Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pruning Season

For the Red Dress Club this week, we were to write about jeans. If you look really hard, you'll see that I mentioned them. I think that totally counts.

I'm writing fiction this week, inspired by the non-fiction piece I wrote previously.

Concrit is always appreciated.

After the hurricane, Donny found me temp work with his Uncle Robbie. Tree removal--you know, chainsaws, tearing up shit. A regular Redneck Christmas. 

It's was all under the table, of course--I'm not bonded or trained. But Robbie sent my skinny ass up trees anyway, while he sat there on his, holding the ground down. Not that I was complaining. Hell of a lot better than being at home. And cash was cash.

We were working at the Scallon place. The storm smacked them like a motherfucker, throwing shit around, hollering and carrying on. Kinda reminded me of my stepdad.

Robbie scratched his gut, then spat some chaw on Mrs. Scallon's driveway. An oak had fallen from behind her house, the top branches dangling like a question mark over her front porch."Get on the roof, Eli," he grunted, "Take care of it."

"Yes sir," I mumbled. I wiped my hands on my jeans, leaving streaks of sweat on the denim. I adjusted my belt, and hoisted myself up.

I scanned the tree, studying the pattern of the cut, the fissures along the surface of the bark. I couldn't help but smile. You know how some people see a statue in a block of stone? I can look at a fallen tree and see its whole sad story. Where it's overburdened. Where it's still strong. You need to prune it with care, trimming away the branches and the rubble. Give it a little hope.

"What the fuck are you doing up there?" Robbie yelled. Mrs. Scallon's kid popped his head out the window.  "Stop thinking of your boyfriend and get to work!"

I jerked my head, my gloved hands clamped into fists. The only thing stopping me from telling the fat fuck where to shove his chainsaw was the kid, still looking out the window. His little hands were cupped under his chin, staring at the Bobcat as if it was made of magic and chocolate bars.

Kids. They don't need any pruning yet. They just bend in the wind.

They'll learn soon enough.

For the sake of the kid, I didn't beat Robbie's ass. I cleared the tree, and then cleared three more. At the end of the day, I took his goddamn money.

I promised myself not to piss it all away. Again.

You see, I'm getting out of here. It's pruning season.


Andrea (ace1028) said...

I loved it. Every effing word! I loved the hidden meaning, the tone, and the way the character changed and held back a reaction because of the kid. And the way a tree meant something so different. Great stuff!

Jackie said...

Great job! I found that it was easy to read, see the details in my head, and hear his voice.... kinda of a southern drawl to it. Maybe I'm wrong but that's what I heard!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Love it .....I love how you write where I can visualize the story and the characters perfectly.

CDG said...

My favorite part is the deep and very authentic affection the narrative voice has for Eli. He appears as he is, rough and damaged, but accepted.

He's a great character.

Anonymous said...

Love your story from a man's POV. Your subject knowledge is really good and that makes the imagery even more compelling and clear. You got some mad skills, m'lady.

Kim said...

I like the complexity of this guy. He knows stuff but he's also got some problems. Friend, you write fiction well. I loved that you took the male perspective here.

(Florida) Girl said...

This is such a convincing narrative voice. Layered. Complicated. Raw. I loved it.

Elaine A. said...

You're an amazing storyteller. How you GET IN the mind of this young man is just unreal to me. I love that the simple word "jeans" made you write this.

angela said...

Eli's voice is incredible. I feel like I can see him, and you haven't included any physical descriptions, except that he's skinny. This was my favorite line, though:

Kids. They don't need any pruning yet. They just bend in the wind.

Bekah said...

This guy's a diamond in the rough, huh? Hope life works out for him.

Kristy said...

I love the image of that little boy - looking at it all with wonder in his eyes.

Julie said...

My favorite part is the way he looks at the tree - like a statue waiting to be freed from stone.

Giving it hope.

Don't we all want to be set loose from the rubble?

Pruning, indeed.

p.s. Congratulations on your new role at Write on Edge, lady. Bring on the words!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I love this. You have really captured Eli well. I see him in my mind's eye as clear as day. He is tough and sweet all at the same time. He is likable, albeit gruff.

You did a great job!