Bound For The Floor

Last time with Helene Troy:

Helene struggled with the oppressive New York City August heat. Sun bore down on the summitt of her friend Sadie’s Hell’s Kitchen apartment building. Slipper Socks Medium’s band practice had become tiresome. Helene glared at Darcy and Mara who lit fresh cigarettes, drank beer and talked about their plans for later.

“I’m done, girls. We got three songs down and a set list for Thursday’s gig.”

Helene unplugged her guitar. Still gripping the instrument, she walked to the chipped brick edge of the roof and peered over the intersection of 48th Street and 8th Avenue. Sweat pooled over her tired hands. She watched construction workers getting off from work walk into Social Bar. Sadie’s voice carried over her shoulders.

“From up here, this damn city actually looks possible doesn’t it?”

Helene refused to turn around for fear of crying in front of her band mates.

“Sade, this place is two different towns. One’s for the people who are trying to live here and the other one’s for the people like us, who are dying to live here. New York’s going to belong to me if it fucking kills me.”

Car horns bounced off building walls. The whistles of policeman directing afternoon traffic tweeted throughout the warm air. Helene saw a green, yellow and red Nathan’s hot dog cart.

“Come on Sadie. Let’s make those other two pack up our stuff. I’ll get a couple of hot dogs and we can work on the the lyrics we didn’t get to earlier.”

 ****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode of my work in progress, The Ballad of Helene troy. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here This 250 words is part of the reworked beginning. It kind of sorta goes with this week’s “Location” writing prompt from Write On Edge – 

Today’s song is really good. It’s the kind of thing Helene would listen to and play. Local H was an underrated 90s era band with great guitar work and depressing songs. Here’s the riff heavy lyric downer, Bound For The Floor. Perfect for this installment.

What I’ve Done

Last time with Helene Troy:

They found a side door leading into a stairwell. Helene placed her bottle of whiskey on a metal step as the door closed with a thud. The sound bounced off old black metal pipes. Helene noticed Xander’s deep, dark eyes never left her face.

“Helene you’re so talented. People in the crowd were in awe of you.”

Helene ignored the compliments. She wanted to forget it all.

“Xander, you texted me how good of a kisser you were. Prove it.”

He smiled and stepped to within a few inches of her glistening face. She could feel his nervous energy so she moved in. The kiss was slow. She liked his full lips and easy style. She pulled away and admired him.

“You’re good, Xander. Don’t stop.”

As their mouths moved over each other again, the door opened. It was Dawn. 

“I’m so sorry, Helene!”

Helene sighed and removed her hands from Xander’s hips. She picked up the bottle from the stairs and took a drink.

“The Golden Apples’ manager is desperate to talk to you. He said it was major so I told him I thought I knew where you might be. Hell, I’d take him in here too.”

Her flirty comment and awkward laugh made Xander smile. Helene wasn’t amused. She looked at Xander and mouthed “forgive me”. He shrugged his shoulders and said “Go.” She leaned in for another kiss then let go of his scruffy face and followed Dawn through a maze of hallways and club patrons. The Golden Apples were moments from taking the stage. Dawn pointed toward the manager, then took her place next to the stage to watch her boyfriend play guitar. Helene met the manager behind a stack of equipment bins.


Her annoyed glare and subsequent swig of alcohol didn’t faze him. He pointed to a set of stairs and shouted over the crowd.

“Hand me the Jack Daniels and walk up there! Two reps from Matador Records are in an office anxious to speak to you! I’ll join the conversation after the Apples play a couple of songs!”

Helene froze. She thought about Sadie, Mara, and even Darcy. Nothing made sense.

“I can’t talk to them without the band!”

The manager shook his head in disapproval.

“They want you! Don’t be stupid, Helene!”

She thought about her conversation with Jackson in the bathroom, grit her teeth and spat back at him.

“You really are the devil!”

The manager took the bottle from her left hand and pointed to the stairs. Helene felt a war rage between her heart and her mind. Now, she had to face the casualties of that battle. She walked past the manager and felt her fear descrease each stair she ascended.

****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of the story so far, here: It is in response to my friends at Write on Edge:

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodThis week we asked you to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece about a time someone crossed a line, legally or ethically. You could have explored vigilante justice or another sort of line crossing. We hope you enjoyed exploring the motivation of your character and possibly the consequences of his or her actions as you put your piece together. Cam wrote about justice at sea in The Fallen Woman. Remember, the word limit was 450 words, so link up and read as many links as you can.

Today’s song is perfect in emotion, time period, lyrics and feel for the story and Helene’s frame of mind. Here’s Linkin Park’s What I’ve Done:


Last time with Helene Troy:

Helene stared into the cracked mirror above a dirty sink in the rock club bathroom. She held her calloused hands under a weak trickle of cold water. A dramatic toss of long brown hair preceded her rant to her friend, Jackson.

“Sadie’s great. She plays four instruments and has an amazing ear for chord changes. She’s okay with lyrics. But the girl can’t make a decision. I’m like her mom. She leans on me for everything.”

Helene turned off the water and shook her hands dry while looking into Jackson’s scruffy face.

“Mara’s become worthless. She hasn’t written for this band in six months. She smokes pot with Darcy or whoever she’s banging, then has the balls to question me for being late or working outside the band? I want to play with a good drummer but not one that’s a hypocrite and a backstabber.”

Jackson chuckled. Helene stood close to him.

“I just don’t relate to anything we do. It’s loud, riot-grrl shit that no one cares about, anymore. We’re good, but we’re never going to be great because Sadie has no guts and Mara has no heart. Also, I hate our manager. He’s the damn devil. And not the cool kind in Slayer songs.”

Jackson unfolded his muscular arms and responded.

“Helene, you just described my band and a million others. In five minutes, I’m going to play songs I hate. Your ex, my lead singer, makes me violently angry on a daily basis because he’s a self-absorbed baby. But it’s the game, and we have to play it we want to do it for a living. Otherwise, we play bars on the weekends and get a real fucking job.”

Helene walked into Jackson’s black-shirted chest. A knock bounced off the wooden door. Jackson embraced Helene and whispered through her wet brown mane.

“You have to believe in your talent and let that give you a clean conscience. Your booze is outside this door. Drink it as good as you played tonight.”

****blogger’s note****

This is another new episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: This 33 word piece is prompted by Trifecta Writing Challenge’s “Clean” –    clean (adjective)
1: free from dirt or pollution
2: unadulterated, pure
3 a : free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind <a candidate with a clean record>

Today’s song comes from a New York band that Slipper Socks Medium or The Golden Apples would’ve run across in 2008, The Bravery. The lyrics fit, and I like mood it sets. Here’s “Believe” -

The Pretender

Last time with Helene Troy:

Sadie Olivares and Mara Vincent paced in an alley behind The Greek nightclub. A side door to the building flew open and Helene Troy walked out. Sadie spoke first.

“So, what did the manager tell you?”

Before Helene could respond, Mara threw down her cigarette and crushed it with her Doc Martin booted right foot.

“They want her, not us, Sade. That’s why we weren’t in on the meeting.”

Helene looked at the busted lip and bruised right cheek on Mara’s face. Sick of Mara’s insolence, Helene stared into Mara’s eyes and decided to only tell half of the story.

“Fuck you Mara. Matador Records is looking for someone to take The Golden Apples spot on their roster. They’re scouting us for the next few shows. You two weren’t invited because you didn’t return my calls after I punched you in the face, Mara. I’ve got to go get ready.”

Helene flung the door open and stomped inside. She exchanged head nods with a male bartender as he handed her a Stella Artois beer. She felt huge arms hug her from behind.

“Jackson, I’m going to kick your ass!”

She turned around to her friend, the large guitar player for the band she would open for,The Golden Apples. Jackson answered.

“Beautiful, you wouldn’t do that to me. If you ever do, I’ll take it with a smile on my face!”

They hugged and Helene saw a black-haired girl with pale skin staring at her, a few feet away.

“She yours, Jackson?”

He turned around and waved at the raven haired girl in a leather top and skin-tight jeans.

“That’s Dawn. She’s kinda cool. She knows bands, not too clingy, plays guitar. You’ll hate her, but you hate everybody.”

Helene laughed then frowned at her phone. The person she wanted to talk to, Ramona, hadn’t returned calls or texts.

Jackson stroked his scruffy face and asked.

“What is it, beautiful? Tell me what to do to make this your night, too.”

Helene didn’t want to wear Ramona’s dress. It wasn’t her and Ramona didn’t have the right to change Helene’s image, she thought. She looked at Dawn. Her slender figure was similar to Helene’s. She wore a brown leather halter tied around the back of her tattooed neck. Helene swigged her beer.

“Dude, I need her top.”

Jackson waved his large right hand to get Dawn’s attention. Her wide grin, surrounded by thick pink lip gloss, made Helene chuckle. Dawn met Jackson and Helene with girlish enthusiasm and a distinct New Jersey accent.

“Oh God! I was so hoping I’d meet Helene Troy! You’re like the best! Jackson and the other guys talk about you like you’re already famous, you know, like them?”

Jackson cringed at Helene’s green-eyed glare. She bit her bottom lip and engaged the girl.

“Thanks! Donna, is it? I’m sorry, its loud!”

Dawn smiled again and grabbed Helene’s right wrist.

“Oh God, it’s so loud in here! It’s Dawn, like a sunrise!”

Jackson threw his right arm around Dawn and pulled her close. He whispered in her ear and kissed her cheek. Dawn turned back to Helene and shrugged her shoulders.

“Helene Troy wants my clothes! This better get me in the liner notes!”

Helene rolled her eyes at Jackson. Dawn grabbed her wrist again and began leading her toward the bathroom.

“Oh God, Helene, I’m joking! So is that t-shirt all you have because that’s okay with me! Maybe I could help you with your wardrobe from now on like I do with Jackson!”

The women entered the bathroom. Helene shut the door and assumed an aggressive stance with her hands in front of her face.

“Dawn, all I have is a really nice dress that’s not mine and I don’t want to wear, a cute Gap tank top, two t-shirts and an extra bra. Tell me what you’re willing to trade and I’ll get my manager to buy you drinks.”

Dawn walked over to Helene’s bag and pulled out a black tank top and matching bra.

“This’ll work, Helene. Do you need makeup or shoes? ‘Cause me or my friends could hook you up.”

Helene let out a relaxed sigh and pulled her t-shirt over her head.

“Nope, I’m good, Dawn. You’re helping me in so many ways.”

After changing clothes, Dawn left. Helene texted Ramona.

“Stage call. Doing your Düsseldorf Blues at the end of the set. Hope you see it.”

She fought back tears and started applying eyeliner.

The sound of Foo Fighters’ The Pretender rolled through the bathroom as Sadie and Mara came through the door. Helene sang to her reflection.

“I’m the voice inside your head you refuse to hear I’m the face that you have to face mirrored in your stare I’m what’s left, I’m what’s right
I’m the enemy”

She heard Mara and Sadie talking in the background. Mara shouted.

“Helene, I’m sorry! You’ll have my all tonight! Sade and I will make you so proud you’ll say, thus was made the best work of their lifetime!”

Helene smiled so they could see her reflection. She picked up a tube of lipstick and slowly painted vermillion streaks over her lips, then snarled into the mirror.

“Fuck you Helene.  Believe in your band. Slay this crowd. Put them in the palm of your hand and don’t let go.”

Sadie’s voice competed with the end of the rock song. Helene picked up the last part of her growl.

“…time to go Leney!”

Helene stood with perfect posture and examined her ensemble. Brown leather pants sat low on her curvy hips. The borrowed jeweled boots from Ramona’s closet hinted at glamour. She adjusted her leather halter  and smiled at her dark eyes and full red lips. Helene tossed her teased, wavy brown mane and enjoyed the messy style.

She strode to the back of the stage flanked by Sadie and Mara. An over-modulated voice blared over an open microphone.

Ladies, gentlemen, music freaks! Get ready to have your faces melted by one of the hottest club bands in New York City! Slipper….Socks….Medium!

They ran to their instruments. Mara began tinning the top cymbal and foot pounding a low drum. Sadie played her thunderous bass beat and looked at Helene who bit her bottom lip then screamed “yeeeeowwww!” Their guitars barked like wild dogs running throughout the club.

****blogger’s note****

This is my reponse For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Nimue challenged me with “Thus was made the best work of her lifetime …” and I challenged Cedar with “Tuck Lisenbee scratches off a lottery ticket inside the Save & Sak convenience store in Billy Goat Hill, Alabama.”

It is also a new story episode for The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here:

Here’s the song pumping up the crowd and Helene. This is Foo Fighters and The Pretender….