Friday, September 02, 2005

Picture Perfect Friday (Finally!)

(This post has been up since Tuesday but in celebration of a GLORIOUS Friday, I hereby repost it on the proper day!)

The premise is to take three pictures chosen by silk and write a story. Here's mine. I call it...

Helping Hands

It had happened again. Joyce Robins found she was waking up, butt naked, at the base of another headstone.

“All right. Try to stand. Nope, legs are still wobbly! Better climb up the stone instead. Man, that’s cold! Getting’ vertical afterwards is always a problem. This would get old if the kids didn’t need me.”

“Ok, who is it this time?” Joyce thought, getting down to business.

Jeremy Alan Rodgers.
Born: July 16, 2000 - Died: August 3, 2005.

“Just two weeks ago! Explains why I’m so groggy though. Must have been a violent death.”

“OK. Let’s get oriented here. Familiar cemetery so some clothes are nearby. New cemetery's are tough but I gotta’ admit catching a cab in the buff is never a problem, as long as it’s a man driving.”

“Okay… I’m in… the… northeast corner. Main gate should be… there! A short jog in the morning mist always does a body good!”

Thirty seconds later, Joyce was at the main gate. She pulled her brown knapsack from its hiding place under the sign that read, “Forest Lawn Cemetery.”

“Damn, they’re a little damp.” She muttered, “Note to self: find a more waterproof cache before next time.”

Though the pants were a bit wet, the jeans and flannel shirt felt good next to her skin. Her favorite socks, however, were soaked! Putting them back in the knapsack, she grabbed her shoes and slid them on her feet without the socks. Now, she’d catch a cab whether the driver was male or female.

Once back in her apartment, she poured a glass of milk. Milk tasted best in the morning but she preferred tea if it was afternoon. Joyce grabbed her glass and sat in the chair next to the phone. Lifting the handset, she pushed one on the speed-dial.

“Detective Ross,” the voice answered.

“Hi, Adam. It’s Joyce.”

“Hi, Joyce. Uh… let me guess. Church Street Cemetery.”

“Nope. Forest Lawn.”

“Okay... Date?”

“August 3, 2005.”

“August 3rd! Damn! That won’t be in the cemetery records yet. Let me grab the obituaries…”

“I’ll wait…”

“… August 3, 2005. Ok. What’s the name?”

“Rodgers, Jeremy Rodgers.”

“Um…Peters…Richardson… Here it is. Jeremy Rodgers, son of Isaac and Anne Rodgers. 164 Marble Lake Drive. See you in 30 minutes.”

“Good. Just enough time for a shower.” Click.

Joyce slid into the passenger side of the police cruiser. Detective Adam Ross handed her the case file of Jeremy Rodgers.

Adam started the conversation, “Looks like they ruled it an accidental strangulation. Jeremy was playing in the backyard. Mother, got talking with the neighbor. Half-hour later, they found him hanging in the nylon rope of the swing, his feet about three inches off the ground. What did you see?”

“We’re looking for a male, youngish, dark hair. Wiry but strong. Seemed to be a friend or relative of Jeremy. I didn’t sense any fear until after he grabbed Jeremy.”

“Friend or relative? This one ought to be easy. What can you give us for evidence?”

“Can’t say. I need to see his hands.”

Marble Lake Drive was only 20 minutes away. A right turn onto the street and 164 was the third house on the left. They went to the front door and Joyce rang the doorbell. A middle-aged woman answered the door.

“Anne Rodgers?” Detective Ross asked while showing his badge.

“Yes? May I help you?”

“We’re here about Jeremy’s death.”

“Now? We have family over. Since Jeremy’s accident…”

“ It’s about Jeremy. May we come in?”

“I… I guess so.” Anne opened the screen door wide.

Joyce walked into a living room filled with people. Three young girls played with dolls in one corner. A teen boy with red hair sat in a chair watching a football game. Three men and a woman sat at the kitchen table. All the men were too big to be called ‘wiry.’

“He’s not here.” said Joyce.

“Who’s not here?” Anne asked.

Detective Ross chimed in, “Is there anyone else here who might have been around the day Jeremy died?”

“Yes, my brother, Nick, has been living with us since he lost his job,” answered Anne. “Nick, can you come out here, please?”

A young thin man with dark hair emerged from a bedroom.

WHAM! The memories that were Jeremy’s hit Joyce with power of a tsunami!

She saw Nick sitting on a bed. Mirror on his lap. Razor blade in his hand. White powder in neat rows on the mirror. The second bureau drawer from the bottom open. Startled, Nick stashed the mirror in the drawer and led Jeremy out to the swing set.
Uncle Nick picked Jeremy up and put him on the swing. He gently pushed Jeremy three or four times. Then, in one smooth motion Uncle Nick grabbed the rope and twisted it around Jeremy’s neck! Jeremy struggled vainly, scratching the back of Nick’s hands. The jerking of the rope left nylon splinters in the killer's palms.
The last thing Jeremy saw before he died was his Uncle Nick’s face.

“Nick, may I see your hands?” asked Joyce coolly. Nick held out his hands. On the back, several deep scratches were healing. Two or three nylon splinters were just beginning to fester on his palms. “It’s him. You’ll find cocaine residue in the bureau in his room. Second drawer from the bottom. Hope you kept the nail scraping’s from Jeremy. You’ll find Nick’s skin there.”

“Nick, you're under arrest for the murder of Jeremy Rodgers,” said Detective Ross as he cuffed the thin wiry man. “You have the right to remain silent…”
This one was easy. They aren’t always that way. Joyce left the home and walked to the patrol car, wiping a single tear from her eye. As she dropped her hands to her side, she felt a tiny five-year-old hand, Jeremy’s hand, reach up and gently grab her fingers.

She loved it when that happened.


Well that's it. Hope you enjoyed my vision for these three pictures.

I really am interested in how other people go about the act of creating a story. And, not being one to ask others to do what I would not be willing to do myself, I have written a short post on my thought process while writing "Helpng Hands." You can find that post at The Writing of "Helping Hands".


Here's the rest of the lineup:

You'll be blown away by The Storm. A simple butterfly starts an imagery hurricane that you need to read to believe.

Jeffers tries to find himself (twice) in Shadow Self.

More dreams help Silks character deal with lost love in Manifestations of grief. Like Nugget said, "Just read it."