Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Entry #90

Sliding
by Peter Dudley


I’m tired. I look at my skinny, motionless fingers in my lap, the black nail polish. The quivering is only in my mind. Orlando knows about the shakes. He still gets them sometimes, and the desperate sweats, too. “It’s like running up the down escalator, Dicey,” he said. “You can’t ever stop.” Cigarettes help, but never enough. He would want me to call.

I shouldn’t be here, sitting with this old Trader Joe’s bag lady waiting for the number 52. My skin prickles, billions of tiny needles, with every thump of my heart. The 52 is late as always. Just like a year ago when Shade picked me up and took me to that party where I got high for the first time. Shade calls me a lot these days, but I don’t answer even though I want to.

Shade’s black Acura slithers up, its thumping music driving my pulse. The window slides down. “Hey Dicey.” Flash of pearls and gold in his smile. “Hop in, girl.”

I stand and take one step, dizzy in desire and need. The door swings out, opened by someone inside, unseen. A promise of painless bliss entices me, but I know Hell awaits. I glance at the bag lady. Her shriveled pomegranate face looks tired, and scared.

I step back up on the curb and shake my head. “Two months sober, Shade.” My steady fingers dial Orlando as I start climbing that escalator again.

40 comments:

Jennifer said...

This is well done. Love the line"

Her shriveled pomegranate face looks tired.

Great image!

Ello said...

Excellent job Pete! I love the analogy of running up the down escalator. It's particularly effective because I think most people have tried it at least once in their lives. I do love the detail to the bag lady also.

Lena said...

I so waited for her choice. You really showed her hesitations and worries well. Loved it :)

Aniket Thakkar said...

Bravo... Bravo.... One for the excellent story and one for the good cause! :-D "The 52 is late as always. "The 52 is late as always. " Thats soo true... It used to be roll number in one of the classes!! Great work Pete!

Aerin said...

Great stuff, Pete, as usual

Rebecca Livesey said...

very nice write, good build up, good characterisation, and i'm soooo pleased she chose well!

laughingwolf said...

smart girl...

Aerin said...

(if I sounded slightly snarky in my earlier post it's because I really would like you to do something - /wrong/, Pete. SOME misstep? EVER?)

Dottie said...

A very compelling and well written story. I like your use of the escalator as a metaphor instead of tying the plot to it. It helps your story stand out among so many.

McKoala said...

A great little story. I like the choice of details; and love the pomegranate line.

Sarah Hina said...

You made me feel the tug-of-war. And the desperate odds of giving in. That's hard to do in 250 words.

I really appreciated the unique reference to the escalator. It was a perfect analogy. Beautiful and dynamic writing, Pete. Very well done.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites.
John McAuley

Karen said...

In few words, you've shown us a gritty world of addiction. I love your images (pomegranate face) and even the names of the characters. Great job!

Margaret said...

Such great detail. Loved it!!!

pjd said...

Thanks to all for your comments! I've visited a few of yours and hope to get to many others in the coming days. I've been on business travel all week (and will be next week, too), so I've not had much time to read. I very much appreciate your comments, and the time you took to read this and leave your thoughts!

(Oh, and Aerin, nothing snarky heard in your first comment. But thanks for the clarification. You are too kind.
:-)

Catvibe said...

This is an excellent story, and I really loved the way you were able to pull off this female character by the way. The theme is harsh but real, and I really feel for her, but proud that she held her ground and didn't get in the car of the demon temptor. Well written!

Aine said...

Great story! This one sucked me in as a reader. I felt the tension, wondering what she would do. And I sighed with relief as she stepped back on the curb. Very satisfying to read something that makes me forget that I'm reading!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I thought I left a comment. There's so many stories. Funny, I found your entry in a roundabout way. Nice job showing his endless recovery.

abouttothunder said...

Excellent description.

bluesugarpoet said...

(yay! I finally made it down the list to your entry, peter!) As always, you are the master at completely drawing your reader into a vingette and making it seem as if we were there observing all along. Nice incorporation of the escalator theme! Clever. :) - jana

September said...

This was good. Nice job.

Aniket Thakkar said...

I have written a spoof story of sorts on Ascension.... do read it when you get time! http://foolishnessofthings.blogspot.com/2009/01/fyeo-ascension-revisited.html

You are a character in it as well! :-D

Terry said...

Peter, this really is a perfectly executed story! My favorite bit is, "Shade’s black Acura slithers up, its thumping music driving my pulse." You are skilled at creating great imagery that takes us on a ride through the layers of your story. Great writing. By the way, I hope you know that I was not referring to your post on Jana's story in a negative way at all! It just sent me down a trail of thought...In a way, a round-about compliment!

ceedy said...

Very nice story...got engrossed compleltly - hoping she makes the right choice and she did....

pjd said...

Thanks to all the new commenters!

@catvibe: Thank you. I tend to write female main characters, and I've been told frequently that I pretty much nail it. My theory is that my ability in this area follows my tendencies in watching people. :-)

@aine: Thanks for the kind words! People appear to have been rooting for her.

@JR: Thanks for the comment here and on my own blog. I'm so frantic with travel and Day Job these days I can barely even keep up with my own emails.

@abouttothunder: Thanks!

@BSP: Thanks for reading while under the influence of flu. ("We put the flu in influence.")

@September: Thanks!

@Aniket: I skimmed a bit of your spoof but haven't had time to read it in depth. I hope to while I'm traveling this week. I'm glad you liked my Unlucky 26! I now have a fully illustrated version (not on the web yet), believe it or not.

@Terry: You are too kind! And I think we've cleared up the tongue in cheek aspect of the comments on Jana's story... And thanks for calling out that particular sentence. That was the moment I had the hardest time with--POV shift from flashback to present while bringing in the new character was tough in the 250 word limit!

@ceedy: Thanks for the kind words!

harshad said...

congrats for the win! great story and imagery!

Scott said...

I didn't have time to read all the entries, so the first I have seen this is after you won. Congrats. I've read through this five times, and each time it gets better and better. Outstanding job. It really is perfect.

September said...

Congratulations, a win well-deserved.

Patsy said...

Good writing. Congratulations on youtr win.

Terry said...

I'm printing this story so that I can refer to the technique if I ever write something again. Congratulations, Peter!

The Preacherman said...

Brilliant! Only just got to it - there's so many!!

This is really great stuff. Congrats mate. Well deserved!

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Gosh I donno how I forgot to comment on this one before!

Congratulations!Very well deserved :)

JaneyV said...

I can't believe that my comment got eaten. I deffo left a comment here before. I was all complimentary and everything because this was so totally awesome. I loved this one.

So here I am back again (really, it's true) to say Well Done, Great stuff, Congratulations and Everything. Pete this is so well deserved. I'm thrilled for you! ;0)

pjd said...

Thank you all again. I read through a dozen more over the past hour, and I am more astonished than ever that mine placed so high. There are some damned fine works posted here.

jason evans said...

Congratulations on 1st Place! Woohoo!!!

Great job with pacing, entertainment value, technical skill, storytelling, and voice! And welcome to the Forties Club!!

Thanks for being a wonderful part of the contest. Outstanding job. Truly.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I read so many entries I got my pronouns messed up.

Congrats on your ninety-nine percentile ranking.

Chris Eldin said...

Congratulations PJD!!
A well-deserved win! I love the attention to detail in this piece, as well as the raw emotion. Very nicely written.

tysdaddy said...

Excellent story. And congratulations on 1st place!

Your use of vivid detail is very subtle, doesn't overwhelm the piece in any way. Yet such imagery your words invite! Way to go . . .

Margaret said...

Congratulations on 1st place.

Very well deserved. Superb entry!!

The rest of us can only learn from your writing...

Victor Bravo Monchego, Jr said...

Congratulations. Very nice pen at work there. Keep writing!