First Sentence Friday – Chapter 6

When you were growing up, was there someone who, for reasons you couldn’t pinpoint, made you uncomfortable, said things you didn’t agree with, or possibly even acted different depending on who was around?

I knew a few people like that, and to this day, I remember them. I recognized the rightness or wrongness of their actions and because of what they said or did, I believed what my very young gut instinct told me – they might not be trustworthy.

One was an elderly man who would come and occasionally visit with my mother while my father was at work.  My mother would have me stay in the kitchen with her while Mr. So and So sat at the table, drinking sweet tea and eyeballing her as she washed dishes, cooked or maybe ironed. When she wasn’t looking, he would stare at me, aggravated I was hanging around. He would raise his eyebrows, tip his head towards the door, and I took that as his silent message I should leave them alone. I wouldn’t budge. Eventually he would decide it was time to go, and as he went to the door, he’d always insist (even in front of me) that he give her a kiss on the cheek. I could tell this made my mother uncomfortable, but she’d also said she felt sorry for him.  She would comply, and as soon as the door was shut, she would wipe her cheek off and say, “He’s just a lonely old man.”

Another one was a teacher I had in sixth grade who didn’t care much for me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but she made me uneasy. When I was called on to give an answer to a question, it was like my brain became paralyzed, while her pale blue eyes squinted and she’d raise her chin ever so slightly, like she’d already figured I was going to get it wrong, I was going to fumble. She’d drift closer – and wait. Most of the time I simply shook my head, and stayed silent, too nerve-wracked to attempt to speak.

In THE FORGIVING KIND I’ve created an antagonist named Frank Fowler, and while I’m proud to have created someone so sinister, I’m also glad I’ve never met anyone like him.  Sonny Creech gets nothing but bad vibes off of him – yet her mama has accepted his offer of help, and all Sonny can do is go along with it. What she notices first is the difference in Mr. Fowler when her mama isn’t around. Frank Fowler’s presence is like a weed slipping through a crack of asphalt, and like the weed allowed to grow, eventually the asphalt begins to weaken and crumble.

 

Chapter 6

The whistling stopped soon as Mama went into the house to start on supper.


COMMENTS

  • Susan Peterson

    July 13, 2018

    Reply

    I still sometimes meet people like that…people who on the outside seem fine and friendly, but who give off some kind of very weird vibe. I’ve always had kind of a 6th sense about people who are not what they seem…people who appear friendly and sweet, people that everyone else loves, but for some reason I’m standoffish with them. Most of the time something comes out about them that is not right, something lurking under their charming veneer. Frank Fowler is going to creep me out….

    • Donna Everhart

      July 13, 2018

      Reply

      Same here, Susan. I’ve met people like that too all along. Yep, I guarantee it – Frank Fowler is most certainly going to creep you out. 🙂

  • Beverly Turner

    July 13, 2018

    Reply

    I was an only child for ten years so I spent a lot of time around adults. And because I was quiet, I spent a lot of time listening and observing. Maybe that’s why I grew adept at picking up on signals that someone wasn’t what they appeared to be. And I have kept that as an adult. As Susan said, I can pick out the fake, the person who can’t be trusted, even when others like them. I’ve learned to trust my instincts. Frank Fowler sounds like those people who raise those big red flags for me…and I can’t wait to read the whole story.

    • Donna Everhart

      July 13, 2018

      Reply

      My reply didn’t seem to work in the proper order to you. (it’s below!)

  • Donna Everhart

    July 13, 2018

    Reply

    I have to admit I had a LOT of fun working on Mr. Fowler – and I wonder what that says about me – haha. I feel like I’m a good judge of character too. There are some people, for no apparent reason who can raise the hair on the back of one’s neck. I tried to take little personality quirks, mannerisms I remember from various encounters I’ve had, etc, to create his persona, sort of like the psychological creation of Frankenstein.

  • Carol Baldwin

    July 13, 2018

    Reply

    Great way of integrating your gut experiences and perspectives in creating your characters. This challenges me–which is great. Love that opening sentence too!

    • Donna Everhart

      July 13, 2018

      Reply

      Thank you, Carol! I think about this often, that saying, “write what you know.” This is, IMO, a perfect example of that. It’s very useful to use your own emotions, the way something made you feel – it’s authentic and also lends credibility. 😉

  • Carolynnwith2Ns

    July 13, 2018

    Reply

    Ya know Donna, I just have to say, you are one hell of a writer.

    • Donna Everhart

      July 13, 2018

      Reply

      Aw, thanks 2Ns – means a lot – as you know!

  • Eldonna Edwards

    July 13, 2018

    Reply

    Oh, oh, oh…raising hand, waving furiously…I know this one! For me it was the jolly man who owned a theater and who would let little girls in for free if you gave him a kiss. People loved him because he was so friendly and generous. I used to dodge those kisses, as did my older sister bu he still let us in because we were the preacher’s girls. Turned out (no surprise) he was a pedo.

    Creepers gonna creep. Can’t wait to read this book, Donna.

    • Donna Everhart

      July 13, 2018

      Reply

      What’s disconcerting is I bet dollars to doughnuts every single person would answer this saying “oh, yeah, I remember. . . ” That’s icky about your situation, and no surprise (at all!) he was a pedo. Double ick. Can’t wait for you to read it either!

  • Craig

    July 16, 2018

    Reply

    One of the reasons I lost my religion was because of a priest. Notice no capitalization there. Even when I was small I could deal with the blatantly creepy types. Kicking them in the shins started that.

    Then a new preacher was assigned to the church my parents took me. He would not meet one single person eye to eye, ever. That creeped me out enough that i still remember it today.

    Kathy and I are fine, except that my teeth have betrayed me. Hope you are well, my friend.

    • Donna Everhart

      July 16, 2018

      Reply

      I’ve never had a positive experience in organized religion, I’m sorry to say. The last church I attended had a preacher who made the most inappropriate remarks – unbelievable in actuality as I sit here and think about it.

      Glad to hear you and Kathy are doing fine – and I had to pause at the part “my teeth have betrayed me.” Hopefully no root canal in your future. Ugh. I’m doing well too – some side effects, but all in all – feel good!

  • Micki Browning

    July 16, 2018

    Reply

    Being in Law enforcement, I came in contact with all types of people. I always found it intriguing the things people would try to hide—not all of which were creepy, just parts of themselves they wanted to keep private. I’m looking forward to reading your next book to see how your characters reveal themselves.


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