[Kiddalee]: 225.Short Stories.Infection

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Uploaded by:
2007-01-19 22:29:45
short story
Free for private usage


by Vicki Sue Nemeth

      Dad is driving me to Church today, because Mom's gone to stay with her sisters for the weekend. After all, she can't always be the one to do the driving. This time, Dad has agreed to drive me because he can keep going south and get some things done at the office. He'll be back at the end of the service, and I'll be waiting for him outside.
      Our car is a white Crown Victoria with a red interior of some rough, synthetic velvet. As do all of our used cars, this one smells like chemicals. It always gives me a headache. It used to make me sick, though Dad always insisted there was no bad smell in spite of filthy evidence. The song on the radio is a remake of one that's supposed to be beautiful. In this version, the voice clashes with the instrumentals. His favourite radio station does this a lot.
      I'm in the passenger seat with my legs crossed towards the door. I'm trying not to speak. I see grey outside. The pavement makes every colour look drab. The fields are taking the season off. The clouds have refused to snow. A tractor-trailer turns in front of us. We're trapped in a cloud of exhaust.
      Because we've slowed down, Dad gets bored of driving and decides to try engaging in conversation. His voice is deep and obnoxious. "So, who goes to this church?" he asks me.
      "Youth Group."
      "I thought you went to Youth Group up in Brynn."
      "There's more than one."
      We pull into the church parking lot. Hundreds of cars are already parked there. Cubism's nightmare.
      "Why don't you come in?" I ask.
      "Vicki, you know I don't do that stuff. I mean, it's okay with me if you go Bible thumping and all that, but don't try to get me into it."
      "It's not really about the preaching this week, Dad. There's a show."
      "What kind of show?"
      "The African Children's Choir."
      "Oh. Niggers."
      I glance at the figures in the door. My hair falls over my face as I bend to pick up my purse.
      "God doesn't like it when you say, 'nigger'."
      "Whatever, Barb. I'll see you in a couple hours."
      I walk from the car into the church. Instead of going straight to the sanctuary, I go all the way down the hall to the bathroom, use it, then wash my hands. I make sure I look okay before I leave.
      I enter the sanctuary. Hundreds of heads are spread out before me, all turned the other way. Pastor Dan is already speaking. He glances at me, but must of course focus on the whole congregation. I look around the sea of hair for someone familiar. When that fails, I walk along the back, sweeping over more closely. I don't see any youth. They must be sleeping in. They'll come to the next service, after I've gone. When I've nearly crossed the room, I see Samantha on sound tech.
      I pull a chair back beside her and say, "Hi." She nods and continues to concentrate on the sound. Pastor Dan keeps droning through the announcements, during which Samantha's husband and son take note of me. I mouth, "Hi." They don't notice, and turn back to the front.
      The Pastor finally finishes his introduction and the lights dim as he leaves the stage.
      The show begins with a girl wandering alone over the stage, singing a casual folk song. The girl wears a sleeveless shift of purple, yellow, red, and no hat. Then the rest of the choir comes down the aisles, a line to the left of me, another far away. I see the faces of a dozen little black boys and girls who aren't niggers. Then I cry. Sobs are bubbling up through my body, pressurized salt water, warm and fluid, escaping, finally, from the eyes, creating shock waves in the chest, releasing through the mouth with every burst.
      Samantha doesn't seem to notice. She just watches the choir and sound. Perhaps God told her to leave me alone. Wondering if that's what I need, I ask myself how things would be different if she was asking me what was wrong. I conclude that I'd rather not answer.

2005-12-08 Burning Inside: Wow good job I like it, not really what I usually read but I liked it either way, good job

2005-12-11 Mister Saint: Mkay, you asked me earlier for a critique of this story, so here we go. ^^ 

After reading through it, I'm not entirely sure what this is about. It doesn't really have a clear climax or resolution, and feels much more like a section of a story than a whole story to me. It's quite abrupt, employing many short sentences right in a row, to an extent that it took my attention away from the story. It had solid imagery and pacing, and was pretty well developed for being so brief. 

Lastly... I've never personally been a fan of using the present tense in a story. It hardly ever manages to feel natural, really. 

That's my critique. If you've got questions on anything else, let me know. ^^

2005-12-11 Kiddalee: YaY! Thanks for the crit! I learned a lot of stuff there.

2006-05-28 Child of God: It was interesting, but try to develope more what the character feels, or their thoughts toward it. Why is the character there? You hinted at the character's attitude toward the father, but maybe develope that a bit further. It seems like you have an idea here, but I'm not sure just what it is.

2006-05-28 Kiddalee: Aye. Thanks. Wait 'till you see the autobiographical short I had to mutilate in order to get this. I think that's why this story is so limited.

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