Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

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Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Graham on Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:38 am

I've reworked this. Please scroll down to the post titled Third Draft

I feel quite exposed here. I'm posting my first draft so I will have time to incorporate changes. I’d appreciate if you concentrated on major aspects at this point: theme, characters, plot, scenes etc rather than detail of language.

The story of Cherry Azid Graham

Words 670

     ‘Name?’ she barked with all the charm of a Doberman.

     ‘Azid,’ I answered as politely as I could. It didn’t make any difference. The next question was just as abrupt.

     ‘Can you do a Saturday start?’

     ‘This Saturday?’ I asked, rapidly recalculating, put Mum off, get my OU essay in for Saturday morning.

     ‘Yes, how long is it for?’

     ‘That’s up to you. The last one only lasted a day,’ A trace of a smile had appeared on her doggy chops as she flipped the page, ‘and the one before that. In fact,’, she said, this time with something approaching glee, ‘if you last more than a day you’ll be the first.’

     ‘Oh, how many have there been?’

     ‘You don’t want to know, my dear,’ her face had at last softened to something human.

I had to take it. My mortgage was in arrears and there were letters from the car finance people I didn’t dare open. It had all seemed so simple when I left full time nursing, temp the hours that suited and have plenty of time for studying. I hadn’t counted on the thousands of my colleagues with similar thoughts. Add to this a boyfriend that decided he was no longer a boy and couldn’t continue living in, or paying for, the flat we had jointly bought.
*
Charles du Toit wasn’t decrepit by any means, quite handsome in fact, with a dark leonine face and abundant black hair that he frequently pulled back from his face.

     ‘Your job, my dear, in addition to the usual ministrations required by a paraplegic,’ he eyed me as if I was horse he considered buying, ‘will include amusing me overnight,’ he eyed my discomfort. ‘no, not at all what you think. I’m incapable of that as riding a horse. No, I hardly sleep, so whatever it takes, bedtime stories, backgammon.’

Now I understood. Why hadn’t they warned me? Night work can be demanding but there is usually time to read or even take a nap. I had my OU books with me and even an old DVD just in case. I would have to make the best of it.
*
     ‘Oh good,’ he said as I wiped him, ‘You’re not one of the easily embarrassed ones.’
     
     ‘Hardly,’ I said, ‘I was on geriatrics for five years. You are a delight by comparison.

     ‘A delight, eh. Wait till I’m bored out of my skull at three o‘clock in the morning,’

     ‘We’ll see’

At three ‘clock in the morning he closed the lid of the laptop and said,

     ‘Right nurse Azid, let’s check your backgammon skills.’

     ‘You are in for a beating.’ I said, ‘I’ve played since I was five.’

It was close run but in the end I had him. He seemed to exult in it.

     ‘A woman who can beat me. What other hidden skills do you have?’

     ‘Oh, that may take time to find out’ He seemed amused.

After the third game he closed the board and pouted.’

    ‘Not fair. I’m not used to being beaten. What’s on telly?’

He scoured the channels getting increasingly irritated.
     
‘Garbage, what? Are we meant to take our brains out every night? Get me a drink Azid, whisky, over there.’

I poured and handed him the drink. He drank and then spluttered
   
     ‘what is this shit. I said whisky.’

     ‘Look,’ I said. ‘I’m a nurse, not your butler.’

Tears smarted in my eyes. I was used to worse than this but the change in him had been so abrupt.
He looked at me, his head tilted to one side. After a long silence he said,

     ‘I’m sorry Nurse, Cherry, isn’t it? It’s just, this is it. Four o’clock in the God damned morning and I cannot sleep.

     ‘I’ve got a DVD, I said, ‘Breaking something. Here’ and I fetched it from my bag.

    ‘OK’ he said ’let’s try it’
*
That was two months ago, and we’ve just watched the final episode. He proposed to me half way through season four. Thank you Breaking Bad.


Last edited by Graham on Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:47 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Susieflooks on Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:07 pm

Hi Graham,

I like the premise and the story very much - there is a clear story  arc that is satisfying. It's a great twist on the tale.

Language is fine, though I'm a bit bemused by all the animal references - is that a part of the original tales? The other query is about the boyfriend no longer a boy  - is this deliberately mysterious or have they just broken up?

I don't think that you have to start a new line in dialogue  if its the same person speaking so eg;

‘This Saturday?’ I asked, rapidly recalculating, put Mum off, get my OU essay in for Saturday morning.

    ‘Yes, how long is it for?’

becomes

‘This Saturday?’ I asked, rapidly recalculating, put Mum off, get my OU essay in for Saturday morning. ‘Yes, how long is it for?’

Just a note about the leaving nursing bit (as a retired nurse!) - most bank/ agency work dries up because of government freezes on hiring from  nurse agencies and limiting the use of the bank. In my experience wards cannot get enough bank staff - so if she can't get work it is because of that rather than too many colleagues on the bank.

Is there a need  for her to think of what she might do next re dvd series?

I'm very impressed that you have done it already!

Kind Regards

Susan

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Graham on Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:59 pm

Many thanks Susan, especially for the nursing expertise. One of my partners was an ex-ward sister who went temping but that was thirty years ago, and this bit didn't feel right. The bad quote formatting is an oversight. It's had a Word spelling and grammar check but nothing more. The animal references may go as well, or I might mash some Beauty and the Beast in. I usually write the first draft without any planning to see what comes up and sometimes things slip in from my subconscious that I don't realise. The boyfriend bit is probably redundant. It was just meant to explain her dire financial circumstances and was based on the recent experience of a friend. It also works to explain why she's single. I might make more of it.

The next DVD idea is pure Gold. I think she'll have Game of Thrones in reserve.

Thanks for a very helpful critique. Just one question. Why is it called 'bank' work? I was also going to quiz you for another reason she might be desperate for this job, but I think it will be because it pays more.

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Susieflooks on Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:22 pm

Hi Graham -Game of Thrones sounds perfect!!
*Spoiler alert - boring info coming your way!*
Hospitals - at least in Scotland - have 3 ways of supplementing their staffing:
1. Agency - a private agency recruits and supplies the appropriate staff and is responsible for their inservice and mandatory ongoing training. This is very expensive to the Health Boards. Preferred by individual nurses who don't work for health boards because they offer the best rates of pay and you get your travel time included and paid for. This is considered an absolute last resort by hospitals because of the expense and not much liked by ward staff because they may get some one coming to work a shift from another city - don't know the ward/ hospital etc
2. Bank - each health board usually has a bank of staff that they can call on to fill shifts/ extra demand - the health board is responsible for mandatory training, some holidays etc. Staff are paid at the normal rate for their grade and only for the time they are supposed to be working. Cheaper for the board ( though there are overheads for running a bank!) and usually stopped as a last financial resort. Preferred by ward staff, because some of their own staff may be on the bank for extra hours (cheaper than over time) and also former staff and student nurses that they know - much better having someone who knows the ward etc.
3. Pool - each hospital may have a small pool of staff who are rostered like ward staff and come to the Nursing Officer at the start of their shift and sent wherever they are needed. This falls in and out of favour and my experience is that most hospitals don't have a pool .

So there you have it I can officially bore for Scotland on the topic of staffing hospital wards! In the words of my much beloved "once a ward sister always a ward sister"

Regards

Susan

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Graham on Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:26 pm

Thanks Susan. Not boring at all. This is the sort of thing we can usefully share. Now does anyone want to know how to fix corruption in a DLI database?

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Sue Beasley on Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:55 pm

Hi Graham,

Not sure about a title – I don't currently have one Very Happy

This is an interesting take on 1001 Nights, or however many nights it happened to be.

One thing I didn't quite understand was the comment that her boyfriend was no longer a boy. Was the implication what he'd grown away from her or did you mean he was no longer a friend?

A point about the dialogue. It's good, snappy and believable, but often your punctuation lets down the sense. I had to read some exchanges several times to get past the words on the page and hear what was being said. You might try making more use of dashes.

These quibbles apart, you've produced a satisfying story, and I have to admire the speed in which you've done it. I'm still plotting.

Cheers,

Sue

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Graham on Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:14 pm

Thanks Sue and welcome to the forum. The boyfiend will probably be dropped. He had decided he was really a girl and was a device to explain why she was single and broke but it's a distraction from the story.

On the dialogue. Can you give me an example of one of the troublesome bits and explain how the 'punctuation lets down the sense?'

I look forward to your postings.

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Second draft

Post by Graham on Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:35 pm

It's still not perfect and I could do with shaving a few more words off but I've got other homework to attend to. Further comments are welcome.
There is still titivating time. I'm not sure what Sue means by dashes in dialogue yet but I've put a couple in. What do you think?


The story of Cherry Azid  Draft 04

Words 527

    ‘This Saturday?’ I said into the phone, rapidly recalculating. ‘Yes, how long is it for?’

     ‘That’s up to you, nurse Azid. The last one only lasted a day,’ I could hear the agency rep turning pages, ‘and the one before that. In fact,’ she said ‘if you last more than a day you’ll be the first.’

There was obviously a reason it paid more but I had to take it. My mortgage was two months behind as it was.

*

Charles du Toit wasn’t decrepit by any means. He had dark leonine features and abundant black hair that he frequently pulled back from his face.

     ‘Your duties, my dear, in addition to the usual ministrations required by a paraplegic,’ he paused and wet his lip, ‘will include amusing me overnight.’ He eyed my discomfort. ‘No, not at all. That would be an entirely different agency. No, I hardly sleep, so whatever it takes, bedtime stories, backgammon.’

Now I understood. Why hadn’t they warned me? Night work can be demanding but I’d banked on some study time. I had my course books with me and even an old DVD just in case. I would have to make the best of it.

*

     ‘At least,’ he said as I helped him off the toilet seat, ‘You’re not one of the easily embarrassed ones.’

     ‘Hardly,’ I said, ‘I was on geriatrics for five years. You are a delight by comparison.’

     ‘A delight, eh? Wait till I’m bored out of my skull at three o‘clock in the morning,’

     ‘We’ll see.’

At three am he banged the laptop shut and said,
     
     ‘Right nurse Azid, let’s check your backgammon skills.’

     ‘You are in for a beating.’ I said, ‘I’ve played since I was five.’

It was close but in the end I had him. He seemed to exult in it.

     ‘A woman who can beat me. What other hidden skills do you have?’

     ‘Oh, that may take time to find out.’ He seemed amused.

After the third game he closed the board and pouted.

     ‘Not fair. I’m not used to being beaten. What’s on telly?’

He scoured the channels getting increasingly irritated.
     
     ‘Garbage. Are we meant to take our brains out every night? Get me a drink Azid - whisky - over there.’

I handed him the drink. He drank and then spluttered,
 
     ‘What is this? I said whisky.’

     ‘Look,’ I said. ‘I’m a nurse, not your butler.’

Tears smarted in my eyes. I was used to worse than this but the change in him had been so abrupt. He looked at me, his head tilted to one side. After a long silence he said,
     
     ‘I’m sorry Nurse, Cherry, isn’t it?’

     ‘Shreya actually, but everybody says Cherry.’

     ‘Shreya,’ he said, trying it out. ‘It’s just... It’s four o’clock in the God damned morning and I cannot sleep.

     ‘I’ve got a DVD,’ I said, ‘Breaking something. Here’ and I fetched it from my bag.

     ‘OK,’ he said ’let’s try it.’

*

He proposed to me half way through season four of Breaking Bad. I’ve got Game of Thrones lined up but we have found other things to do at night and he sleeps much better now.

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Sue Beasley on Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:47 pm

Hi Graham,

You wanted an example of what I meant about punctuation of speech. So here goes:

Your original is:
'Garbage, what? Are we meant to take our brains out every night? Get me a drink Azid, whisky, over there.’

He's being quite disjointed in what he's saying and peremptory, so I reckoned a few dashes might make it easier to get that across. Having got this far though, I've just realised you've done a second draft, and done exactly what I was thinking of with this line, i.e.

‘Garbage. Are we meant to take our brains out every night? Get me a drink Azid - whisky - over there.’

Removing that confusing 'what' from the original also helps.

Hope that's clarified things,

Sue

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Graham on Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:52 pm

Thanks Sue. Great minds - etc. The original was a free write and not cleaned up for this sort of thing but I may not have thought of it if you hadn't said. I would normally polish it a bit before exposing it to public gaze but given the short time frame I thought I would see what could made up of putting something up straight away. Are there any others?

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Third Draft

Post by Graham on Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:46 pm

Only some minor changes, mostly excisions and tweaking of repetitions but I'm fond of the change in the second para to 'the last one only survived a day.' Here's a little bit of research I can't fit in but don't want to waste. The Danish and Norwegian word for lion is løve, pronounced as if it is cod french 'leuve.' Last question: could anything else usefully be omitted? Thanks

The Story of Cherry Azid  

Words 511

     ‘This Saturday?’ I said into the phone, ‘Yes, how long is it for?’
   
     ‘That’s up to you, Nurse Azid. The last one only survived a day,’ I could hear the agency rep turning pages. ‘In fact,’ she said, ‘if you last more than a day you’ll be the first.’

There was obviously a reason it paid more but I had to take it. My mortgage was two months behind as it was.
*
Charles du Toit wasn’t decrepit by any means. He had dark leonine features and abundant black hair that he frequently pulled back from his face.

     ‘Your duties, my dear, in addition to the usual ministrations required by a paraplegic,’ he paused and wet his lip, ‘will include amusing me overnight.’ He eyed my discomfort. ‘God, no. That would be an entirely different agency. No, I hardly sleep, so whatever it takes, bedtime stories, backgammon.’

Now I understood. Why hadn’t they warned me? Night work can be demanding but I’d banked on some study time. I had my course books with me and even an old DVD just in case. I would have to make the best of it.
*
     ‘At least,’ he said as I helped him off the toilet seat, ‘You’re not one of the easily embarrassed ones.’

    ‘Hardly,’ I said, ‘I was on geriatrics for five years. You are a delight by comparison.’

     ‘A delight, eh? Wait till I’m bored out of my skull at three o‘clock in the morning.’

     ‘We’ll see.’

At three am he banged the laptop shut and said, ‘Right Nurse Azid, let’s check your backgammon skills.’

     ‘You are in for a beating.’ I said, ‘I’ve played since I was five.’

It was close but in the end I had him.

    ‘A woman who can beat me. What other hidden skills do you have?’

     ‘Oh, that may take time to find out.’

He laughed. After the third game he closed the board and pouted.

     ‘Not fair. I’m not used to losing. What’s on telly?’

He scoured the channels getting increasingly irritated.

     ‘Garbage. Are we meant to take our brains out every night? Get me a drink Azid, whisky, over there.’

I handed him the drink. He drank and then spluttered

     ‘What is this? I said whisky.’

     ‘Look,’ I said. ‘I’m a nurse, not your butler.’ Tears smarted in my eyes. I was used to worse than this but the change in him had been so abrupt.

He looked at me, his head tilted to one side. After a long silence he said,

     ‘I’m sorry Nurse - Cherry, is it?’

     ‘Shreya actually, but everybody says Cherry.’

     ‘Shreya,’ he said, trying it out. ‘It’s just... It’s four o’clock in the God damned morning and I cannot sleep.'

     ‘I’ve got a DVD,’ I said, ‘Breaking something. Here,’ and I fetched it from my bag.

    ‘OK,’ he said ’let’s try it.’
*
He proposed to me half way through season four of Breaking Bad. I had Game of Thrones lined up but we have found other things to do at night and he sleeps much better now.

Graham
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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Graham on Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:39 am

Oops, I lost my dashes around 'whisky'. They will be back in the final version. And 'God damned' will be more properly rendered as 'goddamned'. I've also got my word count down to 501 with these changes: 'Tonight?' I said into the phone,'; 'Charles du Toit, with his dark, leonine features and abundant black hair, was not decrepit by anyone’s standards.'; 'I was used to worse, but the change in him had been so abrupt.'

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by DavidK on Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:28 pm

Excellent as usual Graham. My stretch target is to get you to accept one of my proposed changes. Don't give in too easily - this could run and run.

Suggestion of the day - The title is a bit uninspiring for such a fine tale. How about "A Cherry on Top"?

Regards, David.

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Graham on Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:47 pm

Dave, Dave, ye'll get your fairin'
in class they'll all admire yer darin'

Never underestimate the perversity of a Kilmarnockonian. 'Cherry on top' wouldn't really suit The People's Friend (that's for Iain) not to mention that it loses the subtle reference to the original. I do admire your formatting though.

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Re: Graham - The Story of Cherry Azid

Post by Graham on Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:13 pm

Last change to get it to 500 words: 'What other skills are you hiding?'

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