1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Contest Winner! Joe309 for "A Day in the Life"

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by GingerCoffee, Jan 13, 2014.

    Congratulations Joe! Nice job! And thanks again to both authors that entered and all the forum members that voted.

    A Day in the Life [1,753 words]

    Ernie Barker closed the car door and leaned over to look in the side mirror. He raked a comb through his hair and sang, “Hey, good lookin’, whatcha got cookin’?”

    His girlfriend, Cristi Hintze, sat in the passenger seat, not moving a muscle, fuming. “Well, ain’t ya’ gonna help me outta da car?”

    “Ya’ got arms and legs, ain’t ya’, babe?”

    “Dammit,” she said, grabbing her purse. She opened the door, her hairdo catching on the top of the door panel. She planted her high heels on the pavement, her rosy, close-fitting dress riding up, revealing long, slender legs.

    Ernie stepped onto the sidewalk and took a smooth, silver case from his breast pocket. He turned away from the car and lit a cigarette. “Come on, come on, we ain’t got all night.”

    Cristi took quick, small steps around the car. “Oh, you…!” She grabbed his arm. “Prick!”

    “Bitch, I told ya’ not ta wear dat tight skirt.”

    “It’s not tight.”

    “Ya’ so fat, ya’ can barely walk. When ya’ gonna lose weight?”

    “Whataya mean, lose weight? I’m 110 pounds, for crisake!”

    “Yeah, right, oink, oink. Let’s go inside, people are lookin’ at me.”

    “It’s all about you, again, ain’ it, Ernie?”

    “Of course, babe.”

    As they walk toward the door, a man called out, “Hey, you can’t park here. You’re blocking the driveway!”

    Without turning around, Ernie acknowledged him with a one-finger salute.

    Together, they walked toward the tavern entrance. Pushing back a lock of hair, she stumbled on her heels. He flicked his smoldering butt into the shrubbery.

    A bystander stopped and gawked at the pair.

    Ernie scowled. “What da hell ya’ lookin’ at?”

    The onlooker turned away.

    “Yeah, dat’s right, makin’ eyes at my girl, I oughta smack ya’.”

    As they entered the saloon, Ernie, with Cristi in tow, sashayed toward the bar area. “Hey, beautiful, what ya’ doin’? Why didn’t ya’ call me?”

    “Hi, Ernie, who’s the chick?”

    “Oh, ya’ mean her. She’s my main squeeze. Ya’ still goin’ with dat jerk, Ron?”

    “Oh, yeah, him and me, we’re tight.”

    “Too bad for you. Maybe we’ll dance later.”

    Cristi jabbed him. “Hey, asshole, I’m standin’ right here.”

    “Yeah, whatever, an’ watch those elbows unless ya’ wanna lose one.”

    Holding Cristi’s hand, Ernie pushed through the people at the bar. “Yeah, dat’s right, step aside, Ernie Barker is here. Hey, Martha, how’s it hangin’?” He grinned. “Pretty good, I see. How ‘bout sendin’ two whiskeys an’ soda ta table t’ree? ” He grabbed Cristi. “Come on, doll.”

    He shoved his way to his usual spot. “All right, ya’ people, dis is Ernie’s table. Yeah, dat’s right, move along.”

    “We were here first,” said a young man.”

    “Oh, really? How old are ya’?”

    “I’m twenty-one.”

    “Yeah, prove it.”

    “I don’t have ta prove nothin’ to ya’.”

    Ernie turned towards the bar, “Hey, Martha, we got some underage drinkers over here!”

    The wannabe grown-up and his troop quietly stood up and disappeared into the crowd.

    “See, doll, dat’s how ta handle these assholes.”

    While Ernie and Cristi nursed their drinks, an acquain’tance approached the table. “Hey, Ernie, I saw ya’ car outside. Ya’ got a ticket on ya’ windshield.” He sniggered.

    “Bah, I don’t care! Hey, Jack, ya’ still drivin’ that piece o’ shit, what was it – a Ford somethin’ or other?”

    “Don’t be knockin’ my baby. I just installed two four-barrels under da hood. She’s smokin’ now.”

    Ernie laughed. “Ain’t nobody gonna beat my car. Be at da strip Friday night and bring five hundred dollaz. We’ll see who’s got da best car.” He waited until Jack was out of earshot. “Whatta goddam, stupid idiot, him an’ his whole family.”

    Cristi waved to a friend. “Hello, Gabriela!”

    “Boa noite, Cristi como você está?”

    “Eu estou bem, Gabriella, obrigado. Espero que você e sua família estão bem.”

    “Você é bem-vindo, até logo, meu amigo.”

    When Gabriella walked away, Ernie, looked at Cristi, puzzled and angry. What da hell was dat all about?”

    “Dat’s my friend, Gabriella. She’s from Argentina.”

    “Who taught ya’ ta speak dat garbage?”

    “Gabriella’s been teachin’ me, and it’s not garbage; it’s culture.”

    “It’s a bunch o’ shit, that’s what it is. I don’t want ya’ hangin’ around dat low-class whore no more.”

    “Ya’ prick, don’t ya’ call my friend a whore! She’s got more class in her little finger than …

    Before Cristi could finish, Ernie reached over the table and slapped her face, causing her to almost fall over. Injured and humiliated, she ran to the girls’ lavatory, clutching her cheek.

    One of the men at the bar banged his beer mug on the counter, walked towards Ernie and drew his arm back, ready to take a swing, but two of his friends held him back.

    “Lemme just get one good punch on dat bastard, just one!”

    “No, Roger, he ain’t worth it.”

    “Yeah, dat’s right, ya’ guys hold him back,” said Ernie. “if ya’ don’t wan’ him hurt.” He smiled. “Goddam bozo.”

    Momentarily, Cristi ran out of the bathroom, holding a wet paper towel to her face. “You’d better start learnin’ howda treat me, Ernie. Ya’ can’t just slap me around. I'm not ya’ personal punchin’ bag. I'm sick an’ tired of it. I'm supposed ta be ya’ girl. I’m nice ta ya’, and I don't wanna be treated like a piece o’ shit. If ya’ wanna keep me around, this can’t go on.”

    Roger said, “That’s tellin’ him, honey, stand up for ya’self.”

    Ernie stood and threw his chair down. He removed his jacket and approached him. “I oughta knock ya’ head off!”

    “Yeah, go ahead an’ try.”

    Cristi cried, “No, Ernie don’t!” She grabbed his arm and pulled.

    Ernie scowled. “Ya’ lucky I’m wit’ my girl.” He stepped back.

    “Take me home, Ernie, now.”

    “Yeah, let’s go, I’m sick o’ this place.” He took his jacket and threw a ten dollar bill on the table.”

    As they walked toward the door, Roger called out, “Ya’ nothin’ but a pussy!”

    The men surrounding him chortled and hooted.

    Ernie grabbed Cristi’s free elbow and just about dragged her to the door. As they departed, bystanders stepped out of the way, laughing and talking with another. From Ernie’s viewpoint, they were snickering and giggling about him.

    When they got to his car, he pulled the parking ticket from the windshield, crumpled it, and threw it into the street.

    * * *

    They rode home, not speaking a word. When they arrived at the apartment, Cristi ran into the bedroom and locked the door.

    “Fine,” yelled Ernie, “I don’t need ya’! I don’t need nobody.” He took a beer can from the fridge and popped the lid. Then, he propped his feet on a chair and lit a cigarette.

    From the bedroom, Cristi called, “Ya’ betta not be smokin’ out there. Ya’ know I got bronchitis.”

    “I can smoke if I wanna; dis is my home. I’m king o’ dis castle.”

    Cristi opened the door and walked toward Ernie, holding a wet towel to her face, frowning, waving away Ernie’s smoke. She sat at the table facing him. “Ernie, we gotta talk.”

    “Sure, babe, I’m listenin’.”

    She held his hand. “When we first met, I thought ya’ were very sexy, lovin’, an’ funny. At da time, me and Darin were datin’ for t’ree years. I ended it wit’ him just so I could be wit’ ya’.”

    “Ever since ya’ been here, I keep hearin’ ‘Darin was not like ya’; he was so nice – Darin dis, Darin dat’. Well, ya’ did da smart thing, dumpin’ that creep.”

    “See? There ya’ go again, draggin’ everybody down so ya’ can boost ya’self up. Ya’ gotta learn dat the world don’t revolve around ya’. Since we been together, I had ta put up wit’ one outburst after another, one fight after another. Well, I can’t put up wit’ ya’ shenanigans no more.”

    “Shenanigans, dat’s a big word for ya’, doll.”

    “Ya’ jus’ don’t know when ta quit, do ya’? Look, Ernie, one day ya’ happy wit’ me, da next day, you’re as hateful as ya’ can be. Ya’ talk nice ta my face, but den ya’ say bad things ‘bout me behind my back. I tried ta be ya’ girl, but ya’ don’t really want me.”

    Ernie put his feet down. “Hey, babe, dere’s nothin’ wrong wit’ me; you’re the problem.”

    “Shit! Ya’ refuse ta see ya’ own defects. I tried ta be understandin’. I didn’t judge ya’. Otherwise, da way I see the world would be as bad as yours. I went outta my way ta be kind ta ya’, ta show that I have feelin’s for ya’. I tried ta reach out ta find dat spark o’ good deep inside. What’s wrong, Ernie? Are ya’ hidin’ fears? Are ya’ coverin’ up pain? Ya’ dealin’ wit’ fear and pain in wrong, hurtful ways. I can’t take it no more, Ernie. Ya’ don’t own me, and I can’t let ya’ hurt me again.”

    “Are ya’ finished? Do ya’ have anythin’ else ta say? No? Good, now it’s my turn. Ever since I took ya’ in, my life has turned ta shit. Everything dat I have, everything dat is good – all gone ta Hell. Dat’s what happened. If anyone needs ta change, it’s you, ya’ bimbo!” He grabbed her arm.

    Cristi, frightened, tried to pull away, but he was too strong.

    He cuffed her, and she fell to the floor. She wiped her lip on her sleeve, leaving a red stain.

    “Yeah, dat’s right, ya’ whore. Now, ya’ understan’ who’s in charge here.”

    Cristi ran to the bedroom.

    “Sure,” he yelled. “Dat’s da way ta handle pain!” He sat down and guzzled more of his beer. He smirked, gloating over his triumph.

    Unexpectedly, Ernie smelled smoke. He quickly stood, checking to see if his trousers had caught fire. No, that wasn’t it. He looked toward the bedroom. Smoke billowed out from under the door.

    * * *

    That evening, the fire commissioner reported that an engine company had responded to fire in an apartment building. Someone had set fire to a pile of clothing in a bathtub. Paramedics had treated two adults at the scene, a male and a female. Neither was hospitalized. However, the commissioner strongly suspected arson, so he called law enforcement.

    The officer who responded to the incident arrested Ernie Barker for assault and harassment. Cristi Hintze was charged with first-degree arson. Both are serving time in the county jail.

    The End
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  2. Joe309
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    Joe309 Member

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    Your acceptance humbles me. Thank you, Ginger, and thank you to all that liked my story, "A Day in the Life". Ginger, I hope that you can get your PC back online.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It was an interesting story.
     
  4. Joe309
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    Joe309 Member

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    I tried to make it a case study of arrogance. Before writing the story, I wrote Ernie's character description in which I listed characteristics of arrogance. Then, I applied some of them. Without someone to interact with Ernie, the story would have been one-dimensional, so I gave him a girl friend who tried her best to cope with him and his problems. For Cristi's character description, I listed methods on how to deal with arrogant people. She was well on her way, but Ernie's final cuff pushed her over the edge. The last scene was based on an actual news story about two movie celebrities. Truth is stranger than fiction. (Oh, and I should have caught those typos -- sorry.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Typos, tell me about it. I'm hoping no one cares about my typos in the sci-fi story contest. Other's have the same concerns. And I have friends who said even after professional edits there were typos in their books. Guess it's the curse of the writer. :p
     
  6. Joe309
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    Joe309 Member

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    Here and there, I have read advice that a writer should clean up his or her MS, but don't be afraid of errors. That's good advice. Agents and editors are looking for stories. I try to focus on the tale, not my writing. People like stories. I don't write about what is going through my mind at the moment, my trials and tribulations, the trees rustling, or the birds chirping. That is not a story. Even when poetically written, readers don't care what is going on in your head. They want a story. I have been criticized about my style. I tried to change it, but I gave up. I tried hard to apply advice from other writers, but it led me nowhere. Now, I just accept it. It is what it is. I apply the same philosophy to my stories. At some point the story is what it is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  7. Joe309
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    Joe309 Member

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    There is a book on the market right now that I edited, and I edited it heavily. Every other sentence needed rewriting. I tried not to change the style. I also moved scenes around and suggested new scenes. I was able to edit one chapter per day. It took about a month. In the end, I didn't even get a byline. I was listed 4th or 5th among the author's friends who read the book and maybe offered advice. I also told the author that the book was a romance novel, not historical fiction. (I mean when the hero takes off his shirt and the girl smells his musk...Ugh.) On the next book, the author got a professional editor who told him/her (I am not saying) the same thing I did. I read the book, and it was chock full of the same errors I had fixed in the first book (some people never learn). Now, ironically, the author makes a decent income on the books. As for other editors, I don't have faith in them. You cannot edit a novel in two hours or even eight. And, what do you pay for this -- $3,000? (!!) I've also had close friends read my work. After waiting weeks, I got responses like "It was a good book." and "a typo on page 53". Gosh, thanks a bunch. There is a certain online grammar checker that does a much better job -- if you know how to use it, which is the key. It checks sentence by sentence. There is no grammar checker that checks for contextual continuity. I don't use it now. I see they've doubled their price, but it will teach aspiring writers how to write. However, don't cry over your first draft when the software tells you that your writing's readability is 30%. Don't fume. The writing is what it is. Fix it and move on. Oh, and don't try to write like your favorite author. He/she got away with murder.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Congrats, Joe. It was interesting to read your words on how you came to construct this story. Perhaps this is something we should always have when we have a contest winner. Like a little interview. Add an extra dimension to the contests. :) What do you think, @GingerCoffee? I know you're trying to get more folks up in here.
     
  9. Joe309
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    Joe309 Member

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    @Wreybies: I agree. This is how we learn. In addition, the other entries should also be available for comments from both author and readers. Currently, entries receive either a yes or a no, nothing more. That doesn't teach anything and doesn't give aspiring writers food to nurture their growth.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Authors, as long as they meet the minimal posting requirements, are welcome to post their short stories after the contest in the writer's workshop for feedback.

    I'm reluctant to critique a story the author has not asked to be critiqued. But I encourage people who do want critiques, including critiques from the contest voters, to post the story in the workshop.
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Absolutely. There is no restriction in the least as regards posting to the Workshop an item previously posted for a contest.
     

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