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October 24th, 2004
05:41 pm

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What do you think? Part Two!

Well, I've made some more progress on my short story for my Creative Writing class. Here is what I have so far:

Paying Dues

           

Sally’s car zoomed into the parking lot. It swerved around the line of cars and into the parking space. Sally stopped the car. She got out and slammed the door. The crickets made up the music of the moonlit night. She then looked at her watch and sighed. The time read 11:05 p.m.

            “Overtime again,” she muttered.

            She stomped over to her apartment and entered it. She took the elevator to the third floor.

            Getting out, she stomped through the hallway and over to her room.

            “Good ole 318,” she blurted in a sarcastic tone.

            She entered the apartment and slammed the door again.

            Sally walked over to the counter and sat her purse down. There was a small boom box sitting next to where she put her purse down. She popped in a CD and turned the volume up. It was AC/DC.

            She then took her black pants and Burger King Outfit off.         

Taking a deep sigh, Sally walked over to the counter and dug in her purse. She pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. She took one out and lit it. She let out a sigh of relief.

            She then looked over at her backpack, filled with college textbooks and papers.

            “Homework,” She sighed.

            She got out a Philosophy textbook and started reading it. The chapter was about the belief in God. As she scanned the pages, she shook her head and grinned.

            As for God, He didn’t exist in Sally’s life. Sally always wondered why there were so many superstitious people that believed in their God. The philosophers, to her, were only drawing their experiences on the past. With today’s technologies, just about anything can be explained.

            “They’re wasting their time,” She snorted. “It’s clear that God is not real.”

            Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Sally immediately ran over to her dresser and put on some sweatpants and a T-shirt.

            Sally then answered the door. In the hallway, there stood a tall stern man, looming over her.

            “Miss Sutherbee, turn the music off!” he ordered.

            “Why should I?” she argued.

            “Because I can evict you if you don’t!” he shot back, raising his voice. “Don’t choose that attitude with me, young lady! And, just to let you know, your rent is still due. If you want a place to live, you will turn down your music and pay that rent!! Am I clear, Sutherbee?”

            Crystal,” she choked out.

            The man slammed the door.

            Sally rushed over to the counter and turned off her music.

            She then went back to reading her Philosophy. After she finished, there was still five more assignments to do. She then decided to stop working for the night.

            She then looked at her calendar and thought about work.

            So fucking busy, she thought.

            Sally took off her sweatpants and T-shirt. She then plopped herself on the bed. She let out a deep sigh.

            “Why did mom have to be this way?” She sighed.

            Sally closed her eyes and then she found herself standing next to her mother.

            “You get your homework done right now!” her mother warned. “You’re already grounded. You get your work done and we’ll see if you can take the car out tonight.”

            “No,” Sally argued

            “No?” her mother gasped. “You think you’re all that, being sixteen years old. When you’re eighteen, you are out of here!”

            “Sure mom,” Sally smirked. “Whatever you say.”

            Sally opened her eyes. She saw the musty and dirty walls of the apartment. Her mother always warned her that she would be on her own when she was 18, whether she was ready or not. Looking back at her mother’s words, they seemed to haunt her.

            “That was seven years ago,” she yawned.

            She picked up her Burger King pin and placed it on the counter, next to her purse. The pin had her name on it and the position read “Manager” underneath it.

            Sally then walked over to her refrigerator, which was right across from the counter. She opened the fridge and took a bottle of wine out.

            She opened the bottle and guzzled it.

            Minutes passed. She stumbled forward. She tried to fight it but she couldn’t. She finally passed out on her bed.

            The radio blared, playing a song on a rock n roll station. Sally shot out of bed and staggered over to the alarm clock.

            5 a.m.,” Sally yawned. “Time to get ready for work.”

            Sally walked over to the counter, where her purse sat. She grabbed the pack of cigarettes out of her purse and lit one.

            After her cigarette, she walked over to the sink and put out the cigarette. She opened the cabinet beneath the counter and threw the butt into the trash bin.

            Sally put on some jogging pants and a T-shirt. She then grabbed her work clothes and toiletries. She left her room and walked down the hallway. At the end of it was a bathroom. She walked over to the door and opened it.

            Sally turned on the shower and got in it.

            Thinking about her day, she just sighed. Working at Burger King was too much for her.

            Recently, Sally could recall some person trying to get through the drive-thru without paying.

            “Can I have a manager over here?” An employee at the drive-thru shouted.

            “What’s the problem, Steve?” Sally replied, running over to back-cash drive-thru.

            “This black person refused to pay me anything! I asked him for the $36.42 but he just told me, ‘F-you’ and drove to the next window.”

            “It sounds like he ordered a lot.”

            “He did, and he didn’t pay a dime!”

            “Front cash! Don’t give #43 their order until they pay!”

            “#43?!” A manager shouted. “They already drove away!”

            “Damn it!” Sally shouted. “I guess we’ll have to void that order!”

            “Open up! Who’s in there?”

            Sally was suddenly back in the shower. Someone was pounding on the door.

            “What?” Sally shouted. “Hang on!”

            “Hang on?!” The voice shouted. “I’ve been hangin’ on fo ten minutes! Get tha hell outta there!”

            Sally finished and threw on her work clothes. She combed her hair and rushed out of the bathroom. A black man was standing there, glaring at Sally.

            “It’s about time!” the black man shouted. “Girls like you always take longer to get ready. Move aside…..Sally!”

            The black person just noticed the name pin on Sally’s uniform. He scrambled into the bathroom and slammed the door.

            Sally rushed back to her apartment and grabbed her purse. She stuffed the pack of cigarettes into the purse and grabbed her keys, which were dangling over the edge of the counter. She then slipped on her watch.

            Finally out of the apartment, Sally ran over to her car. She looked at the sky. It had a full moon and the stars were still out.

            Sally then looked at her car. It was a 1990 Chevrolet Beretta. The car had rust all over it with a few dents here and there.

            Sally got in her car and started it up. She put in a Black Sabbath CD and turned up the volume. She turned out of the parking lot and sped off to work.

            On the way there, all Sally could think about was the rent that was due. With her paycheck coming around the corner, all she could do was hope that the landlord doesn’t decide to evict her. She just needed a little more time and she would be all set.

            When Sally reached a red light, she quickly reached for a cigarette and lit it. She opened up her window and made a few tokes.

            When the light turned green, she put the cigarette in the ashtray and continued through the intersection.

            Sally finally arrived at Burger King. She parked her car in the front, near the entrance.

            Entering the restaurant, Sally could smell the fresh scent of cooked eggs and sausage. The hum of the broiler could be heard in the background. As Sally panned her eyes across the restaurant, she let out a sigh of relief. The floor and tables were spotless.

            Sally walked over to the door and entered a three number code: 971. After she entered that code, a green light flashed and the door unlocked. Sally entered the door and made her way into the back.

            Standing at the cash register, she saw Steve standing there, drumming his fingers on the counter.

            “I see that you got the breakfast shift,” she acknowledged him with a forced smile.

            “That’s right,” Steve grinned, reaching for his coffee. “I’m just waiting for this place to open.”

            Sally entered her number on the register and clocked in. “Who else do we have working this morning?”

            “It should be on the chart,” Steve told her.

            Sally walked over to the manager’s room and entered it. Another manager sat in there, filling out some paper work.

            Sally saw the chart lying on the table. She looked through the names at the top of the chart. “Teron? Andre? This can’t be!”

            “I know that they’re new, Sally,” the manager told her. “Just give them a chance.”

            “Give them a chance? Alexis, you’ve seen them before! They’re constant maintenance! You have to watch them like a hawk!”

            “Would you rather have them make trouble out on the streets? They’re better working here than hanging out with gangs. Just bear with me here, please.

            Sally looked at Alexis and sighed. “Okay. They may be hard to work with but okay.”

            Sally looked at the responsibility chart outside the door. She browsed through the chart, looking for her job for the day.

            “Front register,” Sally quietly sighed.

            Minutes later, it was time for Burger King to open. The doors burst open and two black boys dressed in work uniforms stepped up to the counter.

            The first black person stared at Sally and smiled.

            “Hey Sal!” the black person shouted. “Can I have my order?”

            “No you can’t, Teron.” Sally told him. “Get back here and into the kitchen. You have some work to do.”

            “And what if I don’t?” he challenged Sally.

            “Do you want this job?” she asked him. “If so, get back here and help us out. The same goes for you, Andre!”

            Andre looked at her and laughed. “We’re goin’ to have so much fun today!”

            Teron and Andre then entered the code and came into the back of the restaurant.

            A few hours passed as Sally took a whole bunch of orders.

            When the time was around 10:30, the next customer stood there, waiting to give their order. It was a young woman.

            “Can I help you?” Sally sighed.

            “You look stressed out,” she told Sally. “Are you alright?”

            Sally stared at her with a forced grin. “Am I alright? Of course I am. I’m fine. Now what do you want?”

            “I want a Fire-Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad,” she told her. “What’s bothering you? I know that something is.”

            Sally stared at her sharply. “Listen,” she said firmly. “Nothing is bothering me. Now you are wasting my time. There hasn’t been any customers in ten minutes. I’d like to take advantage of that time. What dressing do you want?”

            “I would like Fat Free Hidden Valley Ranch, and a bottle of water. I can see how stressful it can be with only a few minutes to relax.”

            “If you can see that, why don’t you quit wasting my time already! Your total is $5.60. Pay and leave.”

            The young woman paid the exact amount. Sally handed her the receipt.

            Before leaving, the woman got a pen out of her purse and wrote something on the back of the receipt. She folded it and slipped it on the counter. “My name is Ruth,” she said. “I’m sorry that I wasted your time. I just didn’t know how rude you are.”

            Ruth grabbed the bag with her order and left.

            Sally unfolded the receipt and looked at the back. What she found written on it was Ruth’s name, first and last, along with her address and phone number.

            “Gable?” Sally read. “What a pathetic last name.”

            Sally took the receipt and stuffed it in her pocket. After that, a few customers crowded around the counter. She then went back to work.

            After a few hours, Sally was done with work. Sally ordered herself a Double Whopper with cheese and no pickles, along with a king-sized order of onion rings and a diet coke. Obesity wasn’t a problem to her, due to her fast metabolism.

            Sally ate her meal, drank her diet coke, and left the restaurant.

            She arrived at the apartments and entered. She went to the third story and entered 318.

            Sally looked in her fridge and sighed. “Out of beer and wine,” she said. “I guess I need to get more.”

            Before she left the apartment, she went over to the cabinet. Sally opened up the cabinet and pulled out a chocolate chip pop tart. She took one out of the wrapper and ate it. She stuffed the other one back in the box and closed the cabinet.

            Sally changed out of her work clothes and put on some pants and an orange shirt. She grabbed her keys and her purse and exited her apartment.

            When Sally was about to leave, the landlord stopped her.

            “Miss Sutherbee,” he said sternly. “I have been thinking about how much trouble you have caused my tenets.”

            “Trouble…?” she gasped.

            “Do I hear an echo?” he asked her. “Yes trouble! A few of my tenets this morning told me how they were bothered by the sound of “loud music” last night. I have made a decision and it is final. Pack your bags. You’re leaving right now, Miss Sutherbee!”

            Sally stared at him and gasped. “You can’t do this!”

            “Oh, but I can,” he told her. “I am the landlord and you are the tenet. A tenet that hasn’t paid the rent, I might add. The rent is two weeks overdue and you have caused too much trouble to my tenets. Get out of here.”

            “Please!” she shouted. “I can pay the rent! Just let me stay!”

            The landlord stared at Sally and frowned. “I don’t normally do this,” he told her. “But I am giving you one more chance. You can leave the apartments, but you must come back with the rent money. If you come back without the money, you are gone. Do I make myself clear, Miss Sutherbee?”

            “Yes, Mr. Steinberg….” she gasped.

            Sally left the apartments and got in her car. She took off and went to buy her beer and wine.

            She drove down the roads and turned onto Tittabawassee Road. Once on this road, she drove to Meijer and entered it.

            After buying two 24 packs of Budweiser and five bottles of wine, she placed her groceries in the car and left the store.

            She made her way back to the apartments, shaking her head as she drove.

            Sally started to worry. Tonight, she could get evicted if she doesn’t have the money for the landlord. She started to think about Ruth.

            “Why does she care so much about me?” she sighed.

            Sally continued driving toward the apartments. She didn’t want to go there. She wanted to stay away from there as long as possible. Instead of going toward her apartment, she drove further downtown.

            Sally approached Washington Avenue and turned onto it. Not too far away was the Saginaw News building. She just kept driving.

            Sally drove aimlessly down the road. She didn’t know where she was going or when she was going to get there. For all she knew, she could be driving all night. Perhaps she would drive until she ran out of gas.

            She shot a glance at the back seat of her car. There were groceries, filled with beer and wine. “This is going to be a long night,” she sighed.

            The car continued down the road. The Temple Theater could be seen in the distance. Sally saw a crowd of people leaving the theater.

            Sally about passed the Temple Theater when someone stopped her.

            “Hey!” the person shouted.

            Sally looked up and saw that it was Ruth. What does she want now? Sally thought.

            She rolled down the window and faced Ruth.

            Ruth looked at Sally and grinned. “Hello again…How was work?”

            “Oh, fine. I loved every minute of it. What are you doing here?”

            “I just finished seeing a play at the Temple Theater. It was such a nice play.”

            Sally stared at Ruth and thought of something to say to her. What else could she do? She can’t go back to the apartments. “What else do you do for fun?”

            “Well,” she said, “I play the piano, write in my diary, skate with my friends, read my Bible, pray….Would you like to come over tonight? Perhaps we can talk. I have some free time.”

            Sally looked at Ruth and sighed. “Why should I go over?”

            “It’s your choice,” Ruth told her. “You don’t have to come over if you don’t want to. Maybe you can think about this at home and we can arrange a time for tomorrow.

            “At home?” Sally gasped. “I can’t go back there!”

            “Why can’t you go back?” Ruth frowned. “Is there something wrong?”

            “I’ll get evicted if I do.” Sally sighed.

            “What is the problem? I’m a really good listener.”

            “I owe the landlord $600 and I can’t go back there until I have it!” Sally shouted. “If I do, I won’t have a place to live! There, I said it! Now leave me alone!”

            “Six hundred dollars?” Ruth gasped. “That sounds terrible! Come to my house and we’ll see what we can do.”

            “Okay….” Sally sighed.

            Sally waited for Ruth to get her car and followed her when she pulled out one of the parking lots.

            She followed Ruth’s car, driving down several roads. They crossed the Saginaw River and went down a smaller set of roads. These roads had fairly decent neighborhoods.

            As Ruth saw these houses, it reminded her of the house that she used to live in, before she got the boot from her mom.

            Finally, they pulled into a driveway. The address was 2639.

            Sally got out of her car and Ruth got out.

            “Come in,” Ruth told her, “And make yourself at home.”

            Sally looked at the outside of the house. It was a one story house that looked comfortable enough for two people to live in.

            Sally entered the house with Ruth. The layout of the house was simple: living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom.

            Ruth took Sally into the living room and they sat down on the couch.

            Sally looked at Ruth with impatience and sighed. She told Sally about the way she was raised. Sally did the same, and mentioned the “rude awakening” that she got from her mother at 18. Sally told Ruth that it took three years to actually have enough to go to college. Ruth looked at Sally and sighed. She could feel what Sally was going through. She wanted Sally to have much more in her life. In many ways, Ruth wanted Sally to change. She then mentioned her job at St. Mary’s Hospital, and her aspirations of becoming a doctor. Ruth told Sally about the Gospel and Salvation. She knew that Sally needed someone to depend on. Someone who will not let her down. Sally, however, ignored Ruth’s advice.

            “Do you have any food around here?” Sally sighed. “I’m hungry.”

            “I’ll make you something in the kitchen,” Ruth told her.

            Ruth took her into the kitchen and made some pitas. Ruth gave Sally a pita and started eating hers.

            Sally sank her teeth into the pita. Ruth poured herself a glass of water. She looked at Sally and smiled.

            “It must be horrible having to live by yourself,” Ruth said, reaching for the glass of water.”

            “No,” Sally argued. “It’s fine. I love living by myself. It’s less complicated that way.”

            Ruth took a sip of her water. “Don’t you ever feel lonely?”

            “No, not at all. I enjoy living alone a lot. It’s fun.”

            “I may live alone, but I have my friends.”

            “Friends, huh? That’s nice.”

            Ruth stared Sally straight in the face. “Look,” she told her. “I know how rough a life like yours can be. You are the only one that can change it. I can not do that. At the hospital, I just got engaged to this doctor. We’ll then be able to achieve our plans.”

            “What?” Sally sighed. “And live in a huge mansion with a perfect life, living happily ever after?”

            “No,” Ruth said. “I have always wanted to be a missionary. After I get my Ph.D., we both plan on going to India and practice medicine on the poor and needy who need doctors over there. The house that we’ll be getting won’t be too much bigger than this one, since we won’t be staying here too long. God has given me a path, and I hope that he gives you one. Here’s the money for the landlord. You don’t have to pay me back.”

            Ruth handed Sally 6 $100 bills.

            “Why do you care so much about me?” Sally shouted.

            “God wants us to care,” Ruth told her. “He wants our hearts. Just as much as he cares for you, I want to do the same.”

            “Why all this God nonsense?” Sally sighed. “He is an illusion! A superstition! God is dead. Why am I not born with this feeling of God in me?”

            “Your heart must be open to Him before He does anything in your life!” Ruth sniffed.

            “Open to someone that we created? Did God create man or did man create God?”

            “The door is open, Sally! God has it open for you. He’ll help you if you just open your heart to Him!”

            “Well, now it’s closed.”

            Sally slammed the door in Ruth’s face. She rushed over to her car and got in it.

            Before she turned on the car, Ruth ran out to the driveway.

            Since her car was headed out, Ruth didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. As the car left the driveway, Ruth noticed a couple bottles sticking out of the grocery bag. Sally’s car left and she gasped.

            Sally left Ruth’s house with the money. With that, she made her way to the apartments downtown.

Well, let me know what you think. It is not quite done yet. I will be reading this on Tuesday to the whole class. The week after Tuesday, the story is due.

Now to go and finish my lab for Meteorology. Must finish homework.....

Current Mood: determinedGet done, homework!
Current Music: Chrono Trigger - Determination

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
From:arashel
Date:October 26th, 2004 01:45 pm (UTC)
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I'm sorry I'm just getting to reading this now. It's a bit late (I was going through a nervous breakdown! Sorry:) but I still read it and will tell you my thoughts...this is suppose to be a short story, right? Well, I'm not a good short story person--my short stories end up 50 pages long, lol.

I want to tell you it needs more showing and less telling, a bit slowing down in some places--but again, that's coming from the mind of a person who can easily write a hundred pages of details. I didn't like the quick beginning until she got to reading the book and I got a chance to understand her thoughts about God--I really liked that and the idea of the character and story. There are one or two places that I wish there was more to draw on. I think its brilliant though, I was kind of sad that I got to the end and realized that was it! LOL.

I just would like more detail when there is action in the scene or a slowing down--like that one small quick beginning--letting her fingers glide over her book before she sits down to read it, allowing a grin to slowly form on her face, not letting us hear her thoughts but showing character through her small actions and reactions early on.
Maybe she walks by someone's window and there is a picture of Jesus or a cross and she frowns or something or tightens her grip on a purse or her books or something--a tiny detail, an action, that gives us a forshadowing. Not really telling us what she thinks through that, just let her react by turning away from looking or maybe even clenching her book tight before or while reading it. Tiny little details to show her character a bit more that stands out among many other people who are like Sally. That's what I like to see in a story though, it helps me connect to the character. But it's your story so do what you like:)

I really feel for the poor girl and her mother just throwing her out on the street at 18--that has always been a gripe of mine that parents do that (maybe because mine never did), like not care about their kids when they hit adulthood, so probably why it affects me. Good job, I like it! You really have a gift for touching the hearts of readers I believe through the trials of your characters. I think a lot of people could relate to Sally and be drawn to god at the same time. Keep up the good work! ^^


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From:writersdream07
Date:October 27th, 2004 12:17 pm (UTC)
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A 50 page short story? Then it wouldn't be a short story. It would be a short novel or novella.

Anyway, when I read it to my class, my instructor suggested if I could have Ruth be an employee at Burger King. He said that Sally would be more forced to talk to Ruth if she worked there instead of Ruth just being a customer. For the end part that I had, he said that what happened just seemed too coincidental. He also wanted Ruth to actually have some struggles in her life so that Sally could see that she doesn't have it that bad and that Ruth, despite the adversities in her life, is able to remain positive and overcome the adversities.

As for detail, give me some credit here. I may not be as experienced of a writer as you. With you being older than me, you probably have a few years more experience in perfecting your craft. Furthermore, I'm not really an avid reader (although I would like to be). Looking at the stories that I have written (in my free time), I will have to say that they all need a lot of work. As for the one I wrote when I was younger, I don't really want to change that since I want to be able to track the development of my writing over the years.

Well, I'm just rambling now. I will try to strengthen my weaknesses and make reading more of a habit. If God wants me to write stories, then He will guide me in that direction, if it is part of His plan.
From:arashel
Date:October 27th, 2004 01:50 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, I like Ruth as a customer, makes it more...unique? Mysterious? I like how you did that. I'd like to think God works in mysterious ways. Anyway, do what you want, not what we both may have said:)

I haven't been seriously writing for that long. I wrote as a kid, yeah I used to do that but I didn't write seriously until a few years ago--when I met Kai and started to write a lot more with her. Even with that, I never think I'm that great of a writer.

LOL, you probably read more than me. I used to hate to read until a few years ago Mike at my church (my soundtech mentor) told me if I wanted to be a writer to get out there and read. That changed my life around. But I'm picky so I don't get around to reading much because there is nothing good out there to read. Another reason why I believe God needs us in this market.
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