Paula called from the Kitchen. I watched the car
at the photographs of grand churches and those ghastly pyramids outside the Louvre.
“Wellington, Sir,” he said, then forked a few more slices of lamb.
Kate pushed me with more questions about retired life and asked about her aunts and uncles.
then over at the boys’ boy's dry bowl.
“That was a delicious pudding Mrs. Phillips, and the Dinner was amazing too.”
“- (where did this dash come from?) And most of the veg’s are from my garden,”
Kate asked, “Red or white?”
“Not a problem Ung-So.”
With every joke, my wife threw back her head in a snort of laughter and each time I neglected to laugh, my daughter
In my wake he skulked, through the bottom story.
high school balls - being head girl, she attended several.
“Wow, Kate’s hair was so long.”
“No thanks, I don’t drink.”
“Can I ask you something, Sir?” he began.
“Actually, it’s nothing.”
Her tanned face sat on Paula's shoulder and tears started at the corners of her eyes. Hands moved up and down Paula's back then she stepped towards me.
Hands moved up and down Paula's back then she stepped towards me.
The boy's head floated over my daughter's shoulder
I gently lowered myself onto the chair. Then, swift like a lioness,
Don't be modest, Tatai. You know he did most of the electrical fittings and plumbing himself too.
"So where are you from, boy?""Wellington, Sir," he said, then forked a few more slices of lamb."OK, but where were you from?"
Oh, well I haven't been to Asia since the Vietnam War, so I wouldn't know.
a sweet cinnamon scent permeating from a dish of crisscrossed pastry and sliced apple.
She served it up and heaped the whipped cream into all the bowls except mine.
"So what was your favourite city of the trip?"
"Paris was definitely my favourite place.""Oh how wonderful. Tatai and I stayed in Paris for a week when we were younger. I loved it, so beautiful.""I didn't care much for it," I said, between hot mouthfuls."And are you going back to work?""Next week, that's the beauty of my job, I can go back to practicing at any time, really.""So Dad, how is retired life?""It's fine, I don't have much to do now. I just walk about the farm, shooting the rabbits."
her Aunts and Uncles
“That was a delicious pudding Mrs. Phillips, and the dinner was amazing too.”
Kate asked, “Red or white?”“Either dear.”“I’ll have a red, Merlot if you have it? Do you want a glass of water, Hun?”“Yeah I will have water, if you don’t mind?”“Not a problem Ung-So.”
He laughed too loud. I could barely keep my brows from converging or my scowl concealed.
Conversation finally halted when my wife spoke.
“Why don’t you two make yourself more comfortable by the fire in the lounge, or Tatai perhaps you could show Ung-So around the house?”
The crest of the steps came after a few careful half strides
Framed and hung, his eyes moved
Our little girl’s blonde head jammed beneath my shoulder.
I winced as my rusty knees finally bent. The fire casted dancing figures around the walls and the boys’ eyes were dark, shadowed like canyons.
“Can I ask you something, Sir?”
He unbuttoned his shirt collar, and hunched over his knees.
“You a Christian, Boy?” I watched him with a firm glare, and my heart came on fast.
I heaved myself from Paula’s chair.
I killed a lamb last week.
You know you can’t touch that
I lead him to the deck, overlooking the farm
joshuapaul wrote:I killed a lamb last week. See, you say this, and it's a great first sentence in itself, but you fail to follow up on it. The first image is bound to stick in the reader's mind. Switching from one thing to a very different one in the first two sentences of a story like this doesn't tend to feel particularly inviting. Paula was stuffing a hind leg with garlic cloves and rosemary stalks. Her sleeves were up and hair was tied in a summer knot , clad for both the garden and the kitchen. I had nothing to do these days, not since I retired. Today I read my book and the paper, the sports and business sections, then tore it up Awkwardly phrased, and even then grammatically incorrect. You name two subjects - the book and the paper - and then say that you tore it - singular - up. What is it, the book or the paper? Definitely reword this. and used it to light the fire. My daughter and her Chink fiancé were on the way for dinner and the night "And the night"..."And the night"...what? You mean they're spending the night, don't you. Yeah, that should be much easier to grasp. . Kate had called my wife a week ago. She travelled traveled around Europe with him and he had taken a knee under the Eiffel tower. Again, her little voice came down the line from Auckland airport before they started the drive down. Paula guessed they would probably be here by seven.***I thought about the kill, about the lamb's helpless eyes came in focus. Always the same: the body hunching over itself, the head flapping back. Years ago it wasn't that easy.“Who’s that coming up the drive?” Paula called from the kitchen, snatching me from daydream. I watched the car through the blinds - With a comma, you could just as well have been describing the blinds. a silver, slick, Jap model with small wheels. A firm Already have enough adjectives in these few sentences. knock came at the door. The moment the car pulled in? Wow, she must have teleported or something. I placed my glasses on the kauri table in the den and moved to the foyer. Paula held the door and my daughter shuffled in with a suitcase, then she moved before moving (Moving? I'm sure you can think up a better verb than that!) into Paula's arms; and tears started at the corners of her eyes. Her hands moved up and down Paula’s back, then she stepped towards me."Dad," she said, warmly taking my arms around her waist. He I know your referring to him using only pronouns is a tactic thing, purposeful, but it doesn't particularly work, at least for me. I really think it'd sound better if you just used his name, or at least "her fiancé" or something. came through the doorway, his case balanced under a lean taut Don't need a double adjective. This would sound better if you just picked one or the other. arm. He pulled my wife in, (In? In where? In his case? I'm confused.) introducing introduced himself, then grinned and stretched out his hand. I took it. His dark pupils slyly found mine, and his grip was firm. Skin stretched across the hard, hair-free cheekbones. Swept across his forehead, a black fringe fell. This makes no sense. I have no idea what to picture here. “Ung-So Erm, is that his name? Then please make this clearer. Is it a greeting? Italicize it. As it is, I can't make anything of it. , (I think that this comma should be a period, but I'm really not sure because I don't know what the "Ung-So" is. it’s lovely to meet you, Mr. Phillips.” “Call me Tatai,” I said, pressing the door closed shut. I didn't even know he was by the door. He carried a woman’s scent, perhaps it came from my daughter. Doesn't add anything to the story. All this does is show that Tatai doesn't know what his daughter smells like. Kate put her notebook computer on the dinner table and, undistracted by the languid strokes of my carving knife, they all watched All watched...what?. With every click With every click of what? Are they taking pictures? Or do you mean to say that for some odd reason she just decided to start keeping time to the clicks of Tatai's carving knife? , my wife Ooh’d and Aah’d at the photographs of grand churches and those ghastly "Ghastly?" Not quite the right word. pyramids outside the Louvre. We had seen most of it, but that was a long time ago now. From a long neck, the boy’s head hovered over my daughter's shoulder, lips licked Verbs taking the place of adjectives can be confusing, and this is no exception. Try "thin.", mouth in a sappy half-grin. “It’s all ready; do you want to start serving up, Paula?” The plates were set at the table, piled with asteaming messes of veg-garden and home-kill. Using my oak cane for support, I gently lowered myself onto the chair. Then Paula, swift like as a lioness, batted my hand, caught half way to the gravy.“You know you can’t touch that, not with your heart.” I slowly retracted, lips tight keeping the frown inside. The Chink gobbled down the entire meal as though he hadn’t eaten in weeks. “You can eat, boy.” 1) Who said that? and 2) What the heck? Is he/she being sarcastic? It's hard to tell. “Oh, ah, thanks.” He paused to swallow a mouthful of water. Kate and Paula glared at me with eyebrows high, and noses creased Try raising your eyebrows and creasing your nose at the same time. Yeah. Doesn't work. . Looking at me like that, they could have been twins, if you tightened Paula’s skin and [took my daughter's colour] Took it where? And what do you mean by color - dark or light skin? , I mean. “This is a lovely house you have, Mr. Phillips.” Oh? Does Paula not own it as well?“I built most of it myself.” “Oh, that’s interesting. Kate mentioned you’re a bit of a handyman.” “Well I wouldn’t go so far as to-“ “-Don’t be modest, Tatai. You know, (insert fiancé's name), he did most of the electrical fittings and plumbing himself too,” said...?“Oh wow, That’s amazing.” The boy exaggerated.“So where are you from, boy?” said...?“Wellington, Sir,” he said replied, then forked a few more slices of lamb. “OK Okay, but where were you from?” The girls stopped eating. in my unfocussed outer gaze, I could feel the that (Just so I know what look it is you're talking about.) same look from them; this time they held it a little longer. I revealed my wrists and lifted my brow, as if to ask ‘What?’“Originally, my parents came from Korea.” But he didn't ask him where his parents were from. He asked him where he was from.“Korea.” I thought a moment and continued, “And what brought you to our great country? Oh, clichéd, clichéd. Ugh. ” His gaze moved to my daughter, and a dopey grin started at the edges of his mouth. “I guess my parents just realised how amazing this country really is.”“Compared to?” “Korea.” “Oh, well, I haven’t been to Asia since the Vietnam war, so I wouldn’t know.” Kate’s knife and fork clanked against the china and that look came again. “Who wants pudding?” Paula asked, as she swiftly stood, forcing her seat into a slide rising swiftly to her feet. Her chair slid back loudly. Silence lingered and when Paula returned from the kitchen, she brought with her a sweet cinnamon scent wofting from adish of crisscrossed pastries (I'm guessing, because otherwise this would be commensurate to saying, "She brought back pastry.") and sliced apples (Same reason.) . She served it upand heaped the some whipped cream You didn't tell us she brought whipped cream. into all the bowls except mine. “So what was your favourite city of the trip?” Paula asked, turning to the boy. He eyed Kate, then with spoon in one hand and scratching along his jaw with the other Meh. Rework this. , he spoke.“Paris was definitely my favourite place.”“Oh, how wonderful. Tatai and I stayed in Paris for a week when we were younger. I loved it. So beautiful.”“I didn’t care much for it,” I said, between hot mouthfuls.“And are you going back to work?" my wife continued, glancing away my input with thea roll of her eyes.“Next week. That’s the beauty of my job; I can go back to practicing at any time, really.” Meaningless to the reader, because we don't even know what his job is. “So Dad, how is retired life?” Kate started.“It’s fine. I don’t have much to do now. I just walk about around the farm, shooting the rabbits.”Kate pushedpestered (Or something of that sort. "Pushed" doesn't work.) me with some more questions about retired life and then asked about her aunts and uncles. I took a moment to let my gut catch up to my mouth, glancing down at the half-full bowl, then over at the boy's dry bowl. He dropped his spoon against the china and his eyes findingfoundPaula.“That was a delicious pudding, Mrs. Phillips, and the dinner was amazing, (He really likes the word "amazing," doesn't he....) too.” “And most of the vegs are from my garden,” Paula boasted, lines seaming from the edges of her eyes. She then dashed around collecting the plates and offered my daughter and the boy a glass of wine. Kate asked, “I’ll have a red, Merlot if you have it? Do you want a glass of water, Hun?” “Yeah I will I'll just have water, if you don’t mind.” Conversation continued at the dinner table for a short while longer. I added my thoughts occasionally, but I couldn’t speak without letting my lip curl and eyes narrow. He laughed too loud.I found myself staring at his wrists; I could see them snapping back under an armload of firewood or a summer bale. And his body, tapered in at the hips.With every joke, my wife threw back her head in a snort of laughter and each time I neglected to laugh, my daughter gave me that look, staring at me as if a hideous slug were moving along the ridge of my "Her" would work just as well, I think. nose.“We should take care of these dishes,” my wife finallysaid at last, bringing conversation to a halt.They disappeared with the plates in the kitchen and Paula called, “Why don’t you take Ung-So on the grand tour, Tatai?” I stood with cane in hand. “Come on, then.” His face washed with wide-eyed confusion ...Why is he confused, exactly? He can speak English, can he not? , and then he stood and followed my silent trail. I moved through the foyer, taking my daughter’s suitcase as I passed. In my wake he skulked. Flicking lights on and off as we went, I showed him the den, the TV lounge, the guest bedroom and ensuite, and finally the pool room, noting that it was once Kate’s nursery. We reached the crest of the steps after a few Only a few? careful half-strides and his Chink hand occasionally pressed on my lower back. What? Why?“That one’s our room,” I said, pointing atto the first door. We moved up the hall. I reached into the next room and found the light switch. “This is Kate’s old room.” Shirtless men, crudely cut, were still tacked to the wall. I watched the boy, running his gaze along her bookshelf library, Wolfe and Picoult, well read by age ten. He scanned the framed and hungsepia-tone memories of high school balls - being head girl, she attended several. Strung from the wall, above her pink bed, her ballet shoes fell. We stood, shoulders almost touching, staring at the only photo unstained by sunlight If this is the only photo that you're staring at, then how could they have noticed all the other things? Little logic blip there. . Our little girl jammed beneath my shoulder Whoa, rework. First, I can't tell whether you're talking about the picture or real life, and second, you make it sound like you're trying to strangle her. . Held in one arm was a framed degree and in the other her mother’s waist. All grins, all those years ago Again, rework. This sentence looks and sounds mightily awkward. . “Wow, Kate’s hair was so long.”“Yeah,” I said without effort, though he may have heard it uncouth.I leadled him to the deck, overlookingwhich overlooked the farm, from the hills, washed in receding pine, to the gully, dotted with a moonlit flock. I jerked my head, before I walked down the stairs. The girls sat Sat where? Weren't they in the kitchen? I'm extremely confused, and can't picture this scene at all. with a teapot and cups. Paula’s eyes found mine, and her head tilted toward the den, a tacit command.“Have a seat.” HeUng-So (Please stop referring to him as "he" when you don't need to. It's confusing and annoying.) fell into the red leather antique chair and stared at the open fire. (Now there's a fire and a leather chair? Wait, aren't they still on the deck? What happened?) I walked to my father’s old sideboard and poured a couple of fingers of whiskey. “You want a whiskey, boy?” His back straightened. “No thanks, I don’t drink.” I winced as my rusty knees finally bent. (Erm, what do you mean by this, exactly?) The fire castedcast dancing figures aroundalong the walls and the boys’ eyes were dark, shadowed like canyons.“Can I ask you something, sir?” he began. I swallowed a taste of whiskey and nodded. “Oh-” he paused and his eyes moved from the lickedflames to mine, “Actually, it’s nothing.” The cool glass trembled softly in my hand and I sucked a wheezy chest of air.He sat stiffly, then unbuttoned his shirt collar and hunched over dropped to his knees. A small glistening silver chain fell, spinning and rocking. He quickly snatched it back in his shirt. “You a Christian, boy?” I watched him with a firm glare, and my heart came on fast. The weight in my throat cleared with a pat on the chest and a hard cough. “Why did you hide it away?”Somewhere beyond the flames he stared, eyes unfocussed unfocused, vacant.“I don’t know, Sir.”“What do you mean you don’t know? You don't know why you're ashamed of it or if you’re a Christian?”"I, ah-" he began, but stopped, swallowing the words. His eyes stayed still did not move, voided by the flames' allure.He let it slip and I watched it twist and bounce, shining and twirling against the light. Suddenly, I was conscious of my own crucifix; I quickly ran my hand over it like a tongue over a capped tooth and again the lamb's cold helpless eyes flashed. The last jolts of life. The thudding organic metronome coming fast, then not at all. Together we stared through the flames. The fire cracked and spat sparks against the grill. The popping and rustling grew so loud I couldn’t hear my thoughts. I heaved myself from the chair. The last finger of whiskey went down in one mouthful and I walked behind my seat, leaving the boy steeped in firelight.
My daughter and her Chink fiance were on the way for dinner and the night. [Slightly awkward phrasing. Maybe simply leave it at, 'on the way for dinner'.] Kate had called my wife a week ago. She travelled Europe with him and he had taken a knee [It took me a moment to realise you meant proposed! I like it on the one side because it gives more personality to the speaker, but on the other I wonder if you can make it more readily understandable. Maybe 'had taken the knee' or 'had taken his knee' would just make it that tiny bit clearer.] under the Eiffel tower. Again, her little voice came down the line from Auckland airport before they started the drive down. Paula guessed they would probably be here by seven.
"OK [Why the choice of OK over Okay? I suppose it's personal preference but OK has always irked me when I see it in a novel/ poem.], but where were you from?" The girls stopped eating in my unfocussed outer gaze, I could feel the same look from them; this time they held it a little longer. I revealed my wrists and lifted my brow, as if to ask %u2018What?%u2019
Conversation continued at the dinner table for a short while longer. I added my thoughts occasionally but, I couldn%u2019t speak without letting my lip curl and eye's [No need for the apostrophe.] narrow. He laughed too loud. I found myself staring at his wrists,I could see them snapping back under an armload of firewood or a summer bale. And his body, tapered in at the hips.
I winced as my rusty knees finally bent. The fire casted dancing figures around the walls and the boy's eyes were dark, shadowed like canyons.
93,168 Literary Works • 490,126 Reviews