Writefury’s submission for proverbs31teen’s May Character Creation Contest:
Anyone remember Rob McKinley from The Day Santa Wore Carhartts? Well, he’s back. I’m writing from his perspective this time, and building on the character of this little girl:
This is only the first half, because I ran out of time. So, I’ll hopefully be posting the rest within the next week. 🙂
Here it is!
The sound at my door was so quiet, I thought mice might have gotten polite and started knocking. I stood up from my dinner and walked over to the door.
My mind had already filled with guesses on who it was. My landlord, telling me I’d broken some light fixture with my head (some people just never let me alone about my height). My friend Grant, with some cheap action movie and a bottle of Dr. Pepper asking if I was ready to “party”. It could be a deliveryman or a boy scout selling popcorn.
But, I swung open the door and it was none of those people, just a dirty little girl, squinting up at me like she was wondering whether she should have brought binoculars.
“Are you a handy-man?” her little voice was deeper than I thought it would be, and a lot stronger.
I was, in fact, by dictionary definition, a handyman. I did small jobs for extra money, was good with tools and projects in general. But why she wanted a handyman was beyond me.
“Yes, I’m a handyman.”
“Good.” The girl pushed under my arm and into my apartment, “I need to talk with you.” She sat her grubby self down in the other chair at my table and watched me expectantly.
This girl is way to executive. I sat down across from her and pushed my macaroni off to the side.
“And what would you need to talk to me about?” I asked, putting one arm in front of me and leaning forwards.
“I need a handyman to work on our house. Money is no object.” The girl raised one eyebrow and smoothed her little, cat-patterned dress. I hate cats.
“Hmm… that makes this interesting. If money is no object,” I nodded slowly and moved my hand up to my mouth before the girl could see the smirk on my face. I’d done work for millionaires, and the words “money is no object” had never once crossed their lips.
The girl nodded, making her light brown hair fall into her face, “I’ve been saving up. And I don’t care if you use all of my money. Our house needs to look nice by the end of the month.”
“And where is this house?”
She slid out of the chair and was over to the door in a flash.
“I’ll show you.”
“You want me to fix up this place?”
I’ve seen crack houses that were in better shape.
The house looked like it might have been nice at some point, though it was far from it now. Shingles hung off the edges of the roof and the little white edging pieces hung precariously from nails that were barely hammered in. Weeds tangled themselves over everything and blackberry vines wound their way up the paint-chipped sides of the house.
“Yes, that’s why I brought you here,” she gave me a look I couldn’t quite decipher, “I thought you said you were a handyman.” Her tone was accusing.
“I did.” This girl must think “handyman” means “Superman”.
I looked over the house, making a list in my head of what I was going to need to do. There was a lot. And when I was off work on the weekends was when I usually did this sort of thing. I’d have to come here after work if this was going to be finished by the end of the month.
I looked down, “Hmm?”
“Do we have a deal?”
I sighed and looked back at the house. The girl jangled her little sock full of money enticingly. I wasn’t expecting much to come out of that sock, but I was still tempted to take the job just for the challenge.
I nodded slowly and the little girl smiled.
“Good. I’ll expect you tomorrow.” She climbed through the mashed down spot in the fence that served as a gate and started back towards her dump of a house.
“Hey!” I called over.
She turned back to look at me.
“What’s your name?”
She a hand on her hip, “Give me yours first.”
“Rob McKinley. Now yours.”
She made like she was going to just go into the house then.
“Hey. Your name, now.”
The girl frowned at me, “Aria.”
“Alright then. Bye.”
Not bothering to reply, Aria walked back inside the house and shut the door behind her.
I never thought I’d be spending my weekend helping out a little girl, but bright and early Sunday morning, there I was; back at the house that disgraced the very word “house”.
I didn’t think Aria would be up by 6:00 am, so I came then to examine the house and get an idea of what all I’d need.
A lawnmower is a must, I thought, wading through the weeds. But I could probably rent one of those for not too much.
Paint was another obvious need, as well as a few nails to fasten down where needed. And a ladder. I looked up at the roof, shading my eyes from the sun. The roof came down at an alarmingly sharp slant and cascading shingles filled the gutters. So, shingles were jotted down on my mental list.
That porch didn’t look trustworthy, so I decided to check it out. I stepped carefully onto the first of the three steps. It bowed and creaked loudly under my weight, but held. I stepped onto the next one. Even more groaning and squeaking. And the last one.
My right leg went plunging down through the rotten wood, making a sound I was sure would wake up the whole block.
Yep. Those steps were going to need to be replaced.
Wincing, I pulled out my leg and got up onto the porch, even though I wasn’t much inclined to stand on anything around this house. I rolled my jean leg back down from what had been pushed up when I fell through and my hand came away with a smear of blood.
“Hey, genius. I hired you to fix the house, not smash the steps.” The creaky door swung open to show the lady of this magnificent mansion, who had obviously not just woken up.
“Well, ma’am. I expected to be able to mount the steps without smashing them. Was that too high of an expectation?” I took a few limping steps towards her and put my hands behind my back.
“Apparently, yes.” Aria grabbed a hoodie from a hook next to the door and slipped into it. “So are you going to get supplies?”
“Yes.” Please don’t ask to come along.
“Can I come?”
Well, there goes a quiet morning. I sighed,
“I have a feeling that isn’t a question.”
She hopped down the steps, avoiding the recently added hole and half grinned at me.
“You have surprisingly accurate feelings.”
I never in my life thought I’d meet a girl so opinionated on paint. Or wood planks. Or anything in the store, for that matter. Everything I grabbed, she found something “better” or cheaper to get instead. It was getting annoying.
We went through the paint section and Aria picked out the chips. It was her house, anyway. She picked out a light green pastel paint. We moved on to the paint applicators and began scanning the shelves. I glanced over at Aria, then threw a little wood-model paintbrush into the cart.
“That’ll do.” I bit my cheek to keep from smiling and pretended to move on to the next aisle. One of her eyebrows went way up as she stared into the cart.
“You are not painting my house with that in a week. This one is better.” Aria threw in a bigger paintbrush and poked mine back on the shelf.
“Nope. This is better.” I pulled a paint sprayer off the shelf in back of me and thunked it into the cart. She stared. I winked at her.
I could have sworn I saw her holding back a grin.
So, there’s the first half of mine. And my sister wanted to do this one too, so on to sprinklesquink’s!
She’s working off the same picture I did.
Running Away with my horse. (and not coming back!)
For the May Character Creation Contest
“Can I go outside?’’ Asked 8-year-old Lucy.
“Fine! But don’t be gone long or you’ll miss your dinner.” Answered one of the many maids.
Lucy ran outside to go see here little pinto pony, jack. The orphanage had allowed her to keep him after mommy had gotten in her car accident.
Poor mommy, I hope she’s happy in heaven, thought Lucy. She had never heard what happened to her after the car accident. But she had seen her being taken away by the people in white and she saw mommy asleep on a white little bed.
Daddy went away with mommy and told her to stay with aunty *Anaraxete. But aunty didn’t like her so she sent her to the orphanage.
Though jack wasn’t a tall pony he was very fast and his short legs moved as fast as lightning when he ran. She loved him very much. She hopped on him and turned him out of the old shed he lived in (it was the best the orphanage could do) and urged him into a quick and smooth canter.
Lucy looked up to where the sun was setting and prayed please god , if daddy is still alive please help me be able to find him. “Time for dinner!” bellered another one of the maids. Lucy rushed back to the shed, dismounted jack and ran into the kitchen
“ I’m here!” she said.
“Good.” said Simona. (the maid who told Lucy she could go out side.) “here’s your biscut now go get some gravy.” Lucy went and spooned herself a good amount of gravy and sat down at the nearest table.
“Hi, Lucy!” greeted her friend, Grace.
“What’s the matter?”
“Oh, I was just thinking about Mommy and Daddy again. I want to find them again. At least dad.”
And I want to run away! She didn’t say that part out loud, though. She knew it would get her in trouble.
After lights-out, Lucy crept out of bed and stuffed her few belongings into her heart-covered, pink backpack. She finished rolling up her blanket and struggled into her sweatshirt. She walked silently over to Grace’s bunk for one last look at her friend before slipping over the windowsill. As she ran to the shed with her load she checked her watch as she squinted to see the moon suddenly came out from behind the cloud that was covering it.
4 a.m. Good enough time to get to Gramma’s house!
She saddled up jack and secured her luggage on the back of the saddle and started out on the five-mile trek to Gramma’s house. She pushed Jack into a gallop wanting to as war away from the orphanage as possible. As soon as she got about half a mile away she slowed him to a bouncy trot.
Goodbye, orphanage! And I’m not coming back!
At sunrise Lucy was still about two and a half miles away from Gramma’s. She was growing bored and her biscuit supplies were dwindling. So she started singing to her self to pass the time.
Other times she would push her pony into a gallop again and pretend she was a horse racer. This passed about two hours. It was now 9:00 she found a small pond and let Jack get a drink. After that she again urged her pony into a gallop.
I’ve got to be there soon! she thought.
At noon Lucy spotted something in the distance that looked like Gramma’s house.
Yes! I’m almost there! She said to herself. She pushed Jack into a gallop one last time. As she got closer she could see the stables Grandpa kept the work horses. She rode jack over to them to see if there was room. And sure enough, there was one empty stall.
She dismounted and took his saddle off and put it on the saddle rack and ran towards the house. She knocked on the front door.
“Gramma? It’s Lucy. Can I come in?” she heard scuffling around inside then the door opened there stood Gramma.
“Why, Lucy! Where did you come from?”
“I ran away from the orphanage,” she answered.
“Come inside! There’s someone I want you to see.” Gramma told her. As she walked into the living room she saw a lady sitting in a chair, reading a book.
“Katie, there’s someone here to see you.”
The lady put down the book and looked up.
“MOMMY!” yelled Lucy as she ran into her mother’s arms. They hugged for a long time. Then, when they finally let go, Lucy looked up at her mom’s face.
“Mommy, why are you crying?” she asked
“Because,” answered her mom, “After the car accident… after I got better… we asked aunty Anaraxete where you were and she said you were dead!”
“But Mommy, she didn’t like me so she put me in the orphanage and that’s where I came from to see you. And I don’t want to go back! Not ever!”
“You don’t have to, you’re my kid! And your dad’s kid! You’re not going anywhere!”
“Mommy? Where is Daddy?”
“He’s coming in right now,” answered her mom.
“Hello! Anybody home?”
“Josh! Some one came to see us!”
“Lucy! When did you get here, spicedrop?”
“Just a few minutes ago,” answered Lucy. “I missed you so much!” she said.
“She ran away from the orphanage!” said her mom.
“Brave girl!” said her dad. Then they all hugged for a long time and didn’t let go.
*Anaraxete. The name means cruel woman punished by “the gods.’’ It’s Greek. (of course.)
Hope you enjoyed both stories as much as we did writing them!
~writefury and sprinklesquink