Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Writing the Next Line

Welcome to Writing the Next Line.  If you like it maybe we'll do this once a month. This is not a new activity by any means so I can't take credit for it.  The Rules: In your comment you must continue the story so whoever is first must continue from where I left off and the next person to comment must pick up from where the last comment left off and so on.  Please keep each comment 1-2 lines but come back as often as you like. This post will be up for a couple of days so keep the story going.  When I return I will put the whole thing together and post it. Should be fun! The story starts below:

I continued scrubbing the dried ice cream from the table top as the door chimed.

Don't these people know we are closing.  I have homework to do. Gary, will take care of it.

I tried to make it look like I was busy as I eavesdropped. The customer's voice was low so it was hard to make out what he was saying. 

"Claire, this man wants to speak to you," Gary yelled from across the room.

Me? What did this guy want from me?

His tall, slender frame slowly made its way over to me.

 "Can I help you?" I asked.

He held out his hand and inbetween his fingers was a photo. "Do you know where this person is?"

There you have it. If you don't like it well I don't know what to tell you. I would love for everyone to participate so have fun. This will be up for a couple of days because my son is having surgery tomorrow so I should be able to check up on this over the weekend.

Check out The Beta Club tomorrow (4/15).  I think some of my first chapter will be up for open critique *cringing, holding my breath.* Please note: this is an older version of my first chapter-- go easy on me.  Your feedback is always helpful so let me know what you think.  I hope to read it all your wonderful comments over the weekend.

I also wanted to give a big, big, big thank you to all of you who commented yesterday.  We all have bad days and your comments made me smile and feel better.  I promise to stop whining and get to work.

Have a great weekend! Don't forget about me. :)


  1. The man's eyes were sleepy, drooping down at the corners, but insistent. I pulled my gaze from them and looked down at the photo. A gasp escaped my lips as the blood froze in the veins.

  2. It was Tommy, all broken and bruised with a large open cut running along his hair line. I looked back at the man in the bad suit.

  3. "I have no idea who he is." I set down the rag and reached for the photo. He handed it to me and I looked closer. "Nope, sorry."

  4. I couldn't tell what this man wanted he looked like he'd been run through the ringer but was it because he was after Tommy or because he actually cared I wasn't planning on taking my chances either way I didn't know where Tommy was but I knew I needed to find out.

    "Sorry I can't help you is there anything else?"

  5. The man was silent, his black eyes studied every part of my face, searching for a lie. I smiled hoping that would convince him, it probably would have if I had been one of the pretty girls who worked here.

  6. "You're sure you've never seen this man?" he asked.
    I shrugged. "Don't know what to tell you."

  7. He stared at me for a long moment, judgment heavy in those drooping eyes. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a slim black wallet, and when he flipped it open, I recognized the three bold letters printed inside.

  8. AAA. "Triple A, ma'am. I think you know why we are here.

  9. My brow nit. Triple A? Why would they be looking for Tommy?

    "Uh, not really. How did you get a picture of this guy?" I looked back at the table and played with the cloth in my hand.

  10. "Let's just say he was on our "get to know" list." The man grouched as he scratched his scraggly chin.

    I chuckled uneasily, swirling the wet cleaning cloth over a table. "Looks like you missed out on that opportunity."

  11. "Poor guy, looks like he's seen better days." She wanted the Triple A man to leave. Her hand on the door she asked, "Anything else?"

  12. He grinned, revealing a sharp set of incisors, gleaming under the overhead lighting. "That's all for now, Sweetheart. But just so you know, lying isn't your forte."

  13. He turned and walked out the door. I slumped into a heap on the sticky floor.

    'Claire!' Gary rushed over to me. 'Are you OK?'

    I raised my head. 'No. I'm not.'

    I would never be OK again.

  14. It was the first time I'd seen Tommy, or at least an image of him, since that night at Lina's apartment.

  15. I frowned at the picture, then looked back up at the man. "Is this a joke?" I asked.

    "Not at all," he said. His face remained blank.

    I looked back down at the picture again, my flesh creeping with uneasiness. What could this mean? I thought.

    The girl in the photo was eight or nine, hair pulled back into identical pigtail braids tied off with purple bows. Her smile was sunny and wide, showing off the gap where her top front teeth were missing. She wore a green t-shirt with a smiling frog printed across the front.

    My lucky frog shirt, I thought, dazed. I hadn't seen it since I was twelve.

    Three years older than I was in the picture.

  16. It was the ice cream man. I'd seen him around before, and I didn't like his looks much. I did, however, more than like his pecan praline.

    "Why are you looking for that guy?" I ask the stranger.

    "Because he's a spy."

    I wrinkle my nose, worried that my favorite soft serve is in danger of becoming extinct. "A spy? Really? He hardly seems the type."

    "You'd be surprised, Ma'am. It takes all kinds to run a intelligence-smuggling operation. Do you have any of the ice cream here that he sold you?"

    "Why, yes," I reply and open the freezer, handing him my last quart.

    The mysterious man reached inside the frozen dessert, extracting a plastic bag with a tiny micro chip inside a moment later.

    He nodded to me. "You've been very helpful. Your country appreciates your cooperation."

    The man left immediately, and I sighed with relief. I walked to the window after composing myself. The street outside was empty until the ice cream man unexpectedly pulled into view.

    Gary appeared out of nowhere and whispered something to the man in the yellow and red truck. Just as I was wondering why Gary would be having a conversation with a suspected spy, I saw the ice cream man hand him a nutty buddy bar and a loaded Smith and Wesson.

  17. That was the night that everything, and I do mean everything, had gone wrong. The night my suspicions had been confirmed. The night my nightmares had begun. I had hoped never to see Tommy again.

  18. It made sense that AAA would be after him. The Tommy I remembered had an attraction to cars - stealing, joy riding, and wrecking every single one he touched.

    I had no doubt that Tommy wrecked one too many cars, which got AAA on his case and probably explained why Tommy was banged up in that photo.

  19. Just wanted to let you know I fixed the name to your link on my list :) Though I did kind of like Christyn'e.

  20. Great idea, Christine! (And I'm so glad you're feeling better.) Here's my contribution:

    The photo was old, curling in the corners from where the parchment backing was beginning to come unglued.

    A black and white smile flashed from the face of the lone girl in the photograph as she leaned against the Model T. It was a smile I recognized because it was my own. The face was my very own.

    What was this guy playing at? How did he get my face into a picture nearly a hundred years old?

  21. Hey, cool, mysterious one. Where are you? I have a small gift to show my appreciation for all your kind support. Could I get your address again, so I can mail it with the book? Sorry I'm so flaky.

  22. Ahhh, I wasn't sure where to pick up. Looks like the story deviated to a second one. Do you know I had this screen up like for two days so that I would remember to post, and then my computer did an auto install of some new updates and restarted and then poof, the screen was gone and I forgot. *sigh.

    Anyway, I think I'll pick up from Shelley Sly's comment: "It was the first time I'd seen Tommy, or at least an image of him, since that night at Lina's apartment."

    If something happened to him, it would be my fault.

    How could I have let Tommy get so drunk? He'd stumbled around Lina's living room with a bottle of Jack, crying out, "I don't want to go!" over and over. Finally Lina slapped him hard across the face and told him to shut up and, "Go anyway!" I was furious with Tommy for embarrassing me in front of my friends, so I let him leave. Just like that.

    When he didn't show up at our apartment the next morning, I should've known something was wrong. I think a part of me did.

  23. FUN! But, er, no next line. Sorry!

    I'm a bit behind on my blog reading and commenting and such, but thank you so, so much for stopping by my blog recently! I love seeing new faces. :)

  24. Sorry, no next line - but there's something for you at my blog. :)