13 September 2010
Unreliable narrator
Last month, my local RWA chapter had a little bit of free time during our meeting. So we did a writing exercise. We were supposed to write about a narrator who was either more or less than they purported to be, and give hints as to their reality through settings, dialogue, etc. In other words, an unreliable narrator.

My results were kind of quite a bit out of my normal writing - 1st person, male, about a topic that's not particularly romancy at all. And my blog was looking so lonely and neglected, I figured I'd toss it up as a mini free read. Mind you, this is totally rough and unedited. I ran spell check and that's about it. *g*


I’d gone out on the roof for a cigarette at a time that wasn’t my official break. Right there, you know I’m no stinking hero, right?

Heroes don’t sneak away from their desk because they think they might slam their manager’s head in the desk if they changed the font on our mailers for the fifteenth time. That morning. (Yesterday, he thought comic sans was the best font ever and wouldn’t be swayed. Until he saw papyrus.)

At a little past nine thirty the door to the stairwell swung shut behind me.

I was still fishing my lighter out of my pocket when I saw her.

I didn’t even know who she was. Jimmy and I had spent plenty of time over lunch talking about the hot chicks at the company and I was pretty sure we knew ‘em all.

This one would have been pretty hard to miss, after all. She was blond, for one thing, and I like blondes. A lot. Little china-doll features, with a button nose and big blue eyes. Only problem was the nose was red at the tip and her eyes were almost completely bloodshot.

I couldn’t see her legs where they dangled over the edge of the roof, which was a shame. I’m a leg man. Her rack was nice in the tiny-strapped top she wore. It looked like she was ready for a night of clubbing rather than working at Struthers and Brant, Inc.

I sat beside her. It’s not like there’s benches up there. Just flat, stinking asphalt.

She looked at me, and I couldn’t help but see that her eyes were welling up with tears. From the looks of her pink-splotched cheeks, she’d been at it a while.
It was either head it off or spend my whole illicit break listening to sobs. And really, who wants to deal with that? “Rough night?” I asked.

She sniffled. Turned her face out over the street. I know we were twenty stories up, but you’d have thought someone would have noticed her before. Then I wouldn’t have stumbled into this crap.

Her shoulders lifted. “Not great.”

I stuck my cig in my mouth finally. Wrong side first. Tar flecked across the tip of my tongue. I yanked it out and flipped it. The lighter did a weird little shake and jump as I tried to light it.

I pushed out a slow breath and tried again. Hot rough smoke burned down my throat. Thank God.

Always need a smoke to deal with crying broads.

“You know, the Denny’s on fifth is a much better after-club stop.” I blew smoke out into the wild blue yonder, then swallowed. A weird lump had taken up residence in my throat. I needed to quit the damn things. “The hash browns are damn good. Sop up any extra booze.”

Her lashes blinked so rapidly I thought they were waving at me. “I didn’t drink anything.” Her shoulders lifted in that same shrug. “Well, I didn’t think I did.”

“But?” Weird. I didn’t think I had that in me, that soft soothing tone. Ma had gotten right pissed at me plenty of times for not showing enough sympathy to her cat, Mr. Whiskens.

“But I woke up out here. And...” Her voice broke.

I didn’t much figure I should touch her, though.

She shuddered. “I hurt,” she said in a voice so quiet I could barely hear it over the rush of wind and the pigeons swooping nearby.

I took another drag of my smoke. “There’s only one thing to do about that,” I said. “We’ll take you to the doctor’s.”


I nodded. Really, if she needed that pointed out, it seemed the least I could do. “Yeah.”

She scrubbed a hand over her face. The cloudy dazed look finally slipped away. She turned her pert ass and brought her legs over to the safe side. She shook a little as she stood.

At the door to the stairwell, she stopped. Looked at me. Her eyes were still watery. “I was gonna jump.”

I held open the door. “I know.”


Blogger Carrie Lofty said...

I tell ya, better and better.

Blogger LorelieLong said...

*g* Love you too. :D

Blogger Trisha said...

I know this is a very old entry but I wanted to stop by (saw you at the AW forums, I'm yoghurtelf there :D) and wanted to comment. This was a great piece of writing, and sounds like just a beginning really!

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