Saturday, July 24, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #37

The Jock
by Lori Villarreal

Derek heaved a sigh, and then sighed again.

In no hurry to leave the taxi, he pressed the button on the door panel, lowering the window half-way. A much-needed burst of fresh air wafted across his perspiring face.

He looked at the house.

The driver glanced in the rearview mirror. “Is this the right place?”

“Yeah.” It was his parents’ house.

A dog barked from the yard across the street, its location shrouded by darkness. He wondered if the Wilsons still had that ratty little terrier with a piece of his ear missing.

How long has it been since he’d been back here…a year?

“You gonna get out here?” the driver asked.

“Give me a minute,” Derek said. His hands were shaking.

“It’s your dime.”

Would his parents understand?

He’d always been good at sports – had even won a scholarship to the state university.

Now in his third year of college, things were not as they were when he’d started.

It was time he told mom and dad the truth.

With another sigh, Derek rummaged in the bag at his hip. Darting a quick glance at the back of the driver’s head, he flipped open the little round mirror, and checked his reflection.

Not bad.

Not bad at all.

The operation was a success.

Derek took a deep breath. “Okay, I’m ready.”

“That’ll be twelve-sixty-five, miss,” the driver said, his eyes in the rearview mirror admiring the pretty young woman in the back seat.


Aerin said...

I saw it coming, but the aha moment was nicely delivered.

So much that's nicely done about this piece; though I wonder if Derek's undergone an operation to become a woman, and we're seeing Derek's interior, listening to Derek's thoughts, if the pronoun ought to be "she".

Peter Dudley said...

Ooh, Aerin, you raise a really interesting question. Sitting outside her parents' house, the identity questions would be an order of magnitude more complex.

One thing I didn't care for so much in this is all the sighing. Otherwise, not bad.

September said...

Very nice. Makes me want to be there when parents come out to meet him - um, her.
And, you can't change the pronoun to "she" because then it would give it away too easily.
Afterall, "things were not as they were when he started...."
very clever. Nice job.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Pronouns are tricky buggers.

I loved this one. The reveal was handled beautifully.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I wonder if maybe a first person or second person narrative might have been better for gender-neutrality. Still, this story is evenly paced. Good job.

Aimee Laine said...

But what of the gems? I too saw the end coming and it was done well ... just trying to pull out the picture's influence. :)

Aniket said...

Apart from the tiny-winy issues which others sited, it was a good read. I for one didn't see it coming. After reading, 'The operation was a success' my mind started listing all the intelligence agencies CIA, FBI, NSA, KGB, Mossad, etc. :D So I was delightfully surpried

@Aerin: You are officially hired as my editor. Whenever I finish my novel.

@Pete: I had that feeling too. I had one sigh in my piece and my immediate reaction was to go and check if its really required. :)

@Aimee. My guess is both belong to what-you-see-is-so-NOT-what-you-get category. I might be way off the target though. :D

Angel Zapata said...

Oh, if that taxi driver only knew...

I like this one.

Jade L Blackwater said...

Good internal conflict, and I especially like the step from nervousness to confidence.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Lori

I knew where this tale was leading, I could hear a male voice in my head, and then the taxi drive looks in the mirror.... Oh, nicely delivered!

Dottie :)

Deb Smythe said...

Good twist.
I'm still tryng to figure out where the picture prompt comes in. Is she a hidden gem?

Laurel said...

I knew there was a twist but that was not what I anticipated! Very well told. Only one thing nagged, though.

In my ridiculously prosaic mind I am wondering how s/he got the money for a sex change operation in college. If s/he was lucky enough to have it covered by insurance it would have been on the parent's policy, most likely. Self-pay seems entirely out of reach.

I seriously doubt that would be the first thing to cross anyone else's mind, though.

SzélsőFa said...

i didn't see the twist coming :)
i was thinking about a robbery or some other violence coming on the way...
the jewels ?
derek used them to pay for the operation :)

JaneyV said...

I thought this was truly excellent. You gave her back story and illustrated her nervousness with consummate ease. Well done.

If you did want a way to get around the tricky pronoun issue, might I suggest setting the whole thing up from the female perspective, have her walk up to the door and when Mom answers have her say, "It's me … Derek."

JaneyV said...

As for the jewels, I assume that they were removed as part of the operation.

lorivillarreal said...

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the great feedback. I'm positively giddy to finally get some juicy critiques - good and bad - it can only help my writing.

As for Derek, ole buddy, ole pal - he had his meat 'n two veg nip-tucked, ergo - or there go - the family jewels - or gems - whichever you prefer.

How did he pay for the operation? Good question. Maybe he had a sugar daddy.

Thank you again, everyone!

Vincent Kale said...

Tricky bugger! I really thought that Derek was returning home after a sports injury and that was the successful operation. The only one more surprised than me will be Mom and Dad. I hope s/he at least called them first!

Michael Morse said...

I figured he/she was wearing the jewels, earings and a necklace or something like that. Very original take, nice job!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

This is interesting! Good lead up to the end. :)