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Dirty Face

by Carlton Relf 

Posted: 01 March 2010
Word Count: 1584
Summary: This is based on a true story - Not sure what to do with it yet. I have ideas for a novel or maybe a book of short stories. I am in the process of writing my memoirs but also like to write fiction. I would love to know what everyone thinks of my first serious piece of work. Contains mild sexual reference. Many thanks

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Dirty face

She was disgruntled, but smiling as she forced his manhood back into his jeans. It was a hurried movement but she was careful; she was always careful. It had to be that way. Her delicate hands encompassed his penis, acting as armour as it was reluctantly returned via the gaping trouser zipper. A gentle, loving squeeze displayed her not only her admiration of it, but also an intention that this interruption was only temporary. She longed for him; it had been three days since they had made love.

Logan could not see the clouds but he knew they were there; the moon and stars had not appeared, instead choosing to rest above the storms present. The trees and hedgerows seemed to baulk away from the blades of lightening; but could not hide from the dominant force of the wind and rain. Thunder reined its unsettling supremacy on the night. He had been warm, her head resting on his chest, her hands warming parts that had not been touched by others for many years. The aroma of her coconut creamed skin filled the car; Logan loved coconut, nearly as much as he loved Fi. Her long black hair, groomed to perfection draped over the side of her face. Her white shirt was creased, the vertical row of buttons that lined the front of her chest were stretched, struggling to contain her curved breasts. They had not spoken for hours, just sat silent, teasing each other with affection.

Other patrols had responded to the incidents in the night, but now it was their turn. With a sense of urgent reluctance Logan acknowledged his radio.
“We’re on route,” he barked towards his radio which sat neatly on the dashboard.
“Roger, ambulance have been contacted and will be attending,” echoed the reply.

They had been working together, in the same car, on the same shifts for about three months. Parking up in a secluded spot, rarely frequented by people was a usual occurrence. Nobody knew; it was their secret. Logan had been a Police constable for twelve years and had been given the responsibility of teaching newcomer Fi. Logan was a proud, gentle, man whom was devoted to his career; he could never have foreseen that he would be teaching more than police work. Fi had captured him with her web of character; her flirty innocence, with perfect teeth and lips that revealed parts of their inner, which both revealed themselves when she smiled. Logan was proud of his new love, excited about his newly revived inner being and happier than he had ever been.

The darkness hid her flush cheeks and hurried attempts to re adjust her attire. She watched as the cars yellow lights escaped into the fields adjacent to the road, whilst blue lights flashed high into the night air. Remaining silent, Fi placed her hand on her mans thigh. This made her feel safe; she did not like speed; but trusted Logan. Entering the motorway, provided Logan the means to drive even quicker, whilst Fi took advantage of the street lit highway to study her boyfriend as he drove. His blonde, short, straw like hair flowed in all directions, in an untidy styled way; it complimented his sun tanned face, which was pitted with lines and wrinkles of life. His shoulders and arms were strong looking, safe for Fi; perilous for suspects.
“Slow down” Fi commented softly. She was taunting him. She wasn’t really afraid.
“Don’t panic my lovely, relax, we won’t be long before we’re there,” he replied, smiling.
“Check the location with control and see if we can get some more info,” Logan continued.
“You do it, I hate using the radio”
Logan did not respond to Fi, instead took hold of the radio.
“Control from foxtrot mike two seven, further details required; be there in five, over.”
“One vehicle involved, casualties, ambulance on route, road blocked, over,” crackled the reply.
Logan looked at Fi proudly; he did not like her getting upset. She can use the radio another day he thought. Fi rubbed his thigh with her hand, gently moving it towards his crotch. She was unspoken; her way of saying thanks.

Stone walls protected the narrow single track road from the wind but could not help the relentless downpour of rain. Their arrival at the accident scene was imminent, the corners were approached with heed, time gained with the longer runs. Fi sat upright in her seat, her eyes scanning the road ahead ignoring the hypnotic movements of the windscreen wipers. With her fists now clenched upon her lap, look now sullen, Fi tried to conceal the nervous shaking of her legs by making conversation.
“When we’ve done this job, I want to make love to you outside,”
“What, in this weather?”
He loved her appetite for him, the excitement, and the lust.

“On scene,” Logan transmitted.
He alighted from the car, running towards the vehicle that occupied the road ahead, glancing behind him as if he was an animal being chased by a predator.
“Find out where the ambulance is Fi” Logan shouted.

The beams from the multi coloured lights of their patrol car lit the scene as if it were a West End show, the spotlight focusing on Logan. He was not feeling the cold or the wet, apparent in the night air. As Logan opened the driver’s door, he could not hear the wind howling; only the stillness inside of the car.

She had the perfect frame to survive an accident; a large lady whom had no lap, her stomach resting close to the steering wheel. Smart, brown, shoulder length curly hair, matted with blood as it hung disorderly over her forehead. Sat in the seat, eyes closed, as if asleep, Logan quickly felt her neck with his fingers, pulling away the seat belt which was still attached around her. This woman was still warm to the touch, but would not be for much longer thought Logan. She was dead. Shutting the door gently, as if concerned about waking her, Logan turned his attention to the car.

The windscreen had not only shattered, but had disintegrated over the small green bonnet, spoiling the white parallel stripes that snaked down the edge. Logan did not know the woman, had never seen her before. He guessed that her neck had snapped when her head had hit the windscreen. The front of the mini was perfect, no sign of any damage, just clean aluminium headlights and a shiny silver bumper which danced with the rain causing a catalyst of reflection. Logan investigated the rear and sides of this sporty car; immaculate appearance in the show of lights. The radio crackled informing the officers that the ambulance was delayed.
“Don’t matter, she’ dead,” he muttered to himself.
Fi could not hear him as she was sitting in the patrol car. She did not like to see people hurt or dead; in any case she did not like the rain.

Logan felt not only the cold now, but also the rain penetrating his cotton shirt. His black trousers clung to his overweight legs, making him feel heavier than he usually did. Walking towards his car, shivering; his attention was drawn to a mound settled at the side of the road, only feet away from his car door. Secreted by the shadows of the overgrown trees hanging over the clad wall, camouflaged and hiding from the officers it laid still and silent.

It was never easy; the unpleasantness, the unknowing. Logan shivered uncontrollably, not from the cold but distress. His hands, creased and supple covered his face; he could not look yet. He had already seen the brown cords, neatly tucked into dark coloured wellington boots. Logan moved closer, staring through the narrow gaps in his fingers. Kneeling down as if being knighted, he balanced on one knee, and forced himself to remove his hands from his face.

Blonde hair flowed from the ten year old head, stopping at the boys jacket collar; his face comfortably resting on a clump of grass – as if placed in position as a pillow. His visible eye was open, staring at the clouds that could not be seen. Face down, motionless, but restful in appearance, this boy ignored the hysterical lamentation of Logan.

Logan did not like touching or holding the deceased, but on this occasion it was different. He pulled the boys torso from the ground; the young arms that had been trapped beneath his own body now suspended themselves in the air without purpose. Logan turned the boys head, and rested the bloodied face against his chest, snaking his arms around his back to hold him tight. Staring at the wall, Logan swayed from side to side as if rocking an unsettled baby to sleep. As if unsuccessful at attempts to send his baby into a deep slumber, Logan put Joe down gently, turning him onto his back. Logan ensured that his head was placed carefully back on the grass pillow. As if out of respect, the wind and rain ceased; the only noise was that of Logan, flooding the road with tears of guilt.

Logan briefly looked across at Fi whom had not moved from her seat. Her smile was evident as they made eye contact; He had not noticed her dirty face before.

Logan lay next to Joe, cheeks side by side, wondering how he would break the news to the boys mum; his wife at home.

©arlton Relf2010

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Comments by other Members

tec at 07:23 on 02 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Carlton, thanks for posting this. You have some nice images - 'staring at the clouds that could not be seen' 'relentless downpour of rain.' Nice surprise ending (I think) though I had to re-read it to understand what was happening. My problem is with the semicolon - using ; makes me think that the boy's mum and Logan's wife are two different people, and I think you mean that Joe is Logan's son, right? Or maybe not? I just re-read it again and now I'm not sure at all. I think ambiguity can work well, but here I am not sure if it is intentional ambiguity or just typos in punctuation. So I would work out what you want to achieve w/ the ending - a real 'a-ha' surprise, or something more subtle. Also, I am similarly confused by the beginning - it is quite sexual - any first sentence that contains the word 'manhood' is setting a certain tone - but then is this story about Logan & Fi? Ultimately it seems more about Logan alone. Fi recedes quite a bit, beyond her thigh-massaging. (and by the way - her character is somewhat unrealistic/condascending - a trainee police who pouts if she can't use the radio? who won't get out of the car because it's raining? or she doesn't like to see people hurt? why is she police then?) I think you have a story here - there is a lot of emotion to explore - guilt, lust, parental love, marital dissatisfaction - but it seems you are just skirting the issues, describing what things look like but not really getting under the surface. Not that you have to be explicit about the deeper things, but you have to give us some way into the characters' inner lives, and right now I am having trouble seeing that.

anyhow, that is my two cents, for what it is worth. hope that is not too negative, you clearly have a love of language and I really look forward to seeing another draft!


Carlton Relf at 12:29 on 02 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Tara
Thank you for your comments.

The boys mum and wife are the same person - I take your point, and will have a look at this on the next draft.

I agree, the story leaves much unexplained.... who is the woman driving the car? Logan did not know her. How had his life reached this point? When I wrote the draft, I was not sure how to develop it. I could see a series of stories or even a novel, as well as a tighter short story!

The story is always about Logan, but I wanted to include Fi as she is important in his life, or so he thought. It may appear condascending but it is unfortunate that there are a minority of female officers that are of this nature - just the same as there are many male officers that appear to join for the status of the role, rather than the love of helping poeple. I based the character of Fi on an officer, I use to work with. I think if the story was longer, then more of her character would come out.

I did not want this to be a sexual story, but wanted to get across the feeling that their relationship was about lust and the effect that it was having on Logan.

Thank you so much for commenting. I really appreciate the feedback. Thank you for your encouraging comments - I will keep writing, and will have a tinker with this story.

Kind regards

NicH at 13:55 on 02 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Carlton

Following on from your discussions above, I think that you should go into more detail regarding who the woman in the car is if she isn't the boy’s mother, for example Logan could recognise her? I don't think a police officer would ignore the fact that his son was in a car with a woman he didn't recognise? On the other hand, this obviously wouldn't be the most important thing on his mind in this situation so maybe you don't think this is necessary.

I loved the twist at the end 'He had not noticed her dirty face before' linking the title of the piece, bringing everything together in the last line.

I agree that it seems a bit strange that Fi stayed in the car, and why she would be a police officer if she got upset easily.

I really enjoyed reading this. Sorry if my comments haven't been much help and are a bit brief - I had a quick read during my break at work, but I will keep my eyes peeled for another draft!


Carlton Relf at 14:48 on 02 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Nicola,

Thank you so much for taking the time to read Dirty Face.

I am surprised about the feedback about Fi remaining in the car. It is surprisingly common but I think unless you have worked as an officer, then it may seem unbelievable. It is something I definately need to revise though.

I will have to have a tinker with it - I am going to upload a chapter from my memoirs tomorrow. I would be interested in your view if you get chance to have a peek - I am not sure where the chapter will sit in my book yet, but would be interested and grateful for your views. If you are too busy, don't worry. Time seems to pass so quick - soon be christmas!

Thanks again for taking the time in your dinner break. Hope you are well.

Kind regards

notanodalisque at 15:31 on 03 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Carlton,

Thanks for posting, I enjoyed the story. I’m going to agree with the others about the unlikely character of Fi. I did feel like a police officer who couldn’t deal with radios, speed, hurt people or even rain! In fact, I’m going to go a bit further, and say that it came across like gender stereotyping. Since you based her in experience, I’m sure that’s not how it is meant to be, I think it happens because we don’t know much else about her.

I’m still a bit confused about the ending. I’m not sure how it is meant to resonate, or exactly what happened. I can’t make suggestions about it for exactly that reason! Sorry.

On to some nit-picks. I hate the word “manhood” used in that way, but I may be the only one who feels strongly about it. “Coconut creamed skin” conjured up something rather violent for me, involving graters and simmering. It took me a moment to work out you meant “creamed” as in having had cream applied to it. “The darkness hid her flush cheeks” do you mean flushed? “She was unspoken” do you mean she didn’t speak? “a large lady whom had no lap” do you mean “who”? “His black trousers clung to his overweight legs,” gave me a very funny image of a man with fat legs and a skinny torso. If his weight is relevant, I’d put it sooner, and not just on his legs. “Blonde hair” should be the masculine, blond, I think.

I thought you go the atmosphere and some good emotion in. Thank you for posting.


Carlton Relf at 16:14 on 03 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Nicola,

Thank you for your thorough feedback. I am going to tinker with this story and change the character of Fi..... It certainly was not meant to be stereotypical of gender - I am afraid there are officers of both sex that behave like this - but I will change this in the next draft.

I will also look at the ending which I agree is confusing.

Thank you for your other comments - I will bare them in mind for the next draft.


Crimsondelilah at 16:36 on 03 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Carlton

I didn't really know what to make of this I'm afraid. I thought the sexual references at the start were rather heavy. I'm not sure how necessary it was given where the story ends. I too found it hard to believe in a police officer who doesn't like to see people hurt or the rain. I take your point that there may well be plenty of officers out there like that - perhaps it's just a question of rephrasing.

There were a number of lines that didn't work for me: 'With a sense of urgent reluctance Logan acknowledged his radio', ' Fi had captured him with her web of character'. 'Her flirty innocence, with perfect teeth and lips that revealed parts of their inner, which both revealed themselves when she smiled' - made no sense to me at all.

I think the second half was much more promising - you get a real sense of atmosphere, the elements playing their part in the unfolding drama. I think the line - 'He had not noticed her dirty face before' - is really strong. You get a real sense of his guilt and anger in that line. I think there is lots to explore here and would like to see another draft.


Carlton Relf at 20:08 on 03 March 2010  Report this post

Thank you for your comments. The sexual reference was purely to set the scene - Logan was infatuated by this woman who was showing him attention.... distracting him from work...but then on arrival at the accident involving his son realises that this woman was not important to him.

This is my first serious piece of work and feel a little disappointed with it now. It is great to get feedback, interesting to see how the reader understands it. I think I need to examine this work closely. I tend to agree with you about the sexual bit - I may even lose the first paragraph.

Thanks for pointing out the confusing lines. I will have a think about them.

I have also uploaded a chapter of my memoirs which is police related..... I would be happy for your feedback on them if you get chance. The style of my writing is very different in that. Perhaps I am trying too hard...I don't know with this .

Many thanks for taking the time to read and comment.


Crimsondelilah at 23:07 on 03 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Carlton
I hope my comments did not come across as too negative. I wanted to give constructive criticism but would hate for you to be too despondent. After all what do I know. These are just the opinions of someone relatively new to this site as well!
Will try and take a look at your memoirs soon.

Carlton Relf at 11:57 on 04 March 2010  Report this post

No, your comments did not come back as too negative at all. I really am grateful and prefer honest, constructive criticism. Your views are certainly appreciated and I will be re-drafting as soon as I get time.

Thanks again.

Kind regards


Becca at 18:15 on 04 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Carlton,
I liked the idea that Logan realises how meaningless his relationship with the police woman is when he finds his own son dead, and I particularly liked your way of showing this without saying it 'He had not noticed her dirty face before.' But as the story is ultimately about this, I think the sexual scenes are too many and over-emphasised. The reader could quickly pick up the nature of their relationship with only a couple of lines of this kind.
The story is from his POV, but hers is in there too, particularly in the first para - I think you're right to consider dropping it, it sets a tone which doesn't give the reader much of a chance to empathise with either character.

In genre work as this story seems to be, there is the tendency to describe characters, but had you thought at all that the reader could supply the physical details for themselves?

I do agree with the comments above, and much of what I noticed has already been commented on. I was confused by some of the sentence or phrase structures - 'look now sullen' was one.

You might be interested to read 'The Swan' which is a book of the short stories of an author who was once a highway patrol man in Sacramento Valley, and many of them are stories constructed from his experiences.

Carlton Relf at 18:57 on 04 March 2010  Report this post

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I will take all of the advice and complete another draft - hopefully it will improve.

I will definately look at "The Swan"

I am new to writing and determined to take all the advice and produce better writing.

Thanks again.


Becca at 09:01 on 05 March 2010  Report this post
I forgot to give you his name, Andrew F. O'Hara.

McAllerton at 18:38 on 06 March 2010  Report this post
I thought there was a sense of urgency and drama about this story. You set a scene and describe the windswept night effectively. So you know how to build in tension then build it up. I'm afraid I was expecting a twist as soon as it was clear someone had died in the crash. I thought either his wife or child so I found the ending to be quite forced. The descriptions are sometimes too wordy, remember less is more - the reader can fill in blanks.

Look forward to another draft. There is a good story in there.

Carlton Relf at 19:33 on 10 March 2010  Report this post

Thank you for your comments. I am in the process of writing another draft.

Kind regards

bjlangley at 06:08 on 13 March 2010  Report this post
Carlton, I disagree with some of the comments here about the sexual references being too heavy. I think as that is all there is to Fi and Logan's relationship it has to be drawn on. Logan's realisation of this, should probably be how the piece ends, even though the twist is that it's his son who has died, so perhaps transpose the final two short paragraphs?

I do however agree with some of the comments about confusing sentence and phrase structures, I think these would come to light if you were to read the piece out loud.

All the best,


Carlton Relf at 13:28 on 14 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Ben

Thanks for the time to read and comment. I am tinkering with this and will upload another draft in due course. It is interesting to get everyones views on a piece... I will be looking at some of the confusing sentences for sure. I am still pondering about the first paragraph.

All the best

Katerina at 14:36 on 25 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Carlton,

I can only echo what most of the others have said. I don't think you need to have the sexual bits in here, you can show how distracting the woman is without them.

This is a bit disjointed in places, with sentences that don't make a lot of sense.

I think you need to have a good read through and tidy it up. Try to get rid of any unnecesary words and sentences - why say something in twenty words, when you can say it in five. Readers stumble over too much description and long sentences, you need a story that it snappy and moves the reader along.

You have a lot of 'he did not', she did not' or 'he had not' in here. It doesn't sound quite right to me.

Try to think how we read/speak naturally. We say 'he didn't', 'she hadn't'.

If you can, try to get rid of anything that isn't necessary to the story, and cut out any over description, you'd be surprised how few words you can get away with.

I'll be interested to see the next upload,

Kat x

Carlton Relf at 18:35 on 04 April 2010  Report this post
Hi Kat

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I am working on the next draft, with the advice I have been given in mind.

All the best

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