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Rock Buns (working title)

by Paula31 

Posted: 10 June 2011
Word Count: 1128
Summary: A child's account of a time in his life.


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When I grow up I want to be a policeman. I want to be able to go and break down doors and take people away with the blue lights flashing, just like they did to my brother Billy. Mum says she canít cope with having two inside. Thatís why I play outside all the time. The house is small, and it is crowded with me, mum and baby Josh in it. Although, thereís a bit more room since Billy went away.

I go and call for Jamie Cox to see if he wants to play army. His mum answers the door smiling. Sheís always smiling Jamieís mum. She asks how my mum is and I tell her about Billy being taken away and how a lady comes round now to see how me, mum and Josh are. She tells me to tell Mum that she was asking about her. Mum says not to speak to the nosy bitch but I like Jamieís mum. She wears nice clothes and smells of perfume and baking.
Me and Jamie go over Glenbrook Common to our base. Itís hidden in some bushes. Nobody knows itís there except us. We made sure of that after last time. Our last base was in an old house with a green metal door that wasnít locked. It was the best base yet with furniture in and everything. There was this one time when we were jumping on the mattress and I fell and cut myself. It didnít hurt that much, just a sharp pinch in my leg. But the police come and warned us not to play in there because it was very dangerous. I heard them say something about it being a den with sharps everywhere. Yes, it was our den and they had to come along and spoil it. Thatís why I want to be a policeman then I can go and spoil everybodyís fun.

We donít make it to our new base because it starts pissing down so Jamie says we can go back to his. His mum has just made some rock buns and gives me two and a glass of milk. She asks if my mum bakes and I tell her no but she once made a space cake for Billyís birthday. I donít know why it was called that because it didnít look like a rocket or anything, and she said I werenít to have any. How mean is that? Her and Billy ate it and laughed all night. I couldnít get to sleep for them two laughing. I tell Jamieís mum that her cakes are really nice hoping that sheíll give me another but she just asks where my dad is and did he not get any of the cake. No, I tell her, my mum said he was doing a long stretch somewhere. I can only stretch for a few seconds before I get tired. Jamieís mum smiles at me even more when I tell her this and she gives me another cake.
I donít want to go home but itís getting dark and I have to be back to look after baby Josh; even though baby Josh is always in his cot when Mum goes to work. Donít answer the door to anyone is the number one rule when she goes out. She always looks beautiful when she goes out. I would say she looks more beautiful than Jamieís mum. Why canít she look like that in the day? She kisses me goodnight and I can hear the key in the lock. Iím in charge now and when youíre in charge you canít be scared. Billy was never scared and I want to be just like Billy. I fall asleep on the couch dreaming of rock buns and Billy.

Itís raining again. Me and Jamie are never going to get chance to build up our base but I call for him anyway. His mum tells me to wait in the kitchen; Jamie is just getting changed from church. I donít mind. Jamie can take as long as he likes. Itís cosy and warm here. His mum asks how baby Josh is. I tell her he was sick last night. Thatís a shame she says. Itís alright though because I cleaned it up before mum got back from work. She looked at me funny. That was the first time I hadnít seen her smiling but then she smiled again and asked me where mum worked. I donít know where mum works and Iím not supposed to say work. Mum says if anyone asks where she is tell them sheís out, not work, do not say work. Anyway, I says, donít tell Mum but I think he was sick because I gave him a bit of her special pop. Sheíd kill me if she knew Iíd used some but I didnít know what to do. There was no milk left and he was crying so I only used a tiny bit and put some water in it. Mum will never find out because I put some water in her special pop bottle as well. Jamieís mumís eyes went very wide but she still smiled. She has a lovely smile.
Jamie was ready for me to go upstairs. Itís sometimes good when itís raining. You get to do other stuff like play on the computer. I can only go on Jamieís computer now because Billyís got took away. When Iím in the police Iíll get Billyís computer back for him. Time goes really quick when you are having fun but I have to go so I get my coat and say bye to Jamieís mum. She offers to take me home in her posh red car. While itís raining I say yes. She says that I was a very good boy and everything would be all right. I tell her everything is all right.

When she pulls up there is a police car and ambulance on the front. I wonder what theyíve come for this time? I run into the living room and see the lady who comes to see us every week. She says I have to go with her and the police say it too but I say I canít leave mum and baby Josh. They all look at each other and shake their heads. I say Iíll go only if they let me go in the police car because Iím going to be a policeman when I grow up but when I look my mum is already in the police car and they wonít let me near her. The lady takes me to her car and I see the police car drive away. My mum doesnít look at me but Jamieís mum does. She is still smiling.






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Comments by other Members



Manusha at 19:12 on 10 June 2011  Report this post
Before I get lost in critique head, I've got to express my first impression while it's still fresh: Loved this!
Be back in a bit. ;

Andy

Jubbly at 19:33 on 10 June 2011  Report this post
This is a wonderful albeit heart breaking story. Beautifully realised with a genuine ring of truth. I hope you place it somewhere.
Well done.

Jubbly

Paula31 at 19:49 on 10 June 2011  Report this post
Thank you Andy and Jubbly for your words of encouragement. I haven't had chance to write any stories since December and this was the first chance I have had. I wrote that yesterday and stupidly thought that First Fast Drafts meant exactly that. I wrote at speed and in one go without editing as I thought this is what I had to do. Glad you both enjoyed it.

Paula

Manusha at 21:22 on 10 June 2011  Report this post
Hi Paula,

This is so readable. I loved how everything is interpreted through MCís childhood POV; it gives a real charm to this story, however tragic the reality is. I can certainly see why you like writing from a childís POV, you pull it off convincingly. There are a lot of long sentences that I would usually suggest being punctuated a little more, but itís totally in keeping with a childís voice and works really well here. The present tense reinforces the child POV as well.

Mum says she canít cope with having two inside. Thatís why I play outside all the time.

Just an example of his interpretation that works so well. It brings a gentle humour to the story, in opposition to the far less savoury reality that he canít yet understand.

Phew, what can I suggest in the way of improvement? I feel like Iím picking nits that donít need to be picked, but here goes, hope something is helpful:

There's a couple of places where 'mum' should 'Mum', but a quick edit would quickly sort that.

Sheís always smiling Jamieís mum

Doesnít this need a comma after Ďsmilingí?

She asks how my mum is and I tell her about Billy being taken away and how a lady comes round now to see how me, mum and Josh are. She tells me to tell Mum that she was asking about her. Mum says not to speak to the nosy bitch but I like Jamieís mum. She wears nice clothes and smells of perfume and baking.

As I said, Iím struggling to suggest what could be improved, but offer a slight reorder. To be honest, it works fine already but just a suggestion -
She asks how my mum is. Mum says not to speak to the nosy bitch but I like Jamieís mum, she wears nice clothes and smells of perfume and baking, so I tell her about Billy being taken away and how a lady comes round now to see how me, mum and Josh are. She tells me to tell Mum that she was asking about her.

it starts pissing down

ĎPissingí pulled me out from the innocence of the voice for a moment; it has a slightly different effect from Ďnoisy bitchí earlier because that was quoting his mum. But then this wouldíve been a word picked up from Mum, Dad or Billy, so perhaps it should stay.

mum said he was doing a long stretch somewhere. I can only stretch for a few seconds before I get tired.

Lovely.

even though baby Josh is always in his cot when Mum goes to work

Just a thought, Ďalwaysí or Ďalready in his cotí?

While itís raining I say yes.

Perhaps Ė ĎBecause itís raining I say yes.í

She says that I was a very good boy and everything would be all right. I tell her everything is all right.

So many lines in this that I loved, this is one of them.

She is still smiling.

Great ending, Jamieís mum canít stand by while she knows such neglect is going on. I wonder if the last sentence could do with a tweak though. As it is, I was left a little unsure whether she is smiling because being a churchgoer she simply wanted to see the bad mother punished for her sinful ways. If thatís the intent, then itís fine as it is. Yet if (which I hope), she is simply trying to help MC out of true compassion, perhaps there would be some sadness in her smile. Just a suggestion Ė
She looks sad, but still smiles at me.
Or something like that.

By the way, what is MCís name? I just want to know because I feel I want to look after him! Youíve done great job of endearing the reader to the main character. Whether you polish this further or leave it just as it is, I hope you send this somewhere; people will want to read this!

Oh, yes, did I remember to say I loved this? Thanks for the read, Paula, I look forward to more.

Regards, Andy



<Added>

Sorry, meant to mention this line:

They all look at each other and shake their heads.


I'm in two minds whether you need this. Or perhaps just take out the 'shake their heads' bit. Not sure, but just a thought.

<Added>

PS Thanks, Jubbly, for popping by and giving comment. :)

Account Closed at 17:31 on 12 June 2011  Report this post
Hi Paula

Like Andy and Jubbly, I enjoyed this.

Thatís why I want to be a policeman then I can go and spoil everybodyís fun.

This made me smile. It's a great line.

I'm not sure about the 'pissing' either. I know this child lives in a difficult environment, but he'll probably know the difference between 'good' and 'bad' words and I'm not sure 'pissing' would be his first choice in thought... more a verbal expression for effect. However, it's just my point of view.

Sorry Andy - but I'm not keen on your reordering suggestion! I think it works until the final sentence:

She tells me to tell Mum that she was asking about her.


So, for now, I'd say keep with the original (although Andy did some fab para reconstructions for my piece).

Regarding this line:

Jamieís mumís eyes went very wide but she still smiled. She has a lovely smile.


This feels like the child almost knows what he is doing/saying and is dropping his mum in it. Otherwise, he'd wonder why her eyes went so round, or not notice they did.

Finally, to end on a high ; :

She always looks beautiful when she goes out. I would say she looks more beautiful than Jamieís mum. Why canít she look like that in the day?


I loved the way you told us the mum's profession by just using two words: beautiful/night.

Well done!

Sharley

Paula31 at 20:26 on 12 June 2011  Report this post
Thanks for the comments guys. I agree 'pissing' does seem out context. I will get rid of it. I enjoyed writing this one (saying that I enjoying writing every story, but this one seem to drop out of my head) but I don't know whether to keep it this length or expand. I suppose I'll decide once I've polished it a bit. Thanks again.

Gerry at 14:05 on 14 June 2011  Report this post

I'm afraid I'm coming very late to this, and I don't really have anything to add. It's a very nice piece, well told and with a lot of truth to it. Andy's suggestions seem very sound. Mind you, I had no problem with the 'pissing down' - as the boy has no problem reporting the 'the nosy bitch' earlier, I feel he may have picked up on other bad language and was already using it.

Good stuff.

Gerry.


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