As part of the A to Z Challenge, through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: P for Postponement is not an option
Provided by: Jemima Pett, friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti
I sit on me front porch, thinkin’ Sunday morning thoughts, when they drive up, the two fat coppers.
Where’s Moses?, the taller of the two hooks his finger on his belt, and don’t waste our time.
Only Moses I know, I tell them, parted the Red Sea.
No punchin’ the toadstool around me. Moses he turn me ‘to a fairy if I squeal. Better put out for coppers than Moses.
My nose bust next second, one long whine in me ears, blood on me mouth, warm ‘n icky. Usual stuff.
The other copper, sliding behind, he throw me against the porch wall. You wan’ to do them Moses you’self? Where’s you’ gi’lf’iend?
Why cops look more ‘n more like we these days? This one got a missing front tooth. It make his words come all funny.
He take Angela, Moses do, I want to tell them, ‘n she go with him.
Every Sunday Angela she take me to church, Be a good man, Jerry, she say, let the Lord save you. You ne’er took a life, the Lord He forgive you, ask for His mercy.
Last night she run, not with a good man, but Moses. Moses of stick-ups ‘n blagging, pimp, cop-killer, Mac daddy that drive around Sunday e’enings high on shrooms, or eatin’ coke, lookin’ for bitches to rape.
Postpon’ment is not an option, Moses say, his big fancy words, you got one life. Take what you want.
I wanna tell these coppers all that. But what’s the point? She make me wear the mushroom suit every time I do her, there’s the truth of it. Angela want his big brawny spawn, not mine. I’m puny, she say. Some more, these coppers don’t do their jobs, oughta patted me down before slammin’ me.
I pull out the nine Moses thrown at me last nite, laughin’ in my face, ‘n I fire, once, twice. I fall back, more whine in me ears. The nine it hit me back, but it drop them sure. Then I sit me down, and watch the red slide outta their mean little heads. Ne’er bust a cap, and now this.
Moses he got it right. Always a first time, and live only once. I’m havin’ me some different Sunday morning thoughts. With a nine, I’m as tall as Moses. The Lord can save me no more, Angela. I’m comin’ for you.
Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? What associations do mushrooms have for you?
What’s a mushroom suit? The dark person within us all is so clearly seen here…
Mushroom suit is slang for condoms, Lisa. If you google some of the terms here, you’ll get to know their meanings– I haven’t linked to everything cos my blog usually has no obvious adult content.
Brilliantly chilly spawned post and one of your most amazing, Damyanti. I am amazed how you came up with this super amazing post that got me hooked from pillar to post. There is an aura of complex words churned out:)
The dialect blended well with the style and gangsta context.
And it evolved from a mushroom picture… amazing!
I have far too many questions to write in this tiny box. Not just ‘where’s Moses’, but ‘what’s with the coppers?’
How’s your process to write using the prompts? I’d love to do some writing like that too as an exercise in trying to develope myself in creativity and literature.
Visiting from #AtoZChallenge http://www.bayessence.com/2014/04/paris-baguettes-macarones-y-formulas.html
I don’t know that there is a process.
In most cases, I start with an image, in this one it was of the real Moses being high on Mushrooms (according to the theory I’ve linked to), and the written prompt of postponement not being an option– live the day, so to speak.
At first the story had the voice of Moses, but then I realized it was his sidekick Jerry speaking. I tried to take dictation best I could, and looked up terms I didn’t know, but that’s basically it. I don’t know if creativity has a blueprint– I Iike to daydream in writing, and since there’s no law against that, and it is fun, I go ahead and do it 😉
I’m still trying to see if I figured it out right, although I think I did 😉
I liked the premise of the story, and the slang element worked well. I do agree with Dan that the slang did throw me a bit, but like Dan, I think that was more on account of being used to such a different style of writing from you. A powerful and thought provoking story though…
Thanks Paul. Like I said to Dan, I’m thrilled I’m beginning to have an identifiable voice.
I enjoyed your story. It was nice how you encapsulated a world inside such a short piece. I noticed that you used italicized words instead of quotation marks, which made the dialogue a little hard to distinguish from the narrative sometimes. Perhaps it was for artistic purposes? Great voice, though. Reminded me of a film noir. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve often wondered at the use of italics myself. I wrote a book of 26 shorts for an earlier challenge, but there too,Italics felt better. Maybe because in flash pieces I like the chunkiness and solidity or paragraphs, maybe because it is easy to keep it ambiguous with italics, what is reported, what is direct. But somehow, quotation marks, which I’ve tried out often and discarded, look wrong.
I really enjoy your work. And I too like dialect – because of that I spent much of my time reading this wondering about the dialect – what was it, where was it from, and so forth. It’s how my brain reads things, so for that reason, it distracted me from the story as I strove to recognize it, so I went back to read it once more. (It’s the same for me when I hear spoken stories done with accents that aren’t native to the speaker – my ear listens for consistency and am jogged out of the story when it is inconsistent). I suppose if I knew cultural setting a touch I would have not wondered about all that in the way I did. Still, I agree with others that the dialect was good. It carried character and plot along beautifully and was right for the story, absolutely, imho.
I’m sure it was inconsistent in bits! That’s cos phonetically rendering a dialogue is a tough job, I’ve never heard NYC ghetto slang, and I was being horribly ambitious.
But I like letting go and experimenting as a writer, and the only risk I was taking here was folks laughing at me, and not in a good way. But this is a blog, I tried my darndest, and though I may have sounded like a Country singer trying out Rock, I liked the freedom and confidence the exercise gave me :).
In Italian, there’s a saying, ‘sbagliando s’impara’– which means you learn by making mistakes, and that’s my philosophy in life and learning, be it language, or fiction.
If you point out the bits that aren’t working, I would love to try and use your input to make this work bettter!
Well written, Angela is the dealiest gangsta here. Nice take on some hypocrites burdening this world.
“Why cops look more ‘n more like we these days? This one got a missing front tooth. It make his words come all funny.”
Indeed. They are bad cops. Lawless. Difficult to pick out from the criminals. Getting shot down like criminals.
Yes, Peter. That’s exactly what I meant. Gives me such a kick when a reader gets precisely what I’m trying to say. It is all about withholding judgment, of cops or gangsters, which is hard to do. Yes, there’s right and wrong, but there’s also humanity, and all of them, good or bad, are humans, and deserve to be understood.
This was breathtaking and real. It created an amazingly vivid picture of the character and his surroundings with little description because of the dialect, which I found well done, believable, and not at all difficult to understand.
eep, thanks! That’s precisely what I was trying to do, characterize through dialect. Good to know that I was successful to a degree!
Mushrooms mean something to experiment cooking with!
Very creative to try something like this! The speech was difficult to read at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly. Laughed at the line: Only Moses I know parted the Red Sea.
Parting the Red Sea is a slang for a pretty yucky sexual act, so I put it in there as an inside joke. 🙂
I thought it was great, but I find it easy to read different dialects and things. Well done.
I think it’s great how fiction writers can wear different hats, so to speak when they write their stories. The slang was very appropriate for this interesting interaction with mushrooms! Enjoyed this!
lol, I got to swear lot, and most of the time without loads of folks knowing the yucky stuff I’ve actually written into the piece. Evil, but fun.
What a play with the mushroom and very interesting story
Nicely written Damyanti and I thought both the dialogue and the story line works very well.
Thanks for stopping by, Peter, and I really appreciate it, coming from you, cos you post a lot about language and accents, albeit Australian.
Cute! I love the way you took the voice of your characters. And how creative, considering your prompt was a mushroom.
Lovely.Thanks for the link of Moses or else i wouldn’t have got hold of the entire thing 😉
Yes that idea of the real Moses being high on mushrooms started it all, making him a gangster– and from then on came slang references like parting the Red Sea, mushroom-suits, punchin’ the toadstool, none of which are PG-13 stuff, lol.
I think the language worked well. It was a little hard for me because I think I get used to a way a person writes, and then you go and pull this out. I love “Sunday morning thoughts” – I’m not sure I know what it is in the context of this story, but I totally know what they are to me. This was a fast fun read and I enjoyed it.
Dan, you’re used to the way I write, which is a good thing, cos I might be getting me a voice, which is great news for any fledgling writer :).
I usually try not to explain my stories, but Sunday morning thoughts in this case was an ironic reference to what Angela taught Jerry to think on Sunday mornings, all piety and forgiveness, which she herself tossed in the bin the minute it was convenient. I usually try to capture a moment of transformation, or at least a deep shaking up of world views– in this case, that of a ‘puny’ thug into a gun-toting murderer.
I liked the slang. I read it twice, but that was no stretch. Good to read something that makes you think.
No confusion on my side …was right there with the gangsta’s, cops ‘n all. Very graphic and I felt a pang of pathos for Moses’ sidekick … ain’t no postponement for him now.
Garden of Eden Blog
Never thought you could write like this! Sounded pretty authentic to me – like you’d always been in the company of gangstas 😉 I like the transformation from a poor (can’t help but feel sympathy for him despite everything) regular guy to a killer. Looks like Angela who entreated him to be good, was actually attracted to the bad 😀 The irony of it all.
Durba, I wonder at how you reach at the heart of my stories so easy. Gives me faith in my experimentation.
I like this stylized speech, reminds me a bit of Twain and how easy it was for me to ‘slip into the world of books’ whenever I read him.
You sure know how to confuse a gal!
lol Jemima, what are you confused about?
This reminds me of Doris Lessing. The grass is singing. Must be because of the name Moses.
Maybe I should have named her Mary, and not Angela ? 😉 . But this has nothing to do with The Grass is Singing.
Wow, it’s a great piece of writing, Damyanti, and a different style to yesterday’s tale. The content was unexpected, but I’ve thought for a long time how important it is for writers to stretch and write in different genres. Well done, again!
Interesting short story and I’ve not done flash fiction but want to try it. Re mushrooms my youngest says they feel like slugs and hates them as I did as a child x
Me too! Love them now, though 🙂
A great use of a different style of speech.
I liked the premise, but the writing was a little hard to understand. Sorry. :/
I know I did use a lot of slang. Thanks for being straightforward in your feedback– will keep it in mind if I do another draft.