Down With The Sickness


Last time with Helene Troy:

Helene changed back into jeans and a black t-shirt. She placed her duffel bag next to the guitar case and backpack by the door to Ramona’s brownstone. A feeling of dread rushed over her.

“I wish you’d come tonight, ‘Mona.”

Ramona tightened the muscles around her mouth and pulled her long red hair behind her ears. Helene smiled at the lines in Ramona’s face. She admired the experience they expressed.

“Leney, if I’m there, you’ll be nervous. Your band needs for you to be a rock. I think that’s what happened the last time.”

Helene frowned and bit her bottom lip. Ramona sensed her unhappiness and walked over to her, smiling.

 “Leney, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll scoop you up from the afterparty and take you to our recording session. That way, I’ll keep you out of trouble from your certain success, tonight.”

She felt patronized but once Ramona’s long fingers ran along Helene’s cheeks, she relented.

“Sounds perfect, “Mona. We can celebrate in the cab.”

Helene awaited Ramona’s flirtatious response but instead felt paper being placed into her left hand. It was check, written for three thousand dollars.

“Leney, this is for the next ten recording sessions. It was all I could get the producer to front. That should help you out of hot water with your landlord. If you don’t have a bank account, you can just sign it over.”

Helene needed to feel safe from the chaos in her life that Ramona’s affection provided. She settled for the money that Ramona paid her to prevent her being homeless.

She forced a smile and leaned into Ramona. A beep sounded from the kitchen. Ramona turned and walked away from Helene’s pursed lips.

“Spinach and mushroom panini! You’re going to be late, Leney. No one likes a band diva. Go!”

Helene suppressed her hurt and summoned strength. She realized what was ahead. Without saying goodbye, she picked up the backpack, duffel bag, and guitar case then swaggered from the apartment.

****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. Your can find the rest of the story, so far, here: This latest installment is based on the one word prompt “SAFE” by my friends at Trifecta Writing Challenge:

Today’s song is what I imagined may have blared from Helene’s iPod as she left Ramona’s place. Needing something hard, fast, nihilistic, and mean to get her through. Here’s some perfectly good rock music from Disturbed; Down With The Sickness:


27 thoughts on “Down With The Sickness

  1. I’m re-arranging my marathon playlist (as in the playlist that I’ll use for marathons . . . not a really long playlist, though it is a really long playlist).

    Down With the Sickness is just before Break Stuff, set to play near the end of the run.

  2. There are so many great lines in this short piece. I especially like this one –

    ” I’ll scoop you up from the afterparty and take you to our recording session. That way, I’ll keep you out of trouble from your certain success, tonight.”

    Great set-up.


  3. you do a great job capturing the little stuff between them, the things that lovers do to comfort and piss one was all here and I could see their faces, feel those emotions. I really love their story Lance, and while I can never hear the songs (our firewall blocks em) I can only imagine how DONE WITH THE SICKNESS sounds and I imagine it’s perfect for this piece.

    Hoping Helene can leave her “stuff” at home.

  4. “Ramona turned and walked away from Helene’s pursed lips.” This line say so much with so few words. I think it is my favorite line because it is simple not fancy at all yet it conveys a huge amount about what is going on. I can see her sadly relaxing her lips and perhaps drooping her head for a moment. Great work!

  5. Major control issues here.
    This line confused me, though: “Spinach and mushroom panini! You’re going to be late, Leney. No one likes a band diva. Go!”
    Is R announcing what she’s prepared for her meal then tells H to leave because no one likes a band member to be late?

  6. I can’t add much more than has already been said. I love the head games as much as I hate them. I feel bad for Helene but I also think she needs to realize the only way she can get through anything is by being stronger and less reliant on anyone else for “safety”

    I’m still getting those evil feeling that it’s all going to crash and burn.

    Bring it!

  7. Lance, the king of suspense. Thanks for joining up with us again. You really are developing this nicely and I agree with the comments above — this could be a seminal moment in their relationship. Will she turn up tonight? Is this going to have a happy ending? So many questions. I hope you have all the answers! See you for the weekend challenge hopefully.

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