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Minute Men - part 2 _ revised draft

by Heckyspice 

Posted: 11 March 2007
Word Count: 1986
Summary: A continuation of an experimental work. Added - a few tweaks here and there in line with Nell's comments
Related Works: Minute Men - part 1 • 

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.


The cubicle is a free country. The rumble of machinery is far away. Whatever device makes that sound cannot see him. Donald imagines that this what the Frank family heard each day, the low growl of mechanical wolves hunting for them on the ground, never looking up.

He reads the graffiti on the walls and door of the toilet.

Trap2 boyz rule

Narko is a bender.

Uíre here to have a dump not pull on Uíre love pump.
He is fallen beneath the approach of the philistines. Not the mass of sea people washing over the plains beyond the Nile but the offspring of Seymour Glassís mother in law. How did Salinger put it now..A person deprived, for life, Ö.and then what was it no understanding or taste for the Ö.poetry that flows through things.
Maybe it is time revisit the humanity of JD Salinger.
He fumbles inside his wallet and finds the cool face upon which he has poured his sanity. He turns the school library card over and over like a rosary. The expiry date faded over many years, a relic of a previous world. He remembers the touch when she handed him the card.
There you go sir.
Thank you, Celeste. His thumb traces over the place where she held the card.
What book have you got there?
Tender is the night, F Scott Fitzgerald.
Wait, thatís the Great Gatsby writer, isnít he? My mum has that on DVD. She likes Robert Redford.
Do you know that it was a critical failure until after the warÖ..
Uh. No. Excuse me sir, I need to see what Jolly is up to back there, he is probably trying to nick some more books.
..ÖAnd that I would love to teach more pre-war American literature to you. His words stay in the air, where her shadow had been. At the curve of her hip, a ruffle of blouse is crimped exposing a patch of skin that winks briefly. Donald watches hoping to decipher the code until Celeste disappears between the bookshelves.
Oi Jolly what you up to?
Donald places a hand against the grain of the library desk, no sounds reach him. He looks toward the bookshelves, then his hand, then the door. It is time to leave. What can he do to make this right? There is no one he can ask.
The cubicle is cooler now and Donald feels a twinge in his leg, a muscle shrinks below his bum and pain follows. It always does.
**
Wilkyís fingers crack like walnuts at Christmas, the fatigue of repetition escapes from his bones. The healing will be undone by the finish of the next shift and he will need to leave another open door to the lingering spectre of arthritis.

How many have we done? he says to Ioan.

Me back aches like buggery winces Ioan. He clinches the small of his back as if he is wringing out a wet towel. All morning he has bent over the pallet, digging and sifting like a mole, searching for failed parts, then piling up the suspect packets on a bench next to the pallet. Grey plastic bubbles sprawl across the bench like mutated frog spawn. Ioan studies the pile.

About Ďundred and fifty or sixty I reckon.

Yer man ainít gonna be happy, Wilky says. He nods toward the thin faced man standing near Hoppy.

Hoppy or that Darren bloke?

Who doíya think, not Hoppy, although he canít stand Darren. Too much of the big time Charlie is Hoppy.

Donít be reminding me ! All that My name is Mr. Hopwood, now then boyo. When I first joined, remember that?

He does it to us all.

Not you though mate.

Dunno, canít think if he did.

Darren walks over to them. His neck is raw and splotchy red, a frayed polo shirt collar leaves fleas of cotton and fluff on his skin. The hi-viz jacket he wears is a size too big, it flaps open as he walks.

How we doing lads?

Not bad, but there is a lot of suspect parts, Wilky says.

Fucking loads. Ioan decides to add.

Darren picks up a few packets and examines them like Indiana Jones before an idol. The work here is more difficult than he or anyone imagined. Each packet is not just a loss, it is pebble rolling down the mountain. Pebble upon pebble until the word becomes torrent and then avalanche. A disaster that will break the company he works for.

Good work so far, I need to see what we can salvage from this pile. You know make up good kits from various parts. Darren turns to Hoppy; Iíll do this but I need you to get on with that box thatís come back from America.

I thought Wilky and Ioan could do that one.

They are stuck into this one. And besides they have a rhythm going.

Well you know best, I suppose

No, just what works right now.

Oh well, here comes Donald from his wandering. Oi Mr Chips come on we got us a job to be getting on with.


**

The cubicle is a free country. No smoke alarms patrol the sky. Ioan takes a drag from his cigarette. He then sits back, arms raised in victory like a gorilla in the zoo. Slowly the ash is revealed and he takes in each breath and inside his brain blood whispers thank you. Of all the relationships he has known of ever will have this is the one that will endure every crisis and every infidelity.

When only the dog end remains, he discards it to the bleached water of the pan. It joins soggy brethren of other butts that float before the onset of a tidal wave flush.

He reads the graffiti on the walls and door of the toilet.

Trap2 boyz rule

Narko is a bender.

Uíre here to have a dump not pull on Uíre love pump.

Thatís a good one, have to save that for the local. Hey whatís this in the corner?

Nita sucked me offÖ(scribble) Jammy git.

Iíll remember that name. Nita the nosher, thatís a good un. Yeah, Iíll have to find out who she is.

An Oasis song, Layla, rumbles into the air; it is an old ring tone. The display on the phone says Mam calling.

Hello?

Alright love, are you settling in ok?

Mam you shouldínt call me at work.

Sorry love. Whatís the B & B like? Is it nice?

We ainít been there yet. Got to finish work today first.

Are you sharing a room?

Mam, I just said I donít know. Anyway, have to get back to work. Iíll phone tonight or send you a text.

Ok love, bye then.

Right-O

Ioan puts his phone away before flushing the toilet. A few stubborn cigarette butts survive the cascade of water. So what, it ainít his bog to clean, some Polish or Albainian wanker will be around to do that. Itís all theyíre good for. At least thatís what he tells his friends in the pub. They work for crap wages and do crap work.
But your job isnít so hot, his friends say.

Means to an end. Do this get some brass and then Iím off. America. I know a lad who bought a house in Florida, runs a speedboat taxi. Thatís the plan.

Yeah but you ainít no different than yer man from effing Poland. Looking for work in an easy country.

Bollocks, man, I am different. I have a plan, I have ambition. They are just conning, lazy bastards. Me, I am the real deal.

If he did not owe so much, he might have been in Florida by now.

**

Hoppy tells Donald that some paperwork needs checking and so he leaves the old man to carry on burrowing through the packets in the American box.

Try not to be long, Donald says, he rubs the small of his back as he speaks. We could get this finished before five if we knuckled down.

So what, look now weíll get it done, I just need to double check some figures. There should be another six pallets out there for us.

A thousand registration classes and a thousand detentions have ingrained the skin of Donald with a mutant skill of knowing what he used to call chicanery. Hopwood is a shirker and a poor worker. Taking orders from a younger man is eating away at the bubble of superiority he likes other people to see. Malice forms the ink in any pen he uses but Donald does not really care if Hopwood tries to belittle or prove wrong the young man from Kamasuki.

Hoppy pats Donald on the back. Carry on fella.

Away in the distance he sees Wilky and Ioan share a joke with Darren. What are they laughing at? Bastards. Donít they know who the boss is? Bloody hell they should know better.

Hoppy believes himself to be an arrow, smooth, direct and for one purpose only, leaving his mark. Life has not always allowed him to do that. An arrow needs a good bow and a better archer. All the archers he has known have been weak and poor of aim. With this job he was becoming his own bowman and fuck anyone that stood in the way. His first job as a boss and he was good at it, the eyes of his workers told him all he needed to know how good a job he was doing.

And now his chance to impress on a foreign field, show good away form is in jeopardy. There is something about that Darren, something not right. He gets on too well with the lads and he has only been with them one day. Whatís all that about, eh?

Hoppy had plans to siphon off some of the parts and make a few bob here and there. Now a snooper is on the prowl, well it just makes things harder. A chance for Hoppy to prove how smart he is.

Yeah thatís the challenge. Fuck him, itíll be sweet to pull one over him.

Hoppy develops the smile that he thinks is like George Clooney. It stays with him when times are hard. No one disarms him when he smiles.

**

Wilky relaxes in the toilet cubicle. He has a nagging pain that curls across his back and stomach. The winces come harder and more frequent now and air feels flat inside his chest, as if he is being squeezed by a giant rolling pin. Too much activity is like a starting pistol and the soreness he feels suddenly races throughout the weary parts of his body. Thankful that the race is a sprint and not a marathon, Wilky accepts all of this. He has faced worse conditions in his life, this is just another inconvenient moment that he must let pass.

He reads the graffiti on the walls and door of the toilet.

Trap2 boyz rule

Narko is a bender.

Uíre here to have a dump not pull on Uíre love pump.

A chuckle rattles in his throat. If only he could pull on his love pump! At least the others do not know about that, especially that little gobshite Ioan.

God, how long has it been since he could rise to the occasion? Not even in that lap dancing club on a long weekend in Blackpool. Christ, what was her name, Kika, Kinky, something like that. It was the very least she deserved, to see a reaction. The look on her face was pitying and piss-taking both at once.

The memory took pole position in his brain whenever the world went quiet. After so much time it did not seem as bad anymore.























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Comments by other Members



Nell at 14:32 on 13 March 2007  Report this post
Hi David,

I'm printing this out - get back to you asap.

Nell.

Nell at 15:55 on 13 March 2007  Report this post
Back again. I read through this chapter yesterday, just to gain an overall impression, without being too picky. I really liked/like the way you've placed the three men in the same cubicle (albeit at different times!), and pointed up their differences by the effect it has on their thoughts. First reading found me noticing the lack of contractions again, also odd places where I felt - minimal punctuation or not - that you needed a comma. More specific comments below.

Donald imagines that this what the Frank family heard each day, the low growl of mechanical wolves hunting for them on the ground, never looking up.


It took me a second or two to get the ref above, but it's an interesting way to show poor Donald's state of mind. Clever. I like the way the literary refs in this section make clear exactly which of the men this is, the way they connect to the ex-schoolmaster we met in chapter one.

Love the description of Celeste, especially:

His words stay in the air, where her shadow had been.


There seems to be a hint of something at:

What can he do to make this right?


unless you're referring to the exchange of words he's had with her.

The cubicle is cooler now and Donald feels a twinge in his leg, a muscle shrinks below his bum and pain follows. It always does.


Incredibly poignant somehow. It seems to sum up all the pain of his psyche.

How many have we done? He asks Ioan.


('he' - capital not needed as this is an embedded question mark.)

Some outstanding similes - loved: 'mutated frog spawn', although some hesitation at 'sprawl'.

Loved: '...fleas of cotton and fluff...'

Each packet is not just a cost, it is pebble rolling down the mountain.


Had to read that twice - it's the first part before the comma that seems odd. Maybe 'cost' is at fault - you could try 'loss' or maybe just cut that first part altogether, leave the reader with that image of disaster.

Oh well, oh....


One too many ohs (I think).

He then sits back....


Maybe cut 'then', or even 'he then', tighten the writing.

Love:

...he takes in each breath and inside his brain blood whispers thank you. Of all the relationships he has known of ever will have this is the one that will endure every crisis and every infidelity.


It's all their good for.


(they're)

...and so he leave the old man to carry on...


(leaves)

Will you be long? Asks Donald...


('asks' - another embedded question mark. I think Word is perhaps mistakenly correcting this. I keep the grammar thingy turned off.

The sentence beginning with 'A thousand registration classes...' doesn't feel quite right - I had to read twice to understand. I was puzzled as to the identity of 'the young man from Kamasuki', but that might be the result of reading chapters with time between. Also that para seems to leap out of Hoppy's POV, which makes the subject of the sentence beginning 'Away in the distance he...' potentially ambiguous.

Re. Wilky, I think you could remind us of who he is from chapter one - just a few more details - I wasn't sure.


David, I think that's about it. I haven't picked out punctuation queries, as you can sort those out later. see what you think.

Good writing. I think something big needs to happen soon though. Hope the above helps,

Nell.







Heckyspice at 14:42 on 14 March 2007  Report this post
Thanks Nell,

I am going to wait to see if there ar any more comments before editing the piece.

Thanks for reading,

David

<Added>

I mean are any comments....blimey, my typing is shocking.

Heckyspice at 15:55 on 28 April 2007  Report this post
Hi Jen,

Thanks for the comments. I had a peek at the excerpt from Twelve and can see where you are coming from. I am not sure if the subject matter of rich kids doing drugs is one I would want to rush out and read, but I will see what other books the author has to offer.

Best wishes,

David


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