Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Entry #230

Survivor
by Stephanie Green


“I’m sorry. I’m just –I’m a little distracted,” Joni was looking past the woman behind the desk. Her face was make-up smeared and tear-streaked. Add the wind-blushed cheeks, she looked very much like a beaten down woman.

“OH NO HO-NEY! After what you-,” the woman jumped. “Listen to me. YOU ARE SAFE HERE. He can’t get to you here.”

A tender smile managed its way through her fearful expression. Joni inhaled deeply and nodded at the round black woman of the safe-house office. She felt the woman’s strong personal attachment and desire to help her. Maybe I look like someone, Joni decided.

“Here’s what we’re gonna do- take this bag. We’ll get you fixed right up. Now you go rest and we’ll get started in the morning.”

“Okay,” Joni said after quiet consideration. This was all a standard part of the process. Joni leaned in with a fierce embrace. “Thank you so much for what you do,” she whispered. She stood, gathered herself, and reached for the bag.

All the while, an expertly concealed giddy feeling was erupting in her gut. It was a get out of dodge bag. She loved these. The bag would include some new clothes, shoes, toiletries, bus passes, a hotel voucher, cash… all in a days’ work.

Joni hopped the number 7 towards town. She sat in an empty pair of seats clutching her score. She leaned her head on the window and let herself drift. …time to clock out, grab a beer, and unwind.

29 comments:

Mahesh Sindbandge said...

I liked it and the title seemed apt for the story. The emotions of Joni are rightly expressed.

Only one thing, i missed witnessing i.e the connection with the theme..May be the way she flew away from the fear is what you meant..

Cheers
Mahesh

Mahesh Sindbandge said...

Hope you take that sportively.

All the best :)

Cheers
Mahesh

Bernita said...

One hopes this robber-bird will lose a few feathers next time.

S said...

Mahesh,

In my mind I went from black bird in flight to scavenger... and kept going! I do understand your comment that I didn't call it out. (Perhaps a little *too* subtle)

I appreciate you taking the time to read it and leave a note.

Best,
Stephanie

Laurel said...

Great story, great tone. Very unlikeable MC. Well done, you!

Aniket said...

My pal Four Dinners is gonna love this lady. ;)

Superb character sketch. Enjoyed reading it a lot.

Carrie said...

I am secretly gleeing over you joining me, especially here! The Clarity of Night contests are always fun. Read some of the others and comment. This is a good debut for you Runte. ;)

Angel Zapata said...

"It was a get out of dodge bag" I think we can all make use of a bag like that.

Great piece of flash, but the theme connection eludes me.

Louise said...

Yep. I wouldn't mind a "get out of dodge bag" either! And Joni is one dodgy lady!I loved the dialogue of the lady behind the desk too. It made me laugh (-: I really enjoyed this story.

laughingwolf said...

perfectly penned, stephanie :)

Four Dinners said...

Aniket knows me so well!!!

I think I'm in love with Joni....;-)

Terrific writing and not 'too subtle' at all!!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Loved the idea that she does this regularly!

Stephanie Green said...

I genuinely appreciate the feedback and kind words! Additionally, thanks for the opportunity to submit amidst all of the impressive talent here. I am elated at all the amazing writing I have been reading.

so I am clear, I take it Four Dinners likes his female characters crafty...? :)

Aerin said...



Caveat

Something I Would Keep

The movement of the piece. There's definite action and it moves along skillfully. This is seriously your first entry? Welcome!!!

Something I Might Tweak

Okay, I'm a blonde (um, sure, yes, it's natural), but I didn't quite get what Joni is doing. Bernita suggests robbing, but I thought secret-agent type thing. Might be worth making it a little clearer.

And it's funny, I sort of thought Four Dinners liked his female characters...female...but, yeah, crafty is a good word ;)

Preeti said...

Uhmm... although i loved how it flowed and the characterization...i was also at a loss as to what Joni was up to. Then i read Bernita's comment and i went "Ohhh..." :p

Stephanie Green said...

@ Aerin, It is my first entry anywhere! and my sincerest thanks to you and everyone else for being so welcoming!

Regarding dear Joni... Yes, Joni is a grifter type. I didn't want to give away her scheme too quickly- I wanted to provide the reader with the opportunity to have compassion for her before finding out who she was and how she 'got by'... upon reflection I think that can be written to unfold several different ways.

Thanks for all the input- seriously!

James R. Tomlinson said...

For some reason I'm thinking the main character is at a safehouse for battered women. If so, I'm a bit thrown off with the "get out of dodge bag." Something is missing.

Patsy said...

I did like it, but would have preferred a stronger hint at the end as too what exactly Joni was up to - I got that she was pulling a fast one at the shelter, but not what it was a cover for. I do see you want us to feel sorry for her at first and that does work.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I got the grifter aspect. I also didn't much care for her, which means you got her character across very well in so few words. Good job.

I'd love to see her in a longer piece where we find out more about what makes her tick and the parts of her that make her more likeable or relatable or even just understandable.

Aimee Laine said...

Ooh. She deserves ... something! ;)

Karen said...

Like Sarah, I certainly have a hard time finding her a sympathetic character, and so I think you've succeeded in creating her well. Great concept in this one.

Deb Smythe said...

Ow, she is a cold one. You did turn my emotions and expectations on end. Not a bad thing at all, but if you did want a smoother transition from battered woman to heartless grifter, you could throw in some foreshadowing.

JaneyV said...

JR - it is a home for battered women. They regularly turn up with nothing but the clothes on their backs so the shelters have bags ready for them with everything they need so that they do not feel so desperate that they go back to their abuser. The MC knows this and has pulled a fast one - pretending to be one of these totally bereft women so that she can snatch the bag and leg it.

Stephanie - I love your survivor. Of course what she's doing is despicable but you have to admire her resilience. I love the dialogue and the way the MC's true character is finally revealed.

Nicely written.

Craig said...

Excellent twist. Turning the typical victim into a perpetrator was brillaint.

James R Tomlinson said...

Well, I re-read it, and thanks to Janey V for gently clubbing me over the head, I get it now.

JaneyV said...

Always ready to cosh a friend in need!

Harper said...

all in a day's work, she's entitled to that beer...grifting and panhandling is hard, dangerous work in all kinds of weather, got to beat off the competition to boot...it's a dog eat dog world so I'd say....but this elegant bird of prey has it down to an art...

pjd said...

Oh, that is so wrong. And believable. Hey, if a system exists, a person exists who will exploit it to serve their own needs.

I was at first thrown off by a few of the word choices (tender smile, fierce embrace), but I realized at the end that they were clues to her subterfuge.

Nicely written. I can't stand the MC by the end, but in a good way. (Quibble: Shouldn't Dodge be capitalized? As in "get out of Dodge (City)"?)

catvibe said...

horrible. what she did I mean, the writing is excellent. Paced very nicely.