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Thread: Brothers In Green

  1. #1

    Brothers In Green

    This is the first chapter and draft of what I had hoped would be novella. Unfortunately as often happens I start work with enthusiasm and after a while I begin to loose a lot of it. In this case I only managed to get three chapters drafted.


    CHAPTER ONE


    Have you got one of those mothers who spend ages on the phone? I have, she’s never off the damn thing. She’s always chatting to aunt Betty and spreading some gossip in her direction. I wouldn’t have minded if she’d lived at the other side of the country – she doesn’t she lives just around the corner.

    Anyway, mum hadn’t been off the thing two minutes when it rang. Oh no! I thought. aunt Betty’s forgotten something. That means they’ll be at it for another two hours, and I want my tea!

    ‘Tony, its Christopher for you,’ funny how you can jump to the wrong conclusions.

    I had just taken off from John F. Kennedy airport when Mum called me to the phone. So I engaged the autopilot of the aircraft I had chosen to fly on my flight simulator program that I have on my computer and then I dashed to the phone.

    ‘Sun City Airlines.”

    ‘Funny bugger,’ said a disembodied voice at the other end, ‘I take it your flying tonight.’

    ‘Hi Christopher, what can I do you for?’

    ‘Can you come over tonight, I need to speak to you regarding a personal matter. In fact, I’m just about to give Peter a bell to see if he can make it, as I’ve something I want to tell you both.’

    ‘What’s so important that you can’t tell me now,’

    ‘It’s rather delicate, but prepare yourself for a shock. And don’t worry, it’s got nothing to do with my health!’

    ‘I wait with baited breath. Okay see you after tea then and tell your Mum to have the coffee ready – you know how I like her coffee.’

    ‘That reminds me, she says you and Peter are the apples in her eye. I told her if you were apples, I’d have had you crushed along with the others and made into cider.’

    ‘You may not have taste Christopher, but your mum certainly has.’

    ‘That’s a matter of opinion, anyway, tea’s nearly ready and I want to watch Star Trek after that. See you about seven then.’

    ‘See you.’

    Christopher’s home is a bungalow in Westcotte Drive, which is a cul-de-sac. I can even see it’s roof from my bedroom window. Peter Holdsworth who’s my other best mate, says Christopher’s the kid from dead-end street.

    ======

    We had spaghetti bolognese for tea that night. Dad made some sarcastic comment about the way I keep bolting my food down. He told me if I go on eating the way I do; he’ll be taking the scalpel to me and opening me up to remove an ulcer. I told him I’d have to be on a mortuary slab if he was going to do that to me. You know what he said? He said, ‘That my son can easily be arranged.’

    He’s a surgeon at the Padbourne Royal Infirmary and I shudder to think how he treats the student doctors who come under him, especially the patients. Poor sods! They’ve got my sympathies. He’s a bit like Sir Lancelot Sprat in the Doctor movies. Like him dad can be awfully cantankerous at times and when he’s like that, he makes as much noise as Krakatoa did when it erupted.

    You should have seen him when the last phone bill arrived. God! He went triple ape – nearly two hundred squid. He looked at mum as though he was the presiding judge at the Spanish Inquisition.

    She said, ‘You may be able to scare the living daylights out of those nice young nurses and doctors at the hospital, but you don’t scare me.’

    Dad let out a hissing sound like the air brakes of a truck when it stops at the traffic lights. Some poor doctor or nurse was bound to get it at the hospital next morning. I gave Dad a wide-berth that night.

    After tea, Dad and I did the dishes, I washed, he dried.

    ‘Have you had any more thoughts on what we were talking about the other night?’

    ‘What about becoming a doctor?’

    ‘It’s a fine profession.’

    ‘No Way am I going to become a doctor, I don’t fancy poking about people’s insides.’

    ‘He’s going to be an accountant,’ said mum putting an ice-cube into her after tea gin and tonic.

    ‘Ha, blooming ha,’ I retorted, ‘did you see my last maths report from Mr. Henry? “Bailey,” he said, “I’ll ring the BBC News Department up the day you get a maths problem right so they can interrupt their programs with a newsflash about it.” Fat chance he’s got.’

    ‘Well what do you really want to do?’

    ‘I want to be an airline pilot but I need good maths for it.’

    ‘How about if we got someone in privately to give you extra tuition?’

    ‘Can you afford it?’

    ‘What kind of question is that? Of course we can afford it, it’ll mean putting off getting the new car, but if that’s what you want to do for a career, I think it will be worth the money.’

    ‘I promise I’ll stick in dad.’

    ‘All your mum and I are asking is that you do your best, get you’re A-levels and then a degree – haven’t you finished that pan yet?’

    ‘Sorry, this bolognese sauce is a sod to get off, pass me a Brillo pad please.’

    Dad wanted to know if I was going out that night.

    ‘Yes,’ I told him. ‘I got a phone call from Christopher just before you landed in from the hospital; he said he’d got something of a delicate nature to say to Peter and myself.’

    “Did he give some inclination of what it’s about?’

    ‘No he didn’t, but he did say I should be prepared for a shock – I hope he’s all right?’

    ‘Oh he’s fine, apart from his under-carriage that is.’

    ‘That’s what he said, he told me not to worry as what he wanted to see us about had nothing to do with his health.’

    I don’t know what I’d do without Peter and Christopher. I remember the night I’d brought Peter and Christopher back for coffee after we’d been to Scouts. Dad told us that when he was a Scout, his Scout Leader had mentioned to him that the Scout Movement was one big brotherhood and Peter picked up on this.

    ‘Just look at us,’ he said, ‘We may just be good friends but we’re certainly brothers in green if nothing else.’ He was talking about the dark green Scout shirts we wear.

    ======

    ‘It’s Peter’s birthday next week,’ I told Dad..

    ‘Are you getting the usual present for him?’

    ‘More than likely,’ I usually get him something for his model train layout, while he usually buys me a Revell plastic aircraft kit, last year he got me a Bell AH-1G Cobra helicopter. The one thing Peter and I wish more than anything is to give Christopher a present he can never have, and that is to be able to walk again. I bought him Expert Astronomer for his computer while Peter got him Steven Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”.

    ‘That was a nice present Christopher gave you last Christmas wasn’t it?’

    ‘Yes dad.”

    Nice wasn’t the adjective I would have chosen. Heart-warming would have been more appropriate. I’ll never forget how I felt when he handed it to me. I tore the wrapper off to find a small oblong box and through the clear plastic film I could see a red pen with James Anthony Bailey engraved in gold lettering on its side. He gave Peter one too. He and I exchanged glances. For once he was and I got choked up a bit.

    'Crying’s for sissies,' said Christopher.

    ‘I am a sissy,’ I told him.

    As it happens, this year Christopher’s birthday falls at the same time we will be at summer camp. He doesn’t know yet that the Troop are preparing a surprise birthday party for him.

    I know dad can be ill tempered at times and mum has her eccentricities like running the phone bill up every quarter. But I love my parents as much as I love to be around Peter and Christopher, and when I am, I get a sort of warm feeling about me. That’s what true friendship does to you.

    To be continued
    Last edited by Anthony-Richard; November 2nd, 2017 at 03:44 PM.
    "Rules were written for the obedience of fools
    and guidance of wise men"

    "Goodnight John-Boy."

  2. #2
    You are creating interesting characters, but you are mostly doing that by description -- not by what they do and say. The first conversation has the father with a temper who is very reasonable and the talkative mother who doesn't say much. The son is more interested in his mother's talking than his flying simulation.

    If the story is about the three boys, I think you have a technical problem putting the parents so much at the start. So I'm guessing you are trying to create tension about Christopher's news -- no problem with that -- but your main character doesn't seem that interested in it. He doesn't push for more information, he doesn't hurry, he doesn't worry. Again, I am looking at what he says and does.

    It seems like interesting characters and setting for a story. I was trying to make suggestions for how you might like it more.

  3. #3
    I like this. I really like your characters. I do have a couple of suggestions. Despite the way your story begins, there is a lot of sweetness about the way the parents interact with their child, and the way he cherishes his friendships. But there is no conflict here. You use the word "damn" in the beginning, giving a heads up that conflict is coming, but there is no conflict. I think for a story to grab readers, there has to be something for them to look forward to. Maybe that's in some way connected to your disinterest right now; no problems to resolve.

    You have quite an excellent profile of an interested, caring Dad, but Mom is practically invisible. She talks on the phone too much, and has a vodka tonic after dinner. That's about it. There are no exchanges between Mom and Dad; nothing to bring her character into better focus. She's the only one that's this shallow - everyone else is fleshed out, including his friends.

    When I'm working on a long project, I get bogged down quite a bit too. You've done a good job with the idea of something his friend has to tell him - something is coming up that could change - what? everything? nothing? But no matter what happens, he has a good base at home - right? no conflicts there, as I said.

    Do you know what the friend is going to tell his buddies? Is it something that could inspire you to write more?

    There are a couple of run on sentences that could probably be broken up a little, but other than that it looks like a good read.

    ‘More than likely,’ I usually get him something for his model train layout, while he usually buys me a Revell plastic aircraft kit, last year he got me a Bell AH-1G Cobra helicopter. The one thing Peter and I wish more than anything is to give Christopher a present he can never have, and that is to be able to walk again. I bought him Expert Astronomer for his computer while Peter got him Steven Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”.

    "More than likely." I usually get him something for his model train layout. He usually buys me a Revell plastic aircraft kit. Last year he got me a Bell AH-1G Cobra helicopter.
    This is just an example. I made 3 sentences out of your one. A minor fix.

    I hope you keep working on it.

  4. #4
    Thank you sue for your feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post
    I like this. I really like your characters. I do have a couple of suggestions. Despite the way your story begins, there is a lot of sweetness about the way the parents interact with their child, and the way he cherishes his friendships. But there is no conflict here. You use the word "damn" in the beginning, giving a heads up that conflict is coming, but there is no conflict. I think for a story to grab readers, there has to be something for them to look forward to. Maybe that's in some way connected to your disinterest right now; no problems to resolve.
    I'm going to put Chapter 2 up soon, I get what you say about conflict. This will manifest itself in the next chapter.

    Regards

    Anthony-Richard
    "Rules were written for the obedience of fools
    and guidance of wise men"

    "Goodnight John-Boy."

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