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(SHANTY TOWN Chapter's 1&2) Need feedback more chapter's to come
September 9, 2014
12:50 am

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All over the world the homeless do their best to just live and stay alive.
Entire families dwell in homes build from any materials that can be found.
Even if only cardboard boxes.

Each member of the household donates their time to do whatever possible for the survival of the lineage; to steal cheat or lie, is a daily event and a must in order to eat.
Often enough even the youngest of the Children, are sent out to sell themselves to bring food to the table or money into the home.

This gives a bad name to the homeless; for so many of them are really honest caring folk, and will go out to work to earn a living. Good people with dreams of the future, who became trapped in a life that they did not ask for, and a title they do not want; but once they drop so far down it’s not easy to climb back up.

The US is no different as the amount of the homeless shanty settlements
Spread and augments across America.

This is a story of a sincerely caring young girl who chose honest work to help her family, in hopes to someday make a new start.

                                          I call it.


Story by: Lyn Nolan
Based on the 1962 Song

                                    Chapter #1

The story opens, in Green Mills, 2 miles away from the river with the same name.
More village looking then a town, it does have a population of 20,000, with a police force of twenty,
And a volunteer fire department of fifteen.

The City Hall is located in the middle of Main Street, it stays the pride of the city council, with its elaborate clock tower built in the 1960’s, which sings out each hour with the beautiful notes of the Westminster chimes.



Across from City Hall is the Salvation Army store; always there for the needy, it’s the only window view of the Council chambers. There are many shops and businesses here on Main Street, as would be any small town of this size, and with its beautiful 2 acre park at the end of this five block street makes it a wonderful place to grow up in.

This is why the town refuses to change its quaint and quiet way of living.
And it’s all up to one man to keep it that way, Robert Flaming on his third term as Mayor of Green Mills.

Mr. Flaming is somewhat a resourceful but honest politician, at age 49 he has done very well for himself; a man who is not exactly wealthy but certainly has all that he needs and more.
Slightly overweight he finds it difficult to buy outfits that he likes, so he often has them made.

His favorite was a blue pinstripe suit along with a straw-hat that he sometimes wears, and an unlit cigar in his mouth; at first glance you’d swear you had just seen the ghost of Al Capone.
Tonight is the monthly meeting of the City Council, it has been going on for two hours and is near closing, the Chairmen has just finish briefing on the expenditures.

The Mayor speaks:

“Thank you very much Mr. Chairmen that was a very clear report.
Before we close tonight’s session does anyone else have something to add?”

Suddenly a hand belonging to the biggest complainer in town goes up.

The Mayor knows this woman well; and with a tired voice sighs, then says: “Yes! The chair recognizes Myrtle! What would you like to add?”

A woman in a tight fitting gray tweed skirt suit that looked like it first belong to her Mother, and too many rings on her right hand stands up and with a nasty look smirks, then answers.

“Mr. Mayor you know, I voted for you. I thought you’d do right by us. ”

The Mayor stares at her for a moment, then rephrases:

“Is there something you’d like to say Myrtle? We’re listening.”

Myrtle continues:

“I think that I speak for all who’s present and those who are not. What do you intend to do about the Squatters at the river’s edge? That mess that they affectionately call their homes is an eyesore, and the trash; well it’s a health hazard! Not to mention the thievery that’s been going on. Need I say more, Mr. Mayor?”


The Chairmen whispers in the Mayor’s ear: (“didn’t I tell you Robert leave your wife at home?)

The woman is speaking of a very common problem that has now come to this town.
An oil company has moved in, and started drilling some 20 miles away.
Those in need of jobs has set up camp nearby, others who just go where the money is, in hopes to make a new beginning have also set up camp.

The Mayor whispers back: (“Yeah, right! You` try; and make her stay home.”)

Mrs. Flaming has always been a thorn in her Husband’s back, she’s selfish, uncaring and rude, and most of the time he can’t stand the woman.
But he loves his wife no matter what she is, and he would do just about anything for her.

The Mayor clears his throat and begins an explanation:

“Myrtle ... ah, I mean … Mrs. Flaming, and any others who may be concerned. After the subject was brought to my attention, I had the police investigate the matter; I hold here their report, addressing the so called Shantytown, that’s been developing in an area by the river referred to as Midnight Point.

At the time this document was handed to me, it is reported that approximately thirty Families reside there, this property is owned by a Richard Hinder, who has giving permission to the alleged Squatters.

Reason given, He’s been in the same situation himself, the decision was indefinite.
Therefore Shantytown has every legal right to be there.

As for the thefts, No evidence has been found to link anyone at the shanty.”

Mrs. Flaming argues: “No evidence? What about the ton of plywood missing from
Milers wood works?”

Mayor: “He refuses to sign a complaint, said the wood has been there for years, and was
Warped, it was unusable. Therefore no laws have been broken and there is nothing I can do about their presents at the river’s edge.”

The Mayor took a deep breath then wiped his brow with a hankie and continued:

And with that I call a close to tonight’s meeting mark it 8:00 June 18, 2004.”

A hand goes up as one of the Officials yells out: “I second that!”

The Mayor looks at the woman and says: “Myrtle, Please! Go home! I’ll be there in a bit.”

As we leave the boring meeting, and Myrtle’s shocked look. We move to Main Street the Green Mills Drug Store Cafe where a girl of 17 was wiping down the counter.

A man steps out from the cook’s station and removes his apron as he walks over to the girl. He looks down at his hands, then loudly exhales and says:

“Tiffany, Lets close her up for the night, it’s pretty slow.”

Without looking towards him and continuing to clean she answers:

“Yes Mr. Johnson. Would you like me to roll the flatware for tomorrow?”

Brien Johnson owner and operator of the Green Mills Drug store, Johnson bought the store from the original proprietor back in 1998.

Knowing nothing about medications gave him a slow start in this business, but after hiring Ted Gilson who was looking for a new place to start over, and who happen to be a very good pharmacist with a license, from the big city, everything fell into place.
Johnson was a navy cook so it was the cafe that he was really interested in running; which he did.

Tiff, asks again,

“Mr. Johnson … The flatware?”

Johnson stares at her for a moment longer, then replies:

“Tiffany, you’ve been here for a month now, and you’re a damn good worker, I’d really hate to lose you. But I ... Oh, I don‘t know how to say this, Or if I even should!”

She looks up at Johnson and sees in his face that he was troubled, so she interrupts him:

“Mr. Johnson What’s wrong? What are you trying to tell me? Did I do something wrong?”

Johnson looks down at her, then places his hand on her shoulder; and says to her:

“Tiffany, someone seen you walking down Kelley’s Road late last night; I’m sorry but, might I inquire where you were going too, … at that time of night?”

She answers: “I was going home sir. … I … I was going home, Why do you ask?”

Johnson: “Kelley’s road ends at Midnight Point, and the Shanty.
Do you know someone from there?”


Tiffany lowers her head in shame, and a tear rolls down her cheek as she answers:

“No Sir, I live there, are … are you going to fire me Sir?”

Johnson sighs deeply, then shakes his head in disgust of himself, he looks down at the counter, and noticed how clean it was, she never left anything undone. He turns back to her and says:

“Tiff, you could have told me; I’m not that heartless.” (“Or … am I.” He whispers to himself.) “I suppose you’re not even 18, ether.”

Tiffany was upset that she had to lie to him:

“No Sir I’m just 17, I‘m really Sorry ... I never intended to deceive you. But you wouldn‘t have hired me, if I had told you the truth; and I needed the job! Please forgive me.”

No one really knew who Tiffany was.
She came in one day looking for a job, he had just lost his waitress and needed someone, but
Tiff, looked so young, he wasn’t sure if he should hire her.

He told her that he would try her for a day or two, during that time he asked around but no one could tell him anything. But he really like the way she worked so he kept her.
He knew that she wasn’t 18, she just didn’t look it; but he really didn’t care, if she said she was then that was fine for him.

Just at that moment a smirking customer walks in and heads for the counter.
It was Mrs. Flaming, she had been in earlier, and told Johnson that Tiff, was from the Shanty and shouldn’t be working around decent people, and that the girl had better be gone when she came back. She walks up to Johnson and said to him with a smile:

“Mr. Johnson! I imagine that you’re going to need a new employee, I have just the one for you, My Granddaughter is in need of a job. She would be perfect for you.”

Johnson’s thoughts however were only of Tiffany. She may have lied about her age, and where she lived. But he understood why. He would never had hired her, if he had known just where she had come from. The people of this wonderful town had almost poisoned his mind as well, but not yet!

He knew in his heart this was a good girl, she had been so honest of so many things. In the past the till had always been short, but after hiring Tiffany it was invariably right on. And she was the best worker he ever had. He didn’t know anyone else who deserved the title of decent, more than her.

Johnson knows what he had to do:

“Well Mrs. Flaming, I’m so glad to see you! And I really appreciate the information that you were kind enough to pass on to me. No doubt you’ve come to make sure that I done the right thing.”

Mrs. Flaming gives a big smile.

Johnson: “I especially wanted you to see what I‘m about to do. Tiffany come over here. “

Tiff. Walks over to him with her head down, and waits for the inevitable, this has happened more than once to her:

Johnson went into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys and handed them to her, she gave him a confused look and said.

“I don‘t understand sir, what are these for?”

Johnson: “These are the keys to the store, I’m going to be late tomorrow and I need you to open up in the Morning. I think that I’m a good Judge of character. And I believe in you. So be here early.”

Mrs. Flaming’s jaw dropped a about a foot, as she roughly remarks:

“Are you insane? Just what do you think you’re doing?”

Johnson looks at Flaming with eyes squinted and a snarl on his lips, and answers:

“The right thing Mrs. Flaming, I’m just doing the right thing.”

Poor little Tiffany didn’t understand at all, and as she wiped away the few teardrops, and replaced with the biggest smile that she has ever had in her life.

She continued to wipe the tears from her eyes, as she said to him.

“Thank you, Mr. Johnson I won’t let you down.”


“I know you won’t! And from now on, you don‘t lower your head to no one. You’re as good as anyone in this store. (He looks up at Mrs. Flaming and remarks. “Maybe better.”)

Mrs. Flaming was outraged, and slammed her hand on the counter, and said:

“You think that your funny, you just wait, I’m telling my husband all about this!”


Johnson replies:

Please do! And tell him that I’ll be here to make his eggs just the way he likes them!

She then turned and angrily walked away.

Johnson yell’s out to her as she was leaving:

It’s too bad you can’t cook! …

She slams the door on her way out. Johnson laughed and again reached into his pocket and pulled some bills out, and handed Tiffany a $100 bill.


“What’s this for?” She asked again with confusion.


“I’m tired of seeing you come in with those patches on your dress, I thought it was some kind of fad or something, get yourself something nice to wear.”

But Tiffany refuses to take the money, and says:

“Thank you Mr. Johnson you’re very kind, but I really can’t take charity, my Mother Wouldn‘t like it.”


“Your mother must be some lady. However I’m not offering you charity, it’s bad for business for you to walk in wearing that outfit! I am not being mean, you understand don’t you? Oh Please Tiff, just take it; and buy yourself a new dress; something pretty.”

She agreed to take the Money he then smiled as he handed it to her. As she said:

“I will Mr. Johnson. And Thank You. But how do I pay you back?”


“You won’t! Consider it a bonus, you do deserve it. And be here bright and early.”



“I promise! It‘ll be open on time. You don‘t need to worry sir.”


Later that night.

Tiffany said goodnight to Johnson and started walking, she always hid in the dark of the night so that no one would see her.

But tonight she felt pretty good, and didn’t care if she was seen or not.

She thought to herself:

“I’m just as good as anyone else.”

For the first time in her young life, she was happy. Until a car drove by with four kids in it, throwing empty beer cans at her. Then started yelling at her out of their windows:

One boy says. “Hey! Look at that ugly girl, she’s the one who works at the drugstore.” One other remarks. “Look at that stupid dress she’s got on. It looks like her!”

Says another, loud enough for the trees to hear:

“Hey ... “Patches!” ... Do you need Five bucks to buy a decent dress?”

They all laughed at her, again she drops her head in shame; then fighting back her tears,
She remembers what Mr. Johnson said. (“You don’t lower your head to no one!”)

She fills her lungs with the night air, and holds her head up high, and continues walking.
17 year old Jamie O’ Leary didn’t like what his buddies were saying and doing, and felt angry for her, and blurted out:

“Man you guys are so immature ... why don’t you just let her alone. ... Who in the hell is she hurting?”

The driver of the car and leader of this little club was 18 year old Jeff Chambers, who turns his head and looks at Jamie and says with his well-known attitude about everything:

“Me ... Jamie Boy, she’s hurting me; Man I hate anyone from that stinking town.”

Jamie looks at the girl again, and sees how innocent and pretty she is; and gets angrier by the minute, and he threatens:

“Jeff, if you don’t leave her alone, I’m going have to Damage you! And you know I can do it!”

Jeff smiles, and runs his hands over his face, and through his hair; he knows Jamie well and that  he could take him. So he says:

“Jamie boy, don’t lose you’re cool man` We’re not going to hurt Patches! What do you thank I am` bro. we‘re only having a little fun. This isn‘t like you at all man, just what’s up guy? ”

Jamie Answers:

“I don’t know bro, there’s just something about her; let‘s just get out of here.”

Jeff smiles once more and says:

“Let’s go guys, Jamie has lost his cool.”

The car sped away with three of the boys yelling harsh obscenities, Jamie just shook his head in a disquieted state of mind, and said:

“Jeff ... Don’t pick me up tomorrow night, or any other for that matter!”

Jeff looks at Jamie, and laughs, then says:

“Jamie boy, your something else! Don’t worry Bro. you’re out of the club.”

Tiffany says aloud. “Creeps!” And continues walking till she comes to a house
Made of plywood, and sheets of corrugated metal, it was one of the best made homes
In the shanty, and her Mom built it all.

Mary Ann Chase, a woman who never seems to give up hope. She does all she can for her daughter, always trying to make a home for her. But right now all she can give Tiffany was a blistered old table, and two wobbly chairs, which sits in the middle of their makeshift kitchen.


A bucket for water from the river, and an old pan... this will have to do for the sink.
A propane hotplate that she found in the trash for cooking, oh well; it’s more than many others have.

Earning a small paycheck by washing cars, trying to make a life with what she has.
But it’s the tears her mother sheds late at night that keeps Tiffany awake.

But just like any other young girl coming in from work, she’s glad to be back.
Not for that big HD TV, they have none, or electricity for that matter, and it wasn’t for the iPad or iPhone, she doesn’t own any of those ether.

A house no matter what it looks like, is only a home when someone you love is there for you; and Mom is always sitting in that chair waiting, and she’s the reason Tiffany is glad to be home. She slowly pushes the door open and peeks in, seeing her Mother; she smiles and says softly:

“Hi Mom ... How was your day? What are you up too Mother?”

Mary Ann` was sitting at the table sewing on another patch to one of Tiffany’s dresses,
She looks up and smiles and answers:

“Oh that old river is so hard on your clothes. I wish we had a washing machine. It was so nice when we had one, anyway how was work today sweetheart, did you make a lot of tips?”

Tiffany felt very warm inside when she had seen her Mother working on the garment.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out the $100 bill and offers it to her:

“Mom, even if we had one, where would we plug it in? Here, I made few tips and this, it was given to me by my boss.”

Mary Ann’s eyes went wide and her lips trembled, as she asked:

“Honey! For what? What did you do for him? Why did he give this to you?”

Tiffany giggles and ensures her that she didn’t do anything:

“Oh Mama Relax, do you really think I’d do anything like that for money? He just wants me to buy a new dress for work, he’s nice Mom. .. He wanted nothing.”


Mary Ann sighs in relief and hands it back to her, and says:

‘Then I believe you should go and do what he asked; and buy It!”

Tiffany answers:

“Mama, all I need is $20, I can buy two of them at the Salvation Army ... and nice ones too, you know that. Oh ah... Mom, you do have $20 don’t you?”

Mary Ann, shakes her head yes, and points and says:

“In the cookie Jar dear, there’s $18. And 85 cents.”

Tiffany smiles as she reaches in the jar, and says:

“Thanks Mom; with my tips it’ll be just enough, I’ll stop there on the way to work.”

As she’s counting the money she suddenly stops and looks at her mother and remarks:

“You know Mama, I feel that things are going to change for us, in a good way.”

Mary Ann reply‘s:

“Really? Why dear, has something happened?”

Tiffany answers with a half a smile, and a wonder in her eyes:

“I don’t know, maybe? We’ll see. Goodnight Mother.”

Mary Ann:

“It would help a lot if those terrible people would tip a little bit more, a quarter here a dime there; you work hard! I’m sure they have a little money on them? Good night dear, Sleep tight.”

                                     Chapter #2

The next morning, Tiffany was up before the fish in the river; she put a little bit of eye makeup on, which is just about all the cosmetics she had.
Them quickly but happily left for work.


It was still dark as Tiffany walked the two miles into town, but she wasn’t scared.
Girls from the Shanty learn young, not to be frightened of what they can’t perceive.
You only fear what‘s right there before you.

Strolling along the streets of Green mills, she soon came to the Thrift Store; looking at the clock that was high above the streets; she sees there’s an hour before work, so into the Salvation Army she goes to find a dress.

20 minutes later Tiffany walks out carrying one dress and wearing the other.

Passing in front of a closed store that had no lights on, Tiffany stops and sees her reflection in the big glass window; she wasn’t ugly, she was pretty? Honestly pretty.
What a difference a new outfit makes; she stretches out her arms and spins around.
She’s feeling so proud, but when she stops the world was still spinning.

But Tiffany had to hurry to open the Drug Store, there was only minutes now and she was still a block away; she had to keep her promise.
Finally with two minutes to spare, she inserts the key and opens the door.

She takes a deep breath then blurts out: “I did it! “ She enters the store and starts getting the cafe ready for business, then other employees start to come in; to open for the day.

It wasn’t long after that, when Mr. Johnson came in:

“Tiffany!” He says. .. “Any problems?”

She Answers:

“No sir! None at all.”

Mr. Johnson says:

“Well, I’d better get that kitchen open, Duty call’s. “

Suddenly he stops and rub’s his chin, then turns and says:

“Tiffany; there’s no need to give me a third of your tips anymore; what Uncle Sam doesn’t know isn’t going to hurt him. Just` keep them. I paid enough taxis last year for both of us. I‘ll pay you cash from now on.”

Tiffany with a surprised look answers:

“Yes Sir? Thank` Thank you Mr. Johnson sir.”


The day went by with all the usual customers, and although she was overworked and tired, she was happy.

Then a man came in and sat down and picked up the Menu and began to read.
Resting a bit Tiffany gave him a few minutes before asking him what he wanted.
She then walked over to him and asked:

“Can I help you sir?

The customer looked a little longer at the Menu and answered:

“Ah, yes can I have the meatloaf, please.”

Tiffany says as she writes the order down:

“What would you like for your sides?”


“Oh, I don’t know, make it like it is in the photo, and some coffee right away.”


“Very well, just like the picture.”

After a while she brought the order,

“Here you are sir, enjoy.”


“Thank you, Patches.”

Tiffany was surprised and a bit upset, being called that name again, and showed it as she
Took the cup to fill it.
It slips from her hand and falls to the floor. The sound of breaking glass brings out the owner.


“What happen?”


Tiffany Points at the man and answers.

“I’m sorry sir, but he called me Patches.”


“It’s your name isn’t it?”

Johnson gently grabs Tiffany by the arm and pull’s her away from the table saying to the man:

“Yes, of course it is; come along Tiff, if the nice Man wants to give you a sobriquet, then who are we to argue.”


“But it’s not my name! Those boy’s called me that, you know; the ones I told you about.”

Johnson quickly whispers:

“It’s alright! It’s actually a cute name; we’re here to make money, don’t rock the boat.”

Tiffany stops debating and agrees:

“Yes sir, I’m sorry I won’t rock nothing anymore. ... Sobriquet? What is that?”


“Look it up!”

At 9:00 the store closed, Tiffany said goodnight and started out the door, as Johnson locks up, he sees her walking then yell’s out:

“Tiff! Are you going to be Ok! I could drive you if you’d like.”

Tiffany yells back:

“That’s okay Mr. Johnson, I’m good, The dark is my friend.”

Johnson turns and continues locking up and says aloud:

“Crazy kid! Walking all that way every night, I hope she’ll be alright.”


Tiffany is proceeding out of the city, and soon finds herself once again on the dirt covered Kelley’s road; Tiff was able to fool other people, but she couldn’t fool herself. She was always scared walking alone on this road, with only the moonlight to guide her way.

But tonight there is no moon, and as the last ray of sunshine disappears from the horizon;
It leaves behind total blackness.

The billions of stars that she sees in the sky was no help in lighting her way, she couldn’t even see her hand in front of her face.

Tiffany had never been so frightened, she clinches her fingers together, shivering,
She hears herself say:

“Oh God! How am I supposed to find my way? I` I can‘t see.”
She slowly continues to walk, then suddenly hears a voice shouting out,


She turns to look behind her, and sees a light coming down the road.
And as the light comes closer, again the voice shouts.

Hey! Patches... Wait Up!

All she is able to see is the light, almost upon her, and she says:

“Who’s there? Who are you? …What do you want?”

When he was about six feet away he shines the flashlight into his own face.
Tiffany sees a young man around her age, and very good looking, she feels relieved that he’s there, but at the same time very suspicious. She asked:

“Who are you?”

The young man Answers with a smile:

“Jamie ... Jamie O’ Leary.”

Tiffany answers:

“Ok! Mr. Jamie O’ Leary, what do you want with me? Are you here to rape me?”


Jamie’s smile turn’s upside down, he didn’t intend to give her that impression, he steps back and says:

“No Way! Please I just wanted to walk you home. Honest Patches I’d never hurt you.”


“That’s not my name! Why doe’s everyone call me that?”

Jamie answer’s carefully:

“I’m Sorry Patch ... I mean, I don’t know your real name?”


“It’s Tiffany Chase, That’s who I am, Tiffany! My name is not Patches!”


“Ok … Ok! … Can I walk you home Tiffany?”

She thought about how dark it was, and said:

“Well if you must. So how do you know me? I don‘t remember you. And how did you know I was out here?”


“Oh, I just seen you around, I know you go home this way.”


“How do you know? … Have you’ve been watching me? Are you a pervert, or something like that, a stocker maybe?”


“No! … Boy don’t you thrust anyone? I just knew, that’s all. How old are you anyway?”


“Seventeen, What about you?”


“Hey … I’m Seventeen too! … That’s great we‘re the same age.”


“Gee! It’s so dark out here, do you still go to high school?”


“Yes, it’s my last year. Man It‘s cold out here too.”


“Do you know what Sobriquet means?”


“What! … Ha` Ha, … I think it’s another word for nickname, but I‘m not sure. Why do you want to know?”


“Oh … Is that all it means ... I ah … I was Just wondering.”

The two quickly become friends, and talked about a lot of things, with Jamie leading` the way.
It wasn’t long before there came upon the town and to Tiffany’s very modest home.
She could feel the shame building up inside of her, and tried hard to fight it off.


“Well thank you for bringing me home, maybe I’ll see you again sometime.”

But Jamie wasn’t ready to leave, nor was he accepting her shame. He knew where she lived and didn’t expect a $90,000 house.


“I brought you this far, May I take you right up to your door Patc` ... I mean Tiff.



“Please, can’t we just part here? And call it a night?


“I know that it’s hard for you, but can’t you just trust me Tiff, you must trust someone.”

Tiffany thinks about what he said, and in her heart she agrees with him. She looks deep into his eyes; and turned away, after a moment she turns back to him and asked him:

“Mr. O’ Leary` sir, would you like to accompany me to my door? Please.”

Jamie smile’s and take‘s her hand, and bows; then answers:

“It would be my honor, Miss Chase.”

Tiff, in a flaunting motion, raise’s her hand and bends her wrist than turns and says:

“Thank you; … You know … I really believe you` mean it, Mr. O’ Leary.”

They walked hand in hand, talking; Tiff. Felt so safe with him, as if she had knew him for years.

At the end of their short journey, Jamie had counted every single freckle on her face, and loved even the smallest one.
At her door they stood looking at each other … Tiff spoke first:

“Well … This is it. Thank you for seeing me home, you can see it’s not much.”

Jamie couldn’t understand what he was feeling, but he liked the butterflies within his stomach. He took her hands and said softly:

“Tiff, if you live here; … Then it’s a beautiful palace, it could only be so.”

Tiffany had the same fluttering inside her, and asked him.

“Who are` you Jamie? What do you want from me?”


Jamie answers:

“Nothing Tiff, I want Nothing from you … I just want to be your friend, if you’ll have me. … I would like to see you again, if I may?”

Tiffany looks at Jamie and smiles, and says:

“I think that I would like that Mr. O’ Leary …maybe tomorrow night?”

Jamie says with a slight grin:

“See you at the store then, after hours? I’ll remember to bring my flashlight.”

Tiff, remarks still with some suspicion:

“Jamie, are you sure you want to see me again?”

Jamie very understanding of her fears says:

“Why not? Am I not good enough for you? Must I get down on my knees and beg? Do you have someone else to see?”

Tiff, answers:

“No, Silly, I have no one… But you must know that, if you’ve been watching me. ”


Good! Then it’s a date, I’ll see you home when your work is done. And Tiff, I really haven’t been spying on you. Honest.

Jamie placed his hand against Tiffany’s face and tenderly slid it down the side of her soft silky neck, he looked upon her beauty, and smiled at what he beheld, to him she was the eighth wonder of the world.

He really wanted to kiss her, but he also respected her; and wasn’t going to risk ending a relationship before it began.

If the feelings inside him were real and true, then he saw no urgency in the closeness of a simple peck, he felt there was more than enough time. He again smiled, moved his hand from her face and said.

“See you Tiff.”

He turned to leave. 

As Jamie walked away, Tiffany placed her hand to her face where he had touched her softly, it was warm and tingly; she understood her feelings less than she did his.

As she watched him disappear into the darkness she found herself hoping that he really would come back to see her, but never knowing a friend

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September 9, 2014
4:42 pm

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Hey @lnolan 

I can tell that a lot of thought and time has gone into this. Any of the points that I mention, or things that I think could be changed are your decision to change. As the author it is your choice and I am not forcing you to change anything, even if I sounds like it.

My advice isn't particularly structured into the most severe points first but merely points I thought of as I read through the first two chapters.

Prologue; This feels like a description of your book, particularly the end paragraph. The 'This is a story of...' part should be conveyed through the reading of the first few chapters and I don't think you need to explain it here as the book should make it clear for you what the story is about. 

The town meeting; Maybe some scene setting here. How many people are there? Why the meeting? Is it a general one or a specific meeting? Also with regards to the Mayor and Mrs Flaming (who appear to be Main characters) some basic features to them appearance would be nice. Not necessarily a full body description but perhaps the fleeting mention of a hair colour or if one is overweight. An example,

The Mayor with a tired voice sighs, then says: “Yes! The chair recognizes Mrs. Flaming! What would you like to add Myrtle?”

Mrs Flaming stands up, her bright orange hair making her easily visible amongst the hundreds of people gathered here tonight.

She gives the Mayor a nasty look smirks and answers.


Leaving the meeting you refer to 'we'. Who is we, the reader and the narrator? For me it doesn't feel natural to say we and then never mention us again. Initially I thought that you meant 'we' as being two characters in the book.

Jamie's use of the words "buddies" and "Man, you guys are so immature" seems out of character for a seventeen year old. As an 18 year old I wouldn't say it. I am British though so perhaps it is said over in America.

Would they leave simply because Jamie 'lost his cool'? If a friend was like that in front of me then I would assume that he fancied the girl or something. He'd get the mick taken out of him then.

HD TV/iPads; The first indication of the time period that the book is in. I think that this highlights the key issue with your story. Whilst the dialogue is good, I can't picture the characters or setting well since neither have been described enough. Really within the first chapter I want to know vaguely what 1/2 characters look like and where they are and in what time period.


'Even if we had one, where would we plug it in?' Plug what in, where? The part of the conversation that seems to be left out leaves the reader suddenly trying to work out what happened all of a sudden. Perhaps fill that gap back in.


Are these people travelers or permanent squatters? I feel at the moment that they are travelers who are passing by. Possibly an idea of the length of time that they have been there may solve this issue.

Would you tip someone in a drugstore? Why not just a straight cafe? It makes the story more simple unless it needs to be that way in the book.

Eye make up; This doesn't sound specific enough. Like me, you may know nothing about Women's make up but a quick google search may help. Also with just $18.85 to buy a dress can she really afford make up?

The Customer: or Tish: - This makes it seem like a script more than a book. By missing out the 'He says' or 'Tish said' parts you miss out the chance to put a phrase or two of description at the end of it.

When she drops the cup it reads to me as if the customer calls her patches, she picks up the cup and then drops it. This is obviously not is what is meant to happen so that paragraph may just need reshuffling a bit.

You then call it a city but earlier called it a town meeting. Consistency in these minor parts can help reinforcing the reader's image of the setting. The mention of city threw a bit as I previously thought of it as a town and this was correct from the writing.

Sees a young man around her age who is very good looking. This is all I know of Jamie. Why is he good looking? What does he look like? If you are struggling with describing a character then read Twilight, whilst I never managed to finish the first book early on it does have some excellent description of the vampire family sitting at the table in the canteen and the narrator describing each one.

Would you really count each freckle?

The penultimate part (the part when he walks up to her with the flash light) could be fleshed out a lot. Beforehand you could build up the suspense with a dark description of the road, use the senses and get the reader really imagining them. She mentions that she is secretly frightened of the walk home but when some strange man approaches her she doesn't sound scared. Perhaps she runs, is chased, the man catches her up, she falls over and finally it is revealed to be Jamie. Maybe she is even injured enough to have to be carried home by him, even if she doesn't want to be and from there learns to like him.

These are all the points from my read through. I really hope that you find these helpful and if you ever need me to read a redraft or explain one of my points then just ask. Jam

'Books aren't written, they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it... Michael Crichton
September 9, 2014
10:54 pm

Points: 1604
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Hello my Friend It appears that there is nothing about the story
That you like. I must agree on many of the points you made,
And disagree on many others.

The song was of the 60’s the time of the story is now.
My Mom who’s gone now, worked at a drug store as a waitress in the café
when she was very young, it’s at places such as these that kids get jobs.

Most of the money she made was from tips. Even today some drug store still have
Cafes. So this was the best place for Tiffany to start. Kids were saying Man and buddies

In my time and I still hear them say it today, 16 and up it depends on how the kid was
Brought up. And if someone lost their cool and they could take me, I’d call it a day.

As for it sounds more like a script, I don’t know how to write any other way.
I want to acting school when I was a kid and this is how I learn to write.

I’m learning how to write now from you and those like you, and I appreciate your feedback
And your help I will rewrite this story. And thank you.

September 10, 2014
5:52 pm

Points: 2172
Thanked 49 times

On the contrary, there are many parts that I do like. Perhaps I was too harsh in my feedback and didn't give praise where due. Re-reading my comments I didn't give any praise at all. The premise of the book is one that I like and really think has potential if explored well. The keys to any good book is the characters and their contrasts which you have and have quickly capitalised on. Already I can see many divisions between members of the city and it has a 'Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling' feel to it.

It's good to know about the Drugstores/Cafe stuff. Being from the UK we have nothing of the sort so it is hard for me to picture but if they existed then that's fine. No need for me to mention it again.

As with not knowing how to write any other way, I wouldn't try. The way you write is hard to change and if you try to force a change in your writing style too much then the writing won't be so good. You can of course tweak it here and then and it may change over time as you write more (mine certainly has over the course of writing my first draft).

On your final point, perhaps this is destined to be a script. This is your first draft so who knows what it is going to be like by the third/fourth draft. You could experiment with the idea a little. Maybe try writing these two chapters in a complete script style with stage directions and all. It may turn out to fit the story perfectly and you continue to write it as a play. It may not work in which case you could always go back to it being a novel. Experiment a little. My novel was originally in third person but a little experiment showed me that first person was the forward. You might have a similar thing happening here with your story.

Whatever the outcome, keep writing and don't get disheartened. You do have some excellent ideas above already. Always happy to help,


The following users say thank you to Jamboree for this useful post:

'Books aren't written, they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it... Michael Crichton
September 11, 2014
12:20 am

Points: 1604
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Thank you sir, I was about ready to trash the story and start over.

I will ... change some things, I still need your help, I would like Tiffany to live.

and by the the way, jeff didn't really count every freckle, it was just a way to say that he liked her.

September 11, 2014
11:57 am

Points: 7936
Thanked 179 times

Bravo @lnolan .............. Don't scrap your story.......... Re-read and compare it to something similar that has already been edited.............. Find someone that can help you edit the story and it will have a brand new feel and give you an idea of what to include and what to leave out. I make it a point never to offer criticism because I'm not an editor and have found out that what we write is what pleases us and is not necessarily correct in the world of a professional editor.............. I like the story line and hope to see more from you................

Semper Fi

The following users say thank you to Killerelite for this useful post:

lnolan, Forgewright
Those individuals who deem themselves perfect barely scratch an elbow in their fall from grace. Wm Steele
September 11, 2014
2:48 pm

Points: 2172
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Never scrap your story/ideas just because one person doesn't agree with parts of it. There will always be people who don't like certain novels or pieces of work. Take the Harry Potter series as an example. It is the biggest selling book series of all time and yet you don't have to look far on the internet to find people who criticise it a lot. There will always be criticism for a novel you just have to find the constructive helpful criticism in amongst the unhelpful and hateful criticism.

The former is what I shall strive to give with regards to your work and any other work of anyone else who wants some feedback. Critiquing your work helps you but also helps me to understand where the flaws and problems in my work are. So it is a win win situation.


The following users say thank you to Jamboree for this useful post:

'Books aren't written, they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it... Michael Crichton
September 12, 2014
9:09 am

Points: 8478
Thanked 153 times

Definitely has the feel of a script. I love this kind of narration. I tend to write in a similar fashion. Just needs a bid of clarity.

Nice job reviewing @Jamboree. It can be as hard as writing a story yourself. 

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I am a man with one distinguishing manner. I view life as a nonstop roll by circus. Whatever my senses signal to my brain, it is received as humor.
September 13, 2014
10:23 am

Points: 4397
Thanked 105 times

love the idea, creatively writen, only one small critic is its seamed a little scripted, rather than letting my mind take me there if u know what i mean, maybe less dialogue, set more of scene, gestures that kind of thing, but still enjoyed the idea alaughnd with a little tweek here and there u will im sure

September 16, 2014
12:32 am

Points: 1604
Thanked 1 times

Not done yet, But Please read, see if it is more to your liking

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