Wednesday March 22nd, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the mute.

Bakery was fairly slow for most of the day. Did have a lady buy 13 loaves (for herself and some friends, I believe) late afternoon, so that helped. Plus Shannon did want 15 loaves in the freezer for a restaurant order, so it wasn't a problem, really.

Just was a lot of bread to deal with at end of day.

Miles came down with a nasty sounding cough yesterday, so Kat took him to the doctor this afternoon. I guess he's got laryngitis, but it's not too severe.

Not much worse sounding than an infant with a hoarse throat though.


Little Ricky never spoke a word to nobody, as best anybody could tell. That don't mean he didn't communicate though. He had his ways, you know?

Like, if he was wearing one of his red shirts? You best keep your distance, man. He had the fire in him them days. And that temper of his was not something you wanted to mess with. Burning, burning hot, man.

And if he was wearing his black hat? He was sad about something, that's for sure. No way to know what, of course, but I guess the details didn't matter much. I mean, if he wanted somebody to know what was bringing him down he'd have told 'em, right? But he never did, so...

And then there were the times he wouldn't shave for weeks. Months, even. That was trickier business, that's for sure. Because you wouldn't even realize something was up, right? Not until the hair on his cheeks got thick enough for you to see it.

Poor Ricky had hair as yellow as sunshine, so it took a while for it to show.

Anyway. That facial hair was a sure sign that something was troubling him. Driving him to distraction. Keeping him up at night. That boy done got obsessed when certain thoughts or ideas or people (pray that it wasn't you, man) got stuck in his head.

You know, for a kid that never said nothing, Little Ricky sure had a lot to say...


Greg said...

I can't quite picture someone leaving with 13 loaves of bread: that feels more like wholesale than retail! Poor Max, I hope he gets well soon. I don't think I've ever had laryngitis -- is it painful?
I really like how expressive Little Ricky is without ever saying a word, and I find myself curious about the times when he's unshaven and wearing a red shirt with a black hat. The voice you've chosen for the narrator works well and brings in an appropriate level of admiration and fear, and generally adds to Ricky's aura, I think. I hope Ricky makes occasional further appearances too :)

The mute
"The papers, Jimmy. Tell me where you got the papers from." Sylvester prowled around the back of the garage in the shadows. The place stank of stagnant water and engine oil and the concrete floor was stained and oddly slippery under foot. It was a mostly wooden structure: old, splintering planks nailed together around four steel posts and two rusted cross-beams. Rays of sunlight leaked through holes in the wood making the shadows deeper and more complex; tiny pools of light did nothing to make the garage seem friendly. Motes of dust danced in the sunbeams but there was no Disney fantasy here; instead they seemed like unwilling prisoners performing for a public relations video about how wondering life in the Republic was.
Jimmy was tied to a chair; arms bound at the wrist behind the wooden back, ankles tied to the chair-legs. Another rope wrapped around his t-shirt, dragging his sweat-stained t-shirt up out of the waistband of his jeans and revealing an inch of soft-white flesh. His bicycle was lying on the floor against one wall where it had been thrown when he was dragged in here. He said nothing.
Sylvester moved out of the shadows for a moment and stopped moving. In one hand he was carrying a length of chain, the kind used for well-drilling, links almost as wide as his palm, the rusty iron as thick as a finger. He moved again, the chiaroscuro making him vanish so that only his footsteps could be heard.
"It matter, Jimmy. Just tell me where you got the papers and we can end this mess. You can go. I know you've got a home to go to. People who care about you. We don't have to do this, you know."
The chain scythed through the air, the weight of it making it slow and brutal. The heavy links smashed against Jimmy's shin and there was an animal-like scream of pain.
"Come on Jimmy. Just tell me."
The only noise was Jimmy's laboured breathing, trying to hold back sobs. They stopped abruptly when Sylvester laid a blade against the back of Jimmy's neck, pressing the point between vertebrae. The skinny shoulders pushed back, uselessly trying to protect him.
"Last chance, Jimmy," said Sylvester. There was a note of genuine regret in his voice. "Where did you get the papers from?"

"Jimmy?" said Vince, setting his drink down and looking at Sylvester. The bar had only just opened and they were the only two customers. "The newspaper kid? Which is he again, deaf or mute?"

Greg said...

Woah, "how wondering life in the Republic was" should be "how wonderful life..." -- that's an odd typo for me to make!

Marc said...

Greg - I've never had laryngitis either, so I can't say. Miles didn't seem to care for it at any rate.

Thanks for the kind words on mine - I rather enjoyed reading over it myself! I shall try to bring Ricky around for another visit or two.

Oh man, the atmosphere in your initial scene is fantastic. You painted the scene beautifully and then ramped up the tension until... breaking it with Vince's finale. Wonderfully done ( even with the typo :P )