The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.
Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street. Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.
“It’s an absolute shame I tell you. Just an absolute shame”
Mum was banging pots and pans about angrily I could hear her as I came downstairs. Pa was sitting at the breakfast table burying his head into the papers knowing better than to interrupt Mum when she was in such a mood.
“Six boys no less…SIX….and not one spineless fellow able to come forward to take care of their widowed Mother? Poor Mrs. Pauley.” Said Mum.
“Ummm hmmm” Dad acknowledged
“G-g-good morning Mum Dad” they barely even acknowledged me.
“You know Stan I blame them…Mr & Mrs. Pauley entirely for this” Mum said emphatically. “They pampered those boys so much. Over indulged each and every one of them. Never asked them for anything, that’s why today not one of them feels any sense of responsibility towards their mother now”
“Darling it’s not as simple as that and you must remember its only four of them now….Jack Jr. is six feet below and Cody well last I heard he was in rehab….alcohol I’m told. The youngest twins are in college themselves. So technically just two I guess left”. Dad had given up on the paper entirely now.
“Well you can count out Justin too, I met his wife at the block party last summer. Safe to say that we know who wears the pants in that house. I don’t know what the other boy’s excuse is. What was his name now?” Mum scrunched up her eyes the way she does when trying to recollect something.
The clock clanged 9 and I jumped up. “B-b-bye Mom….I’m off n-n-now”
“Make sure you bundle up honey….” Mum was calling out after me.
I crunched down the snow covered lane hurriedly my mind filled with thoughts of Mrs. Pauley. All of us liked her. I remember as a young child my friends and I loved trick or treating at their place. Mr and Mrs. Pauley always had the biggest and the best candy on offer. Even at Christmas they had the nicest decorations on the block with fireworks at New Years always.
Then recently everything seemed to change very suddenly. Mr. Pauley died in his sleep. All of a sudden there were so many official looking cars and people driving back and forth their driveway. There were so many people big yellow tapes all around. Their beautiful black car, that long one like the movie stars ride in? Well it was taken away. I kept hearing the words IRS being discussed in urgent whispers by Mum and the book club ladies.
All I know is that all of a sudden Mrs. Pauley didn’t look quite so much like a queen anymore. Her eyes were sad and watery, the house no longer bore its festive happy look. I missed the fireworks this year over New Years eve.
Mum told me that Mrs. Pauley now was so short of money that she couldn’t afford her house anymore. I saw the angry looking gentleman when he came last week. They had stuck an official looking notice on her door. Sitting on our front door stoop, I had seen the curtains move ever so slightly and I caught a glimpse of terrified eyes.
I had decided to help her. My savings a total of 56dollars that should be of some help. Also the money I shall earn today walking Mrs. Bingley’s dog too. Maybe I should include the money Grandma gave me for my birthday? She did say I could do with it as I pleased. I’m sure it will help. I had overheard Mum saying that the people were coming today, to send Mrs. Pauley away to take her house. That’s why Mum was so upset this morning. They wanted her house. I never knew someone could take away your house.
“G-g-good morning Mrs. Bingley…hey f-f-f-fifi…ready for your w-w-walk?”
One hour later I rushed home and broke open my money box. I loving stroked the giant Harry Styles poster over my bed. “You’d be proud of me H-h-harry” I smiled.
Collecting all my money I rushed over to Mrs. Pauley’s place. Knocking on her door I looked around. There was no response. I walked and peeked in through the front room window. “ M-mrs. Pauley?” I called out. I walked around to the back of the house. Gingerly I swung open the back door it was unlocked. I could see Mrs. Pauley sitting there on her rocking chair by the fire her back to me. She had a blanket over her legs. She seemed to be asleep. It was then that I noticed the orange and white bottles lying opened on the table beside her. So many of them next to an empty glass of wine. Going around to face her I noticed for the first time how disturbingly peaceful she looked. Asleep and so pale so very very pale.
“M-m-m-m-mrs…” the words choked up in my throat my lips forming inaudible words.