Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Preference

a Davey's Family story

500 words based on a sentence (in italics) selected by Dive. Click here for more info.

Davey was a bookish boy, his boldest adventures taking place in his own mind, combining the tedious flat details of everyday life with those far more interesting gleaned from the pages of the masters at the storefront library on Jackson Avenue or in cast off volumes rescued from bargain bins at weekend garage sales. He spent hours copying and recopying treasured passages into carefully catalogued black-and-white-covered composition books, learning the words not only in his head, but also in his fingers.

On sunny afternoons when Ma ordered him out of the house for half an hour to get some fresh air he would sit with his books on the cement step outside the kitchen door in the shade of the crabapple tree, listening for the sound of the kitchen timer that allowed him back inside and freed him from the scrutiny of the high school boys playing catch in the street, moving aside at the call of “Car!” when a vehicle needed to pass.

He dreamed of wandering Borges’ hexagonal Library, searching for the book of the story of his own life. Instead he was pedaling furiously homeward, dodging taunts and spitballs from the passing yellow bus on its run to the Home on Covent Road on the north side of town, twin baskets straddling the fat rear tire of his battered red bicycle crammed with schoolbooks, anticipating refuge in his small upstairs bedroom, perhaps even crawling into the kneehole under the desk and pulling in the chair firmly behind him.

As Davey turned onto Candy Lane he saw a cab pulling away from number twenty-four, its passenger half hiding a stumpy cigar behind his back as he knocked on the screen door. Juicy, Ma’s longshoreman uncle, was here for dinner.

“Hiya Red, I brought dessert.” He smacked Ma lightly on the bottom as she turned to take the big green and brown bakery box into the kitchen.

“Mmm, a blackout cake.”

“I love telling the cabby ‘Candy Lane’. Reminds me of a bubble dancer I knew after the war. Friendly gal.”

“Shh Juicy, the boy!”

Davey edged towards the stairs and his second-floor sanctuary.

“You don’t say hello to your favorite uncle? What say when your Pop gets home we go up to Bayville for a swim? Work up an appetite for your Ma’s delicious dinner?”

“I have homework.”

“You spend any more time with your books, you’re gonna turn into a certified bookworm. Swimming is good for you, and you might meet some girls. I met my Blanche at the beach. Your Ma and Pop met at Rockaway.”

“There’s a test tomorrow.”

“C’mon Sport. Where’s your moxie?”

Ma smiled hopefully. “Go on, Davey. Have a swim with Juicy and your Pop.”

His mind raced, searching for a refusal that would stick, strong enough to ward off Juicy but not rude enough to get into trouble. Then, suddenly, with great clarity and precision, he saw Bartleby's window and the blank brick wall before him.

“I would prefer not to.”



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copyright (c) 2009 Lulubelle B

8 comments:

Lulubelle B said...

This week's sentence is taken from Paul Auster's "City Of Glass", from his New York Trilogy.

"Then, suddenly, with great clarity and precision, he saw Bartleby's window and the blank brick wall before him."

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

“I would prefer not to.”

LOL! Just love it.

And I love the name "Juicy." Fabulous!

Scout said...

Lulu, this is just great. You set the scene so perfectly, and your dialog is wonderful.

I love the idea of crawling in under a desk and pulling the chair in to "close the door."

dive said...

Awesome, Lulu! I finished this one with a huge grin on my face.

Little Davey reminds me of Mishima's Noboru in one of my favourite books: The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, though Juicy (great name)is considerably less heroic than Ryuji.

Simply wonderful.

MarkL42 said...

I have to admit I didn't know the Auster book or recognize the sentence's roots in Melville.

After reading a bit of those, your story captures that same feeling in the end, built on vivid descriptions and capturing Davey's thinking.

(I'd swear when I glanced at this the other day, the blackout cake was from Ebingers?)

neetzy said...

I never read "City of Glass", but I loved the story! I love the "bookish" kids. I have a daughter like that.

Lulubelle B said...

Katherine - Stay tuned, there may be more about Juicy in future stories.

Scout - The kneehole in a big desk is a great hiding place. Think JFK jr in the oval office.

Dive - I read "The Sailor Who Fell..." years ago, but don't remember much about it. May have to add it to my list along with "City of Glass".

Mark - It did say Ebinger's, but then I read a few web items that mentioned a blue box. I was 99% sure Ebinger's was light green with brown cross-hatching but I didn't want to get it wrong. I subsequently did some more research that confirmed my memory, but haven't changed it back.

Neetzy - Some of my best friends were bookish kids.

;^D

MarkL42 said...

Ebingers - I don't remember a color but I do recall the script lettering. Found that on a few sites (and recipes). Crosshatching reminds me of a different long-gone bakery, JayDee.

We all readers here. Don't we all see a bit of Davey in us? I'll admit to it. Seems like Davey has no friends but books were how I found friends with common interests.