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Fly in the Ointment (Part 1: The Encounter)

by sinistercutlass


Megan pedaled home on her bike with the pink-and-white handlebar streamers. She thought of the hills and homework and babysitting that awaited her, and she sighed heavily. She was 18, a senior, and a proud B-student at West Park High School. She was doing OK.

It is true that Megan had failed to earn her driver’s license; a sin against Americanism that forced her, to the consternation of her staid conservative parents, to pedal everyday through the ‘Mexican ghetto’ while in the bloom of young womanhood.

While Megan’s parents minded this, Megan didn’t so much. Riding home from school was her special time to shut off her school brain and enjoy the breeze that rustled the maples and ran cool fingers through her pink-beribboned hair. When she recognized this little bit of fearlessness in herself, she chuckled a bit. And they say Mormon girls are all the same!

Up ahead of Megan, a slim white figure with sandy short hair strolled.

“On your left,” Megan called, veering to the center of the road.

The figure half-turned, revealing her face, and Megan’s stomach clenched. She determinedly floored the pedals, hoping to avoid a conversation.

“Oh! Hi, Megan,” said the walking girl.

Megan sped past her, but her legs gloomily ceased their work, and she slowed to a crawl. Guilt, which is the pimp of all dutiful Mormon women, tapped Megan on the shoulder and tugged at her Anna and Elsa backpack. Guilt silently reminded Megan of her obligation to be kind at this girl she hadn’t seen for three years.

Kathryn, as Megan remembered, had been dour and doughy, with owlish round glasses. Now she was trim, in a very flattering striped top, and using some trendy black wire frames. But that was far less shocking than the way her skin glowed with health, the way her small heart-shaped lips smiled often, and the way her clear, dark eyes captured Megan in their steady gaze.

When she found her voice again, Megan said, “Hi.”


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Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:23 am
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BluesClues wrote a review...



Based on the description of Kathryn here vs when she joined the congregation three years ago, leaving Mormonism was clearly good for her.

Frankly, I'm impressed that Kathryn was so ready to be open and friendly to Megan after everything that happened with all those girls three years ago. It's admirable. If one of the girls who was that way to me passed by on a bike, I'd certainly pretend not to recognize her. But Kathryn's fricking awesome, so of course she tried to have a conversation like the wonderful person she is.

(Seriously, you did such a great job with her. I love her so much.)

I do like Megan's "fearlessness," or at least the fact that she has her idea of herself as "fearless" when immediately afterwards she hopes to avoid a conversation with Kathryn. She thinks her "fearlessness" sets her so far apart from the other Mormon girls, but--at least as they appear in this story--she's not very different at all. She ignored Kathryn at Wolf Lake like the other girls did routinely and answered Kathryn's attempts at conversation as minimally as Natalie did.

Dash it all. I'm so bummed out this is over. Well, feel free to hit me up if you need anything!

BlueAfrica






Seriously, you're the most fun, most effusive and detailed reviewer I've had for this story. It's been great :) Sorry for the story to be over, but it was only intended as a short story. I would love to hear your thoughts on my other story "The Church of the Darkened Cinema", if you're interested. I also have a fanfic in progress, which is a crossover of "Batman: The Animated Series" and Jim Carrey's "The Mask". It's called "This Business of Love", and I think you'll like it. :)





Apologies on "The Church of the Darkened Cinema" reference. It is written out and revised and totally ready to be read, but I just now realize I haven't uploaded it to YWS fully (there are 3 parts to it). I will get that done soon.



BluesClues says...


Go ahead and tag me as soon as it's up :)





Will do.



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Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:51 am
lawrence wrote a review...



I personally think it would capture the readers to go on with the rest of this story if you could somehow sketch the conflict right away in this introduction. You know you could always encapsulate the rest of the plot in a vague depiction and in this case maybe you could narrate something about how Megan was prompted by something she noticed about Kathryn- a flashback, an intuition, a specific impression or a conversation- that would let the readers hang in there and crave for more; that would unfurl a morsel of the conflict of the story. You should also write in such a manner that the readers would go on a vivid imagination, especially when focusing on the descriptions of each character- you should be more specific at the same more creative enough not to equate your personas to those of cliched background stories. Take your time writing this one.

right now, for me, this is a slow start, but there's always room for improvements and I would be thrilled to catch up with your works.




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Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:20 pm
FeatherPen wrote a review...



A wonderful start, I personally don’t mind be told that ‘She was 18, a senior, and a proud B-student at West Park High School. She was doing OK.’ In the context you have placed it.

‘A sin to the consternation ‘
While I think it is a brilliant word, I had to look it up; sticking to concern in the second paragraph would portray her parent’s opinions with a greater clarity.

I like how you have introduced Megan and portrayed her thought. Guilt which taping her on the shoulder is a great use of personification. Your writing is great so other than that one word, which is honestly a matter of opinion. I wouldn’t change anything.




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Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:13 pm
backroadstraveler wrote a review...



Hey there!! backroads here to write a review!!

This is a very well-written section! I can really picture Megan's surprise at Kathryn's transformation, even though these characters were just introduced!

I only have a few minor, more personal preference comments.

She was 18, a senior, and a proud B-student at West Park High School. She was doing OK.
I'm not a fan of simply being told this information. I would like to see you incorporate these details into your story with more of a show-don't-tell feel. Maybe Megan is contemplating graduation that is only x months away, or is worried about application essays/ getting recommendations. The reader can infer that she's a senior (and consequentially 18) if these are her thoughts- and it would add even more detail to Megan's life.

Also, why the pink-and-white streamers? Most high schoolers grow out of them, and Megan is already a young adult. I would think that she likes them given the comment about ribbons in her hair, but it still feels a little out of place. Does she like the streamers for a certain reason? Does she have a natural flare for frill, or do the remind her of something specific? Same thing goes with the Ana and Elsa backpack. Normally that would be a kid thing- why about Frozen does she love so much? Or is Megan one simply has no desire to grow up? (And please don't take this the wrong way- I'm turning 18 in two months and still love the movie, but I wouldn't wear a backpack with the characters.)

Maybe you'll get to these questions in later chapters, but for an intro, these details feel odd and out-of-place. I would like a little more background knowledge about Megan that would help answer these questions before getting a whole lot into the plot.

Hope some of this was helpful!
-backroadstraveler




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Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:18 pm
yizhongt wrote a review...



Hey there, yizhongt here to leave a review.

I must say that this is a very well written chapter you've got here. The words you used to describe the setting and that of the character as well as her bicycle were all well picked in my opining. There is nothing glaringly wrong with the piece of work you have here. I do however have a small nitpick with one sentence in particular.

She thought of the hills and homework and babysitting that awaited her, and she sighed heavily.

I thought the begging of the sentence did not flow too well. I would change it to something like this:

She thought of the hills and the homework and the babysitting that awaited her, and she sighed heavily.

Anyways, that's a little nitpick of mine. It doesn't really affect the overall story at all. You've got a good chapter here. Keep up the good work send keep writing !






Thanks. That seems like a good correction to make.




"In my contact with people I find that, as a rule, it is only the little, narrow people who live for themselves, who never read good books, who do not travel, who never open up their souls in a way to permit them to come into contact with other souls -- with the great outside world."
— Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery