Friday, July 23, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #29

Easy Chair
by Posol’stvo


Antoine ushers me to the living room and has me take a seat while he heads to the back to get the shit. There are two chairs – a straight-back and an easy chair. I take the easy chair.

Two small, dark eyes peer at me. Stalk me. Little four-year-old, broken-armed Angela. She tries to climb into my lap. She thinks I’m the guy, but I’m not. Maybe twenty years ago I would have been. But not now. Not today.

I push her away. She falls to the floor in a heap, hurt and angry now. But she doesn’t cry. She’s used to disappointment. And I’m used to disappointing.

I can’t save you kid. Shit, I want to, but…. I know your dad beats the crap out of you and your mom’s in a shallow grave, but I got problems of my own.

I mean, life’s tough, but kids – kids bounce, you know?

Antoine comes back, takes my money and slips me my package. I don’t even thank him, just bolt out the door. I put the shit in my pocket.

And that’s when I find them. The stones. The three fake jewels that Angela’s always polishing. She snuck ‘em into my pocket, the little rat. Payment? A bribe? I freeze. I should bring ‘em back. But I can’t.

Like I said, I’m not that guy. I got no white horse. I like the easy chair, not the straight back.

At least, not most days.

24 comments:

pegjet said...

I hope this is leaving a comment for "Easy Chair" as blogger did something weird with this window.

Anyways, I liked the tone and edge to the story. Superb voice.

Aniket said...

I liked the conflict of emotions in protagonists mind. We all tend to take the easy chair in so many worldly matters. This story has a moral and makes a point. And I love this one for it. Thank you.

Aimee Laine said...

Very interesting and well written!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Interesting tale. Poor kid!

JR's Thumbprints said...

There's definitely empathy on the part of the narrator, along with conflict. I'm not too sure of that first sentence. I don't like the word choice of "... to get the shit." I think it would be okay to reveal what it is.

Peter Dudley said...

Does that last line imply that he's thinking of a trek through the desert? Maybe on the other side he'll find the strength to rescue the poor kid. At four years old, there's not much time left for rescuing.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Very strong voice-loved it. :)

Sarah Laurenson said...

Not a likeable character, but a great portrayal of the conflict inside him. A conflict we all experience to some degree at one time or millions of others.

Jade L Blackwater said...

As Sarah mentions, great positioning of characters in conflict.

The setting pulls on the heartstrings.

September said...

Poor little girl. Interesting how even the most horrible guy can have internal conflict.
Hate the character but nicely done.

sea minor said...

What I particulary like about this one is the way it feels like part of a bigger story. I noted in the comments of what they might be looking for in a short would be a thin slice of the overall cake. To me this is a thin slice of a man's life and I would definitely want to eat more of that cake. I think it should be worked on at some point, extended into a short story perhaps, or even longer. Who knows? Congratulations. A great piece.

Angel Zapata said...

A brutal, honest character who does what most of us only think about in the darkest part of our minds.

This ranks at the top for me.

Lee said...

Tremendous voice! I love stories where morality is more of a guideline than a rule.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Posol’stvo

The narrator is so conflicted, he wants not to see, but his eyes have already been opened. Nicely done!

Dottie :)

fairyhedgehog said...

He's so far beyond being able to help anyone else - and then you get to the end. I can't help hoping that today won't be "most days".

Michael Morse said...

Great voice, conflict, and a chance for hope and redemption, fleeting, but a chance.

Maybe today is the day.

This left me with a feeling of hope. Fake jewels in a bad man's pocket the only hope of escape for a little kid-strong stuff.

If I remember to vote for the readers choice, this is probably it, but I've only read half of the entries.

Deb Smythe said...

A well drawn character. Love the sliver of hope at the end.

Joni said...

The voice is perfectly crafted.

I'm a serious fan of this piece.

JaneyV said...

I see a character so filled with self loathing that he he doesn't feel worthy enough to be 'that guy'. This is just a brutal piece. i felt battered by it and yet that's what made the grain of hope at the end so damn uplifting.

Powerful, powerful piece of writing.

Laurel said...

I didn't come away from this feeling like he was a bad character but went in the other direction. This man reads as someone who feels trapped in his life and sees the same thing in the child. He spends most of the piece trying to talk himself into believing that there is not enough good left in him to do something about her.

And then that last line delivers hope. It's the reverse twist!

I really liked this piece.

SzélsőFa said...

it got me thinking, as Laurel (above me) said - there is hope.
a very powerful voice.

Vincent Kale said...

I like the ambiguity you worked in over the main character's arc. He seems to be concentrating so much on being the bad guy, almost as if he's trying to convince himself. The last paragraph shows a definite softening of that character.

Great portrayal of internal conflict here.

Craig said...

Very beliavable voice here, sucked me right into the story.

Kimberly B. said...

I really love this character's moral ambiguity, and his distinctive voice reminds me of noir (or rather the books I've read that try to capture that feel). I really like the jaded, raw feel of it. Great job!