View Full Version : Dead Boys Don't Cry [684 words, adult content]

August 2nd, 2018, 07:52 AM
I saw the title on the Literary Maneuvers for July, and clearly, I missed the cutoff there. But I was inspired, and took an afternoon to jam this out. Read, review, do your thing. Or not. I only think I'm the boss. :icon_cheesygrin:


Danny got his first scar when he was six years old. He'd been playing in the alley behind his house, and cut his knee on a broken bottle. It had bled horribly, but his parents were too busy fighting to notice. When his father found the stained jeans in the hamper, he yelled at Danny for ruining them. Ill kill you if you do it again!

It wasn't an impressive scar, but it did teach him an important lesson - that was the day Danny met the devil.

The next one was even less important. An appendectomy scar on his abdomen. His parents weren't even there for that one; they were out at some stupid party. The only person who visited him in the hospital was his neighbor, a girl his age who brought him homework. Homework, and flowers.

Then there was the little crescent on his shin, from where that dog bit him when he was twelve. To be fair, he had hopped the fence into that yard, so the dog wasn't at fault. He wrapped it himself, and it would have been fine, except he re-opened it a week later doing the same stupid thing. Its fine. His mother whispered, Good boys dont cry.

There was that scar on his knuckles, too, from the incident with the train. He was experimenting with rings - he bought a really cool skull-and-crossbones ring at a flea market. But when he tried to jump that train, his ring got caught and he had to rip it off before he got pulled under. It had felt like he had ripped his finger off, until they cleared away the blood and he saw he was only missing a chunk of flesh. Danny doesn't wear rings anymore.

And the scar from that time he broke his arm? He was fourteen, and discovering girls. In fact, he was discovering a keen interest in seeing them naked. Thats why he was climbing the trellis outside the dorm. Someone spotted him and called out. He wasn't quick enough to scramble down, slipped ducking something heavy, and fell two stories. It hurt, but he got away. When the school called his parents, he heard the same thing: Its fine, its fine. Ill kill you if you do it again. Don't cry.

The scar from that bike accident was nasty too, a pair of smooth, shiny lines on his forearm. He'd fallen off doing something stupid on the train tracks and burned his arm on a rail. He must have slid about twenty feet before stopping, and he got a concussion from it too.

The next two he got around the same time - one from a barbed wire fence, the other from the bull on the other side. The one from the fence needed stitches in the end, and he couldn't use his hand for a week. The other one was from the bull's horn in his thigh, and it got him crutches and a very stern lecture about stupid behavior. He never did tip that cow, either.

But out of all of them it was the last scar he loved the most, the one he was most proud of. It split his eyebrow in two, just missing the eye. He walked in on his dad, drunk, his pants down, and the neighbor girl. She was already bleeding from her lip and her eye was turning purple. Danny didn't think. He didn't even know what was happening. He just knew that when it was over, there was blood in his eyes and his dad didn't look at all familiar any more. And his hands? They hurt like hell. Again.

He looked around, looked for the girl. She was there, in the corner, too scared to even pull her pants up. Danny wanted to reach out, to comfort her, to tell her it was okay. But he couldn't. He couldn't think of anything to say. If it happens again... He sat back, head in his hands, and muttered the words ringing in his head.

Its fine. Its fine. Its fine, He said.

Dead boys don't cry.

August 2nd, 2018, 01:52 PM
QuixoteDelMar, very powerful. I have a long-standing belief that the deterioration of the family unit is the main reason for kids such as your MC. I won't date myself by revealing what I feel is the reason for that deterioration (:)), but I think its safe to say there is no turning back at this point. I think you would have done well in the comp, and I certainly hope you consider entering another - maybe this month? I could see no real issues with formatting in your story here, but I did feel that addition of the prompt at the end was just that - an addition, and not really incorporated throughout the story. Just my opinion. :) Good job, though!

August 2nd, 2018, 02:35 PM
Dear Q,
I enjoyed your story very much. It held my interest and
carrired me through to a powerful ending.
It did get a little uniform at Par7&8, predictable. While
they were interesting I felt there could be a bit more
info to them, veer the reader setting them up for that
very poeerful ending.

August 6th, 2018, 07:06 PM
Okay, I read your comments, took a few days away from the piece, and re-read it.

You're right. I wrote the prompt first, and the story after, but I failed to integrate it in any meaningful way. "I'll kill you..." should have been something more like "You're dead if..." And paragraphs seven and eight? Weak storytelling. I got a little too attached to the scar theme and it hindered the story. There also should have been more development about his father - building him up as a bad dude, and emphasizing a connection to "...if it happens again." His mother vanishes, and isn't critical to the ending.

I'll rewrite, post again. Try to fix it.

Olly Buckle
August 13th, 2018, 08:58 AM
Sue's right, but I guess you know that,
" Danny wanted to reach out, to comfort her, to tell her it was okay. But he couldn't. He couldn't think of anything to say. If it happens again..."
I didn't catch the significance until just now, I was thinking 'that was a stupid thing to think of saying to the girl', so him being dead was a surprise, you have to allow for dumb readers. The other thing I didn't get was,
"but it did teach him an important lesson - that was the day Danny met the devil."
I took it literally, only in retrospect did I think you meant the devil in his father, who hadn't developed much at that point. Being subtle is okay, but maybe point it out that you are, for the literal dumb clucks like me :)


August 14th, 2018, 04:07 AM
Loved the juxtaposition of this line: “It’s fine, it’s fine. I’ll kill you if you do it again. Don't cry.”

And how it tied in at the end. Powerful.

I think you could tighten up in a few places. For instance: He'd been playing in the alley behind his house, and cut his knee on a broken bottle... could become... He'd been playing in the alley behind his house when he cut his knee on a broken bottle. Maybe that's nit-picky, but there's something about that comma breaking the sentence that throws me off.

The father's reaction to the bloodied jeans seems a little melodramatic, but contrasts nicely with the mother's.

Good job. Hope to read more from you.

August 14th, 2018, 04:25 AM
Powerful story.

Though I, like Olly, am puzzling my brain through the ending. I'm a bit slower and still haven't quite sorted it out. That's on me, however - just being my dumb self.

Funny how 650 words kind of flies by. I agree it could use some tightening up in places; that's what I spent most of my time on for my entry, paring it down to 650. Then again, since this isn't "officially" entered, who cares about the dern 650 words. Put in everything that's necessary to entertain and move the readers, and nothing more.

Good, punchy writing. Sort of like a pulp fiction (and I mean that in the best way). I'm looking forward to more of your stuff.

September 2nd, 2018, 04:00 PM
I am new to this forum, but figure I would give before I get. Sort of a good faith action as I plan on having my own work critiqued and I expect a lot of pain in that process.

With that said, I wanted to give my own thoughts on the writing from the OP. It's good stuff, but I would suggest that anytime an injury is specified it would be best to know the time that an injury may be healed. The one detail I'm referring to is the eye turning purple. I'm a pharmacist and have medical knowledge which is why I bring it up. Generally with a fresh blunt injury, such as getting punched in the eye, the injury would more likely be red and inflamed. Purple can appear but there are other indicators of injury besides it just being purple. When I initially read that part, I took it to mean that either the girl had previous unhealed injuries and this wasn't her first go around with the father. Bruises heal in different ways, but there is generally a progression to its healing and can look different depending on how many days they've been around. Just a bit of advice for when you write about injuries in the future. It makes it more realistic and keeps the story clear when it comes to those minor points (at least for anyone with medical knowledge). Again, good stuff otherwise.

September 4th, 2018, 10:17 AM
I liked how the first few paragraphs really build up to the how he got his favourite scar; you know its leading to something dramatic but not quite sure what. I was keen to read on and see where it was going.
A very powerful ending, although as with some of the other comments, I did have to re-read the last paragraph a couple of times as well, just to make sure I understood. That aside, I very much enjoyed it.

September 4th, 2018, 04:46 PM
Good. Good story. Certainly it evokes sadness, outrage...other things

Ok... Nitpicks:

I didn't quite get the Devil being his father. I sort of took it as the literal beast though the father is a beast, too, a brute, certainly. I think because the exposition ( ?) of it came slow and late? Not sure... I was kind of looking for, you know, Mister red-skinned with goatee and pitchfork. Minor thing that I forgot as I read on

"He wasn't quick enough... ducked something heavy, and..."
this lost me a little here. I assume something was thrown at him? Or dropped? If he didn't 'duck' then it hit his head- I guessed- knocking him off the trellis. Maybe just a little/spend some time to 'sharpen' the description ( without over-describing it).

Another minor... The railroad tracks arm burns, etc. I was wondering if the concussion 'strike' might be added, banged his head or whatever. A concussion, he might even be 'out' for a bit. That would be something- slam so hard you're knocked out ( and not fun to watch, either).

Anyway, good job. Not a bad story ( and we're tough here).