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The gambler. An attempt at 3rd person

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The gambler. An attempt at 3rd person

Postby berry » Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:05 pm

I am trying to practice 3rd person persepctive which I find very difficult, any thoughts or comments on this attempt are welcome and needed! Thanks.

The Gambler
“Jerry!”
She bangs on the door again.
“Jerry!”
The banging slowly filters through to Jerry’s consciousness. It’s like he’s inside a church bell and someone is hitting it with a mallet. He’s still trying to command his body to follow some simple instructions when Marie opens the door to the spare room and stomps over to the window. He hears her tut and sigh before she tugs open the curtains. Bright morning sunshine lights up the room, Jerry pulls a pillow over his head in response. It’s a sad attempt at hiding and it does him no good. Marie’s’ face tightens into an angry scowl.
“For Christ’s sake Jerry, you’re fully dressed; you didn’t even take your bloody shoes off.”
She leans down a grabs a handful of sheet, yanking it off him,
“And this is clean washing!”
Jerry attempts to look up, but the bright sunshine explodes painfully in his head so he keeps his head down,
“Didn’t want to wake you, got in a bit late.”
His voice is a croaky mumble.
“I’m Sor…”
“Don’t, don’t even utter the word, I don’t think you even know what it means. I can’t go on like this Jerry I really can’t.”
He manages to raise his head and he looks at his wife with what he hopes is the sincere sorry on his face that she won’t let him voice. She shakes her head, with tight lips and flaring nostrils, gripping the sheet in one tense fist and yanks it off the bed and throws it on the floor.
“I guess I’ll just to have to wash them all again!”
“Marie…”
He can’t think of anything to say, his brain feels like its scraping against his skull. Marie just rolls her eyes and says,
“I’ve got to get to work.”
Jerry tries to sit up and look useful but Marie is already heading for the door, she turns in the doorway and gives Jerry a look of utter disappointment before leaving the room, the door left standing open. Jerry doesn’t manage a coherent thought before he hears the front door slam.
He sits staring at the open doorway, the silence creeping through the house making him feel insecure and anxious. He doesn’t feel awake but, he decides against going back to sleep. Instead he shuffles to the kitchen, his insides feeling liquid and his legs trembling with effort. He uses the walls to steady himself all the way. Coffee, a little voice whispers, must have coffee. His hand shakes as he spoons instant coffee into a mug, the coffee scatters over the counter and over the floor as does the sugar. He has more luck pouring the water from the kettle but only because he uses two hands. Even the sound of his shoes crunching the granules of coffee makes his head hurt.
Marie has left the paper open on the kitchen table. She used to leave little notes too. That was when they were both working, when there was something more to express than anger and disappointment. He used to look forward to the little notes he’d find. Now they lived separate lives, the shared the same space but Marie’s had chosen a direction and was steadily moving away while he still stood scratching his head trying to choose a destination.
He shudders and brings his trembling coffee cup up to his mouth, absently rubbing at the drips that roll down the side of the mug and into his trousers. He wrinkled his nose, despite the coffee mug right under his nose he could smell himself, smell the whole story of the previous night in scents and stains. It was not a tale worth repeating, at least not to anyone other than a trained professional.
After staring blankly at the kitchen table for a while the newspaper sitting in front of him comes into focus. He flips through the pages taking in little but a few words under the largest pictures, until he reaches the sports. He tells himself that he’s just going to glance at the horse races, just out of general interest but his mind is already focussing, already believing, before his conscience can object. Then he sees it. The name opens up like spring flowers in is head giving infusing his body with a hangover killing energy and purpose. The way that only a sure bet can. Its fate, surely a sign that today doesn’t have to end as badly as he thought it would, it must be.
The name accompanies him to the shower, it smiles at him while he puts on fresh clothes, it steadies his hand while he shaves. It holds his hand all the way to the betting shop. He wavers for a moment outside, but only for a moment.
He strides up to the window beaming, behind the thick glass is Janie, she knows him well, she knows them all well. They reveal their stories with every bet, Janie listens. She listens when their ship is coming in, she listens when they’re feeling lucky, she nods and smiles whens it’s a sure bet. Mostly, she tries not to notice when they lose.
“And how are you this fine morning Janie?”
“Fine Jerry just fine.”
“Get ready Janie, I’m on to a winner today, I can feel it, I really can feel it.”
“I hope so Jerry.”
“£200 on Marie.”
“Sure Jerry.”
Different bits of paper change hands and looks around the sparse room for an empty stool. He sits in front of one of the screens, there’s at least half an hour before the race. He can’t keep his leg from bouncing up and down. After a few minutes of fondly remembering when he could smoke indoors, he goes outside. The sun is still hurting his eyes, his head is still throbbing but he notes, as he shakes a cigarette out the box, that at least his hands aren’t shaking anymore. He leans back against the wall, enjoying the warm sun on his face and blows the smoke into the air him, a rare moment of peace washing over him. The moment is short- lived, he feels a pair of eyes on him. A large square man with a large square head wearing an expensive dark suit is looking at him from the other side of the road. The man leans on a lamppost exuding both calm and menace. Jerrys smile slides from his face and shatters on the pavement. Murdock is suddenly on the move striding across the road, his eyes do not leave Jerry’s for a second, not even to check for cars. In Murdock’s world the cars will stop.
“Good morning Jerry.”
“Yeah, morning, Murdock, morning.”
Jerry mutters nodding a few too many times and trying not to look him in the eye.
“You know that today is the day of course.”
It wasn’t a question.
“I know Murdock, I know but…”
“I don’t think we need discuss this, need we Jerry? My employer is not fond of tall tales. He is not fond of tales at all. You know what he in fond of?”
“Money?”
“Money. 4 0’clock Jerry. 4 0’clock. What do they say, your money or your life eh? See you later.”
Murdock chuckles gives him a short nod and whistles as he strides away.
Jerry is shaking again. He lights another cigarette with the last one and huddles against the wall. The sunshine doesn’t feel warm anymore, but there is a ray of hope, the last one. Marie.
He throws the cigarette to the ground crushing out the end under his shoe and heads inside. He takes a seat and waits, watching other screens, his leg bouncing up and down, fingers tapping the counter. He knows this is the last chance, the last race, the last of the money. After the longest 15 minutes in his life, it’s time. He watches intently, muscles so tense he barely needs the stool underneath him, as seven pairs of eyes stare out from behind the gates, seven shiny outfits above them. Jerry holds his breath and then bang!
The hooves thump the grass, his heart thumps in his chest, Jerry’s eyes are wide open for the first time today, the room fades away, conversations turn to white noise. It’s just him and Marie. For a moment he remembers feeling this way before. An evening long ago when he sat with the two-legged Marie, the night he asked Marie to marry him. Nervous and excited, terrified, his mouth stumbled over the words but he got them out and looked up at her, waiting. It seemed the whole world was holding its breath, waiting for them. A smile spread across her face, a beautiful smile, and right then, anything and everything was possible. It could be that way again, if only he could catch a break. The memory is shoved aside when the horses take a bend and one is lost. One down! The four legged Marie strides ahead of the first four. Jerry can hardly breathe, he stand up as Marie is on the tail of the leader, so close, so close this is it, Jerry stands fists clenched, eyes wide, it’s really going to happen, Marie is going to save him and with a swish of a shiny flag there is a winner.
There is also a loser.
Jerry drags one foot in front of the other, trudging slowly towards home. He was so sure this time. So sure that Marie would save him as the real one did before. He feels sick and dizzy like he has downed a bottle of whiskey in a couple of seconds. At four 0’clock they will come for him. He has no more excuses, he’s out of time and out of money.
There is nothing to give them, nothing but his life.
Outside of a dog, a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
Groucho Marx
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Re: The gambler. An attempt at 3rd person

Postby Bmat » Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:19 am

[color=#FF0000]“Didn’t want to wake you, got in a bit late.”
His voice is a croaky mumble.
“I’m Sor…”

the shared the same space but Marie’s had chosen a direction and was steadily moving away while

smiles whens it’s a sure bet.
[/color]

I like the story and the way you present the theme of losers and winners.

I don't think the story indicates difficulty with third person. The only problems I found to comment on were these three above. In the first, the speaker isn't clear until after an extra reading- in other words, it is as a hiccup to the reader.

The second has a proofing error but I believe if you want to use present tense in the story it should be "they share the same space, but Marie has chosen.."

The third, another minor proofreading error.

I usually don't like present tense in a story unless it is there to add urgency, and in this story, it does this well. I was hooked from the beginning, I cared about Jerry.
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Re: The gambler. An attempt at 3rd person

Postby Asp Zelazny » Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:20 pm

Very well done. Your use of the third person went well, no apparent flaws to me; I found the present tense usage quite effective as well ... even to suggesting that there might be no future tense for Jerry. Very well done.

and yet ... the pedant in me found even more typos than Bmat did. (so there, Bmat!)

Marie’s’ face -- (extra apostrophe)
She leans down a grabs a handful of sheet, yanking it off him, -- (down AND grabs) -- (probably no comma after him when moving to a quote)
He doesn’t feel awake but, he decides against -- (shouldn't the comma be after "awake"?)
He wrinkled his nose, despite the coffee mug right under his nose he could smell himself, smell the whole -- (the comma after nose should be a semi-colon)
The name opens up like spring flowers in is head giving infusing his body with -- ("like spring flowers IN his head"? or "like spring flowers IS IN his head"?)
Different bits of paper change hands and looks around the sparse room -- (and HE looks around the room)
and blows the smoke into the air him, a rare moment of peace washing over him -- (blows the smoke in the air, a rare)
Jerrys smile -- (Jerry's smile)
seven pairs of eyes stare out from behind the gates, seven shiny outfits above them -- (seven horses, seven jockeys = 14 eyes)
four 0’clock -- (four o'clock)

... but of course this is just a draft; you would have caught these yourself before submission ...
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Re: The gambler. An attempt at 3rd person

Postby berry » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:05 pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone.
I find 1st person easier too, hence forcing myself to try something new. The only tip I have to offer is something offered to me which was to decide who you are going to inhabit either for the whole story or each chapter. Even though in the 3rd person you can jump around I found that amount of freedom difficult to manage, especially when it came to holding the plot together. It is still rather new and daunting to me.
Outside of a dog, a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
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