the floor.

“My heart aches,” he said. “How can a man say that without sounding phony?” Carl held his hands up in front of his chest as if grasping something invisible. His eyes searched hers as he stared at Anna. “I don’t feel good anymore, Anna, not for a moment. I feel bad and I can’t describe the hurt.”

“You’re not the only one who hurts, Carl,” Anna said in a soft voice. “You’re not the only one in pain,” she looked at him and her eyes were cold, “You still have no idea of the pain you’ve caused.” She stood up and reached for her purse. “Your five minutes are up.”

Carl put his face into his hands and the rest of his words were muffled. “I wish I was brave enough to die. Maybe the hurt would go away.”  He started to cry.

Anna put her arms around his shoulder and helped him to stand. “I’ll take him home now,” she said to the patrons who stared at them.

Anna was silent in the car. She dropped him off in front of the house and refused his offer to come inside. “It’s over, Carl,” she said just before she put the car into gear and pulled away. “Do yourself a favor and accept that.”

Carl stared after the car long after it was gone. He reached a decision and quit taking his new medication the next afternoon.  By Saturday morning, the whispers were beginning again in his head.

Saturday afternoon Carl sat on the edge of his bed and took the Walther .380 semi-automatic from its case. He unwound the trigger lock. Tears rolled slowly down his cheeks as he slid the ammo sleeve from the handle. He had to stop when his eyes were so tear-filled they blurred. He waited until he could see clearly again, then began sliding cartridges into the sleeve until it was full.

“That’s silly,” he said to himself, looking at the full clip, “one is enough.” He wanted to laugh, but it came out as a muffled sob.

He flipped the safety off and hefted the gun in his hand. He let his finger drift toward the trigger guard. He cursed himself for his afflictions and prayed a silent apology to everyone for the mess he had made. A solitary tear dropped on the rear sights. He saw it with crystal clarity but the whole gun had started to dissolve into rapidly rotating electrons by the time he turned it around and gripped the trigger with his thumb.

A rush of static seemed to come from the tiny black maw of the barrel. It grew louder and turned into voices that drowned out all other noise. Carl thought again of Shirley, Janice, Albert, Anna and Kevin. Poor little Kevin. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

Outside, two robins took flight at the sudden sound.

*   *   *
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 01:41:36 AM by Country4Gal »
web: Broken Glass
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Carl -- 70 word start
« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2011, 07:49:01 AM »
Nice to have the background, I can see Carl bumbling and stumbling and not too worried that he's lost control - so what, he doesn't give a damn any more.

All the players in this drama are very plausible, reactions understandable. Carl's desperation still comes through.

The last line still chills me.

Good one! :) :) :)


Offline herron

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Re: Carl -- 70 word start
« Reply #39 on: April 25, 2011, 10:20:02 AM »
I keep playing the dialogue over in my head, trying to get to something that sounds like the kind of give-and-take such a scene would be likely to have. The last line was an inspired gift. I wanted to make the point of what happened without stating the obvious.

I appreciate the comments. They help. I may try something happy next.  :P

Thanks.   :-* :-*

web: Broken Glass
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