Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Beginning 852

I can remember every second of that last graffiti patrol with Ellie. Maybe it’s the meds they’re feeding me or maybe I’m a little crazy right now.

It was chilly that morning and we shivered a little as we headed towards the first mailbox, me, in my punk clothes, Ellie in her old lady sweatshirt and red sneakers.

“Spray!” Ellie ordered and I pointed the bottle at the metal receptacle in front of me. We scrubbed, Ellie not talking to me. The black polish on my nails began to melt like the paint scrawls we were working on. I stumbled and heard the heel of my boot snap. Shit, my only shoes was my first thought. I had to walk like a cripple, one leg short, one long.

“Take ‘em off!” Ellie said, shaking her gray head at me. “Stupid to wear boots like that; you look like a baby hooker.”

That’s when I saw the white basketball shoe sticking up from a pile of debris at the curb. The shoe had a sock in it. And in the sock, a leg.

I grabbed Ellie’s arm and pointed. She looked, made a sound like she was choking. “It’s trouble! Nothing good ever comes from a dead body.” She grabbed my arm and pulled me through the trail of leaves. “I’ll call 911,” she said. “When we get home. Anonymous.”

And she did and now I’m lying here in this hospital bed hoping she’s still alive.

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Opening: Jo Barney.....Continuation: Pacatrue/EE


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

"What are you doing?"

"Sorry, nurse," I say. I never heard her walk in. I get off the spare bed, make a show of straightening the sheets, then shuffle over and touch Ellie's arm as the nurse checks her drips. No response.

It wasn't my fault. I had no idea the homeless guy was just sleeping until I'd heisted his shoes to replace my broken boots. And I can hardly blame myself that in a pair of reasonable basketball shoes, I can out-run anyone who wears crappy, red Walmart sneakers.


It was her own fault though. She should have known nobody ever listens to Anonymous.


Evil Editor said...

P2: I can do without "and we shivered a little."

P3: I see no reason to refer to the mailbox as "the metal receptacle."

If the heel of your boot snaps, I wouldn't think this would be revealed to you because you heard it. People don't hear boot heels snap so often that they can recognize the sound; she would feel the heel snap.

P4: "Shaking her gray head at me" sounds odd. Are you trying to subtly tell us Ellie has gray hair?

P6: "pulled me through the trail of leaves." What trail of leaves. So far the scene has a mailbox, a curb, a pile of debris, graffiti. I'm thinking city street, slum area, not trail of leaves.

Removing graffiti from a mailbox strikes me as a useful task. Running from a body to phone 911 anonymously sounds more like what someone applying the graffiti would do. But I'm sure there's a good explanation for why they don't want to get caught removing graffiti.

The last sentence is certainly intriguing.

Beth said...

I liked this. Good voice, and I'd definitely read on.

Ditto on what EE said about the heel snapping off.

Jo-Ann said...

My interpretation was that the pair were serving a community-based sentence (probably for spraying their tags everywhere in the first place), not cleaning graffiti b/c they wanted to. Therefore, they would be keen to keep their noses clean and run from anything that might look like a crime scene - in case the sentence gets upped to a custodial one.

I liked it until I read the final line, which just jarred for me. That's just personal, others saw it as a merit.

none said...

If they want to keep the 911 call anonymous, making it from home sounds like the worst way to achieve that. But maybe things are different in the States. Here, the police would know what number had called.

St0n3henge said...

"Nothing good ever comes from a dead body."

Well, that's certainly a disputable claim.