First Sentence Fridays – Chapter 22 and 23

the forgiving kind by Donna Everhart
I have to admit, writing the “bad” characters in my stories are sometimes the easiest, which sort of begs the question about “write what you know,” meaning do I know a lot of bad people? No, not at all. I try and surround myself with only good, kind and generous souls.  I have spent time with people I thought I  knew who turned out different, or that I didn’t know at all and only watched from a distance, showcasing their true colors. Then there are the completely random and unexpected experiences – like what happened to me out on I-40 one morning.

I used to commute to Research Triangle Park, and there was always bumper to bumper traffic, but it was worse than usual that particular day. I’m not a discourteous driver. I always let people slip in if it’s obvious they’re trying to move into my lane. At any rate, on that particular morning, a car in front of me stayed so far back from the car in front of them, the rest of us behind him were at a standstill while everyone else, the lane beside me, the other one to the far right, all of them made slow, but steady progress. Cars poured into the gap he created. As cars took advantage, he would go forward a few feet, then stop.

After noticing this, and watching at least thirty cars swoop in, I got on his bumper to send him a subtle message. He stared in his rear view. He moved up some then braked hard. I stay glued anyway. He did the brake thing a couple more times. He rolled his window down, and flipped his hand in a “what???” manner. I raised my own, in the same way. In the meantime, I think fifty more cars had gone in front of him.

He sat. And the rest of us in that lane sat. I tried to go around him in the area intended for driver’s to pull over if they have a flat. The cars behind me tried to do the same thing.

He pulled his car halfway into that lane to block us off.

I blew the horn.

He got out of his car and stared me down.

I rolled my window down and said, “DRIVE! GO! OR GET OUT OF THE WAY!”

What did he do? Glared. He finally got back in his car, and proceeded to perform all sorts of bizarre maneuvers to lose himself. He zigged, and zagged in and out of traffic, and other drivers blew their horns as he cut in front of them. He drove like a lunatic until he was out of sight.

Very strange. Inexplicable.

I guess he was having a really bad day.

When I create bad characters, I think of odd moments like that. The behavior of someone so off the wall, it’s impossible to understand to the rest of us. At first Frank Fowler’s demeanor is simply curious, from the way he treats Sonny to how he treats Daniel. As the real Frank Fowler emerges, and brings change, it will affect Sonny, and her family, but Daniel most of all. Sonny hoped once the cotton was harvested, that would be the end of Mr. Fowler, but that wasn’t to be the case.

Chapter 22

Mr. Fowler got somewhat scarce after the cotton was done, but then he started calling.

 

Chapter 23

I’ll never forget what Daniel said when I told him.

 


COMMENTS

  • Eldonna Edwards

    November 9, 2018

    Reply

    You do such a magnificent job of making your antagonists believable. I love when writers create characters that flash a vulnerable underbelly, even for a second, that forces us to consider their humanity despite despicable actions. Did you read about the Jewish nurse who cared for the man who shot up a synagogue? He said, “He’s some mother’s son.” I can’t get those words out of my head. So many damaged people, damaging the world. But the balm lies within your title. And the story stays with me still.

    • donnaeve

      November 10, 2018

      Reply

      “He’s some mother’s son,” which makes her awesome, and obviously she’s in the right field.

      I love when writers do that too, reveal another side that might be unexpected. A book I read while I was doing those book events in Jackson County was THE LINE THAT HELD US by David Joy. If you want a bigger glimpse at sympathizing with a bad character, that’s the book to read. Aside from making his antagonist sympathetic, it was simply a page turner. David Joy doesn’t write a happy story, (none of his books are) but they will definitely hold you to the page.

      Thank you for your kind words, Eldonna, they mean a lot. <3

  • Carol Baldwin

    November 10, 2018

    Reply

    Awesome chapter openings. Scary driver!!!

    • donnaeve

      November 10, 2018

      Reply

      Thank you, Carol! And yes, I think he was a true nut ball.

  • Craig

    November 11, 2018

    Reply

    Tell me why, I hate Mondays, I want to shoot the whole day down.

    Was it a Monday? Back when I worked for other people I knew people that would do anything to not go to work on Mondays. The worst were those that screwed it royally on Friday and his it, hoping that it would be lost , but knowing better.

    Then there was the year Valentine’s Day fell on the weekend. One poor schlum had his third wife run off with his second on that Valentine’s day. I can imagine his Monday, not really.

    Frank Fowler is a real scum-sucking horndog, ain’t he.

    By the way, the song I Hate Mondays was written about a girl who shot up her office. Her reason was that she hated Mondays. I must be getting jaded to call shot up the place about a workplace shooting.

  • Craig

    November 11, 2018

    Reply

    Crud, that song was about a school shooting. That makes me even more jaded, they all run together.

    • donnaeve

      November 12, 2018

      Reply

      I’ve decided hating Monday is for the youngsters. At this age (our age???) any day we are still here on this green earth, breathing, and able to see nature, people, and okay, even TV, is a good day. And yes, Frank Fowler is . . . what you said. To the nth degree.


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