The Hand That Feeds


Last time with Helene: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/sick-girl/ & http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/dancing-barefoot/

Helene walked into a long hallway lit with an eerie yellow hue. Several roadies slapped her on the back and shouted words of encouragement. As she strode toward the women’s bathroom, the club’s poor backstage lighting flickered. She blinked and a sad picture of her older sister, Phoebe, flashed through her mind. Phoebe’s gaunt face, tracked arms and lying eyes were haunting. Helene focused and saw Darcy look away then walk inside the bathroom. The silence that had come between them was thicker than ice. Helene muttered to herself.

“Pheebs and Darse are the same person now. I can’t talk to either one of them. Damned drugs.”

Helene heard a female shriek and felt a large hand on her left shoulder.

“Hey Jackson, did I made you proud?”

Before he could answer, the owner of the leather halter Helene was wearing, shouted.

“Oh my god, Helene! That was the greatest! You totally ruled that stage!”

Helene smiled at Dawn. Jackson leaned into her right ear.

“You killed it, gorgeous. Now, let things work out. You deserve success.”

Helene turned and forced another smile to both of them. They responded to her ambivalent expression, in unison.

“What’s wrong?”

She pointed at the door Darcy just entered.

“I really need to pee and I really need a drink. But I can’t go in there.”

Jackson perfected his posture. His large frame shadowed Helene and Dawn.

“Dawn, get her a bottle of Jack on The Golden Apples tab. Helene, the dude’s bathroom is hell. It’s an all who enters, abandons all hope deal, you know?”

Helene laughed at Jackson’s bungling of Dante’s quote and followed her big friend inside. Jackson announced “get out, lady with an emergency in here!”

She chuckled at Jackson calling her a lady and apologized to each of the three guys who adjusted their flies and left the bathroom with awkward glances. Jackson stood at the door like a prison guard and smirked at Helene. She took her position inside the stall.

“Okay, gorgeous, tell me why you’re so sour? I heard you told Mara to fuck off. That’s cool. She’s a pain in the ass. But you were awesome out there. Your vocals and guitar playing were the best I’ve ever heard. “

She rolled her eyes and sighed. Jackson was her friend. That warranted an explanation.

“Well, if my count is right, this is the ninth time you’ve heard me pee. That means you have to keep everything I say a secret.”

Jackson’s laugh echoed through the room.

“Helene, this is like a shrink’s office. If I tell anyone anything, I lose my license to ever hear you piss again.”

She flushed and kicked open the dingy, graffitied stall door. The noise bounced off of the pipes and walls like a gunshot.

“Jackson, I have to stay with Slipper Socks Medium til December because I signed a contract with your asshole manager. But, I’d rather go play Vegas with fucking Celine Dion than be with this band, right now.”

****blogger’s note****

There’s a lot going on here. This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of it, so far, here: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/the-ballad-of-helene-troy/ This is also my response to For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, kgwaite challenged me with “The silence that had come between them was thicker than ice.” and I challenged dailyshorts with “They loved each other with superfluous force.” I also took on the challenge from Write On Edge:

abandon all hope ye who enter here, boondock saints, Write on Edge, Dante's Inferno

According to Dante, the gates of hell are inscribed “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Let that inscription lead, but not necessarily define, your piece for Friday’s link-up. 500 words or less.

I had a hard time with today’s song because of editing. I went with something because of lyrical content and emotional feel. Here’s Nine Inch Nails’s The Hand That Feeds. You’ll agree if you listen to the words, loudly.

32 responses to “The Hand That Feeds

  1. I like Jackson. I love the comic relief he is here too. I can hear Helene’s pain as she thinks of her sister and then Darcy. She obviously cares about them both. That they become one in her mind is a huge tell about how she feels for them–both disgusted and disappointed with a little hurt mixed in. Great job blending the prompts in. This was a great scene.

  2. Ah conflict. Where would Helene be without conflict. I like how this is ramping up. We’re getting more and more of the backstory but you’re slipping it in so subtely it doesn’t feel like you are getting slapped in the face with it.

  3. The ‘loudly’ part is key to hearing Trent Reznor appropriately, I would argue. I want to choke Helene right now. OK, so yeah, Mara had to go. But what the fuck is wrong with Sade???? She’s screwing things up again, man.

    Good thing she’s got you there to record it all and throw it in her face when she’s famous.

    One thing — in the Dante, Jackson can mangle his heart out, but spellingwise, I believe it should be abandons plural, not “It’s an all who enters, abandon’s” possessive.

  4. I absolutely love the banter between Jackson & Helene in the bathroom. Nothing says true friend like finding a woman an unoccupied stall :-).

    And the line about Celine Dion–I howled!

    But I hope she isn’t too quick to abandon the band.

    • their relationship is mentioned earlier in the story. he helped her through the Case Hill mess. she can’t ditch the band yet…hench, conflict

  5. Pingback: Believe « My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

  6. yes, the Jackson/Helene relationship is very readable, I like them and I like that Helene has one person she truly trusts and protects her.

    I also liked the backstory tie in, Darcy and her sister and the effects of both relationships on her. Sometimes it’s easier/better to just let go.

    Plus the writing works here…it’s smooth, the language is spot on and it feels grungy and real. I could stand in that bathroom and not want to touch one single thing. ;)

  7. Love this song, and also love how you included the prompt. I hadn’t put that quote together with men’s restrooms before, but it’s so spot on! :-) I also like that Helene has at least one person in her life who seems uncomplicated and to whom she can talk.

  8. First time reading this story. Loved the familiarity of Jackson and Helene and the whole bathroom thing. We all have friends like this, don’t we? If not, we should. “Helene, this is like a shrink’s office. If I tell anyone anything, I lose my license to ever hear you piss again.” Loved it!

  9. This was a great conversation: ““Helene, this is like a shrink’s office. If I tell anyone anything, I lose my license to ever hear you piss again.” not only did it make me chuckle out loud, I could totally relate to the millions of bathroom counseling sessions I have been privy too. The flow of conversation and background information was just enough to intrigue a new reader and satisfy a more familiar read…I am definitely going to have to read through the previous posts of this story line.

  10. I like their relationship. It feels healthy and authentic, and I think she needs someone like that. You used the prompt well, and the flashback fits nicely to give us a glimpse of her conflicted emotions about her friends/bandmates.

  11. Right on, as always! Your characters have such an edge to them, they are a pleasure to hang out with. I love the relationship here between Jackson and Helene and really felt bad for Helene: the image of her sister shifting into an image of Darcy. Well played. Love the bathroom / shrink’s office comparison!

    In terms on concrit, I tripped a bit through this unattributed dialogue here:

    Helene heard a female shriek and felt a large hand on her left shoulder.
    “Hey Jackson, did I made you proud?”
    Before he could answer, the owner of the leather halter Helene was wearing, shouted.
    “Oh my god, Helene! That was the greatest! You totally ruled that stage!”
    Helene smiled at Dawn. Jackson leaned into her right ear.

    There’s a female shriek and a large hand; a “he”, an “owner”, two female names and a last “her”. IF I got it all right, perhaps some simple spacing and editing would smooth it out:

    Helene felt a large hand on her left shoulder. “Hey Jackson, did I made you proud?”

    Before he could answer, Helene heard a female shriek and the owner of the leather halter Helene was wearing shouted, “Oh my god, Helene! That was the greatest! You totally ruled that stage!”

    Helene smiled at Dawn as Jackson leaned into her right ear….

    :)
    -Barbara @ de rebus
    www(dot)derebus(dot)net

    • thank you and yeah, I agree with your concrit. Spacing and word placement are hard with prompts because of word limits amd such. I edited out a line that would have made that smoother but ran me over the limits.

      thanks for reading helene

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