Short Story

General fiction short stories not related to Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror.

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sooty
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Short Story

Post by sooty »

*beep*

I’m a traveler who has found it difficult to stay in one place for any long period of time. With each family I’ve lived with throughout my travels, I was always referred to by a different name. Having lived that way, I have been able to keep my true identity a secret. People commonly called me a *beep* because of my bad attitude, but I didn’t care. My main goal was to manipulate people into getting what I wanted, and I usually always got it.
I’ll never forget the day I met Jake. He was short and burley man that was balding and had a big beer belly that his shirt failed to hide. He was forever pulling it down to cover the mass of flesh, but it was in vain as it was obvious that all his shirts had shrunk in the wash. Jake felt that I looked like a Rebecca and that was what he called me. He wanted me to be his girl. Every morning he strolled in through the front door dirty and covered in metal residue. I hated that smell with a passion and cringed whenever he came home.
Jake was a welder by trade and worked the evening shift at ‘Ace Manufacturing’ in the next town. He walked through the kitchen and into the living room where he saw me lying on the couch sleeping. Whether I mocked being asleep or not, it didn’t matter to him. He came home expecting attention and gratification from his hard day`s work.
“Honey, I’m home,” he yelled. His arms were open to embrace me.
Did he really expect me to come running to him? I glared up at him, annoyance tattooed across my face because he had awoken me.
“What’s the matter Rebecca, ain’t ya glad to see ole Jake?”
“No, now leave me alone! I was right in the middle of an enjoyable nightmare before you woke me up,” was the most common reaction I had for his greetings.
Not to be denied, he walked over to me. “How about a little kiss then, eh?” he continued.
Keep your dirty paws off of me. "Listen you ignoramus, what part of ‘leave me alone’ didn’t you understand?" I would glare right back to him. I felt cheap when he failed to respect my feelings.
When it became clear to him that I was not in the mood, Jake backed off. He was a little upset by my reply, but I didn’t care. I was as tired as hell and I didn’t want his dirty hands all over me. His selfish intentions were met with my own selfish needs. I considered our situation a stalemate and only hoped he would go to bed and leave me to my world.
“Well you don’t have to snap at me like that,” he replied angrily. “I was only lookin’ for a little affection. Hell, don’t you forget, it was me who brought you in off the street. You were nothing more than a vagabond before you met me. At least I put a little stability into your pathetic and tragic life. You could show me a little more respect when I come home from working a twelve hour shift.”
He enjoyed throwing that in my face whenever he didn’t get his way. I was always having my past dug up and placed in front of me on his “holier-than-thou” platter. I just stared at him with an innocent look on my face in hopes that he would quickly change the subject. Then he looked at me and smiled.
He stretched and yawned around his words. “Ahhhh never mind – I’m going to bed, I’m beat.”
Getting up from where he had been bothering me, he walked towards the bedroom. Once inside, he closed the door, but then opened it a crack and peeked out at me.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come in? My bed is a lot more comfortable than that couch you know,” he offered one last time hoping that I might have changed my mind and sleep with him after all.
“No thanks,” I told him, “I prefer the couch.”
Then he closed the door with a bang, upset with the second round of rejection I gave him.
Shut out. That’s how my life always ended up when all was said and done. I never was one to have long lasting relationships and felt it was time to leave when things got to emotional.
I always travelled from family to family across Toronto, Ontario, Canada, hoping somebody would feel sorry for me and take me in. I’d learned from an early age to play the role of a victim, and lay the guilt on thick. There wasn’t a trick in the book that I didn’t try. Some might consider this a sell out of my self-respect, but I would do almost anything to score my next free meal or get a warm place to sleep. Besides, those who were quick to criticize my ways never had to live on the streets and didn’t know what it was like to not know where your next meal came from.
While I could be had, I could never be owned as I had my own life to live. That was why I never lasted very long with most families. They’d always complain about my bad attitude, and when they’d had enough they’d kick my ass out the door.
Unruly, ungrateful, selfish, uncaring and distant were some of the accusations they would throw my way in an effort to justify their own decision to break-up the relationship. I never let their criticism get to me because I don’t give a damn what anybody thinks about me though. I’m a wanderer with my own life and have my own dreams to fulfill. If they couldn’t accept me for what I am, then I was better off without them.
I was not proud. I had accustomed myself to living on the streets. Picking scraps out of garbage cans and eating bagged lunches were just some of the things I had to do to survive. Strangers who passed me by looked into my face and felt sorry for me. The holy rollers were the best suckers. They always had something for me to scarf down as long as I’d listen to their psychobabble crap.
That all changed the day I met Jake. Jake Marlow was his name. I guess I looked lost and desperate. He was kind to me and asked me if I’d like to come and stay at his place. Sure he was an overweight stinking pig, but I was getting tired of the streets so I took him up on his offer. A warm bed and meal, even with that swine, was more inviting than another night of doing whatever fraudulent acts I usually did for continued existence.
I was still on the couch when Jake woke up in the afternoon.
He looked at me like he had been taken by surprise. “Jesus girl, is that all you do is sleep all day?”
Who the hell did he think he was talking to? “Shut up,” I said sharply. “Where’s my damn breakfast?” I didn’t come live with him to be treated like dirt again. If that was his ideal of a relationship, I was ready to end it before it started.
“I know you’re hungry Rebecca. I’ll fix your breakfast right away. I really wish you could do things for yourself sometimes though. I’ve got a lot on my plate baby.”
“Move it Jake,” I’d reply. “Just hurry up and bring me my grub.” I didn’t want to hear his hard-luck stories. He looked like he had never missed a meal and could never come to understand what hunger was.
He’d make me up some food in the kitchen and brought it over to me.
The food was so disgusting I started heaving. This guy had no clue.
“This food tastes horrible,” I snarled. “How the hell did you get so fat on this cooking?”
He looked concerned. “Sorry, that’s all we’ve got. Times are tough Rebecca.”
Why can’t he get a better paying job? What a loser. Why am I with this idiot?
“Everything will be ok,” he’d tell me. Then he’d come up behind me and playfully stroke my blonde hair with his hand like it was some kind of endearing gesture. God I hated that! He thought it was a turn on, but it only made my stomach turn.
I never did last long at Jake’s house. One day while he was at work I ran away and never went back. Oh, I’m sure he looked for me, but I was long gone. I figured out quickly that staying with him was selling out my dreams. I could have never been satisfied being his *beep*.
My luck seemed to change when, the next day, I was invited to live with a preacher man. Reverend Jimmy Davis was his name. He was out on the street with a Bible in hand screaming hellfire and damnation to the crowd. I’ll never forget his chocolate brown suit, light blue shirt, and orange striped tie. The guy had about the same fashion sense as Jo-Jo the dancing monkey boy. The only thing missing was the organ grinder music.
The one thing that caught my eye was that he had a big tin sitting there for donations, and people threw money into it as they passed. It was obvious that his antics equalled money, which equalled hot meals. Even on my limited education, I figured he had something he could offer me.
As he stood there yelling to the crowd, the cheesy black toupee on his head threatened to blow off in the wind at any second. Who the hell did he think he was fooling with that moth eaten rug? And his thick-rimmed glasses were the biggest joke. He looked just like Mr. Magoo.
“Thank you kindly,” he’d say every time somebody would throw a two-dollar coin into his salvation tin. People can be such idiots. Even I knew it was a freakin’ scam. Yet, the people were so quick to throw hard earn money his way.
Maybe it was their way of trying to buy some time with their Lord. Regardless, this man was no better than me, only more successful in his ways.
To the preacher my name was Jessica. I never did keep one name for very long. It was a way for me to keep my distance from the folks I wanted to manipulate. I wandered up to him looking desperate, and told him my sob story about the terrible life I’ve led. From observing him and seeing how he was a man of the Lord, I figured I could use that angle to my advantage. It worked because I guess he thought he could save me from this sin-riddled world. He was so easy to sway. He brought me to his family’s house. I deduced that he felt he could cleanse my soul of its sinful ways.
His home was nice enough. I guess the Bible thumping business was booming or he was a very successful con artist. I was actually considering making that home my place for a while. Then I met his brat named Crystal. She always wanted to play hairdresser with me, and wanted to put pretty bows and clips in my hair. Had she no life of her own that she always had to be bothering me?
“Get lost you little brat,” I’d tell her. She always went crying to her daddy about it. That little monster was going to cost me an easy meal ticket for sure.
“I don’t like her papa, she’s mean,” she sobbed as she went playing the victim. She always failed to explain how she started the arguments with her childish ways.
“Now Crystal, you shouldn’t talk that way about Jessica. She is a part of our happy family now. I think you should go to your room and pray to the Lord to forgive you. The Lord shines down upon his people, and we are to love all of his creation.”
“Yes daddy,’ she said. ‘I’m sorry.”
How pathetic can you get? Oh well, at least he got the little runt out of my hair.
Then things started to turn from bad to worse. This family wanted to turn me into one of their Bible-thumping creations and forced me to practice their religion. If I wanted to eat I had to pray with the family. Then I had to sit through boring Bible studies every Tuesday and Thursday nights against my will. That was a real torturous snore fest.
Jimmy said it was time we had to set aside to be with our Father. I don’t know whom the hell he was talking about, but my father left on a one-way ticket to dirt nap a long time ago. I really didn’t need this aggravation. There never was a Lord around when I was on the streets and hungry. That was why I became a practicing Atheist. My beliefs and theirs began to clash on a regular bases and I soon tired of my life at the preachers’ home. Unable to tolerate anymore, I ran away the first chance I was given.
Back on the streets and back to my old ways, I traveled to Chinatown. I figured in that area there at least had to be some good food. I was out on the streets for a few weeks, starving and scrounging for food out of stinking garbage cans. I almost was about to feel sorry for myself and curse my pride for leaving the preacher family. But then things changed.
I was in the alley behind a strip of greasy spoon restaurants. That’s the day I ran into the Ching family. Lee and Marie Ching. They owned the Rice Bowl Chinese Restaurant down on Young and Queen St. Mrs. Ching was outside dumping the dirty mop water into the sewer drain. She saw me sitting there, shivering in the dark. I milked my poor and pathetic homeless routine as hard as I could. I started to whine like I was in terrible pain. I’ll never forget that look she gave me. A look of pity graced her face.
Her hair was dark and pulled up into a little bun in the back. She wore a red and gold kimono, and small black baby doll shoes. How she fit those big knuckle toed boats into those little shoes I’ll never know. She was an overweight Geisha in a dress that was far too tight for her figure.
“What you name,” Mrs. Ching asked me in her broken English. Great! It as bad enough that I am in the position I was. Now I had to learn to understand a foreigner.
For some reason she kept calling me Chan, even though I told them my name was Cynthia. Maybe it was her loose grip on the English language that drove her to call me Chan. Oh well, I didn’t really care what she called me as long as I got what I wanted.
Mr. and Mrs. Ching invited me into their home. It was an apartment nestled above the restaurant. It was small, but at least I got all the free food I wanted out of the deal. I was happy at last. I dreamed of a new life where I could do what I want and always have someone there to care for me. But, as in all cases, paradise was quickly cut short.
It didn’t take long to realize that they had six annoying brats. After having my hair pulled a million times while I tried to sleep, I soon escaped from that dump as well. I decided to stay on the streets from that day forward, looking for food from kind strangers who happened by. I loved the open air, and could never live within the constraints of humanity.
Clearly, I was made to live outdoors, the wind blowing through my hair and opportunity at my feet. The road was an open door to the adventure and mystery of that I wanted to experience. I only permitted myself the luxury of being loved when I needed to for survival and quickly slipped out of those lives as quickly as I entered them. I cared not how many hearts I ended up breaking, but I could never belong to anyone. I was determined to live my life to its fullest without being tied up.
I’ve had different names in my journeys. Some have been good and others have been downright insulting. There have been those people that have called me a *beep*. I don’t care because nobody knows my true spirit. I prefer to chase cars, or play ball on the street. I’m a golden retriever. My real name is Fluffy, and I am a dog.

The End

Copyright 2005/Linda Oness
Last edited by sooty on Mon May 30, 2005 7:34 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Bmat
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Post by Bmat »

This is quite a story! I didn't have a clue about it until the end. Well done!

A few suggestions:

Bible should be capitalized, Lord probably should be all the way through, especially where the preacher is speaking.

Jake's English seemed very educated for a metal worker, so if he were educated some explanation as to why he is now a metal worker might help.

He was a little upset from my reply. Possibly "by my reply"

those that were quick to criticize ... maybe those who were...

"usually always" seems awkward

hard days- should days be day's?

I was not proud and accustomed myself ... I was not proud. I had accustomed....


"fraught acts " ?

“How pathetic can you get?” - maybe this should not have quotes?

The road was an open door to adventure and mystery of which I want to experience.- awkward... maybe The road was an open to the adventure and mystery that I wanted to experience.

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sooty
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Post by sooty »

Hey, I`m a certified welder. What? Are we not allowed to be educated? LOL :lol:

Thanks for taking the time to read it. I will add your suggestions.

It got you at the end eh? LOL


SOoTy

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Mr. Gerbil
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Post by Mr. Gerbil »

I like it. The ending surprised me, but it fit in well with the story.

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Ariel
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Post by Ariel »

Very clever.

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SchoolTheOld
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Post by SchoolTheOld »

Very nice, I found the end a bit abrupt though, a little too obvious. Maybe an action, like scratching the ears?

Another minor thing...A chinese lady, "Mrs. Ching", would be unlikely to wear a kimono...She'd be more likely to wear one of those chinese dresses.

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