Smashing Pumpkins – Carl

(An excerpt from my NaNoWriMo project.  I have reached the 20k mark.  As others have already stated, there is really no time to spend on crafting a single paragraph to near perfection (in my mind) if I intend to reach the 50k goal by the end of the month.  It is very unnatural for me to write without editing as I go and I’m suffering a bit of over-thinking.  I keep telling myself I can clean it up later, just get the words into the file right now.)

A slender, middle aged woman, wearing a stylish, brown, knit hat and a long, tan, wool coat made her way out of the door with a small boy in tow.  The boy looked to be five or six years old but it was difficult to tell through his outer wear.  His thin blue hoody was zipped all the way up, the hood pulled over his head which was also covered with a knit hat.  A grubby, white scarf wrapped tightly around his face completed the ensemble.  The only thing Carl could see for sure were the eyes, two dark orbs staring blankly out at the street.  With all the autism awareness these days he was prepared to make a snap judgement on the child when the woman snatched his shoulder and proceeded to push him before her into the street, obviously aiming for the bus stop he currently occupied.  The bearing of the woman and directness of her path gave Carl the crazy impression that she was coming specifically to talk to him about the boy.  His mind threw up a panicked scenario.

“Hey mister, you want to buy a boy?  He doesn’t eat much.   He can eat even less if you just don’t give it to him, he’s used to not having much.  Are you interested?  What do you say?  You could have your very own boy!”  

Feeling genuine alarm Carl made himself as still as he could.  Bug instincts, JC would have said.  When people knew something was wrong they tended to get very still, some ancient instinct making them believe if they could avoid detection then whatever the problem was, it would go away.  Hunching forward slightly he lowered his head and stared at the sidewalk as the woman and her boy entered the shelter.  The woman pressed the boy against the Plexiglas wall near the end of the bench.

“Stand there,” she said in a voice that swirled from her mouth like smoke.  Carefully tucking her long coat around her legs she sat down on the opposite end of the bench from Carl.

Continuing to stare downward Carl felt his nerves tightening with every passing second, the adult sized space between him and the woman feeling much too small.  He wanted to tap his toe or bounce his knee.  From the edge of his vision he could see the boy’s sneakers, a pair of off brand shoes that were too worn to have been bought new at his age.  By shoving his eyes far to the sides of their sockets and tilting his chin just a hair he could see the blue hoody was in similar shape.  Compared to the woman and her nice, wool, coat the boy looked like he had been bought on clearance from the local Goodwill.  Carl tightened his jaw and prayed the bus would come soon.

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