On This Morning’s Writing

While I’ve talked a bit about “THOD” the past few weeks, except for this snatch of dialogue, I’ve not really offered much insight at all into what I’m writing. Except that “THOD” is not actually the title, one of the main characters goes by Freddy, the story spans twenty-five years, that sort of thing.

Over the weekend, I worked a little bit on this, a sequence that takes place in 1988, when Freddy is sixteen. Then this morning, on the train, I pulled out the clipboard of notebook paper and scribbled more.

This isn’t great stuff, but for those curious about what I’m writing it gives some flavor of what I’m working with:

Everyone called him Red, though it had been thirty years or more since any color could be seen in his thinning hair. Red was, as near as anyone could tell, the oldest man in town, but even then no one was quite sure how old he was. He had fought in the Great War. He had been in Pershing’s army when the guns fell silent seventy years earlier, making him ninety if not a year or two more. His real name was Henry, and he ran the town barber shop.

The building dated back to the 1890s, with a brownstone front and a large bay window with glass that had years of accumulated grime on both sides and streaks where the glass, itself decades old, had begun to pool downward in the way that old glass does. The shop’s interior was more recent, but even then it was from at least the 1940s. The linoleum and vinyl flooring that would have been commonplace a decade later was here instead wooden planks, ill-fitting, prone to creaks and groans, some nailed back down, some ajar and warped from the passage of years.

Four barber chairs ran the length of the shop. In all the years that Freddy had had his hair cut there, he could only remember ever sitting in one, the third out from the door. A mirror ran along the wall, its vintage as old as the rest of the shop, the glass milky and the silver backing cracked and peeling, leaving dark spots behind the glass.

Aluminum folding chairs, set along the wall at the bay window, comprised the shop’s waiting area, and a stack of magazines, most years old, sat in piles along the window’s base. Freddy always ignored the magazines, favoring instead the Archie comics that someone had given Red a few years before. The covers were torn, the pages crinkled, and Freddy had read these comics so many tiume he could recite the dialogue from memory, yet they and the paintings and pictures of Pittsburgh’s old Forbes Field that ringed the faded yellowing walls, not the rustic quality of the shop, were the very things that gave Red’s shop its timeless charm.

Since I had to type it up anyway, I thought I’d share. 🙂

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