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    #1

    Road Sweepers Part one

    Would you please correct the mistakes in my short story? I have not used inverted commas with "she wonders" because they are nowadays seen as redundant when used with the verbs wonder or she/he thought.

    When the buses stop running and the traffic becomes sparse, Maria opens the window of her bedroom and leans out to watch the town slip into night. From her flat on the fourth-floor, she enjoys the view of town lights glimmering like stars in darkness. The streets are empty and quiet, their silence broken by waitresses or other women in high heels going home after another busy night. The sound of clacking reminds her of the time when she was twenty and worked in a pub. Her feet were swollen and heavy as bricks after standing for eight hours in high heels.

    They were aching and burning inside the bright red shoes, which she wished to throw away and never use again. Every night, she struggled as she was walking home because she couldn't afford to pay for a taxi. She complained, but the publican told her, "People come here not only to drink. They want to see your breasts and your legs, too. She thought that men were stupid, but without their money she would go hungry. They were good men, hard-working men who voted Labour and hoped for a revolution. They never read books and didn't have high education, but they were aware of their social status and those at the top who exploited them and squeezed every drop of blood and energy from their bodies for profit. Maria listened to their whinging and felt sorry for them, but she was unable to help them. She was one of them. They belonged to the same class, to those who would never eat in expensive restaurants and go on cruses to exotic places. They were like brothers and sisters, entwined in the same existence. Sometimes, when they were drunk, they would pinch her bottom, comment on her breast size, and even propose sex, but Maria took everything with a smile. She could never get angry with people who she regarded as the members of her family.

    They called her "Leggy Maria" fifty years ago, because of her shapely, beautiful legs, but nowadays they are wracked with osteoarthritis and hurt her after she walked just a few hundred meters. Nobody is wolf-whistling after her anymore, and women don't give her envious looks. She has become invisible, which doesn't bother her at all. When you are older, you have more important thoughts on your mind than how you look.

    After a while, she hears the cathedral bell sound and sees road sweepers and their truck coming down the street. Her heart pounds faster, her feet feel wobbly. She leans further over the window to see them better. Four men in high-vis jackets are pushing their machines in front of them, quipping jokes and laughing, as if they were not doing work but having fun. She is no longer in her window. She is returning home after another shift. Her feet hurt as usual. She sees sweepers going towards her and expects some wolf-whistling, but that is the last thing she cares about. Suddenly one of them stands in front of her, a strong man with dark, piercing eyes, "Madam," he says. "You are in pain. Your feet hurt. I wish I could give you massage." His audacity leaves her speechless, but his eyes are honest. Who is this man? she wonders. How can he be so straight? "I've seen you walking a few times, and I was thinking you need better shoes. You have to think of your beautiful legs." His words made her feel better. Nobody ever talked to her in this way.

    That was the beginning. The warm spring night with a little breeze that carried with it the scents of flowers in boxes along the street. The next day, Kevin went to the pub and stayed for two hours, chatting to her, cracking jokes and telling her stories from his life. She had a few flings before, but nobody made her feel so well as he did. When he held her in his strong arms, her body trembled with passion. He made her feel like a woman and not as a sexual object. He even took her to a shoe shop and bought her a pair of expensive shoes, treating her like a loving father would treat his daughter

    TO BE CONTINUED
    Last edited by Bassim; 15-Jun-2019 at 21:44.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Road Sweepers Part one

    Second paragraph. Say:

    They ... didn't have much education ....

    And:

    eat at expensive restaurants

    And:

    as members of her family
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  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Road Sweepers Part one

    Next paragraph. Say:

    They ...hurt her after she has walked just a few hundred meters.

    Or:

    They ...hurt her after she walks just a few hundred meters.

    She can walk that far?
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    #4

    Re: Road Sweepers Part one

    Fourth paragraph. Perhaps:

    She leans farther over the window sill to see them better.

    And:

    as if they were not working but having fum.

    Did you consciously decide to use "quippig jokes" instead of "telling jokes"?
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    #5

    Re: Road Sweepers Part one

    Fourth paragraph. Say:

    I wish I could give you a massage.

    And:

    Nobody ever talked to her that way.
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  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Road Sweepers Part one

    Fifth paragraph. Say:

    It was a warm spring night, and a gentle breeze carried the scents of flowers in boxes along the street.

    And:

    The next day, Kevin went to the pub and stayed for two hours, chatting with her and telling her stories from his life. She had had a few flings before, but nobody had made her feel as good as he did. When he held her in his strong arms she trembled with passion. He made her feel like a woman and not just a sexual object.
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  7. VIP Member
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    #7

    Re: Road Sweepers Part one

    Yes I used "quipping jokes" consciously.

  8. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Road Sweepers Part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Yes. I used "quipping jokes" consciously.
    Is that a British expression?
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    #9

    Re: Road Sweepers Part one

    I'm not sure if that is a British expression, but Longman Dictionary defines it as "to say something clever and amusing." Maybe I should say instead "cracking jokes."

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    #10

    Re: Road Sweepers Part one

    I find "cracking jokes" or "telling jokes" natural. And as well, I am familiar with making quips or cracking wise.

    (My first encounter with Longman was when an ESL learner used it to tell me how to speak my own language. We haven't gotten along since.)
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