The purpose of this assignment is to use setting to establish the opening and closing of a story. Setting can lead to Story, frame it, and sometimes be the purpose of it. By doing these exercises (this one and the ones over the past few days), one can explore their use of setting in their storytelling in order to develop the inner eye.
I found this one interesting, and it actually wove itself into a discrete vignette, not just disjointed ‘beginning’ and ‘ending.’ I hope you like.
Excerpt, Faerrie Story (working title)
The rain pounded down, drumming against the roof of the car hard enough to leave marks. Jesse sat back in the seat, leaning his head against the headrest. “Let’s just wait until this passes,” he suggested.
David stirred and looked at him. “Yeah.”
The streetlights flashed one, glowing dimly as they grew in power. They never flashed on brightly, always started on low and then grew in luminance. Jesse watched as a newspaper, lying discarded up against the curb a little in front of the car, gradually sank down flat against the concrete as it got more and more sodden. Ever since the Tribune had decided to make their little daily rag free, the papers would get discarded all around the sidewalks and in the alleys. Jesse hated it, but what can you do? It wasn’t like he could call up the Tribune and tell them to stop feeding the litter in the city. Advertising dollars fed the newspaper business, and the advertisers wanted the paper free so they could hawk their wares. The red ink on the cover bled slowly, like blood running, and then the paper dislodged itself in the torrent of water flowing down the gutter and disappeared down the storm drain. He sighed.
After another fifteen minutes, the torrent let up to a light but steady drizzle. “Let’s go,” he said, his voice loud in the silence.
David jumped, eyes flying open. “What?” he said too loudly.
Jesse chuckled and slapped his thigh. “You fell asleep, you slacker. Come on, Brian will worry.”
David nodded and unlocked his door. They stepped into the sauna that was Chicago in the summer.
Jesse walked along Jarvis, skirting a pile of building materials from the new condo a few doors down from their apartment. The builders had put up a large dumpster that took up three parking spaces on the tiny street and he frowned. A newspaper lay, half in and half out, perched on the top. As he walked by, he batted it over the top and heard it flutter to a stop inside the dumpster. He walked on, aware of his surroundings and yet relaxed, comfortable.
When had he become comfortable in he neighborhood again? He cast his mind back. It wasn’t clear, immediately. He hated the influx of the yuppie condos, tearing down the old buildings built in the 1920’s to make way for boring brick boxes with narrow rooms and hardly any space. But the neighborhood felt quiet now, without the buzz of frustrated anger it used to have.
He turned down the alley behind their building and heard the Rottweiler in the next yard barking. Its deep voice echoes through the alley, bouncing off windows and seeming louder than it was. He smiled. She was a pussycat in person, but sounded like she’d eat your face when you walked down the alley. Her owner called her Sara and she would like his face when they met on the street.
He stopped at their gate and pulled out his keys. Sara’s owner stepped out of their garage and saw him. “Hey, Jesse!”
“Hi, Mark. How’s Sara?”
Mark smiled. “She’s good. Wants to go for a walk, as usual.”
Jesse smiled and walked through his gate. “Have a good one.”
“You too,” Mark called.
Jesse walked up to their door, still smiling. He turned and looked back one last time at the coppery night, lit by the streetlights but not yet dark. The sun still cat her light even though she was not longer visible, hidden by the line of buildings between him and sunset. All was quiet. He turned and went back inside.