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    #1

    Obsession, part fourteen

    Would you please correct my mistakes in the fourteenth part of my short story?

    The man rummaged in his plastic bag and fished out a can of beer. He pulled up on the tab and took a long swig. With his fingers, he wiped the foam off his scruffy moustache and stroked his red beard, grunting with satisfaction. He dug into the bag again and withdrew another can. “Want a beer?” he turned towards the young man. He needed a beer, and not only beer, but bottles of wine and vodka to numb his mind with alcohol. “No thank you,” he answered, afraid that if he took the gift, the man would only use it as a pretext to pester him with his stories.
    “All right mate,” the man said and dropped the can back into the bag. He seemed to be somewhat offended. “I know what you think. An alcoholic who lives off the work of others--.
    The young man lifted his hands in a gesture of appeasement. “No, really. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

    “You’re right, mate. I am an alcoholic. But it was not always this way.” He reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out a photo album, about the size of a hand, and moved closer to the young man. “Look mate, who I was 20 years ago.”
    The young man held the album in his hand and stared at the picture of the man in a dark suit, white shirt and dark tie. Behind him, Golden Peacock Restaurant shone in bright yellow letters. The other pictures showed the interior of a restaurant with the same man posing in different positions, sitting at the table loaded with food, leaning at the bar, cooking fish in a frying pan...His face was clean-shaven, bright and youthful. The only thing which linked him to the man sitting beside the young man seemed to be his red hair. Then the young man saw a photograph of a dark-haired woman with heavy makeup, wearing a blue dress and standing beside the man in a dark suit. She had a lot of jewellery: large earrings, a gold brooch, a pearl necklace, bracelets and many rings. Under the chandelier, her jewellery twinkled like dewdrops under the sun.

    “Look at her!” the man shouted. “May she rot in hell!” His jaw trembled with rage, and he took another long swig to calm his nerves.
    “Who is she?”
    “My former wife Maria.” He let out a heavy sigh. “Look at that jewellery. Look at that expensive dress. It’s my money. When she started to work for me, she didn’t know the difference between béarnaise and tartar sauce. I taught her everything she needed to know about restaurant service, gave her everything, and treated her like a queen. But instead of being grateful, she ran away with my chef. Can you imagine?” He spat on the grass and wiped his moustache with the back of his hand.
    “It must have been hard to go through such terrible experience,” the young man asked.
    “She killed something inside me. It’s cruel, mate.”

    They lapsed into silence. The man opened the second can and gulped the beer staring in front of him. The young man watched the squirrels scurrying tirelessly up and down the tree. After a while, the man drained the can and threw it into the bag. He rose to go. “Don’t trust women,” he said and shuffled away, the empty cans rattling in his bag. The young man gazed after him. If he had come as a patient in his consulting room, what kind of counsel could he have given him? Probably some of that ready-made advice which psychologists offer when they knew that nothing could be done, for how can you help someone when part of him had gone for ever.
    He sat reflecting on the story he had just heard when suddenly, a hare bounded out of the woods and run towards him. He had seen them many times scampering and leaping through the park, but they were shy animals, and after a second or two, they would hide back into the woods. This one was peculiar. It stopped just two or three meters away from the bench and stock-still stared at the young man. He did not know how to react. The hare had the intensive dark eyes, which almost hypnotised him. He felt that the hare had something to tell him. Suddenly, he heard clearly the voice in his head, “Stop deluding yourself, and start living.” Such sensation had never happened to him before, and he was sure that some kind of divine being had used the hare as a messenger. It lingered for a minute or two, and then ran a few meters away. It stopped and turned towards the young man and stared at him again. “Do you understand?” the voice asked. After a few seconds, it scampered towards the woods, but before it disappeared behind the trees and lush greenery, the hare stopped again and gave him a long gaze.
    “Do you understand?”
    Yes. He did understand.
    THE END

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Obsession, part fourteen

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    The man rummaged in his plastic bag and fished out a can of beer. He pulled up on the tab, opened it and took a long swig. With his fingers, he wiped the foam off his scruffy moustache and stroked his red beard, grunting with satisfaction. He dug into the bag again and withdrew another can. “Want a beer?” he turned towards the young man. He needed a beer, and not only beer, but bottles of wine and vodka to numb his mind with alcohol. “No thank you,” he answered, afraid that if he took the gift, the man would only use it as a pretext to pester him with his stories.
    “All right mate,” the man said and dropped the can back into the bag. He seemed to be somewhat offended. “I know what you think. An alcoholic who lives off the work of others."
    The young man lifted his hands in a gesture of appeasement. “No, really. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

    “You’re right, mate. I am an alcoholic. But it was not always this way.” He reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out a palm-sized photo album, about the size of a hand, and moved closer to the young man. “Look mate, who I was 20 years ago.”
    The young man held the album in his hand and stared at the a picture of the a man in a dark suit, white shirt and dark tie. Behind him, Golden Peacock Restaurant shone in bright yellow letters. The other pictures showed the interior of a restaurant with the same man posing in different positions, sitting at the a table loaded with food, leaning at the bar, cooking fish in a frying pan ... etc. His face was clean-shaven, bright and youthful. The only thing which linked him to the man sitting beside the young man seemed to be his red hair. Then the young man saw a photograph of a dark-haired woman with heavy makeup, wearing a blue dress and standing beside the man in a the dark suit. She had a lot of jewellery: large earrings, a gold brooch, a pearl necklace, bracelets and many rings. Under the chandelier, her jewellery twinkled like dewdrops under the sun.

    “Look at her!” the man shouted. “May she rot in hell!” His jaw trembled with rage, and he took another long swig to calm his nerves.
    “Who is she?”
    “My former ex (wife), Maria.” He let out a heavy sigh. “Look at that jewellery. Look at that expensive dress. It’s my money. When she started to work for me, she didn’t know the difference between béarnaise and tartar sauce. I taught her everything she needed to know about the restaurant business, service, gave her everything, and treated her like a queen. But instead of being grateful, she ran away with my the chef. Can you imagine?” He spat on the grass and wiped his moustache with the back of his hand.
    “It must have been hard to go through such a terrible experience,” the young man asked.
    “She killed something inside me. It’s cruel, mate.”

    They lapsed into silence. The man opened the second can and gulped the beer, staring seemingly at nothing. in front of him. The young man watched the squirrels scurrying tirelessly up and down the tree. After a while, the man drained the can and threw it into the bag. He rose got up to go. “Don’t trust women,” he said and shuffled away, the empty cans rattling in his bag. The young man gazed after him. If he had come as a patient in his consulting room, what kind of counsel could he have given him? Probably some of that ready-made advice which psychologists offer when they know that nothing could be done, for how can you help someone when part of him them had gone for ever.

    He sat reflecting on the story he had just heard when suddenly, a hare bounded out of the woods and ran towards him. He had seen them many times scampering and leaping through the park, but they were shy animals, and after a second or two, they would hide back in to the woods. This one was peculiar. It stopped just two or three meters away from the bench and stock-still stared at the young man. He did not know how to react. The hare had the intense ive dark eyes which almost hypnotised him. He felt that the hare had something to tell him. Suddenly, he heard clearly the a voice in his head, “Stop deluding yourself, and start living.” He'd never experienced such a sensation had never happened to him before, and he was sure that some kind of divine being had used the hare as a messenger. It lingered for a minute or two, and then ran a few meters away. It stopped and turned towards the young man and stared at him again. “Do you understand?” the voice asked. After a few seconds, it scampered towards the woods, but before it disappeared behind the trees and lush greenery, the hare stopped again and gave him a long gaze.
    “Do you understand?”
    Yes. He did understand.
    THE END
    .

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Obsession, part fourteen

    Apparently, neither you nor teechar is much for drinking. I am not much of a drinker myself, but if I had some beer with me I would know exactly where it is. There would have been no rummaging for it. That's why I would change the first sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    The man rummaged in his plastic bag and fished out a can of beer.
    Try:
    The man reached into his bag and pulled out a can of beer.

    He drank the whole can of beer without taking a breath. I'm impressed! (I don't think I've ever done that.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    If he had come as a patient in his consulting room, what kind of counsel could he have given him? Probably some of that ready-made advice which psychologists offer when they knew that nothing could be done, for how can you help someone when part of him had gone for ever.
    For the second sentence, try:

    Probably some of that ready-made advice which psychologists offer when they know that nothing can be done, for how can you help someone when part of him is gone forever?

    After the first word you have a noun phrase which is sixteen words long. That might seem rather long, but it works quite well in the text.

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    #4

    Re: Obsession, part fourteen

    Tarheel,
    All right. I will do as you have suggested and change "rummaged" into "reached into". But the man did not drink the whole can without taking a breath. Actually, I have written "... he took another long swig to calm his nerves."

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Obsession, part fourteen

    You're right. He didn't drink it all at once.

    But he did do something weird. He put his empties back in his bag. Is he saving them for something? Maybe it's a throwaway bag?

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    #6

    Re: Obsession, part fourteen

    Tarheel,
    He is saving all cans and bottles to return them so could get some money back. I don't now how it functions in the US, but in all Nordic countries they have machines where you can shove cans and bottles and get money back. Of course, it is not much money, but many cans can give you enough to buy more beer. Sometimes, I laugh when I see people coming out of their expensive cars carrying plastic bags with cans and bottles to return them. Here, taxes are one of the highest in the world, so every krona counts.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Obsession, part fourteen

    Thanks for the explanation. You can get money for your aluminum cans here too. Of course, you have to have a lot of them for it to be worth it. After you have gone to the trouble to collect all those cans it's questionable whether the money you get is enough to make it worth it. Maybe if you are eleven or twelve years old and you have nothing better to do than collect aluminum cans then it's worth it. Hm.

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