DWP No. 038

Storytelling | FINAL DAY

CONGRATS FOR MAKING IT THIS FAR! THE EASY PART’S DONE, NOW IT’S TIME TO GET TO WORK!

 

Objective

For this final day of Storytelling | Week One, write a short story using the elements you worked out over the course of this first week.

Shoot for a story of 1200-1500 words in length.

 

STORYTELLING | FINAL DAY

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11 Comments

  1. [ P.S. If you write something great, and are uncomfortable sharing the thing in its entirety on this site, this is fully understandable. Simply share a bit … as much or as little … with us here to entice us 🙂 ]

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  2. ( so we’re taking all the parts of the short story we wrote this week and putting them together in one whole for this prompt??)

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    1. I don’t really know. I realized what I was working on wasn’t really a short story in and of itself so I had to make some major changes today to restructure it into something cohesive.

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  3. Millersburg, 1974

    By Mary D. Sanford

    The house stood on the corner of Hunter Avenue and Miller Road, just like it had for the past 60 years but not like he remembered. It had three peaks, each one slightly smaller than the other cascading downward with the last one topping the garage door that was painted a dull pink, like the color of white panties stained with old menstrual blood.

    The house itself was a monstrosity compared to the others in the neighborhood. It was painted Girl Scout uniform green with tan shingles covering the tops of the peeks, the peaks like little birthday hats you would stick on your dog’s head and laugh to make fun of it. Compared to the neighbors who had little parcels, the yard was huge, a large lawn expanse, flat but lush green with its edges trimmed with baby Cypress trees all perfectly manicured leading up to the front door.

    There was a slab of dirt at the road’s edge where people could dump their cars as they zipped up to the front door. No one stayed long anyhow. What did it matter? The parking spot was off the road and perfectly safe but really, it was not any place you’d want to park permanently. From there you would take the sidewalk leading up to the house, that is, if you didn’t want to take a shortcut across the grass and get yelled at. It had odd- shaped slabs of granite, grayish blue in color, the edges embroidered in a zigzag, with crushed blue slate rock as if it were sprinkles on a birthday cake, the homeowner hopeful it would disguise the ugliness of the house itself. The crushed rock was shaded with mulberry bushes all misshapen and as gawky and awkward as a 12-year-old boy.

    A visitor approaching the front door, and there were a lot of visitors in those days, was shocked by the flowers growing in the yard, given how dismal the house looked from the curb. Straightahead lay the front steps and clearly a handyman‘s job. There were 4, all cement and all uneven, all with different risers, with 1 black fake iron handrail bedecked in curlicues. The door itself had more wrought iron railing, dull grey in color like the dull side of a piece of aluminum foil. It was a single door, not the fancy double kind like other houses had. This one was a screen door with a bit of glass window at the top, its pitcher-shaped handle half- attached to the bolting.

    Anton worked quietly in the yard pruning the flowerbeds. He was wiry built man, 78 going on 40. He constantly wore his beloved soiled baseball cap and beige canvas pants stained with oil, held up by a rickety brown belt with half the brown color coming off. On his face were wire/rimmed glasses smudged with snot and various closed wounds on his hands with blood scabs evident where the rooster bit him.

    Anton was a great gardener and he was responsible for the flowerbeds. This was a show/stopping front yard even though the house itself is ugly. People stopped to admire Anton’s work. Anton rarely looks up. He grunts and keeps digging and pruning, oblivious to the compliments. Anton is about 5’7” He wears paint stained brown brogan lace up shoes with the heels all scuffed up and the toes bashed in as if a cement block crushed the toes. Most days when the weather is nice he’s out there working in a stained T-shirt and that dammed stained hat, working on his hands and knees with his beloved flower beds, and cursing every time he thinks of Val. He cusses him out under his breath. And Julia. Even today, 25 years later, he still seethes with rage.

    Phillip left as soon as he could. In Pennsylvania that meant legal age. He was tired of the beating, tired of watching Anton cower, tired of pretending, and so tired,so tired of the dog poop everywhere. Then there were the drunken brawls and verbal fistfights that went on with his parents. Philip was naturally smart. He never studied but aced his classes. He was constantly running away, running from this hell that everybody thought otherwise.

    A regular juvenile delinquent, Anton would snear. When ya ever gonna grow up? Philip was tempted to punch his lights out but you just don’t do that do your grandfather. And after a while it got to be too much trying to hide the strap marks, the belts, and the constant screaming.

    Only Darci understood his blonde cutie pie of a girlfriend. She was one hottie all right. They met at a grocery store when he was buying beer for the boys and getting a pack of Marlboros’ too, and she thought he was sexy. Long hair, shoulder length, and green piercing eyes. She couldn’t believe he was almost 18. It seemed he should be older.Definitely not the type her parents expected.

    He gravitated towards her like a moth sucking up to a late summer campfire. She was his ticket to freedom. He left without saying goodbye to anyone, spitting on the ground as he kicked the door shut.

    Anton dreaded whenever Val came home.Val. What a bastard. He was bigoted, condescending, and arrogant. Add to the mix, Val was highly ethnocentric with an attitude of great superiority over anyone who was remotely different. To be Russian was to be inspired, to be pure, A real American- that’s who Russians were, Val boasted, not some grubby immigrant from a Slavic country who couldn’t even speak the language clearly.

    To be frank, Val wasn’t much better- but at least he tried. He went to night school and washed dishes at a Turkish restaurant, eventually graduating with honors at City College.

    No,Val was not like Anton. Thank God. He used his head, he used his brains, and obvious intelligence. All his professors at City College said so. Stupid Anton. All Anton knew how to do was use his hands.

    Anton was a master woodcarver specializing in both moldings and ornate plaster work like the kind that was in the old movie houses. He was also an expert coxswain on the East River. He adored Freida, his wife, and the flowers and garden he tended so lovingly. He was a simple man with simple needs. Fishing, gardening, and Freida.

    But there was Val. Anton despised Val for all of these things. But worst of all, worse than all the arrogance and spite, the constant insults and criticism for how Anton took care of the place, worse than him calling Anton a stupid immigrant, Val had done the unspeakable. Val had married Anton’s only child,a daughter.

    Antonia was easily the ugliest child on Anton’s extensive side of the family. It would be nothing short of miraculous, they often said when she wasn’t around, than any man would be remotely interested in her. She was homely, with a plain moon- shaped face, pale and plastered with freckles, plump as a chicken.

    When Julia announced her engagement to Val, Anton thought he was dreaming.
    “I’m getting married!”she cried, rushing into the walkup apartment on East End Avenue, and showing off her ring to Tygee the cat.

    “To Val! He loves me!”, she sang, and danced around the room, delirious with joy.

    Anton responded by spitting on the carpet then smacking her clear across her face. One of his fingers hit her eye, and then her eyes started running with tears and blood. She crumpled in a heap on the floor, sobbing inconsolably and screaming how she wished she was dead. It was a scene that would be repeated throughout Val‘s life with her.

    Anton kicked her for good measure. “Slut! Whore!,” he screamed, and stomped off to drink his Manischewitz in the basement.

    Anton slumped in the old easy chair a former guest had left down in the basement near the laundry room, guzzling from the wine bottle. That Maichewitz, that’s the Jews’ wine,that’s what Freda called it, but Anton didn’t care. It was cheap stuff and he needed it now.

    Slut bastard! After all he’d done for her she goes and falls in love with this asshole.

    “Anton, where are you? Are you down here? Anton! “ Freida’s screamed down the stairs, her nasal voice echoing off the walls.

    “Anton!” Anton wiped his lips and chucked the empty wine bottle behind the Coke machine.

    “Freida. My God, woman!” he whispered, and folded her into his arms.

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  4. Tumbleweed

    [“Cabin fever and restlessness stirred me from my mooring tonight. Or perhaps it was the deep hour and reassurance that I’d leave few sleepers along the way…”]

    A very fine, powdery white dust coated everything in the makeshift flat. It even rested between the pages of the books, and it seemed quite fond of floating up into the air at even the slightest rustling.

    [“When I got down to the city square, the air was thicker and warmer than I was anticipating, but it was a pleasing embrace I certainly wasn’t opposed to, especially not in the refreshing isolation I found myself. I suppose I was casting out about fifty feet at the time.”]

    The two girls clambered around the mechanical framework inside the abandoned spire apartment as it swayed in the gusts of wind that ripped over the tops of the skyscrapers watching over the city as it slept.

    “What are you reading?” said the taller, lankier of the two girls as she wiped away a powdery drift from a stack of massive lenses facing clear down to the street level below.

    “I dunno,” replied the shorter girl, “It looks like some kind of weird diary or something. It’s got nice handwriting though. But it’s really old… like last century or something.”

    [“My uncommon relaxation was stunted, however, by the most severe intrusion. For that night on the street I found myself not entirely alone…” ]

    “Sounds like a real pervert,” piped in the lankier girl as she stumbled over a pile of old metal canisters that clanked to the floor noisily.

    “It sounds like something serious happened, you skank!” the shorter girl snapped back silently in her own head. “Depends on who he saw, I guess,” she replied lazily.

    [“I felt a cold wind, first. And it was no trickling breeze. A freezing avalanche of low pressure barrelled over me and sucked the warmth from my core on its way. Then the footsteps came reverberating in off the glass walls of the skyscrapers surrounding me. I cast my dream-field out as far as I could until I could sense my encroacher. But this time, my limits were pierced. The footsteps ceased not. I could feel them growing closer, honing in on me. No helpless crumpling of a body to the ground. No snoring. No dreams. The entire effect of my presence on this penetrator was null.”]

    “Are you almost done?” the lankier girl interjected hastily.

    “Yeah, just wait. There’s something else. C’mere,” the shorter girl snapped back.

    [“…My only hope was to back away from the sound of the footsteps until I couldn’t hear them anymore, until I knew they were too distant to matter again. I had to run. It was the only plan I could muster as the weight of the anxiety mounted up. Then I saw his face, and his eyes, and he looked at me… and I knew that the peace of these days was at an end… and tonight I would leave this place forever.”]

    Unfolding a flap of paper below the last words of the diary entry, the shorter girl revealed an immaculate charcoal drawing of an arrestingly handsome man with an unmistakable scar on the right side of his chin.

    “Holy shit!” screamed out the lankier girl who was peering over her shoulder. “That’s our fuckin’ dad!”

    The shorter girl snapped the book shut and white powder flew everywhere. “I don’t think we were supposed to see this,” she stated hurriedly and starting to breathe faster. “Let’s go. Now, please. Now!”

    And with more than the motivation she needed, the lankier girl bounded over the shorter one and swung down to the hatch exit on the bottom deck. Reaching out her hand to rotate the wheel and swing open the door, her knees suddenly buckled and she crumpled forward into the wall, slumping down into a motionless heap on the floor.

    The shorter girl froze and her knuckles went white around the leather binding of the diary.

    Jolting into motion, the hatch wheel whipped around rapidly, unlatching the exit and shuddering the space around the girl with mechanical clanks.

    Immediately her fingers loosened on the diary and her hands fell limp to her sides as her body keeled over backward and flopped onto the surface of the second deck.

    A warm breeze wafted into the stuffy flat as Dune passed through the doorway, stepping deftly over the snoozing form of the lankier girl.

    “Well, well. It appears I have some curious guests!” Dune chimed out. “I do hope you’ve found something that sparks your interest. I’m just passing through, don’t worry,” he carried on to himself as he coasted about the space opening up secret compartments and withdrawing various inexplicable objects and pocket-sized gadgetry. “This old haunt is really just an old forgotten closet from my past, anyway, so help yourselves.”

    Just as quickly as he arrived, Dune found himself back at the exit hatch effortlessly whirling his towering frame around for one last farewell gaze over his old stomping grounds. The leather diary laying curiously undusted amid the fallout of white powder next to the shorter girl plucked out the last thread of his attention.

    “Oh, my,” he sighed as he turned over the memories in his mind, “it appears you have found for yourselves an affaire de coeur with trouble. Well, good luck!” And with that final flourish, he slipped out through the hatch and disappeared into the night.

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  5. [ So, I’m the one who wants to save this story that unfolded for me within my writing over the course of this past week. Since I want to submit the thing to a few pubs, I will only insert the first paragraph as an excerpt here. Sorry 😦 ]

    “Orbital Living” (an excerpt) by TK Camas

    Chances are, you are not ready to live on Orbitals. A few, perhaps, have already been living their lives in such a way as to make them good candidates for Orbital Living, but the rest remain largely unable. Nevertheless, if you do believe yourself to be the type of person who would not only survive but also, THRIVE under the conditions set forth by the Bromides of the Orbital Naturalization Governance, take a quick peek at our Four Points of Assessment to find out whether or not you qualify for further consideration. First, though, find out what Orbital Living means, not only to you but also, in reality! Argus Pinch, a long-time journalist of Orbital Living has returned from a special adventure and has shared it with us all in his new audio piece, “Life on the Orbital,” and we’ve published it here, first!

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    1. I liked everything you posted except for the last part of this sentence. The beginning part was humorous, a kind of tongue-in-cheek approach which I enjoyed . But to me the last part of this sentence is awkward and abrupt.”First, though, find out what Orbital Living means, not only to you but also, in reality!”

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