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Two sides to the penny.

by viky7258 

Posted: 27 July 2003
Word Count: 1139
Summary: I thought I'd do a little mixture of different peoples points of view in a little town. For each thing that happened there would be two sides to every story. Here's a snippet of the first. Any feedback as always is greatly appreciated.

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Hi, my nameís Billy. I live on Rickman Street. Itís kinda dull and nothing ever really happens here. Itís your typical suburban type street, everyone gets on real great, thereís trees on both sides of the street making it look real pretty, itís terrible you canít even climb the things, my mum wonít let me. She just says Ďwhat will the neighbours think?í Who cares what they think, look at the size of them, just right for climbing. But there is one bit of excitement for us kids, something a little out of the ordinary. Thereís this strange old man that lives over on Wood lane, heís called Crazy Joe for short, but if you want his full name itís Crazy One-Eyed Joe coz heís only got one real eye, the otherís a glass one which he pops in and out of itís socket to whenever it takes his fancy. Heís so weird and creepy. He lives on his own and only comes out at night to get his food from the local store. We avoid he as much as we can as he hates kids and if he gets hold of you, well youíre a goner.
This one time a kid got real brave and snuck into Crazy Joes orchard to get some apples from his trees, coz they are the best tasting ones ever if you can get hold of one, and next thing you know the kids being taken out of the old guys house on an ambulance stretcher. We all watched from a distance and as they were taking this kid away you could see Crazy Joe come hobbling out onto his porch with only his one good eye in. We heard that he put his glass eye down the kidís throat and he nearly died choking on it. Iím no Ďfraidy cat, but I keep my distance from him and so do my mates.

My nameís Joseph and I live on my own, my poor wife Emily passed away several years ago leaving me to live out the rest of my miserable existence on my own. She left me some beautiful memories though of times now long in the past. The house that we moved into after we got married would make her turn in her grave if she saw the state of it now. I donít have the same get up and go as I did while she was alive, and although Iím not a messy man by nature, the house has slowly deteriorated over time and Iíve never got round to fixing anything. The one thing I have kept in pristine condition though is our wonderful orchard. I look after it meticulously as itís all I have left of Emily. It was nothing but a barren bit of land when we first moved here well over forty years ago, but together as our love blossomed so too did those apple trees we had planted. I think we got a bit carried away with ourselves at the time, we planted way too many trees, but at least we had a good supply of apples throughout the summer. Like they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and to this day I still keep to that saying, Iíve never had no quack visit me yet so there must be some truth in it. I fondly remember Emilyís laugh or the smell of her sweet perfume each time I bite into one of our juicy apples and I make sure that each tree is looked after properly, I would never let my Emilyís trees suffer, they are well looked after, unlike me. I once caught this young Ďun sneaking into the orchard to steal some of them. Now donít get me wrong I like kids, and god bless her soul, Emily couldnít have kids and so we never had any of our own, but to desecrate Emilyís memory was wrong, not that the kid knew how much those trees and apples meant to me though. I knew Emily wouldíve just given him an apple if heíd asked for one so rather than go mad I knew the right thing to do was offer him one too, but I had to find him first; Iíd heard him land from climbing our wall but I hadnít seen him, so I started to walk slowly between the trees to where I thought he was. I heard a rustling behind me and turned round and quite by accident bumped into a pair of legs dangling from the tree above me. I donít know who was more scared by this, him or me, because he fell clean out of the tree and landed on his back right next to me, which mustíve winded him quite bad. Well, he gave me quite a fright too, Iím not as young as I used to be and I took a step backwards, tripped over my own feet and fell on my backside opposite him. This tickled me pink for some reason and I started to laugh. I was too old for this though and it took me a while with laughing and all to get up on my knees. I had just put my hands on my knees to push myself up with when I saw the young lad was in trouble. I guess he mustíve had that asthma condition that folks where talking about. Heíd gone a funny colour, was clutching at his chest and his breathing was strained; I could hear it now that Iíd stopped laughing. Well I didnít know what to do, Emily had been the nurse of the house, and I was always fit as a fiddle and so had never had to deal with an kind of illness myself. I scooped the young boy up in my arms, he barely weighed anything he was so light and I noticed that he wasnít even struggling, which I knew was a bad sign and I got him inside quick. I phoned for an ambulance and they told me how to look after him while they were on their way, luckily they were there before I knew it and sorting him right. Poor little mite had gone unconscious by the time they carried him away, but they said he was fine, thank god. To top it all though I suddenly noticed my bad eye felt different, my glass eye mustíve fallen out along the way. My eye had been damaged a long time ago, it was an old war wound, they had removed my eye saying they couldnít save it and I was told it would look better if I used a glass eye rather than a patch to cover it. What did they know, but at least I didnít look like Long John Silver the infamous pirate.

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Comments by other Members

Nell at 12:14 on 27 July 2003  Report this post
Vicky, An excellent idea to write the same incident from two POV. The idea behind the story is very clever although I did wonder if a glass eye could fall out like that - perhaps it doesn't matter if it couldn't - artistic licence perhaps. The old man's voice I thought really authentic - I sort of lost myself in that part and your writing carried me along. I think you could perhaps extend the boy's part somewhat - you know what kids are like - they're fascinated by anyone out of the ordinary and tend to watch them and make up all sorts of weird stories about them. You could build up the old guy to be very mysterious and threatening, whereas he's really just the lonely old man of the second part. As for the removal of the eye, I believe the reason the doctors take the bad one out is because if they didn't it would affect the good eye. How this is I've no idea, but it might be worth checking up on.

I enjoyed this though, and thought it worked really well. Post more soon, best, Nell.

Becca at 12:15 on 27 July 2003  Report this post
Viky, this is a lovely idea that you could expand on, with more characters, maybe. It could be an idea to get the part about the old man's glass eye versus a patch in earlier, because it seems as if he suddenly stops talking. Do you see what I mean? You use finding the boy skilfully as an opportunity to give background to the old man's life, and I thought the implication was that he'd look more frightening with a patch. If so, you could build on that a bit, implying that he didn't want to scare the kids with a patch. I thought too, that if he was scared of the kids as well as they being scared of him it would emphasise the two sides of a coin idea. Anyhow this flows along really smoothly, it's got a good story -telling feeling to it. There's a couple of places where apostrophies are missing as in 'The kids being taken out of the old guys....' And another place where one needs to be removed, '..pops in and out of it's socket..'
Hope this is useful.

viky7258 at 14:51 on 27 July 2003  Report this post
Thanks for the feedback.

It's strange where ideas for stories come from. I was laying in bed contemplating whether or not I could be bothered to get up and then out of nowhere the old man and the young boys shared story came into my head. It made me get up because I liked the idea so much and wanted to write it down before I forgot it. It was written so quickly that it's really rough around the edges, so I'll re-read through it and smooth the edges so to speak.

Nice to see someone else liked the idea too - thanks.

matheson at 14:56 on 29 July 2003  Report this post
good concept and i thought the juxtaposition of the 2 voices really supported the opposed perception of what happened. I felt the piece would be strengthened by interleaving the 2 voices more and involving the characters with one another...is this to do with what happens next or a pre-existent relationship directly or via the asthmatic eyeball swallower? Don't know.

Good idea which i think you can build on. Lots of useful loose-ends (war wounds, offlimit trees) some of which could be built on to enrich the story.


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