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16+ Language

Do You Remember Jonnie Casey? (1/3)

by joshuapaul


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

“Do you remember Jonnie Casey?”

“Yeah, I remember Jonnie Casey. He played full back for the first fifteen. Why?”

“You see the thing about that girl in the paper?”

“Yeah I saw.”

“Terrible what happened. That was Jonnie Casey’s girlfriend.”

“Shit, you don’t say?”

“Mmm hmm.”

“I haven’t seen Jonnie Casey in years.”

“It’s a shame isn’t it?”

“Yeah it’s a shame,” he said, before lifting himself from his chair. “I’m just going to have a smoke.”

“Smoke in here, I don’t mind. Just open that window, right there.”

“I want to smoke outside.”

He picked a cigarette and lit it. From somewhere out in the midday suburban disquiet came the long jerking cackle of a baby, followed by the distant yapping of a dog. He closed his eyes as he drew on the cigarette and opened them when he exhaled. His eyes cast about the street for nothing in particular.

He pitched his cigarette onto the drive way then slid the door open.

The old woman sat with her legs crossed at the knee and her foot tapping; she didn’t notice his head craned in the door until he spoke.

“I’m going to head off.”

“Oh yeah, what have you got on?”

“Go home, I don’t know. I’ve got things to do.”

“Alright, well drive safe,” she said returning to the newspaper.

***

On a long straight, a figure quivered in the heat rising from the tarmac. Walking off to the side of the road, a shape transfigured – a head, arms and legs. He dropped gears, the engine lugged then eased to a stop at the shoulder of the road. Leaning over, he spoke.

“Need a lift, boy?”

Schoolbag hanging over one shoulder, a boy of ten or eleven. Eyes down cast, once black shoes browned with dust.

“No, I don’t need a ride, thanks,” he said without looking up.

“Where you heading?”

He gestured with a nudge of his head.

“Where to?”

“That way. Just up Moreland Road.”

“You Tom Haverkamp’s kid aren’t you?”

The boy nodded.

“Well climb in, I can drop you up there, I’m heading that way anyway.”

“I-” he hesitated. “I’m okay to walk.”

He nodded for a moment and looked up the road.

In the rear view mirror, the boy stood and watched as the car pulled away from the shoulder. He gave it more gas than it needed and the boy didn’t move from the bronze cloud of dust the wheels had kicked up. Before he descended from a crest he regarded the now distant figure in the review mirror, he was walking again in the direction they both were headed.

***

“What do you think?” he asked of his wife.

“Watch whatever, Hon. I’m making dinner.”

“I mean, do you think it will make the national news?”

She looked into the macaroni and cheese, listlessly turning it with a table spoon. She pulled the lid of the boiling potatoes and adjusted the heat.

“Will what make the national news?”

“The girl from the village who went missing.”

She stopped moving the pots and spoon to consider it. “No,” she said. “People go missing all the time and it doesn’t make the national news, don’t see how this is any different.”

“Mum was saying, when I seen her earlier today, she said that this girl was seeing this guy I knew at high school.”

“That so?”

“That’s so.”

“It’s awful, but who knows, she might turn up.”

“I’m sure she probably will, but that doesn’t mean she will be alive,” he said.

She turned her head away from the stove top to see what his face was saying.

“Your back any better today?” she asked.

“Not much. I won’t be able to go back to work for a while yet.”

“Well I don’t mind, so long as they keep paying you.”

“They’ve got to, that’s the law.”

He was hunched forward upon the edge of the sofa and he pinched along the stubble at his thick jaw.

When the ad break began he rose and moved to the kitchen. His eyes wandered up from the apron strings, tightly knotted against the small of her back, to her hair, which sat up in a loose knot. Her shoulders shot up when he kissed her neck then relaxed and he took her hips in his hands.

“What you call this one?” he asked playfully.

“It’s just mac and cheese and I might mash the spuds if we’ve got butter.”

“We don’t, but I’ll get some.”

“Now?”

“Yeah now.”

“Okay, don’t be long though. This is almost ready.”

“Won’t be five minutes.”

At the milk bar, the girl behind the counter took a piece of gum from her mouth when he entered and watched the entrance for a moment as he walked past her.

“How are you Mr Green?”

“I’m good, how about yourself?” he called from the aisle, taking up a block of butter.

“Same old.”

Frowning, he circled the island of shelves at the centre of the store.

“Where are the pain killers hiding?”

“They’re back here by the cigarettes.”

“What are they doing back there?” he asked, approaching the counter, over which she bent on her elbows.

“Well, Mr Raji moved them. Kids have been stealing them.”

Stealing them?”

“Yeah that’s what he said. I caught one of them once, you know?”

“What do they steal them for?”

“I don’t know. Kid’s only a year or two younger than me. I think they’re taking them for fun.”

With a short concerned nod he put the butter on the counter, then cleared his throat.

“Well you can be dead certain I’m not taking them for fun,” he said.

The girl didn’t meet his gaze, but flashed a timid smile. “No I didn’t mean anything like that.”

“Oh, I know. I’m just saying, you can’t have too much fun with these things,” he eyed a cigarette pack and shot it with his finger. “I’ll take a pack of them Pall Mall 25s and a box of Panadein.”

He paid, they thanked each other then he left. In the dim fluorescent night, moths beat about the lone street light in delirious elliptical whirls and beat against the glass shopfront.

He looked up as his lights came on and the engine started, she wasn’t moving, she was just watching the car. When the engine crunched into reverse he saw her replace the chewing gum and check her mobile phone for the time and for any contact she may have missed.

He placed the butter beside the covered pot of potatoes on the chopping board, then swallowed a pair of pain killers. On his way back outside, he heard his wife call, “You want to mash those?”

“I will in a minute,” he called back, before sliding the door closed behind him and lighting a cigarette.

To the quiet clink of knife and fork against each other and the noir big band sounds of the crime drama on the television. Husband and wife spoke, sitting next to each other on the couch.

Part two here.


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Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:27 pm
PenguinAttack wrote a review...



Hullo Joshua!

I recall reading some of your work some time ago and I'm glad to be able to report an improvement! This is a really good beginning to your work. The narrator is solid and I enjoy your descriptions, although we must have a word about structure!

Firstly, you have to stop saying the bloke's name so much. I know that's the point, that this is who this bloke is, and it's not about him but it's about him. But really, no one actually uses people's names very often. We particularly don't use their full names so often, so please cut most of those out! It's fine to repeat his name a little bit because I get the sense that's part of the style of this particular story. You have to keep it simple though, because anything too much becomes jarring and then we notice it - at least I do!

About structure: Some of your description is very confusing. "He pitched his cigarette onto the drive way then slid the door open." this seemed to come out of nowhere? I know he said he wanted to go outside but then we didn't move outside, and you do this later on as well I think - Found it again at the very end! This is a super confusing but very interesting sudden transition. There's just this moment of "what? Oh." going on. I'm not sure if you intended this, definitely having a dissonance in style can disorient your reader and give the feeling of everything tipping to the side, almost. If this is intended, it is so working like crazy working omg. :D

The movement of your narrative is interesting and I'm looking forward to finding out what's going on here. I can almost feel the tension between the pair here and that is pretty delicious. It's been a while since I've seen some solid realistic writing going on and it's working very well here. I think you should be way pleased with how this is turning out. I don't like the narrator at the moment, but that isn't anything special. Right now he doesn't feel fleshed out, he's lacking personality at the moment and I know I'll find out more about that in the second part. I'm hoping it turns out he has a strong backbone cause I feel like he's going to need it!

Thanks so much for posting this, I'm moving right on to the next one now. If you have any questions, queries or just want to chat please hit me up!

~ Pen




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Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:23 pm
StoneHeart wrote a review...



Ah, okay.

First off, I shall comment, this was great!

You're style is amazing, and you have loads of talent.
I'm sure there are some grammar problems, I'm not going to pick them out for you (I'll leave that to someone else). Instead I'll review the rest of your story.

Dialogue.

Ah okay, your dialogue is great, really perfect. I wish I could writer dialogue like this, however it has a problem. It needs to have the little "(Person) said: - dialogue -" thingy's.

Because with this much dialogue I get lost on who said what and when and all! It's confusing.
But nice work, this was some impressive dialogue.

Style.

Your style is perfect for this kind of thing, really good dialogue mainly.
I have nothing to say on it.

Description.

You need to change your description. You describe a number of tiny inconsequential points, but don't give the kind of description a reader needs to visualize a story well. I'd advise adding more descriptions for sure.
A reader wants to be able to immerse themselves into a story, and descriptions really help them in doing that.

POV and Flashback.

I'd advise you to not change the point of view in here. At all.
In a story this is a smart thing to do because when you do it the reader loses their feel for the main character. Keep on one POV then the reader can keep their attention and interest focused on that character.


Overall, this was great. I really enjoyed it, and am hoping you write more.

Keep writing!




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Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:06 am
joshuapaul says...



In an attempt to keep equal weighting in the parts that make up this story, I have extended it to three parts.





"I'd be a quote vigilante. A literary Batman. Someone had better be quoting me now!"
— Feltrix