Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guest Writer: Blake Cooper

Turning a Corner

The moment I stepped off the streetcar I began doubting why I'd come—the heavy air that had to force its way into the lungs; the stench of piss and struggle; the forgotten, wandering in groups of one. My dad had always called these people the scum of our collective generations—the worthless who refused to contribute, the weak who couldn't pick themselves up even when their lives were depending on it.

Just a few weeks ago—probably two, maybe three, blocks away—my parents and I were walking back to our car after taking in a show at the Orpheum. Turning the corner, one of them bumped into my mom. He was drunk or high, mumbling, "my fault, my bad, my fault." He reached out his hands, cupped, holding a red raisin box that carried his night's profits. In a moment of haze and confusion, my dad pounced. He grabbed this kid—couldn't have been older than me—and slammed him into the gutter, his hair and face drenched in the city's guts. I remember the kid's face as my dad spit on him; I remember how he went into a fetal position, screaming and crying like an animal that had been shot in the kneecaps. My dad grabbed me and mom, forcing us to flea.

The moment was haunting then and is haunting me now. I had to come back here, alone. Why? I'm not really sure. Maybe it was to find that kid and see if he was okay. Maybe it was to spite my circumstance. Maybe it was to see for myself how life reaches this point for people, instead of judging blindly like a coward.

The Plot Thickens: (1) a first encounter, and (2) a box of raisins
(The only rule: somehow incorporate the above two plot elements into the flash)

© Blake Cooper 2010

Blake Cooper is the creator and editor of the social writer's site ThinkingTen—A Writer's Playground. He lives in Seattle with his world, Emilia, and his mini-world, Siena Violet. He is determined to someday write the next great bildungsroman!


  1. Loved this, was left wondering about how you saw your father after his reaction - would take time to work back through embarassment and guilt to awareness of his need to protect.

  2. Interesting story... its such a shame that people act like that sometimes, because if you see a drug addict that is the least expected way to respond.

  3. Fabián Solórzano

    Is a tragic story, I think such people, instead of being battered should be helped. Understandably, the author's feelings, to have these images of violence at a young age should be traumante ..

  4. This is a great piece that opens up so many deep questions about perceptions and judgements. In such brevity you have sketched out two distinct characters.

  5. I think is a for to value the life
    in all the extention of the word!...

  6. Blake, you did a great job of showing us the actions of the father, victim, and the child that had to witness the sad chain of events.
    Good read.

  7. This is a dark and misterious story. I think it is a little weird. The story makes so many doubts that need to be anwer. Also this story is very violent.

    Luis Eduardo Pimentel

  8. Alejandra Lopez Ramirez A01171167
    well this is a sad story but in the same time is very interesting, because the story puts a lots of points of view, the autor have a weird form of tell this story.

  9. Es una historia trágica, pero es interesante porque dice un pasaje de su vida, el autor tiene un punto de vista trágico, pero es comprensible.

  10. Powerfully disturbing theme and very well painted scene.

  11. Blake's got a terrific sense of fair play and his site thinking Ten is an excellent place for writers of short fiction to practice their craft, fitting a little writing time into their busy daily schedules.
    Here in this flash, he exposes a character not quite playing fair. No matter that the player is a parent. The rules apply to all. His very capable expression of his ethics makes him a writer to follow. He's entertaining too without being preachy, and that's always a good thing.

  12. Thank you, all, for taking the time to read and comment! I hope to see you over on the Playground.

    MDJB: You've got a great here. Thanks for letting me be a part of the fun.

  13. Geraldin Prats RoMay 9, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    I really liked this history.
    It's kind of tragic, but it makes me think about how people react in many occasions.


  14. Impressions that hit so hard that they reverberate and resurface through one's life never seem to occur to the conscience of those who cause the impact. It's exponentially tougher, still, when done by a parent or sibling contrasting the difference of one's inner self to his or her genetic connectors. This is profoundly powerful.

  15. Excellent piece Blake.
    Taking a negative and building it into a positive twist was well done.

  16. So thick with emotion and yet, it leaves me with an overwhelming feeling that I need to learn from the narrator. Great stuff Blake

  17. Blake's story moves the reader along like a smooth train ride, the way all stories are supposed to!


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