You’re No Rock And Roll Fun


Leaning against the door to the roof, with a guitar case in each hand, Helene Troy growled as her cell phone slipped from her sweaty cheek and crashed into several pieces on the steps below. Living on twenty-three dollars for the next six days, she cursed the thought of the phone being ruined.

“Damn it. Not right now.”

She sat the cases on the concrete floor and leaned over to observe her latest disaster. The door opened, bumping her left hip and sending her sprawled over several steps. The tinny, girlish voice of her friend and band mate, Sadie Olivares, echoed over Helene.

“Leney! Are you okay? I’m so sorry!”

Helene didn’t bother getting up. She stretched her arms over two steps and tried to put the small black phone together. She answered Sadie with an acrid tongue.

“Oh, I’m just great Sade. Darcy had our apartment phone shut off to save money to pay the power company. Of course, that money went to her loser druggie boyfriend. So you sending me ass over elbows was just what I needed.”

Helene picked up the phone components and pushed herself up into a sitting position on the top step. She sighed and choked back tears. She wondered how to deal with an irresponsible roommate and almost no money. Sadie squeezed in next to her and tried to hug Helene.

“I have duct tape at my apartment. We’ll get your phone working and you can eat pizza at my place tonight. I paid the power bill, this time. Do you forgive me?”

Sadie’s thin lips stretched into a warm, cautious smile. She pulled strands of straight ginger hair from her mouth. Helene softened her hard green-eyed glare and faked a smile. She stood and shoved the cell phone remnants into her little black backpack. She picked up the guitar cases as Sadie opened the door. With a blistering New York City August sun shining down, the women readied to chase their rock and roll dreams.

****blogger’s note****

God willing and the creeks don’t rise, metaphorically, you’re reading the first 333 words of the beginning of The Ballad of Helene Troy. I’m putting the finishing touches on about five thousand words that will open the novel and get you used to Helene and Slipper Socks Medium before Ramona comes along to help Helene to stardom. This is also, by coincidence, an answer to trifecta Writing’s word of the week, “OBSERVE”. http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/

Today’s song is what I’d planned for months to use at the very beginning. It’s sarcastic and certainly appropriate to Helene’s state of mind. Here’s Sleater Kinney’s You’re No Rock and Roll Fun

36 responses to “You’re No Rock And Roll Fun

  1. This is a great opening. You’ve given us so much important detail right up front–without it being too “exposition-y”. We know Helene’s a musician who’s strapped for cash. We learn about her relationship with both Darcy & Sadie and we get a good picture of her strong personality. Well done, my friend.

  2. “Ass over elbows” – excellent. I really enjoyed this one. I could visualize the entire thing. Are you seriously linking these things all together into one full-length story? Jealous!

    • i debated this point but in the framework of the story, the breaking of the cell phone is an event that emans something to her. she’s observing it. but we’ll see what the trifecta folks say.

      thank you for liking it.

  3. i love that song :) and it goes really well with the story here. Is this earlier in the storyline? It seems like it’s leading up to the point where she acquires kittens and kicks Darcy to the curb…

  4. Imagery is great. The wording is perfect. I liked how I felt like I was next to her in the heat of the sun and knew the frustration she felt when her phone dropped. I’ve really connected with these two characters! I’m hoping I can get a signed copy of the book. :P

  5. I like the beginning. You introduce Helene as a tough individual, with dreams and a lot of anger. She clearly has a lot of ongoing issues with cell phones ;)

  6. I like the way you have weaved the story. I especially like the last line
    “With a blistering New York City August sun shining down, the women readied to chase their rock and roll dreams.”

  7. The creeks better not rise! That’s a kickass intro. You’ve got Helene, Sadie and Darcy introduced, and you’ve set up a scenario for readers to wonder why Helene only fakes a smile when Sadie pays the rent. Survey says WIN!

  8. I love the sense of the cell phone being the straw that breaks the camel’s back – that is, it’s that one little thing that really sent her to the bottom. And then to hit her when she’s down… That’s a very relatable feeling!

  9. Ass over tea kettle is what my Grandma used to say…i feel like I’m in a time warp! ;) Love it, but seriously…your one of the few that make me want to scream TOO SHORT!!! (I know…guidelines, rules…all those things I simply adore ;) )

  10. “God willing and the creek don’t rise” is my saying. I probably use it 333 times a day.

    I love this. It feels very much like to intro to something greater. Thanks for giving us a glimpse back in time. Hope to see you back again soon.

  11. i love it. and honestly? i can’t wait to read the whole thing again, from start to finish, in novel form, without the songs and the prompts and whatever else, just the words. i can’t wait for that. so get to work!

  12. Pingback: The Opening Lines | Black Ink, White Paper

  13. YAY! I like the opening. I’m kicking myself that I still haven’t gone back and read from the beginning of your posts. But now I guess it’s a good thing… I’ll go back once you’ve got the real beginning complete. :-)

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