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The Girl from Lincoln (1)

by Elinor


AN: I am working on a short story project/anthology relating to Eagle Rock. The other works are viewable hereCheck them out if you so desire, but prior knowledge of the story and the world isn't necessary. This will probably be two or three parts. Enjoy and please offer your honest feedback. 

If you so desire and you like to immerse in your reading, feel free to listen to the two songs I mention that play in the ice cream shop to get more of a sense of the environment. 

Sugar, Sugar

The Age of Aquarius

*

On July 3rd, 1969, I was working the night shift at the Baskin Robbins in Lincoln. It was miserably hot and humid, the kind of hot that made people want to stay inside in the air conditioning. It was a quarter past eight. Less than an hour until close. The shop was empty, and I could feel the dead, thick silence of the summer heat waiting for me on the bike ride home.

I was working alone, so I had control of the radio. The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” was the choice of the moment. While I thought it was ridiculously overplayed, I had to admit that it was catchy. It was either that or Vietnam, and the latter was something I was tired of thinking about.

I leaned down against the display, comforted by the coolness that radiated from the ice cream. I thought about my birthday, a week and two days away. I was turning seventeen, and I had no idea if I was going to end up having any plans at all. I thought about how stressed Mother was about the barbecue we had planned for the fourth, and how it seemed like she was letting herself get awfully uptight about something was supposed to be fun.

As the song came to an end, I became aware of two girls staring at me. One blonde, the other brunette. Neither was gorgeous but I still found that I was intimidated by them. It was something about the way they carried themselves. The blonde wore faded cutoffs and a multicolored sleeveless top, and the brunette a long sleeve red and white dress. The clothes fit them awkwardly, and between their makeup-less faces and matted hair, I knew something about them was different from anyone I’d ever met. Next to them, I felt woefully inadequate.

The blonde fished some money out of her pocket. “We’ll have double scoop of chocolate mint.”

“Cup or cone?” I responded automatically.

The girls looked at each other.

“Cup,” the blonde said. “With two spoons.”

“Seventy-five cents.”

She handed me a single dollar bill, and her hand was warm but limp to the touch. As I prepared their change, the girls turned to each other.

“I like it here,” said the brunette. “I’m sure they have fireworks. Maybe Jay will let us stay another day.”

I momentarily forgot I was supposed to be scooping their ice cream, and quickly took a cup and began to serve it. As I did, I was self conscious of how stupid I looked in my pink uniform. Not that they cared. They were deep in conversation about something I couldn’t fully follow, something about being in Denver the day before, wanting to see Lake Michigan and someone named Jay. They seemed to be in their own world, so I cleared my throat to let them know that their change, and their ice cream, was on the counter. The blonde took it and offered the brunette a second spoon. They saw me staring and gave me a condescending smile.

“I take it you’re not from around here?” They didn’t hear me, so I repeated the question.

“No,” the blonde answered. “We live on the road.”

“The two of you?” I merely asked.

“No, there’s a few others,” said the blonde.

“We’re in a different place every night,” the brunette added. “It’s a lot of fun.”

“You both seem really cool,” I said, feeling myself blush.

The girls both exchanged a smile. “You seem cool too.”

I almost couldn’t believe what I’ve heard. I was cool? I couldn’t be. “I’m Debbie,” I said.

“Alex,” said the blonde.

“Sasha,” said the brunette.

Alex took a step towards me, holding out the ice cream. “Want some?” I froze for a moment, confused. No customer had ever offered me ice cream before. I didn’t know if it was even allowed.

“Uh, no,” I said. “I’m okay.” They looked at me for a moment. “I get a free scoop at the end of the night.”

“Jealous,” said Sasha.

The 5th Dimension’s “The Age of Aquarius” began on the radio now. This station was nothing if not predictable. I didn’t want them to think that my taste was boring, but at the same time, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself to walking over to the radio. But they didn’t seem to care.

“What’s your favorite flavor?” Alex asked.

“Banana nut,” I said.

“Oooh,” she responded. Then, she took a bite of ice cream. “This is really good.” When I didn’t respond, she added, “When do you get out of here?”

“Nine.”

Alex looked at the clock, and I realized neither girl was wearing a watch.

“Well,” she said. “We’ve been looking for cool people to hang out with while we’re here.”

I knew Mother was waiting for me when I got home help her set out the dough for the strawberry turnovers, which I wasn’t exactly looking forward to. I was fascinated by Alex and Sasha and the friends that they’d mentioned. “Tonight?” I asked.

“Sure,” Alex said.

“I have to go home,” I said. “We’re having a barbecue tomorrow. At our house.”

“That sounds fun,” Alex responded.

“Maybe you can come,” I blurted out, without considering what would my mother would think. “Invite your other friends too.”

The girls nodded. ”We’re headed towards Wisconsin,” Sasha said. “We want to see Lake Michigan.”

“I’ve been there once,” I said. “For my cousin’s wedding.”

They smiled.

“The barbecue probably won’t be that exciting,” I said. “It’s going to probably just be a lot of my mom’s friends. No one our age. My mom’s a good cook though.”

“Debbie,” Alex said. “Can I ask you something?”

I nodded.

“Do you want to go home?”

I was unprepared for the question. “We think you’d like Jay,” Sasha said.

“Who’s Jay?” I asked, as I’d head the girls mention him several times already.

They both smiled, about as wide as anyone could. “You just have to meet him.”

“I really wish I could,” I said. “But I would like to change. And I have my bike.” If this Jay as special as they were making him seem, the last thing I wanted him to see me in was my Baskin Robbins uniform.

“If you really want to come with us,” Alex said, “Then we’ll help you talk to your mom.” 


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Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:34 pm
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inkdreams wrote a review...



Wow this story is really interesting!

I really loved this story. I love this story because you did well at capturing the atmosphere. I felt like I was in the ice cream shop with the characters. It was very intriguing. It made me wonder what is going on with the two girls she meets.

I think you could improve on your descriptions a little. I suggest you could describe the characters appearance in detail because it was difficult for me to imagine the characters in my mind.

I think you could improve on your spelling. I noticed some typos and missing words.

Overall I think your writing is amazing. Despite the typos, I enjoyed this story. I am looking forward to the next part of the story. This is a really creative plot.

Keep writing!




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Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:49 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...



Ohhhhh gosh, I hope I have time to read part two today. That might come later.

I don't think I've met Debbie yet, so this is exciting! I also get to know Alex and Sasha a bit more without Jay around. And the first thing I notice is how much more obvious it is that Alex is more experienced in this situation than Sasha. It's much clearer here how Alex knows Jay better and admires him so much more on a much deeper level.

I adore, once again, how you set up the atmosphere here. I can tell you have such a good feel for the environment, the setting. It's so strong, so powerful, and so descriptive. I really feel like I'm there, and it's not like an overflow of description to put me there. It's just a good amount to make me feel like yes, yes this is their world, and I am familiar with how things are.

It seemed really strange to me, and this is really the only thing that stood out to me, how they called her cool and how Debbie reacted to it. I don't think she really did or say anything to prompt a "you're cool" comment from Alex and Sasha, which is fine. It could be one of those hooks that they use to gain new members or whatever. But it was weird for Debbie to be like "really? they think I'm cool?" when nothing really stood out. So maybe she's super insecure, but there wasn't much build up to that perspective either. So it felt kind of off to me.

gOSH I want to read the next part, but I will be antsy and probably return to it in a few hours. I need to know how Alex is going to like.. talk to Debbie's mom. Like... that scares me on a number of levels. I really just adore how Alex's character comes out in this piece though. She makes so much more sense to me here.

And all of these little pieces of yours is making me so much more excited for Eagle's Rock. <3




Elinor says...


Ahh yay. I'm glad you liked it. :D Can't wait to hear what you think of Part 2.



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Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:22 pm
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mellifera wrote a review...



Hey Elinor! here to review, as promised :D


the kind of hot that made people want to stay inside in the air conditioning.


I mean, any kind of hot makes me want to stay in A/C, to be honest. I think this could be a good descriptive line if it was worded differently? ("It was miserably hot and humid, the kind of temperature that made people flock to air conditioning like moths to a flame." Or, you know, something like that? Or something about how sticky it gets outside because of the heat and humidity. Right now, it just reads a little bland)

The shop was empty, and I could feel the dead, thick silence of the summer heat waiting for me on the bike ride home.


On the other hand, I really like this part. I might shift a few things around ("I could already imagine" instead of feel because it's telling, and even more insignificant, I would change "on the bike ride home" to "on my bike ride home"), but I still like this line a lot.

I thought about my birthday, a week and two days away.


This is another "telling" line? "I thought about" is telling the reader that protagonist is thinking when you could just write in what she's thinking (it becomes more like padding to explain what you're character is doing then to just jump into it). You could even tie it into the next sentence: "My seventeenth birthday was a week and two days away, and I still had no idea if I'd end up with any plans at all." There's no real reason to separate them as they are right now.

I thought about how stressed Mother was about the barbecue we had planned for the fourth,


I think you already know what I'm going to say about this line ;) You could tie this into her already thinking about her birthday too, instead of seemingly trying to make it stand by itself? ("Mother was already stressed about the barbecue planned for the fourth - though it seemed she was getting herself awfully uptight for something meant to be fun - and I didn't know if trying to get my own activities planned so shortly after would be received well." <- and that last line is a loose example, because I don't know what relationship she has with her mum or if it would be changed depending on the situation? Like, maybe she doesn't want to overload her mum's plate and is more worried about stressing her out further, so mention that instead. Or she feels neglected by her mum because of not having anything currently planned, in which case, another way to end that line. It also adds an extra layer to the story by introducing the protagonist's relationship with her mum, because it's very neutral language right now and there's no way to tell what she's actually feeling about her birthday/her mum/the barbecue)


I knew something about them was different from anyone I'd ever met.


Because I'm apparently on a line-critiquing roll today (lol I'm sorry I've contributed nothing to the actual story yet), this seems like an out of place line? I'm sure that everyone who comes into the shop is different. I can't imagine everyone is the same. I would tie in how she feels about seeing them in such a state instead (fear or disgust at their dishevelled appearance?). And pulling in the sentence coming after this- why does she feel inadequate? In what way? Does she not feel pretty enough (which would be odd if she didn't think they were particularly attractive/they're appearance is messy/uncaring)? I'm just not sure why she would feel that way (though I have no qualms about her being intimidated by them, because that makes sense).

I momentarily forgot I was supposed to be scooping their ice cream,


I thought she was getting their change? I would have had there be more of a pause between taking the money and getting the ice cream before you say "momentarily forgetting" anything.

"I take it you're not from around here?"They didn't hear me, so I repeated the question.


I have to wonder how they didn't hear her, if they were both looking right at her? If there was something about... their eyes glazing over, or looking vacantly at her, or something to indicate them spacing out, then I probably wouldn't have brought it up. (there also isn't a space between the end of the dialogue and "They didn't")

"The two of you?" I merely asked.


Why the "merely" here?


You know, it usually drives me nuts when somebody uses "the brunette" or "the blonde" or "the guy with blue eyes" as a tag when the characters don't have names yet/haven't been introduced, but it's actually not bothering me at all right now.


My mom's a good cook though.""Debbie," Alex said.


Pretty sure there's supposed to be a line separation here?


I really like the story line here! I mean, I think that it's really interesting to see how all the girls end up following Jay, and where they came from? (I say that having read a few of the other short stories you've written set in Eagle Rock's story and also knowing about where they end up?)

My main complaint is just the second half? You might want to go back and check how many times somebody (particularly Alex and Sasha) "look" at something/a certain way, and also how many times (again, particularly Alex and Sasha) smile, because there gets to be a point where both those things got to repetitive. I wish there was a little more than just the dialogue too, because it was pretty barren (save for the dialogue), but at the same time, I know too much description can break up the flow of conversation, and I'm not sure what exactly it is I feel is lacking. I thought I'd mention it anyway, but I'm sorry I can't give you a definite answer on what I would have liked to see more of.

Also, watch out for things that are blatantly telling (as I mentioned earlier). Things like "I was unprepared for the question" is all telling. Show how she's unprepared. Does she blink a few times, part her lips maybe? Does she frown? Does she open her mouth to speak but doesn't know what to say?

(And as a minor thing, there's a few places where there's just some technical errors, like lines not being separated or not being spaces between sentences? I mentioned a few, but I noticed a couple others as I was reading)


I think that's all I've got for you today! I love seeing how much you expand on Eagle Rock and every girl's story! It's so cool to see how passionate you are about your project!

I hope you're having a great time :D




Elinor says...


Ahh! Thank you so much for your review. I know I can struggle with passive voice so I appreciate it being pointed out.

I am doing well! Can I tag you once I post future parts? :D



mellifera says...


you're welcome!

and go for it! :)




"The trouble with Borrowing another mind was, you always felt out of place when you got back to your own body, and Granny was the first person ever to read the mind of a building. Now she was feeling big and gritty and full of passages. 'Are you all right?' Granny nodded, and opened her windows. She extended her east and west wings and tried to concentrate on the tiny cup held in her pillars."
— Terry Pratchett, Discworld: Equal Rites