Thursday October 20th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the hovel.

Bakery was about the same this morning, maybe slightly busier than yesterday. I expect things to pick up tomorrow and Saturday though.

Natalie was let out of school early today, so she came over to play with Max after lunch. It's interesting to observe the changes brought about by her being in school. There's been a lot of good, but she's also definitely picking up some bad habits from her peers.

To be expected, but not always easy to deal with.


"It is a bit of a fixer-upper."

"That implies that it is broken down, brother."

"It is what we can afford right now, brother. After our last job went South."

"So, in response, you wish for us to go North? To this... this... hovel?"

"Everyone flees to the South, brother. Remember the Cousins? Mitchell and Nancy? South. Jailed less than a week later. They will not expect this. And, should they discover our ruse, they would never find us here."

"If we fix it up too nicely they will find us quite easily, brother."

"We will leave the outside as it is. The interior will become much nicer."

"Livable, you mean brother?"

"That implies that it is unlivable in its current state, brother."

"I would agree with that assessment."

"It will not be forever, brother. We will make do while we are there."

"I do not wish to make do, brother. I wish to make nice. Luxurious, even. May-"

"With what money, brother? It is better than prison. That is all that matters for now."

"Yes. For now, brother."


Greg said...

I guess the trick with school is to encourage the good habits and explain why the bad ones aren't acceptable? I've never had to deal with that situation, but it sounds like it can be challenging at times. Since the alternative is home-schooling I suppose it's the kind of challenge you have to step up to though!
Ah, the Brothers again, with a fleeting mention of Cousins as well (though it sounds as though the Cousins won't be making many reappearances!). I do like the tone and conversation between these two, and their banter. They always seem to end up in agreement, though they definitely take their own routes there. I really like the third line from the end too :)

The hovel
It was a hovel, a shack in the middle of a favela. The walls were sheets of corrugated iron, stained orange with rust and eaten through completely at the corners. The roof was a flat panel of asbestos that had once been roof insulation in an office building. It kept the rain off, and the inhabitants here expected to die well before asbestosis could take hold. The smell of rotting meat drifted past, fighting with mildew, decaying vegetal odours, excrement and stagnant water for dominance. The heat was opppressive; the air was too warm and seemed to press up against skin, squeezing out moisture into sweaty humidity. A shadow fell across the doorway (there was no door) of the hovel and the scent of aftershave pushed all the other miasma aside for two breaths.
"Shanghai Suzie," said a deep, masculine voice.
A clay pot, used as a chamberpot, flew threw the air and the shadow retreated as the speaker dodged. The scream of corrugated iron being pulled back got lost in the cacophany of the favela, but Suzie's scream of outrage at finding two burly sailors obstructing her escape route lifted above the noise and became almost divine.
"People here told me that you were the local prostitute," said the deep voice. "I nearly laughed, especially when they told me with avaricious eyes and lewd hand gestures that you were available for only 15 centavos. Shanghai Suzie, that cheap and nasty? I knew it couldn't be the case. It's bait-and-switch, isn't it Suzie? They think they're getting you, but in the dark how do they know it isn't that donkey you keep 'for warmth'?"
"I liked you more when you were a cowboy, Red." Suzie spat to make her point.
"I liked me more then too," said Red. "But Jimmy Best was still alive then. Things change, you know?"
"Spent all your gold already? Come looking to rob a poor lady?" Her voice cracked, she remembered the day Jimmy died.
"Lady has never been the word for you, Suzie. You drag it so deep into the muck it changes shape and loses its morals and comes out the other side looking like a praying mantis."
"Still got your six-dollar words though, Red. Where's the other one? What happened to him after Jimmy... died?"
"He's here, he's keeping the motorbike from being stolen. Jeez, I never thought we'd see a steel horse, did you?"
"What the hell do you want, Red? I've got a life here, a business. Let me go."
"I need your help, Suzie, which I know you will give but I'll have to make to listen before you understand it. We know how we can avenge Jimmy."

Marc said...

Greg - yes, I suppose that is the trick. New challenges at every stage, it seems.

That's a great opening description, it really conveys just how terrible this place is.

Oh my, this is quite the reunion! And poor Jimmy dead... what has happened in these passing years?

Well, I suppose we really should figure it out at some point.