Sticks and Stones

Sunday scribblers have all taken a turn for the worse this week as they are all writing wicked. You may have seen my first contribution below but I wanted to have a go at a fictional take on the topic. So here it is. And you can find more wickedness by clicking here... at your own risk, of curse.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Sunday was the one day in the week Julie looked forward to. Not because he could stay in bed, relax, do all those things he didn't have time for during the week. No! Sunday was the day she could at last become her true self. Monday to Saturday she was that sweet little nurse in her prim uniform, flitting from bed to bed, doing what she could to make life a little easier on her patients. Life on the terminal ward of the city hospital was pretty close to hell. Yet Julie's presence brought a whiff of paradise amidst all the suffering. Which is why everyone loved Julie. Everyone, except Julie herself. Which is why Julie lived for Sundays.

On Sundays Julie became Popesc - the poisonous pen scribbler, anonymity guaranteed. Getting up at 6 a.m. she went through her weekly riual, spraying her computer keyboard with the foulest smelling atomizer she could find, dying her fingers green and disfiguring that loathsome portrait of a happy, smiling face that took pride of place on her desk. Every Sunday evening, her appetite satiated, she make another print of that photo just so as to be able to disfigure it again the following week. The ritual over Popesc prepared her fare for the day: three large packets of crisps, a heap of carrots and a bottle of wine.

Julie hated Sundays. Yet, she could not live without them. It was the one focus that got her through the week. She felt a rush of adreline go through her body as her computer screen came to life. Two clicks of the mouse and she was ready to begin. She already knew what this week's prompt was. Indeed, she had already written her own slippery story in answer. But today it was not the prompt that concerned her but the replies. She scrutinized the list of those who had already posted their links. She would begin with those she knew were unsure of themselves. They were the easy ones. In this way she would gradually work herself up into a passion of rage and torment so as to attack the most assured of all the writers. Today, everything was easy. The venom raced through her blood and into her fingers. Her commentaries were bound to make people feel crummy. She was already receiving complaints in reply. But those were like water off a duck's back. The more one complained, the more she knew her venom was working. A quick break for another glass and some crisps and off we go again.

Julie never wondered about why she needed Sundays so much. And the one time during the week she became angry was whenever anyone had asked her what she was doing on Sunday. It hadn't happened often but whenever it did it left a lot of astonishment in its wake as Julie hit the roof and then disappeared without trace for the rest of the day. It was now almost midday and Julie was getting well into her stride. She demolished one aspiring writer in a particularly deft manner. Julie was convinced she would never be scribbling again. Then came another attempt to get her thrown out of the community. She merely laughed at the warning letter. They could throw her out if they wanted. She would be back. A new username, a new profile. They just couldn't keep up.

Julie had never really had a relationship with anyone to speak of. Of course, a lot of the young men tried to get her to a date. But Julie didn't want a quick drink, a nice smile on the way home, a kiss on the doorstep and a hop into bed. She valued people and relationships too much to be seduced by that quick fix approach. So the only person she enjoyed being with was Ricky. Ricky was the type of person you wouldn't go out with. He was too friendly. He would never have plucked up the courage to ask Julie out, anyway. But they enjoyed being together in a friendly kind of way. Towards 2 p.m. things started getting tougher. These people were stronger and less vulnerable. It all all her skill to get to them. This was the challenge she relished the most. It gave her the opportunity to hone her skills and go beyond what she had learnt to date. She didn't win them all but she always came away richer from the experience. It was after these commentaries that Julie began to look forward to her evening's reading. This was her way of winding down. Today, she would read the book Ricky had lent her. It seemed quite intriguing, the perfect end to a day of spiteful malice. And tomorrow she would be up refreshed and with a renewed vigour ready to face up to another week at the clinic.

Rick had had absolutely no ulterior motives in giving that book to Julie. He had found it a good, if sometimes dark, read. They had often talked about what they were reading. But this was the first time he had lent her a book. Julie picked up the book and started to relax. Her eyes wandered eagerly over the opening paragraphs and pages. But she couldn't relax. It was a strange book. She couldn't make out the hero's name. Was it Jekyll or was it Hyde? She read on.

Julie turned up for work over an hour late the next day. And she looked aweful. She had obviously been crying. That fact alone set the tongues off wagging. All the patients wondered which young man had broken her heart so. Some even haboured secret amibitions of replacing him and mending that fragile, shattered heart. If the truth were known... But it never will be known. All I can say is Julie accepted joyfully Ricky's invitation to a lakeside concert Sunday afternoon. She even invited him to lunch at her parents' restaurant first. She so dreaded what might happen that first Sunday. She needed to be with someone.

11 comments:

Hi, I dashed this off quite quickly but I'm really looking for some critical, not venomous (LOL) feedback. I want to develop this theme (good/bad raging inside) into a story and would value your opinions. I would particularly like to know if you consider this character believable - despite the obvious humourous, overdrawn elements. If not, why not? What could be done to make her believable? What do you think of the climax? Is it enough just to make the association with the book or should I go into more detail here? Thanks in advance to all who take the time to reply.

21 July 2007 at 16:41  

So Julie's kind of Jekyll and Hyde. I forget which one's the bad one - I like the two aspect of her life - one in the real world and the other online where she sits in front of the computer posting comments/insults. I think more details is need in the association - I didn't get that about Jekyll and Hyde until you mention it. Or maybe I just need to re-read it.

21 July 2007 at 17:35  

very interesting..

21 July 2007 at 18:12  

Great story. I'm wondering if the new blogger identity/ profile is drawn from real life experience? Anyway, I guess we all have a dark side hidden away where we think no one will find it.

21 July 2007 at 18:41  

What puzzles me about this story is why she has such self-loathing and tries to hurt other people? It's not clear, but perhaps that's as you intended. It's an interesting story, with some entertaining elements.

21 July 2007 at 19:32  

There are some lose ends but I liked it despite those. A first draft is more enjoyable. Sets the thinking juices on!

22 July 2007 at 05:41  

Mmmmm who's writing here, Julie, Rick or Paul? Tell me why she so detests herself and yes, more detail please! Wicked ;~)

22 July 2007 at 08:34  

Kept my interest Paul, left me wanting more. Of course I’d like details of why she’d been crying, also regarding her anger issues. I'm hoping for more chapters soon! Very enjoyable!

23 July 2007 at 09:50  

Believeable character...especially the writer aspect of sitting down on her "intended" day and feeling blank and not so writerly that day...I did think the self loathing was a pushed a little far and might? turn readers off. The ending was very intriguing and makes you want to read more. Thanks for risking, because it's not easy putting writing out there is it?

23 July 2007 at 14:32  

I know that girl. She's been to my blog! LOL I love how the jekyll and hyde thing was played through out.Great read on wicked!

24 July 2007 at 21:41  

Julie grabbed my attention right from the start. I liked that she lived for Sundays just as much as she hated them. I was confused at the end, though, on her turnaround. What, exactly, about the book made her willing to walk away from something that she previously lived for? Was it in seeing herself in the Jekyll and Hyde character and feeling shamed by it? Was it in knowing that the guy who loaned her the book saw her this way and still likes her (so she can now like all sides of herself, too)?

Excellent first draft. Good use of imagery (especially when she sprayed the foul-smelling stuff on her keyboard).

26 July 2007 at 07:49  

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