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DanielF
January 23rd, 2011, 06:40 PM
Margaret Durham took a deep breath in and bathed her sight towards her seated husband, as he gently swigged from his cup, leaving a thin coating of tea on his grey moustache. "I love you, dear," she whispered, smiling. "It is such a fine day to sit outside in the sunshine and enjoy a drink from this lovely cafe."

"Yes it is," said Derek, meeting his wife's adoring gaze. It was at times like this he thought himself to be the luckiest man in the world. Forty years ago they were married, and Margaret was still the same bubbly woman with this incredible lust for living life to its full. Age can sometimes be a curse, but Margaret saw it simply as an inconvenience.

What is a few deep wrinkes on your face and aching joints when the cold, clean air you breath revitalises you to think of yourself as being sweet sixteen all over again.

Margaret's mobile phone rang, and she pulled it from her pocket. "Hallo," she chirruped. "Oh, it's you Susan! How are you? No... really! A girl! Oh, that is wonderful. I bet you are so proud! I remember when I became a grandparent..."

What happened next Margaret had no means of preventing, and Derek was helpless too as a random passer-by lunged for Margaret's phone, grabbing it fiercely from her grip, and bolting off with it in his clutch.

His head was masked in a black hood and a scarf covered his mouth, but the moment he turned round briefly and shone his eyes at the shocked Margaret, she reacted in a most unusual manner.

The thief was slowing his stride into a quick walk and began to quickly mingle with the crowd of people. "That was easy," he laughed to himself, staring down at the mobile phone. "Looks new, as well. Not bad... Not bad at all."

His smile had all but faded when he felt two strong arms grab him around his stomach and throw him to the ground. He struggled, but in vain. His face was at one with the ground, his hands tied behind his back.

"I will have my phone back, now," said the brave woman as she restrained the thief, who was many years her junior. The thief laughed, but Margaret positioned his arms in such a way he soon was grimacing. "In my pocket," he growled. "The left one."

Margaret loosened her grip on the thief, allowing him to push himself from the ground and making threatening advances towards her. But he stopped. He was rattled enough to club the old lady around the head with his fist, but for some reason he could not bare to do so, and he felt awash with shame. And for the first time in his life he said, "Sorry."

Margaret stood tall. She was quite exhausted with her run, and the pain in her knees made her wish that she hadn't bothered. She had thought she would feel nothing but anger at this point, but instead she felt pity. She and the thief were making an astonishing connection with each other, and she longed to find out more about him.

She asked if he would like a cup of coffee, her shout of course, and, joined by her relieved husband, Margaret was saddened to hear the thief sorrowfully tell his story.
"I feel stupid telling you this, but I was once someone," he said with a lump in his throat he couldn't quite shift. "I worked in a clothing shop.
Nothing grand or anything. But the money was ok. And then one day my girlfriend just upped and left. She said she didn't love me anymore and she had found someone else."

Margaret cupped her hand into the thief's, smoothing her thumb over his skin, prompting him to continue. "After that I forgot who I was. I drank. Loads. And I started to take drugs. Nothing too heavy, but that soon changed. When I got hooked on heroin that was it for me. I was a mess. My family abandoned me and I had no one. My boss wanted rid of me and he soon got his wish. Low on cash, I stole from the shop till. It was what he had been waiting for. 'Get the hell out of this shop - for good.' I've been on the streets ever since."

The thief smiled to Margaret, showing that several of his teeth were missing. "About three years ago now, that was. I haven't changed much..."

Margaret felt warmth towards this man. She told him that she was once a police officer, and despite her age she had chased him because she had wanted to finish her conversation with a friend whose daughter had just had a baby.

She pulled out her purse from her handbag and pushed a few notes into the thief's hand. "God be with you," she said.

The thief looked shocked, but was thankful for the cash - there must have been about a hundred there. "You are a remarkable woman," he told her, before smiling once more and soldiered out of the cafe area.

Margaret turned to her husband, who had stayed silent throughout the conversation, and winked. This is why she loved life so.

Darryl
February 3rd, 2011, 12:49 AM
That was awesome!, i love the whole idea of the story. really gives me hope that their are some out here in the real world that would do this, and how life changing for both sides an encounter such as this could be! great job.

Jeff Degginger
February 9th, 2011, 01:19 AM
While I like the uniqueness of the woman's being strong enough to stop the thief, I think this story is unfortunately cliche in more than a few aspects. Its not that there's anything wrong with cliche, but I feel like I've read this story before, and I think the direction you decided to take it in either needs to be expanded on or done differently.

First, the couple is really not interesting, there's not really anything necessary given to us in the first few paragraphs, the first important even is the phone call. The characterization of Margaret doesn't have to happen before hand, the perfection of the marriage just paints the image of something too idealized I think. I would go so far as to say it would be more interesting if this was not a perfect couple and Margaret herself were not such a perfect character... but I feel I am personalizing it too much. I would say either leave the husband's character out of it (he seems to take up too much space in the story, yet matter too little to the plot to really even be here).

Second, When she invites the guy back to sit with her and her husband that was just way too unrealistic for me. You just got done throwing a guy to the ground (also he seemed relatively unhurt by a throw to the ground, especially someone that's been debilitated by drug and alcohol addictions) who tried to steal your belongings, Mother Theresa wouldn't invite the guy back to the table, and I imagine that her husband would have something to say about it as well, or maybe a passerby?

Third, I think this story would do well with some extra characterization for everyone, as we are given Margaret is really just there to show a very archetypal kind character, giving the money, praise be to god, all that sort of stuff. That type of idealization and perfection really doesn't come across as very realistic (and there I'm using that word again) because she can't do anything wrong, or she's never done anything wrong. She is so happy and sunshiney that even though she's strong enough to throw a man to the ground at sixty she is willing to walk calmly back to her table and share a tea with him. I think really what I'm getting at here is that this story is way too short and way too hands-off (characterization is not very deep) to actually appreciate the message you are trying to get across. The same thing goes for the thief, we don't have time at all to build up admiration or mirth towards the thief in order to have an emotional reaction when Margaret decides to give him the cash.

Overall, its not bad, I think it just isn't realized fully yet. Play with your characters, give Margaret some bad or pitiable points, and give the thief some good points. Try to extend the confrontation between the two of them in some way and don't make Margaret immediately forgive the guy.

Well, umm, again, don't take any of this badly, I'm not trying to discourage this story, but make it more flavorful than it is now.

ROORD
February 9th, 2011, 11:47 PM
I really love the old woman character and her personality, especially her chasing down the thief =) I just think maybe the man who steals her phone could be refined a bit


Margaret was still the same bubbly woman with this incredible lust for living life to its full. Age can sometimes be a curse, but Margaret saw it simply as an inconvenience. great line =)


What is a few deep wrinkes on your face and aching joints when the cold, clean air you breath revitalises you to think of yourself as being sweet sixteen all over again. I think this is great too but maybe take out "sweet" makes it seem a bit premade if that makes sense


"Hallo," she chirruped. chirruped is a great description =)

,
and Derek was helpless too as a random passer-by lunged for Margaret's phone, grabbing it fiercely from her grip, and bolting off with it in his clutch. maybe get rid of "and" because you have "too" and also "with it in his clutch" maybe you could cut



And for the first time in his life he said, "Sorry." I think this is a bit extreme, he seems to be a bit of a caricature here which jarrs with the later heart to heart



She asked if he would like a cup of coffee, her shout of course, and, joined by her relieved husband, Margaret was saddened to hear the thief sorrowfully tell his story.
"I feel stupid telling you this, but I was once someone," he said with a lump in his throat he couldn't quite shift. "I worked in a clothing shop.
Nothing grand or anything. But the money was ok. And then one day my girlfriend just upped and left. She said she didn't love me anymore and she had found someone else." I like the things he's saying here, it seems real especially cutting straight into "I feel stupid telling you this"


Margaret cupped her hand into the thief's, smoothing her thumb over his skin, prompting him to continue. "After that I forgot who I was. I drank. Loads. And I started to take drugs. Nothing too heavy, but that soon changed. When I got hooked on heroin that was it for me. I was a mess.
My family abandoned me and I had no one.
My boss wanted rid of me and he soon got his wish. Low on cash, I stole from the shop till. It was what he had been waiting for. 'Get the hell out of this shop - for good.' I've been on the streets ever since."
Maybe cut out the heroine? I think drinking would be enough to throw his life off balance and considering the length I dunno if you have the time to give that information the force it could have.

The thief smiled to Margaret, showing that several of his teeth were missing. "About three years ago now, that was. I haven't changed much..." This is great. Real. The "I haven't changed much" is very nice for woefully reminiscing and the toothless smile is a great way to add it in


Margaret felt warmth towards this man. She told him that she was once a police officer, and despite her age she had chased him because she had wanted to finish her conversation with a friend whose daughter had just had a baby perhaps you could have the thief reacting to this?



The thief looked shocked, but was thankful for the cash - there must have been about a hundred there. "You are a remarkable woman," he told her, before smiling once more and soldiered out of the cafe area. maybe get rid of the hundred bit, surely he would have been grateful even if it was a lot less? Although I appreciate you're bringing across her generosity


]Margaret turned to her husband, who had stayed silent throughout the conversation, and winked. This is why she loved life so. that is a great way to end it, especially on the novel sentence formation =)

I thought it was really entertaining, sorry if you thought I was being too picky with it, I know a lot of the time people can criticize thinking something is unintentionally wrong when it is intentionally atmospheric. I wish you the best of luck =)