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Kevin
March 15th, 2012, 03:08 AM
He lay on his stomach, the little metal cars spread out before him. There were over thirty, mostly Matchbox, but other brands, too. Most were scratched or chipped. There was no pattern except that they were all facing one direction. They were simply grouped together at random, like a herd of animals.

He raised himself to his hands and knees, and moved forward alongside the herd. With one hand he reached out and began scooting the cars, one at a time, across the carpet. Though starting out upright, on all their wheels, as each left his hand, they immediately tumbled across the floor into their next position, six or seven feet away. This action he performed on each one of them, until all had been deposited into a scattered mess. He then crawled on hands and knees up to this mess, and began uprighting each of the vehicles and facing them towards their next destination; another patch of carpet several feet away. With each migration, the cars would bounce off of each other, sometimes causing the paint to chip off, or even breaking off plastic parts.

His step father sat across the room in a recliner, watching t.v. After being told once already that he was blocking the screen, he steered his 'herd' towards another room.

From the kitchen, his mother called him by name and asked what he'd like for lunch. He heard but didn't answer, intent on his cars. After a few seconds, he muttered "what stupid?" to himself. His step-father paid no attention.

She came into the room and bent down over him so that her head was close to his. She asked him again, this time suggesting a sandwich. He continued 'flinging' the cars, while making crashing sound effects. The cars clinked, metal on metal.

"You know, it's almost your birthday. What would you like for your birthday?"

"I don't know. I guess I would like some cars. Don't get me any trucks, though. I don't want trucks."

"I know you don't like trucks. You always get cars. Isn't there something else?"

Every so often, when he wasn't around, she would go through the wire basket he kept his cars stored in, and pull out the most beat up, or the broken ones that were "in the repair shop" as he put it. These she would throw in the trash. Every birthday and Christmas, he would get new ones.

"Momma? When can I get a real car ?"

She knew what he meant, but tried to play it off.
"Well, these are real."

"I wanna drive. I wanna real car that I can drive. Why can't I drive? If I get bigger, then can I drive?"

"You're already big. You shave and everything."

"Then, why can't I drive?"

Quietly now, "You know why..."

"Is it because I'm special?"

"Yes, that's why."

"But, I'm older than my brother and he drives, doesn't he?"

"Yes, he drives."

"Then, when will I drive? Will I drive when I'm not special?"

"You'll always be special."

"And what's special? Is it retarded?"

"Yes, it's retarded."

"Why am I retarded, Mom? Is it because of the umbilicle cord?"

"That's right, because of the umbilicle cord."

Even quieter now: "Momma? I don't like being special. I don't want to be special anymore."

"I know you don't. I'm sorry."
She waited a moment, and then "...Now let me go get you a sandwich." She walked off into the kitchen. Once there, she gripped the edge of the counter with both hands, shut her eyes, and leaned her forehead against the upper cabinets. She couldn't let him see.

courtneyanne9
March 16th, 2012, 05:55 PM
Very cool story. You captured the essence of someone with a mental disability very well. I would love to read more!

james89000
April 1st, 2012, 10:36 AM
Moving end, written well!

Kevin
April 2nd, 2012, 11:02 AM
Thanks. It was based on a conversation I overheard. I hope I got it some... makes me feel things, even now.

MichaelMegliola
April 6th, 2012, 06:44 PM
I think you captured the limited world of your character. I am wondering, should it end with:

"Momma? When can I get a real car ?"

She knew what he meant, but tried to play it off.
"Well, these are real."

Kevin
April 7th, 2012, 02:32 PM
I think you captured the limited world of your character. I am wondering, should it end with:

"Momma? When can I get a real car ?"

She knew what he meant, but tried to play it off.
"Well, these are real."It could end there, but I also wanted to show that he was self-aware, and her reaction to it.

ChasWindsor
April 25th, 2012, 02:19 PM
Very well written. You captured the relationship between mother and son well. I liked the fact that you only mentioned the father once and it left me wondering if he was as caring towards their son as his wife.

Kevin
April 28th, 2012, 03:42 AM
Thank you Chas. I think I had the idea that he really only has his mother in my mind, but I had no thought of showing it. (well, maybe I did , purely accidental...) The emotion and the dialog I was confident about. The descriptions of the toy movements are what bothered me. Of course I could understand it, but would it seem shakey to the reader...?

newkidintown
June 2nd, 2012, 10:17 PM
I loved this. I'm not even joking, it gave me chillbumps. Only three things I'd like to say:

1. Maybe this is just me, but the quotes around "herd" and "steered" didn't seem necessary.

2. You can take the comma out of, "After being told once already, that he was blocking the screen."

3. A couple things were worded kind of awkwardly, like, "He then crawled on hands and knees up to this mess." Try reading the whole thing out loud; odd wordings will stick out much more spoken aloud.

Kevin
June 3rd, 2012, 06:12 AM
A fresh look. This is really helpful. Thank you. I will edit.

Ohgodaspider
June 10th, 2012, 03:51 AM
Okay here it goes: I'm not easily impressed, nor am I easily drawn in to a story. This one did not help. I found it to be simplistic and overall just not very well done. I thought the kid was a toddler until he started speaking. I'm 22 and just now leaving the "YA" section of the library. You'll be hard pressed to find a 17 year old in high school who wants to read about a retarded kid. No offense. This would be much better as an adult novel.

Kevin
June 10th, 2012, 06:13 AM
How 'bout if it was one of those stories you're assigned to read, you know, where everyone in the class groans and the teacher has this dumb--- smile on their face 'cause they just love it? Just kidding. Anyway, thank you for the read and really I don't take any offence. When you say it was not very well done perhaps you could get a little more specific, maybe cite a line or something to help me see where I might improve. Thanks again -K

Robdemanc
June 26th, 2012, 08:54 PM
I enjoyed reading this up until they start talking about him being "special". Mention of the word "retarded" should be cut. But the first part of it was very readable and drew me in. I agree that a YA would not want to read about a child who I presume is on the autistic spectrum but you could make it into a decent story anyway.

But whose viewpoint are you using? The mother or the child?

neatnickk
July 13th, 2012, 06:31 PM
I read through and was instantly "put off" by the retarded word... but it really makes the point of the story. I did find it a little choppy. Perhaps something like this

"You will always be special" she exclaimed as she tried to hide all the insecurity and sadness she carried for him.

"And what's special? Is it retarded?"

"Yes, it's retarded" She thought to herself that the ugly word misrepresented her beautiful boy but was determined that he understand how ugly the world could be and did not argue about "using that word" with him... at least not today.

I am not sure where you are going with this but anything to break up the conversation with some personal detail would read better, IMHO

Kevin
July 13th, 2012, 09:00 PM
Hey, first off, thank you for taking the time to read(and comment!) this. I sort of 'cheated' on this one. I overheard the conversation. It's not word for word, but it's really close. This was like almost thirty years ago. I looked up the word and it's one that is part of a "Euphemistic Treadmill". At the time it was "PC". It's still medically correct. He's not autistic. I don't know that i can take the story anywhere further but I was...affected when 'it' happened. Thank you, again- K

Primrose
July 26th, 2012, 06:04 AM
I definitely see what you were shooting for, but I think with this one you could stretch a little. It might fit into an anthology nicely. I feel like I'd empathize more if I could understand the character and his life better. As readers, to endear us to that character we need to find a piece of something relatable that reaches out and touches your heart right there. Especially because short works can often be forgettable. This has the right formula. I just think in could use a touch more bitterness.

cazann34
August 10th, 2012, 01:00 PM
I really like your piece. The story flowed nicely and I liked the ending. The only thing spoilt it for me was the word "retarded" I don't believe a young boy with a learning difficulties would call himself retarded,nor do I believe his mother would call him it either. I have read other comment that you have written stating that it was an conversation that you overheard thirty years ago - did they use the word retarded thirty years ago?

Kevin
August 11th, 2012, 05:07 PM
@cazann- 30 years ago? Yes. That's what it was called. And yes, it could be a 'dis', like calling someone overweight; not nice to say it, but factual. The medical profession still calls it that because it's more ...precise. The other terms include a lot of things that are not the same as mental retardation.
@primrose- expand a little? hmmm... maybe I might. (I hope I don't ruin it) thank you.

MisterTribute
August 17th, 2012, 10:56 AM
Great. Well written.
I personally pity the special child, especially when he stated that he was older than his brother, thus, his younger brother can drive. I would love to read more.