Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I may have mentioned this before.

Man. Me and my pseudo-philosophies will be pushed aside today, in favor of a short story. I tried my penny-pen in a contest a month back, give or take, and I really liked the idea of the short story. So brief, with so many allusions, so many loose ends.

The problem is that I suck at it (hence, no trophies on my shelves). I am too longwinded (surprise, surprise). So I am going to practice here. Read or don't, I care not.

Rain or Shine

We knew the deal. Five bucks for the lot is what the guy told us. We just didn’t have the five bucks. And he scared me, with his flannel shirt and Wranglers. I just wanted to get out of there. I like zingers and black cats and those cherry bombs are really cool. No one has five dollars though. But Ray had the best idea for us to get it because he likes fireworks a hell of a lot more than the rest of us. Ray never has good plans though.

The Walgreens by my Mom’s place had this old lady working the registers after dark. I guess everyone else would be in the back, cleaning up or something. But she was always there, alone, ringing up all those big black guys who buy the big black condoms and orange soda. It really stinks in there. It always smells like moth balls and the vinegar we use on Easter for eggs. And the floor is always so sticky with spilled apple juice. One time, me and my cousin ran down the card section and poured milk into all the cards. My Auntie Kate saw us do it and told us to go wait in the car while she got her pregnancy pills. It was hot outside that day so we waited under a tree in the parking lot instead, picking at dried-up toads on the ground. She never said anything to us when she came out of there. I think she is really pretty, and my cousin thinks so too. Ray’s plan is to just go in there and take the register. She is really old, so it should not be hard. Last time I was in there with my grandma when she got some bananas and Tylenol it looked like there was a zillion in that register. “We’ll be poppin’ off those fireworks this weekend” he said. Ray better plan it good though.

Ray is so stupid though. One time, two years ago we caught him in the bathroom with no underwear on. He said that he forgot, but we all know better with Ray. He wore the same clothes for three days in a row this week. I bet he has not even gone home yet. He came to school one time with his head shaved after being gone for three weeks. He told us his big brothers held him down and shaved it while he was sleeping. But it was a new shave and he had been gone three weeks. So stupid. Another time he was playing on the playground in second grade, and this bigger boy walked over from outside the school to him and punched him in the stomach. Ray peed on himself right there. And he went back to class like that. He smelled like pee all day, and no one would sit near him. He is so stupid. He better plan it good though.

Friday is here now, and we have no fireworks yet. I will see Ray before school ends so he better say something with his bald head. Mom says that she needs me to come home right after school to help my little brother eat. He has the sugars really bad, Mom says. And he needs to be fed most of the time. He doesn’t talk or anything. I call him my little brother, but he’s actually like, twelve or something. But he’s still a baby compared to me. And with Dad still in The Rack, I’m the man of the house. Or so Mom says. So Ray better get this done tonight. Because I can already tell that Mom is going to have me doing things for my brother all night. Tomorrow morning too. She’s been sick lately, and he’s been real fussy, so I might not even get out on Saturday to pop them off. I will be so mad if that happens. Ray better get this done tonight. Because I can already tell that Mom is going to make me mad. I know she is going to keep me at home all night with my brother. Maybe I can just sneak out for a minute. Ray better plan it good.

Ray is not in school today and I think he did that on purpose. He knows that he has that plan to make and he just does not want to. He is so stupid. At lunch today, he would have laughed at me because my soda exploded all over my lap when I opened it. But he would have asked me for some anyway. And when that retarded kid Jerry came over and sat with us, Ray would have told him to leave because he smelled like poo. But I do not care about the poo and ate my whole lunch without sharing. Because stupid Ray never came to the table. I heard two teachers talking about him today. They kept saying something about camps and him having pubic servants or something. Whatever that stuff is. So stupid. He better be here today. He better plan it good.

No Ray all day long. Mom has me at home and my brother is fussing. She is sleeping in her room with a fever, so I can watch all the TV I want. Whenever my brother gets too upset I just put a hand on his chest or on his forehead and he calms down so that is okay with me. I was watching Chips when Ray started banging on the window. He looked like he was crying, but it was dark, so I did not get a good look. He told me to meet him at the parking lot behind the KFC near Walgreens in an hour. I am not sure about all of this now. He was supposed to have a plan. But there is no plan. He just wants me to go. And I think he was crying. Plus my brother is really fussy tonight and I never get to watch TV this late. Ray looked much older than he normally does. Like my Dad does. Like my Dad did before he went to The Rack. I think it makes me sad. But my brother won’t shut up and I never get to watch TV this late. I bet that flannel guy is not even there any more. So stupid. There is no plan. Ray never has a good plan. Never.


Truecraig said...

Comments help me iron things out. Good, bad, indifferent. It takes all kinds. If you bothered to click here, then you should bother to say something.


dungsta said...

"something", just kidding, um i laughed at the pubic servant thingy but im not sure why? maybe, because i actually thought of crabs dressed up in servants outfits. i guess i didn't think the average joe would understand. even if they don't its still funny. i found it odd the things you elaborated on like calming down your brother while your mom had a fever...but you don't explain what the fuck "the sugars" is? is it like the vapors? weird. i also thought the smelly poo and peed pants were cool but shouldn't that come a little earlier? every thing is so simple makes me wonder why you don't give more of a point of reference to the reader as to how simple this kid is;take something commonly complex and explain through this kid's simple voice. readers are stupid you gots to hold their hand. all this being said ignore me i don't even read, im too lazy for that. good jobby job, peace.

Truecraig said...

Thanks for the feedback dungsta! “The Sugars” or “The Sugar” is actually a ghetto reference to diabetes. But obviously his brother has a much more severe disability, that’s just what he understands it all to be, from what he has been told.

Short stories are difficult for me, so there are probably going to be a great deal of holes in the presentation. But then again, there always are with short stories. They leave a great deal of gaps to be filled by the reader. That’s what I find so fascinating about them.

Pubic servant…yup. Perception and synthesis. I was trying to *write* the way an eight year-old in that position would *talk*. Voice is difficult with short stories too. I’m practicing though. Eight year-olds who are jacked up on soda and television are a bit ADD, if not profoundly so. I was trying to convey the simplicity of an eight year-olds perception toward a more complex situation. I do not know if that came across. Still… need… practice.

firedancerdancin said...

I loved it.

I was completely inside the head of a young dude all "jacked up on coke" as you put it. I could see everything. And I knew what "the sugars" was and knew that it was more severe than that.

Love it. I want the book.

But i'm simple minded.

firedancerdancin said...

coke= soda.

I realize it sounds a lot worse to say coke instead of soda.

jacked up and coke bring about a whole other picture and most likely a whole other story.

Anonymous said...

I liked it! good job with the kid-speak, and I got "the sugars" sorta, figuring I had a slightly better idea of it than the kid. My only issue would be that it's a short story, and I want to go on to chapters 2, 3, ...

Truecraig said...

Hey Mel! Glad you liked it. I am wondering where I heard "the sugars" from, and I honestly don't remember. Do you remember where you heard it?

Mamma Lara! Thanks for dropping by! I hear you on the short story thing. But that's the nature of the beast. To me, a good short story does end (in the 'wrap up' sense of the word) but more in a freeze-frame fashion. No wandering off into a sunset. Almost open-ended, and available for infinite interpretation. So, there could not be any more to this story for me.

I just don't know if my point came across.

Anonymous said...

Only because an eight-year-old spread it, I will shut my pie to the "retarded" comment. First time round I felt he was done, the end and I didn't like that ending. I had to reread the last paragraph and try it another way because I enjoyed it more if I felt that he goes and meets Ray next. Basically, you sucked me in and I wanted to be part of Ray's next no plan mishan. As usual, I enjoyed being a reader. Good job and two pats for your back. Keep them words coming!

firedancerdancin said...

I have no clue. maybe i haven't heard it and just think i did--or perhaps in a movie or in a book. i've never been in a ghetto though, so I doubt i picked it up on the street.

but then again, that might depend on what your definition of ghetto is.

whatever. basically i have no clue where or from what i heard it.

Anonymous said...

Dude, that story was a trip. Ray's the man! all stinky in stuff. Keep these stories on a roll, it helps me escape from my own life.

brother nick

Truecraig said...

Hello Susie – Yes, the “retarded” comment as well as the Black-guys-have-big-dicks-and-like-orange-soda (along with some other things) were supposed to represent childish ignorance -> in the face of potential disaster. Man, I am almost tempted to write about what would have happened if HE HAD gone with Ray. Because I do know what would have happened. And it would have sucked pretty bad, believe me. Ray wasn’t bald because of a brotherly prank, I’ll just put it that way.

Mel – I thought it was a southern slang kind-of-thing. Maybe not, since you hail from ND. Maybe “the sugars” is an international description. Who knows?

Brother Nick – glad you liked it! This one was completely fictional though, unlike others I’ve posted. Word. I’ll try to post again today, but my schedule might get packed-up by meetings and shit.

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