The Long Cut

This assignment is in response to Point of View, Writing101


I WAS sitting there waiting on Stavros when I heard her screaming something out of a window towards her back garden. Couldn’t hear what she said, but it sure was screechy, and there was a ‘fuck off’ in there somewhere. I went up to the top of the steps and couldn’t see anything up on my tiptoes even, so I climbed up onto the railing there and leaned against the tree to see over the fence, round the back of the Pauleys’. There was a bunch of cops sitting outside, and what she was shouting at was a big fat guy who was banging on her door.

Every Saturday morning I sit on my step and wait on Stavros. He lives round the corner from me is why I wait there for him, and normally he comes by and we go off on our bikes round to find Skinny Dave. He lives in the West End, and we sometimes go through the Long Cut, over the canal path, and sometimes we take the Rough Track through the industrial estate. The Long Cut’s not longer, by the way. We just call it that. And we only take the Rough Track because there’s a warehouse there where they sell stuff out the back, and sometimes we do this thing we do, where Stavros distracts the guy by asking him stupid questions while he buys a packet of 10p crisps, and I sneak behind him, grab a couple bottles of coke and leg it away round the other side of the building before anyone notices. I don’t feel bad about it; it’s not even real Coke. Some kind of ripped off shit.

So there I was anyway, still waiting for Stavros on the step. From the top of the railing I could see that the cops weren’t really doing much. They were just standing back, arms folded. Mrs. Pauley was at the door, arguing with the fat man, but she was less screechy now.

Mrs. Pauley was Tommy Pauley’s mom. I didn’t ever speak to Tommy, not because I was scared of him or anything, just never happened to speak. But he knew my brother. And my brother ain’t scared of anyone. I don’t really know what happened to Tommy, but I think he did something bad because he suddenly wasn’t in school anymore and I remember my folks whispering about him to my brother, warning him about, ‘that family.’

She’s a bit weird, Mrs Pauley, and the kids round here kind of steer clear of her. But that’s not because she’s bad or anything. It’s just her kids have always been a bit, well, y’know. They’ve got a reputation. Anyway, they’ve all gone now, Tommy was the youngest, and his dad was never there, so it’s just the old lady in the house.

From my viewpoint I could see that she wasn’t arguing anymore. She was propped up against her doorframe, and I could figure by the way her shoulders were moving up and down that she had started crying.

Stavros arrived. He skidding his bike, laid it down flat on the pavement beside mine, and skipped up the steps to see what I was looking at across the road.
“So what’s happening?” he said, a little out of breath.
“It’s Mrs. Pauley. Looks like she’s getting thrown out,” I said.
“Oh yeah?”
“I guess the cops had no trouble finding the address.” He laughed. “Is there gonna be a fight, you think?”
“Nah, I don’t reckon.”
“Well screw it, let’s go.”
“Yeah, screw it,” I jumped down from the railing. “Let’s take the Long Cut over to Skinny’s.”


About j.a.prufrock

Ex-journalist, lapsed writer, sometimes teacher, Francophile (not James Franco), candlestick-maker. After a lengthy sabbatical from all forms of writing, I've retaken to it in the form of blogging, at first. I keep two blogs, with my journalism (Assorted Bylines: separate from my creative writing (WritersWriteWords:
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