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  1. #1
    Osiris's Avatar
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    Notebook Just Two of Us ~ A Short Story *Rated R*

    Author's Note

          I'm trying something different with this piece. I don't normally write in present tense, at least not in this manner. I've never attempted using indirect dialogue in a story before--as I'm a big fan of the old rabbit ears, but I felt that I needed to stretch myself a little and see if I could get through a short piece without fucking it up too badly. Judge for yourself whether or not I was successful. I also changed my approach to sentence structure, stepping away from my usual dilatory style--more prone to tangent than substance. I'm not at all comfortable with this technique, but it's been a lot of fun to attempt. I've come across this type of indirect speech in a number of novels that I've read in recent months and I've been waiting for the right dance floor on which to get down, as it were. Either way, I love what's here, thoroughly enjoyed the process and hope that you enjoy reading it at least half as much as I enjoyed writing.

           About the story: I was considering past lives, past relationships, and past substance abuse. What better way to exorcise old demons than to write about them, right? I put a lot of it on Burt's poor head. I drew on a few elements that are known about the character, specifically the promise he made about alcohol. There's a reason behind that, and in my head it made sense that he was an alcoholic that had a rocky past with his wife. Having my own demons with alcohol and addiction, it seemed a natural place to explore some of those elements. My take on his relationship with his wife is, perhaps just a tad dramatic, but hey... it's exploration. The story is somewhat adult based in its themes, language, and situations, though it isn't graphic in nature. If you didn't read this, don't complain later, because I put that shit right out on Front Street. It's in the thread title. That being said... let's get to the fuckin.






    Just Two of Us
    A short story


           He's wide awake, she’s asleep beside him, naked and warm from the night they had just enjoyed together. It’s rare now for the two of them to get together like that anymore, not since he had come back from his tour. That was a long time ago; a lifetime ago when they were just kids and didn’t know what the future was going to bring them. She rolls over, the sheets slipping lower. One of her breasts is exposed fully in the pale light coming from the open window. It’s hot tonight, a smothering heat, thick and moist. Once in a while he catches a whiff of Pad Thai from the restaurant on the corner, and together with the heat, reminds him that he was too young to serve in Vietnam. He’s bitter about it, and drinks.

           He slips out of the bed, stretching and letting what little breeze is blowing, move over his sweat slick skin. He keeps himself in good shape, just in case they call him up. He wants to go to war. Wants to do what his dad did. What his grandfather did. For them, it isn’t enough that he enlisted at 18. To them he won’t be a man until he’s looked the devil in the eye and sent him back to hell, whatever devil it may be for him. Soviet seems to be the most likely of all devils he will face. If they call him.

           He waits for their call. Every night, he sits watching the television with the phone sitting on the kitchen table beside him in the cramped apartment he and his wife rent. He sits and drinks and waits, watching Who’s The Boss, Family Ties, and once in a while the Bob Newhart show, but he doesn’t like it and only watches it to avoid the inevitable fight with Shirley. He can’t stand Dynasty, but she begs him. She never knows when to shut up, and eventually, after a few drinks he has to tell her. She tries her best not to cry. She takes it in stoic silence, but he can see the hurt in her eyes. Beneath the bruises she’s still beautiful.

           Tonight, the world is hot, pushing down on his shoulders with a weight that makes him thirst. He drags his feet across the linoleum into the kitchen, digging in the freezer for an ice tray. The window over the sink is closed.
          
    I told you to open the fucking windows before you came to bed, he says more to himself than to her. Sometimes he forgets how he’s angry at when he’s yelling. He drops a couple of small, cold cubes into the bottom of a cheap tumbler—the kind you get at a gas station, with a city scape and the words New York painted below. The paint was wearing and the city scape faded and cracked, great chunks of buildings missing, lending it an ominous apocalyptic look that stirred something in his stomach. He hates the city. He pours the last of his whiskey over the cubes, the hate, and the shame. He stares out of the small window overtop the sink, ignoring the stained, orange flower drapes hanging on either side. His view is a brick wall. He takes a big drink from the glass, feeling the cool burn as it sears into memory.

           She stirs on the bed, he turns and watches her from the kitchen sink. The apartment feels smaller than it did this morning. It feels smaller every night. It presses on him. He tries to blame her, but it isn’t her fault. She works two jobs to pay for this shithole. He hasn’t worked for some time now, but he’s been waiting for that call. She says she supports his desire to serve his country, she says she understands it, but he can see in her eyes that she doesn’t. She says she does, but she’s lying to him. She doesn’t want him to leave.

           He walks back to the bed, sitting on the edge, staring out the window as he swirls the painkiller around the ice cubes. The cubes make a morose clink, reminding him that he’s destined for something better. He catches that whiff again, but smothers it with another big drink from the glass. The whisky is cooler now, but the burn is just as deep, just as welcome as earlier. Welcome always. He doesn’t notice that she’s sitting up, watching him in the moonlight. He doesn’t notice her until the sudden flash of her lighter snaps his mind out of the past. He turns to look at her nipples harden as the breeze from the open window rushes over the sweat on her skin.

           She’s sitting up against the headboard, cigarette in hand, the sheets twisted around her hips. She’s beautiful. More beautiful than he deserves, though he’s done his best to change that. She never wears skirts that rise above the knee, for fear that someone would see the marks where he’s put out her cigarettes on her thighs. If they see, they’ll only ask her why she doesn’t leave him. They wouldn’t understand if she told them. They wouldn’t understand that when he yells, takes one of her cigarettes and pushes it into the inside of her thigh that she gets wet further up. That when he slaps her that her heart skips a beat, her mouth waters and her knees buckle. They wouldn’t understand that she cums every time he chokes her for burning dinner. He doesn’t realize that she’s been doing it on purpose for almost six years. She could leave him if she wanted. He wouldn’t be able to stop her. She didn’t think that he would try to stop her either.

           She loves him, loves the things he could do to her, and won’t give him up for anything. He never insulted her, or belittled her. He never called her whore or any other horrible name. He slapped her when she needed it, choked her when she wanted it, and burned her when she’d been bad. He looks at her with those sad, pitiable eyes. She leans forward, reaching for his glass. He lets her take it and watches her as she took a sip, sucking one of the cubes up into her mouth. She eyes him for a moment, running her tongue around the cube, feeling the cold in her teeth. She spits it back into his drink and hands him the glass. She leans back, taking a long drag from her cigarette.

           That’s a terrible habit, he tells her.

           She rolls her eyes and told him, I’m not a little kid and I can make my own decisions. He grumbles something that she doesn’t quite catch, taking another drink of the liquid. He imagines that he could taste her spit.

           It’s still a terrible fucking habit and one day you’re going to regret ever starting, he says. She flaps her hand open and closed, miming a duck’s bill. She quacks once, then again before taking a big puff and blowing it at him. He ignores it, swallowing the last of the painkillers. She's trying to bait him, but it won’t work. He won’t give it. It was too hot.

           I hate this fucking city, he says, hearing a siren in the distance. I hate it, he repeats, I hate it and I want to leave. She's sitting up in bed now, worrying about what was coming next. She wouldn’t care if she left him, but she couldn’t stomach the thought of him doing the leaving. That was simply too much for her fragile ego to deal with.

           What do you mean, she asks as she crushes the cigarette out in the ashtray lying on the nightstand on her side of the bed. She has the side furthest from the window. They never had a discussion about whose side belonged to whom, but he had always slept on the side closest to the window. She preferred to sleep on the side closest to the wall. She felt safer like that. Whatever was going to get to her would have to crawl over Burt first, and being the light sleeper he was, she knew that would be its last mistake. She watches as he sits there, silent in the cold light from the window. The screaming siren passed quick, and she asks again, what do you mean, leave? Where will you go?

           He shakes his head, chasing the last drops of liquid around the bottom of the glass with the ice cubes. He raises the glass and slides one into his mouth, crunching it. He’s certain he can taste her spit and that certainty pushes blood downward. He focuses his mind on the ice and the glass, trying to ignore it. He doesn’t notice as she slides down the bed, wrapping her legs around him, hooking her bare feet around the insides of his knees. She runs her hands down into his lap. Her breath is hot against his back.

           You wouldn’t leave me, would you?

           He sighs, shaking his head. The thought has crossed his mind more than a few times over the years, but she’s always been there for him. Always been there to take care of him. She’d been loyal enough to deserve his loyalty in return. He managed a smile that she couldn’t see, sitting in silence, listening to the breathing of the city. Her embrace felt good, the heat of her bare skin mingled with his, turning to gentle fire. He thought that as long as she and him were together that they could suffer anything that life set before them. He thought of the green fields that he’d walked once in his youth, far from here and a hundred sunrises ago. The cool breeze ripe with the songs of crickets and humming with fireflies. he thought of the shit flowing steady beneath the city floor.

           She breaks the silence first saying, come back to bed and let’s forget about whatever it is that’s bothering you. She laces her fingers together across his chest and pulls him back to the center of their old, lumpy mattress. He’s too tired to protest. She shushes away the sadness welling up in his chest and he lets himself relax, melting into her as he closes his eyes. He hardly notices the breathing of the city as he slips away into sleep.


    End
    Last edited by Osiris; Feb 7th, 2013 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Just cleaning up some tense issues and adding warning tag
    joint-point-counter-joint

  2. #2
    thisonegirl's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed this, good job Osiris. I will read your stuff from now, consider yourself an admired writer. I hope that last bit adds a little bit to your ego.

  3. #3
    Osiris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisonegirl View Post
    I really enjoyed this, good job Osiris. I will read your stuff from now, consider yourself an admired writer. I hope that last bit adds a little bit to your ego.
    Awwww, that's kind of you to say. Thank you. But no... my ego couldn't possibly get any bigger.
    joint-point-counter-joint

  4. #4
    ClearSights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osiris View Post
    He's wide awake, she’s asleep beside him, naked and warm from the night they had just enjoyed together.

    I was always told to make sure the opening line of a piece must be able to draw in the reader......It damn well did ha

  5. #5
    Vlarken's Avatar
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    This is well written, and has got some pinpoint, excellent description: each one seems carefully crafted to drag the reader further into the reality of the story. Telling a story in present tense usually seems (to me) to be rather pretentious, and it's harder (also in my opinion) to pull off without sounding that way, but you did it very well.

    For the plot, I'm assuming this is before Burt started working at Locked and Loaded. It was very startling to see him portrayed this way. I'd always seen his relationship with his wife as a kind and loving one; two gun fanatics going shooting on the weekends, and living in a moderately nice house. However, this portrayal of Burt seem to me like it be the truth just as much as the other version. So, good job, this is very well done!
    "You are the blood of the dragon. You can make a hat." -Daenerys Targaryen

    "Ihm war, als spürte er sie noch immer."

  6. #6
    Osiris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClearSights View Post
    I was always told to make sure the opening line of a piece must be able to draw in the reader......It damn well did ha
    :naughty: Thanks man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Anavrin View Post
    This is well written, and has got some pinpoint, excellent description: each one seems carefully crafted to drag the reader further into the reality of the story. Telling a story in present tense usually seems (to me) to be rather pretentious, and it's harder (also in my opinion) to pull off without sounding that way, but you did it very well.

    For the plot, I'm assuming this is before Burt started working at Locked and Loaded. It was very startling to see him portrayed this way. I'd always seen his relationship with his wife as a kind and loving one; two gun fanatics going shooting on the weekends, and living in a moderately nice house. However, this portrayal of Burt seem to me like it be the truth just as much as the other version. So, good job, this is very well done!
    I'm really glad you enoyed it. Thank you so much for the kind words, and I'm glad that certain things came across for you, new BFFF!!!!111onelc
    joint-point-counter-joint

  7. #7
    Vlarken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osiris View Post
    I'm really glad you enoyed it. Thank you so much for the kind words, and I'm glad that certain things came across for you, new BFFF!!!!111onelc
    "You are the blood of the dragon. You can make a hat." -Daenerys Targaryen

    "Ihm war, als spürte er sie noch immer."

  8. #8
    scbubba's Avatar
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    Osiris, this is a great piece of writing. Thanks for sharing it with the community.

    As with your other story (Angel), the descriptions were vivid and engaging. I felt like I was watching the scene from inside the room.

    Got any other stories to share with us?
    Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

  9. #9
    Osiris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scbubba View Post
    Osiris, this is a great piece of writing. Thanks for sharing it with the community.

    As with your other story (Angel), the descriptions were vivid and engaging. I felt like I was watching the scene from inside the room.

    Got any other stories to share with us?
    Thanks! I'm happy to see people actively reading the fan fictions! I'd highly recommend Creem_Filling's tales of woe and undead. He's come a long way! As for this, well, I'm glad you were pulled in. Future stories? Yes, there are more coming down the pipe, but between the current novel and mentally preparing myself to go back in to edit the previous, I've had my hands full. Haven't even had time to keep the blog running with any frequency. Hopefully, there will be a new edition of Alternate Beginnings surfacing before Christmas.
    joint-point-counter-joint


 

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