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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Please, would you proofread my short story

    This is the twelfth part of my short story "A Flat", please would you proofread it.

    Ivan shared the cell with four other inmates. Two were ordinary thieves, third had beaten his neighbour to death and the fourth was a middle-aged man who had called the Great Leader, "a bloody idiot and the greatest liar ever", and for those words he had been “awarded” with a three year prison sentence.
    The man deeply apologised in the court and told the judge that he was drunk and didn’t know what he was talking about, but unfortunately he was not aware of the fact that the judge had to make his own quota and was more than happy to send his “prey” to prison.
    Ivan started to work in a nearby factory from the very first day. It produced wood cookers. When he saw them for the first time lined up and ready for delivery, he thought about the absurdities of life because one of these cookers was now in the kitchen of his flat. When he bought it about two years ago, he was angry because already after a few days two screws loosened, and he cursed the person who had not done his work properly.

    Now when he himself stood with the screwdriver in his hand performing the same task time and again he felt compassion for his fellow prisoners. Many of them had not only been unfairly punished, but now they had to support their prison stay with their own hard work.
    Neither TV nor radio were allowed in prison cells and the only official source of information was a daily paper, which boasted about the accomplishments of the country and which pages were adorned with the pictures of the Great Leader and his wise citations. Twice a week there were compulsory lessons in Marxism and Socialism and on which the inmates had a chance to learn something about Marx’s, Lenin’s and the Great Leader’s ideas about the more equal society.

    They were encouraged to participate actively and ask questions, but usually nobody dared to ask anything for fear that a “wrong” question could put them into trouble and even bring them to court. Ivan used those hours to daydream, imagining his life when he would come out and finally had a proper flat for his family.

    He yearned for all those things which he usually did not care about while he was a free human being: the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the scent of flowers in the windows, the dazzling white bedclothes, Jelena’s delicious meals, his bicycle and even the lathe at which he used to spend eight hours every day.
    He was overwhelmed with excitement when he received the first letter from his wife. He read it probably twenty or thirty times. He looked at every word as if they were precious diamonds, and when he read the last one his eyes would turn to the beginning and he would start again and still it was not enough. She wrote about her suffering, her tears and her fears.

    She described how neighbours stopped talking to her, how they avoided her eyes in the street and how the old couple, their landlords stood by her when everyone had run away. She was without money and she had begun working as a cleaner while the old couple took care of the children while she was away. But she promised him that she was going to wait for him no matter how many years because their love was stronger than time or any dreadful conditions.
    Finally, she arrived in an overcrowded bus, together with dozens of other women and men whose family members were in the prison. She carried with her two bags with pies, roasted and smoked meat, cakes and pastries, which she had baked the previous night.

    They held each other tightly in a long embrace, and the tears came to their eyes, trickled down and mixed and they did not try to dry them. They were tears of hope and happiness
    Every prisoner would receive his visit in a little booth without doors and with just chairs and a table. Before they started talking, Ivan whispered in her ear not to talk politics and pointed at the small spot on the yellow wall, which according to the other prisoners was actually a hidden microphone. The secret police was always interested in hearing new names and information, which people would inadvertently say. Later, those names or a piece of information would promptly result in new arrests, charges, trials and prison sentences.
    On that day Ivan felt like floating above not only the prison building, but above the planet Earth where he was unreachable for any police or power. Just looking at Jelena’s eyes filled his heart with warmth, which would give him energy and determination to endure any pain, any difficult time.

    She would visit him once a month, always carrying bags with food, fruit, and the news about the children who were growing up fast. She fought like a lioness, working tirelessly and never complaining. Sometimes she was depressed, but she kept the mask and waited for the nightfall and her children to sleep deeply, and then she would burst into tears and curse the people who had sent her lovely husband to prison.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  2. #2
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Please, would you proofread my short story

    Dear Gil,

    Thank you again for the proofreading and your advice.

    I am just wondering if instead of writing ..."the judge had to make his own quota", could I simply write "he was not aware of the fact that the judge was a highly conscientious official and was more than happy to send his "prey to prison."?

  3. #3
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Please, would you proofread my short story

    Dear Gil,

    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    God bless you.

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