Effective January 2014, the Blog-Zine is cosed to new posts and is going dark. The blog and its archives will stay "up," though, so please feel free to peruse the archives and discover all of the great books, authors, articles, and other features that have joined me here over the years. Thanks to all who helped make my Blog-Zine adventure a raging success! Read on!

15 May, 2008

Chronicles of a Lesser-Known Writer: Part II (To Snippet Or Not To Snippet?)

Hi Everybody,

Following is a snippet from one of my completed manuscripts, titled JUMP. The story centers around two sisters - Victoria (Vicky) and Helena (Leenie), who are both troubled in their own ways - and follows one of them (Leenie) as she deals with why she is troubled and how she finally finds peace.

Writers are notoriously sensitive about their work and I'm no different, but I decided to JUMP on out there and let the great folks who visit my blog have a look-see. Feedback is welcome. Should I post more snippets? Send me a holler and let me know.

Vicky has the radio blasting, so our conversation can’t be heard on the other side of our bedroom door. We finish plotting and planning and then we sit on our beds and wait for the inevitable confrontation. An old Temptations cut keeps us company as we both deal with our own personal demons and search for courage. We don’t have long to ruminate, but we know this already and we are ready.

The door flies open and my mother stomps into the room, twists the knob on the stereo and brings silence to our space. The three of us take turns staring at each other and then smoke starts pouring out of my mother’s ears. Vicky and I are still wearing our pajamas and we are nowhere near ready to walk out the door with her. I haven’t brushed my teeth and Vicky’s hair is sticking out from her head like she stuck her finger in a light socket. My mother is beyond pissed.

"What the hell is this?" she roars. "I thought I told you heifers to get your clothes on
damn near an hour ago?"

Vicky looks at me and I look at her. She is supposed to take the lead on this but, as always, I am the one who grabs the reins and smacks the horse on the ass. "We’re not going," I say

"Excuse me?" A hand goes to a hip and her neck rolls. She dares me to repeat myself, gives me the evil eye, and lets me know that an ass whipping is in my very near future.

"We’re not going. I’m not, anyway. Can’t speak for Vicky."

"I’m not going either," Vicky finds her voice and speaks up. She tucks her feet back
under the covers on her bed and lays on her back. Folds her hands on her stomach and looks at
the ceiling. "I hate it over there."

"I have work, goddamnit. I don’t have time for this shit. I need to be rolling in five minutes and the two of you need to be rolling with me." She snatches the covers off of Vicky and grabs her arm. "Get up and get some damn clothes on. You too, Leenie. I don’t know what the hell kind of games you’re trying to play, but making me late for work is out."

"Leave her alone," I say. "We’re not going and you can’t make us."

"Oh, I can’t make you?" My mother pulls her shirt up and starts in on her belt. She twists it loose and eases it out of the loops, holding my eyes to make sure I see what she’s doing. "Is that what you just said? I can’t make you?"

"I don’t care about a whipping. I’m still not going."

She comes toward me, about to snatch me up from the bed and put a hurting on me. "Girl, you better…"

"I’ll call the police and tell them you beat me, if you make me go over there. I’ll run away and I’ll go so far away you’ll never find me," I promise. And I will, because it is the only option. I have been pushed into a corner and the only way I can get out is to come out swinging. At this point, I don’t care who gets hit. "I’m not going."

"I’m not either," Vicky adds. She sits up on the edge of her bed and grips the mattress. "If Leenie runs away, I’m going with her. You want us to do that?"

"I want you to get some clothes on, so I can go to work," my mother screams. I duck as she swings the belt and it lands with a loud whack on the bed next to me. "All of a sudden you’re on strike? When you know I can’t afford to lose my job playing around with you?"

"So go to work. We can stay here, like we used to do."

"We tried that once, remember?" She glances at her watch and curses like a thug on the
street. Says words I have never heard uttered in anger. I’ve heard them uttered under other circumstances though, but she doesn’t know that. She pushes her hair off her forehead and looks around wildly. I think I see her counting to ten and then she points a stiff finger. "How long have you two been planning this shit? All weekend? And you just now decided to pull this shit on
me?"

"We decided we don’t need to go over there anymore." This is Vicky’s answer and, judging from the look on my mother’s face, it doesn’t make the cut.

"You just decided."

"It stinks," I say.

"And it’s junky."

"There’s roaches." It is a lie but she never goes inside, so it’s plausible.

"She doesn’t feed us stuff we like to eat."

"And it’s boring. I’m staying here."

Vicky darts a look at me and swallows. "Plus, we want to stay home from now on. School starts back in a little while anyway. We know to stay in the house."

I look at the alarm clock and can’t help the smile that takes over my face. "You gone be late for work, mama."

"I swear to God, if I come home and your little asses even look like you been outside…"

"We won’t," Vicky tells her.

"And don’t fool with my stove or the door. Don’t open the door for nobody."

"We won’t."

"Leenie?" She narrows her eyes at me. Thinks I am the missing link. "You hear me?"

"Yes, mama."

"If I come home and shit is out of order, I’m kicking some ass. Starting with you, Leenie. You’re always the mastermind behind everything anyway."

Vicky rolls to her side and hugs her pillow, yawns like she is so sleepy. "Have a good day, mama."
My mother slams out of the room, mumbling under her breath and slinging her purse
around. Her head rotates on her neck and snaps back into place as she snaps at the air in front of her face. She is so out of it she forgets to put her belt back on. I sit still and wait for the sound of the front door closing and the locks twisting. When I am sure she is gone, I stroll around the house and double-check. I come back and see Vicky dancing around in the middle of the floor, grinning from ear to ear.

"Thought you was punking out on me for a minute there," I say.

She laughs and flops back on the bed. "I can’t believe she didn’t beat the shit out of us."

"Nothing she can do with both of us at one time. I told you that. Present a unified front and she has no choice but to back down. I was gone slit my wrists if she would’ve made us go over there. She would’ve had to drag my ass out of the house, kicking and screaming, and butt ass naked. And she would’ve really been late for work, stopping by the emergency room and everything."

Vicky is cracking up, laughing so hard she holds her stomach and struggles to breathe. "I can see you doing some stupid stuff like that, too." We slap fives because we have won our first scrimmage.

"You think I’m playing, but I’m serious." I go over to the window and raise it halfway, find my stash and light an illicit cigarette. I squat down and blow smoke through the screen into the morning air. "If she brings her ass over here looking for us, I might just slit her wrists
instead."

"She ain’t coming over here."

I don’t say anything, just look back at Vicky over my shoulder and raise my eyebrows.

Around lunchtime, Vicky tips up behind me at the front door and whispers in my ear. "You was right. That bitch came over here looking for us."

"Told you," I whisper back and press my eye to the peephole. My grandmother is pounding on the storm door and calling out for us to open up. To let the lion into the lamb’s den.

"Victoria! Leenie!" she shouts, still pounding. "I know ya’ll in there. Open this damn door and I mean open it right now!"

"She’s out of her fucking mind," I tell Vicky. The pounding starts to get on my nerves and before I know it, I am yelling right along with her. "Go away! I’m not opening the door, so go home!"

"Leenie?" Like she doesn’t recognize my voice. "You open this door right now. Y’mama told me ‘bout this morning. I’m here to bring you two back to my house, so I can keep an eye on you. Now open up. I ain’t got all day."

Vickie pushes me aside and takes over where I leave off. "Mama said not to open the door for strangers," she calls out in a sweet voice.

"Strangers? What the hell?"

"We don’t know you," I say. "So go away."

"How ‘bout this?" my grandmother gets bold and sassy. "How ‘bout if I call the police and tell them you in the house all by yourselves?"

Vicky is fourteen and I am twelve. Together, we are more than old enough to be home alone.

"How ‘bout if I call the police and tell them what I know?" I check the locks and make sure they are secure. I have considered the fact that she might have a spare key and that is why the storm door is locked and the safety chain is in place. I tell myself that if she makes her way inside my sanctuary, they will have to carry her out. I have drawn the line. I step back from the door and look at Vicky. We decide to ignore the pounding until it goes away.

"You want the bathroom first?"

"Yeah, but you’re coming with me, right?"

"I was gone smoke another cigarette," I say.

"Leenie," she whines and stamps her foot. I think I see tears collecting in her eyes.

"I don’t want to look at your naked ass." The truth is that sitting on the toilet seat while she takes a bath is boring as hell. I can think of a million other things I would rather be doing, but she doesn’t like to be in the bathroom alone.

"You can sit outside the door and read one of those nasty books you got hidden in the room."

"Harlequin Silhouette’s are not nasty."

"Does mama know you got them?" She never considers that smoking at twelve-years-old is a much worse transgression. It is the nasty books she focuses on and they aren’t even nasty.

"No and she better not. Damn, you get on my nerves. Why you need me to go in there with you?"

She takes off for our room and comes back a few minutes later with clean underwear and her housecoat bunched in her arms. "I don’t know," she says. "But you gone stay with me, right?"

I grab my book, follow her down the hallway to the bathroom and slump to the floor outside the door. "Don’t I always stay with you?"

Half an hour later the phone rings and she calls out. "You still there?"

"Yeah and hurry up. My butt is falling asleep," I answer, turning a page. She knows I’m not going anywhere.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Terra,

I love this story! Well, at least the little bit that you posted==stingy! Just kidding about you being stingy. But that was a real teaser. I like your style! Is this story finished?

Terra Little said...

Thank you! Yep, it's finished and waiting to be devoured by the masses. Stay tuned, I'll post another snippet in the very near future. I'll be looking for your feedback. LOL.

Count said...

Fa sho. The story is good as hell. Keep posting your shit and never doubt ya self. Hopefully I can find my way back to it.

PEACE

Contel AKA Count tHe MaD wRiTeR

Terra Little said...

Thanks, Count! Check back for more snippets. When you get back to it let me know!

Anonymous said...

Hey girl!

I don't want anymore snippets, I want to know where I can purchase the whole book! Are you sending it to your publisher? On the other hand, I don't think I want to wait for 18 months to find out if the sister's butt fell asleep or not! LOLLOLLOL!!

Seriously, keep writing because you are most definitely good at the craft of writing!

Terra Little said...

LOLOLOL. Sorry, looks like you might have to wait. My agent is shopping this one, so let's keep our fingers crossed...

But just to be ornery, I'm posting another snippet in a hot little minute and I'm dedicating it to you. LOL. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Ok I was waiting on another snippet...what happened? I'm wait'en on my dedication to! LOL!

You know you don't even have to worry, if the rest of the story is as good as the snippet, an editor would be foolish not to pick it up! But I'm praying for you just the same!

I am ordering RFM this week when I get paid too!