Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday Excerpts

You should all punish me mercilessly for skipping my Monday blog. Seriously.

This excerpt is from a story I wrote fall '05 for my Creative Writing class at Meramec. Based partially in fact, in that I did get pulled over for having a headlight out...twice in the same night, actually...and also there is a guy I went to high school with who got fired from a retail store for stealing lots of stuff. Actually, this is from the story I want to frame and hang (refer to the post about Art from February 17th).


from "Headlight" 2005

He was lying on the bench with his face to the wall when I was unceremoniously ushered into the cell. The officer shut the bars with the trademark clang and barked, “You get one phone call. I’ll be right back.”

I sat down on the bench opposite the young man and inhaled the smell of fresh paint. The cell gleamed, and the walls were cool to the touch. I looked out the small window and saw a searing orange street lamp blazing, the light strangely out of place in this clean prison. It looked exactly like prison movie jail cells don’t.

He turned over and glanced at me once, then turned back to the wall. After a few silent seconds, he turned back to me and squinted.

“Colin? Is that you?”

I looked back at him, this short dark haired kid, and recognition dawned on me. “Alex?”

A sly smile crossed his face. He got up from his bench and held out his hand to me. I took it and he attempted an elaborate handshake I couldn’t quite get the hang of on such short notice. He sat down next to me and clapped his hand on my back. “What are you doing here?” he asked. He began cracking the knuckles one by one on his left hand.

I shrugged. “That’s a good question. I got pulled over for having a headlight out and when the guy ran my license plate through, he asked me to come with him. Cuffs, back of the car, it was unpleasant. What are you doing here?”

He raised his eyebrows excitedly, cracked his right-hand knuckles and shook his head quickly. I looked him over; he was wearing khaki pants and a red polo shirt. “Stealing,” he said, “from work. They finally nailed me today with a DVD player in my cart.”

“I vaguely remember you working at some retail store. What was it?”


“Right. Stealing a DVD player?” At that moment, I remembered helping him with geometry when he was a freshman, how he struggled with sine and cosine.

“It’s so easy,” he said, jumping up and walking to the cell door. He walked purposefully, with his head high. He reached the bars and looked out in every direction. A smile blazed across his face as he turned back to face me. “You wouldn’t believe the stuff I walked out of there with. The secret is to pile cardboard on top of it, tell them you need boxes to move into a new place or something,” he said in a low voice.

I got up and walked to the back of the cell, facing away from him. I tried to think of something else, something other than how hard he worked on that geometry, trying not to draw a comparison to how hard he seemed to have worked on stealing from his employer. I had to steer the conversation in another direction. This purposeful gait, this bragging about why he was here didn’t sit well. “How’s school?” I asked. I turned to look at him.

“I’ve kind of stopped going last semester. I just got fed up with my bio teacher and really, school interferes with my social agenda.” Alex chuckled lightly, raising his eyebrows suggestively.


There you have it, Tuesday Excerpt number 2. Occasionally, I revist something I've written in the past, and give it a quick revision. I'm thinking that will be a good project for the summer, and I may start with this one. Revisions always tend to make me want to write something completely different, just so I don't have to be revising, so that will certainly help get the creative juices a-flowing.

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." -E.L. Doctorow


Molly said...

Ah, don't be so hard on yourself... blog whenever. Let life get in your way... it's what it's all about.

BTW: thanks for visiting your mutha. Mother's like that kind of stuff.


mGk said...

Consider yourself scolded.