car racing, Daily Prompt, driving, humor, serial fiction, Stories, writing

Chequered Flag: From Dinner To Bed

As the two of them lay in the same bed side by side but not very close Danny lay awake thinking about everything that was going on in his life.

He knew Tracey had lied, or at least lied in part about seeing Sharky behind his back. Sharky knew how race teams worked, spying for the opposition just wasn’t the sort of thing that teams did, not only that the two teams ran different model cars and so much of the data he could gain by spying would not be usable. He didn’t need the Private Eye he’d hired to tell him that part of the story had been made up, what he did need however was reasons as to why she made it, what she was protecting, what she was hiding.

By the time the sun was rising he still had no answers and he’d also had very little sleep. Adding to his lack of sleep was the thoughts about what he’d done while Tracey had been absent from his life. Of course he felt justified at the time but that didn’t mean what he did was right.

In the bed beside him Tracey breathed deeply, coughed loudly, stirred, then rolled over and faced the window. Danny looked at the at the clock, it was 6:05am a little earlier than his usual get up time but if Tracey was stirring it seemed like a good time to get up. If he was was quiet maybe Tracey would remain asleep until he left for work and he wouldn’t have to face her and pretend the lie was all hers.

Quietly Danny pulled the donna back and slid his legs out of bed. Once upright he grabbed all the gear he could and disappeared into the en-suite where he got dressed as quietly as he could. Several minutes later he was sitting at the kitchen table eating his Corn Flakes and reading the local newspaper that would have been delivered to their letter box the previous day. Rather than make a noise boiling the kettle he decided to leave coffee until he got to work, he’d be early enough that he could take his time when he got there.

Although he was reading the newspaper his mind did keep wandering back to the dinner of the previous night. It was an enjoyable dinner in a lovely restaurant with the woman he loved and if he removed all the negative emotions that surrounded them and focused on the idea of just the two of them together, sharing a meal and company it was the sort of night he wished there was more of. He couldn’t help but wonder why his sleep addled mind didn’t spend the time he was laying in bed thinking of that thought rather than everything else, at least then he might have been able to get some more sleep.

Danny quietly rinsed his breakfast bowl in the sink, placed it in the dish drained then collected his keys, wallet and mobile phone from the bench before heading to the back door. It wasn’t even 7am, he was definitely going to be at work early but he neither wanted to fight with Tracey or sit around with the expectation of something positive happening purely because they’d had a pleasant dinner together. Fleeing while she slept might have been some what cowardly but it was better for both of them he was able to convince himself.

As Danny reversed his dual cab ute out the driveway and the garage roller door came down Tracey lay in bed, close to waking but still lost dreamland and not aware of her husband’s departure. While Tracey had no real life delusions or aspirations to be a singer that didn’t stop her dream state mind letting her sing in sweet and dulcet tones.

While her dream was clear and memorable in her waking hours it was also in black and white, something she would find herself wondering at a later time if it had significant. In her dream she was sitting on the edge of the bed while Danny lay asleep with just a sheet cover him singing the words of Poison’s Every Rose Has It’s Thorn to him.

We both lie silently still
In the dead of the night
Although we both lie close together
We feel miles apart inside
Was it something I said or something I did
Did my words not come out right
Though I tried not to hurt you
Though I tried
But I guess that’s why they say
Every rose has its thorn

He was asleep on his stomach with his left arm pushed up under the pillow and right arm uncovered, his two day stubble made him look cute and reminded her of just one of the many reasons why she was attracted to him in the first place. He was breathing gently and snoring quietly and because it was her dream she knew he wasn’t waking up, but she was hoping he could hear the words she sung through his unconscious mind.

At the same time Danny was pulling into the workshop car park Tracey was waking up and reaching across the bed feeling the vacancy left behind by her husband. The car park was empty, as Danny expected it would be at such an early hour, and he found himself having to talk his mind out of telling him that he needed an egg and bacon sandwich from the take away shop across that road that opened early to feed the early risers that worked in the industrial estate the workshop was in.

Instead of having a second breakfast Danny opened the front door of the workshop, entered the front foyer and turned the alarm off. He then made his way straight to the kitchen to make himself coffee, it would have to be instant with hot water from the kettle but it was enough that would wake him up and kick start his day.

He was sitting at his desk weeding through all his emails, thankfully none of them were spam and half way through his coffee before he saw the first soul walk through the offices, it was Jean who worked the front desk and answered all the calls. They greeted each other, made a bit of small talk and then both went back to their own jobs. After that it was a flurry of staff arriving, many of them rushing for coffee to kick start their working day.

At 8:10am Rick walked into Danny’s office, his coffee cup in his right hand and a cream filled biscuit in his left.

“Morning Sunshine, how’s thing?” Rick asked as he sat down in the chair on the opposite side of the desk to Danny.

“Yeah, bloody tired but I’m getting there. How about you?”

“I was up half the night talking with dad about this suspension issues,” Rick’s family being the makers of the suspension unit that was causing them the problems, “but after that I slept like a log.”

“Fuck, I wish I did.” Danny wasn’t actually trying to start a conversation about his evening with Tracey, he was just expressing himself. He did however know that because he and Rick were so close by the end of the day Rick would know exactly what happened.

“Too much on your mind?” Rick asked.

Danny didn’t bother starting with what happened when he got home, Rick didn’t need to hear that but he also considered it a non event, instead he started with going out to dinner. Their conversation lasted nearly twenty minutes and although a few people poked their heads into Danny’s office, including Dave, the team manager, no one did more than greet them.

At the end of the conversation although Rick was obviously taking his side Danny still couldn’t even tell Rick his secret, the secret that he knew would change everyone’s opinion.

Previous Racing story here.

64 Comments

  1. Good morning, sunshine! Yes! That was a seriously awesome chapter. Talented writing right there. *she’s smiling*. : )

    • Good morning, and yes I’ll have a side order of sunshine 🙂

      Thanks, I really need to take notes on which are the good ones so I can re-read them and write better when it feels like I’m just phoning it in 🙂

  2. Great post! Of course, leaving it there makes me all the more greedy for the next chapter…you pita!

  3. Im done with the blaming Tracey, gets you too upset

    • Doesn’t get me upset. I’ve been confused as to why females automatically make out like Tracey is the problem when the truth about Danny hasn’t been revealed. There’s a million reasons why Tracey could have left Danny that make him the problem in the relationship but you seem to have ignored them to make Danny the hero. Even if I knew where the story was going that is frustrating because only part of the story appears to be getting across to the audience.

      • You shouldn’t really care what anyone thinks. Writing is individual. Obvious to me as when I like something most others don’t and the opposite also true. You should write what you feel, damn the torpedoes…..

        • I don’t care what people think enough to change things, but I’d be a naive writer if I didn’t listen to what critics say. The biggest problem with critics is when they express a less than positive report they rarely offer defined reasons for their ideas. For a writer that sucks. What’s the point of saying something is wrong, even if it’s only an opinions, if a person doesn’t say why it’s wrong. The author may not change it to something more preferable but because in their head it’s not they same they can’t possibly be expected to see another’s opinion if not pointed out.

          • Exactly. And why would they change it? I wouldn’t think any creative person would change their own ideas to please anyone.

            • It’s not a case of changing it. I don’t know where the story is going but obviously I have some idea of where the characters are headed in the short term. If people reading it are seeing a character in a completely different light to me it would be naive and stupid not to try and figure out why that is so.
              When people don’t want to explain that it makes things difficult because there is unanswered questions. Have I missed something in the descriptions? Have they missed something? Is there parts I’ve written that have been taken differently to how I meant them?
              It’s not about changing it’s about trying to understand the reader’s mind set to try and ensure that when the story continues on the reader isn’t thinking that the character doesn’t work and the story begins to fail because they’ve had a different idea to me

              • I’m not getting it. Maybe it’s my Vermont stubborn upbringing……no comment….
                But I’m not an author, I don’t have to please anyone, I just have fun. But I don’t consider other people’s opinions or ideas after I’ve written something. I can see your point on wanting it to be received well, but I think you should follow whatever comes naturally as far as the characters go.

                • I don’t care about being received well I care about people actually explaining why they don’t receive things well. I’m not perfect, not writer is, and no writer can edit their own work without fault. I could write 10,000 words which in my mind make sense no matter how many times I read it because my mind reads it the way it thinks it’s written. If I get to the end of that and I’d explained something badly in print but my mind has glossed over it because it read what it thought was there not what was there, how am I suppose know the character hasn’t worked.

                  It’s not about changing things because of peoples thoughts it’s about realising I do make mistakes and that I don’t always pick them up.

                  In the case of Danny there was so often I thought I’d mis explained things because people were seeing something I didn’t think I wrote. How they saw that is important, not what they think or whether it was right or wrong. Danny’s character isn’t going to change because a few things were pointed out to me but thanks to those things that were pointed out I now have a better understanding as to why Danny is seen like he is.

                  • Methinks you think too much. Is this what is called writers angst? I know not of what I speak. I just try to explain my point.

                    • I have no idea what people call it, but I call it laziness. Someone who’s willing to critic but never explain is not a critic. No one explained in real detail why they thought Danny was the hero and Tracey sucked, they used generic terms and partial description that made it sound like they weren’t even reading the story. Sure I could ignore all that and say it’s everyone else’s problem because they don’t read things they way I write them but who wins in that situation? No one. Thanks to a detailed explanation of Danny from someone elses perspective I was able to see why people see him differently to me. That kind of information may not change this story but it changes other stories. If that one description wasn’t offered I’d more than likely go onto the next story and make the same mistake.

                    • I’m curious as to why you think your writing or the way you portray your characters could be a mistake. I don’t understand that. It’s YOUR idea, your character, your story. Why would you want anyone to change it? Maybe it’s just me. I don’t think I would like a class where I was told what to write. Basic structure, etc fine, but creatively? No. Stubbornness again, probably. I have a sister who I used to send things to to critique. I wanted an honest opinion, no holes barred. And she gives it. We both write, but she’s been doing it for a long time and I value her opinion. She has a different, more professional style, but she’s also more intelligent and talented. I respect her ideas but that doesn’t mean I would change anything from her viewpoint. Not explaining it well.

                    • The mistake is that I write a character one way and readers see them completely different. The mistake is either me not explaining it well enough or them not reading it correctly. Either way it’s something that can have a major effect on the outcome of the story. It’s why authors can’t self edit.

                      It’s not about changing the character because one person doesn’t see it the same way it’s about understanding why they saw it that way and thinking about if things can be done better next time.

                      It’s obviously an extreme case but it’s like going into detail to explain a character but failing to mention their gender. Then after 500 pages you reveal that gender, the readers that chose wrong will feel that the story hasn’t worked and should have been done differently. The writer might have thought they disclosed the gender because in their mind they did, but no one pointed out they didn’t.

                    • I don’t see any mistakes here. You can’t interpret what someone else thinks. Nite you- nite

                    • Mistake, misunderstanding, whatever it is, if a character, scene, or setting is interpreted differently to the way I write it then it’s in my best interest to figure out why.
                      It’s not about changing anything it’s about understanding why it’s being interpreted differently and either learning from that, or figuring out how to write better.
                      It’s impossible to do that without negative feedback and explanations from readers.

                    • Well if thats all it takes, : ), be prepared for some serious commenting! : 0!!

                    • I don’t mind. I might be a smart arse and come back with something sarcastic but I’d rather honesty in comments than roses and unicorn farts that the blogging world seems to live off.

                      I’d also rather a persons opinions on things even if they disagree with me than just a pat on the back.

                    • I’ll remember that, no praise

                    • With have mayo here called Praise, it’s not the best but if you buy it I’ll eat it…slowly

                    • I only use it in tuna salad, I prefer Hellman’s

                    • Yeah but American stuff is yukky, we don’t do the whole egg mayo stuff, in fact I make my own most of the time but you started on the idea of Praise, not me.

                    • Praise, the word, not the brand

                    • Throwing mayo around could be more fun.

                    • If I throw anything it would be silly string, which I’m sure you could find remnants of here in the apartment

                    • Mayo sticks better.

                    • Got it, no pats, just scowls :/

                  • Maybe that’s my problem, I don’t edit, I just throw it out there. Rarely I opt for a “bad” word but try to edit that out. Sometimes it just only works with it. But I know some people hate that, but you each his own. I use a lot of sayings, like the last sentence. It’s because I’m old! I’ve used a lot of them for years so it comes naturally. Like the mother in the “Butterflies are Free” after being told Goldie Hawn’s character was in a play containing nudity,etc, it’s a part of life. Mother says, “so is diarrhea, but I wouldn’t classify it as entertainment”.

          • You know of course, critics are critics and writers, painters, poets, actors, singers and every other person who puts themselves “out there” for everyone to read, see or hear, is not. The critic has their own job to do.

            • Critics are the most important part of anything creative. Saying something is shit is not being a critic. Saying a character doesn’t work is not being a critic. Saying the ending sucked is not being a critic.
              Being a critic as far as I’m concerned is saying the story is shit and explaining why it is shit.
              Being a critic is explaining why the character doesn’t work, even if it’s only an opinion.
              Being a critic is explaining why the ending sucked.
              Sure some people can’t handle that, some would argue that the critic’s opinion isn’t valid and some will attack the critic, but a critic needs to explain themselves to be a critic just like the creative person needs to accept that critic is not a dirty word. Too many people think that only positive reviews are good reviews but that’s garbage providing the bad review is explained.

      • So females opinions confuse you? So that’s news?

  4. Ok, one of the reasons I liked it so much was it showed the vulnerability of both characters. The song has personal meaning for me, which is another reason. It is softer, if that’s a description? than other chapters.

    • What song?

      My frustration has never been that both have vulnerability it’s been that females have seen Danny in a massively different light to Tracey but Danny hasn’t been revealed. It kind of makes people seem shallow in that they think Danny is the hero based on his job and his skill alone.

      • No, nope, nada, niet….at least not from my perspective. The song was “every Rose has its thorn”. I only based my opinion of Tracey on the facts presented. Don’t you read your own writing?

        • If you go back and read your comments you’ll see that even you spent time saying Tracey was the evil one and she might well be, but the opposite opinions were spoken of Danny yet very little has been revealed about Danny. I’m not saying you’re right or wrong but your comments were very one sided and because you never explained the side you chose it was impossible for me to see why you chose that side.

          Yes I do read the stories but I read them as I write them not as I post them. That chapter could have been written a week or so ago. I’ve written a lot of stuff since then including more chapters of this story.

  5. I’m not a critic but can be very critical, so I’m told. I grew up that way, being criticized about everything. Here I just do my own thing. If I get a few good opinions, cool. I appreciate people taking the time to comment. Of course everyone likes to be liked? But I’m not dependent on it, meaning, it doesn’t influence what I write. I try to stay away from religion and politics, but this year, here, it’s difficult.

    If I sounded opinionated about Tracey, it’s because I think men in general get a “bad rep” as far as marriage, relationships, etc are concerned. An example: how many fathers do you think get custody of children in a divorce? When the story started, she, to me, and I say to me only, in my interpretation, was a “trophy” type as you often see in the race car business. The fact she’d been gone with no explanation (in the beginning of the story) also gave the impression she was up to something. Danny on the other hand, in the beginning, seemed fairly innocent of wrongdoing. That’s all. Not complicated.

    • Those are valid reason and no author should be annoyed with such comments. However to me it’s only part of the reason.

      I didn’t set out writing her as a trophy wife and I didn’t set out to make her evil. I kind of thought that whatever she’d done was forgivable, but I didn’t know (still don’t know) what that is. But I also didn’t write Danny as some hero, or ideal person. Sure it’s interesting to see how people interpret the characters but doing it and having such conflicting ideas to me is confusing. Asking why people see things that differently is part of the writing process but getting half baked answers that explain very little is not a help.

      It’s like your opinions on your president, you can call him all the names under the sun but unless you qualify those insults with reasons for your thinking you just become another whinger pissed off because your team didn’t win. Your ideas might be valid but without expressing them they are nothing. The difference is politicians have nothing else to learn in life, writers do.

  6. Our replies are not coinciding with each other. Interesting idea that you want detailed criticism. I didn’t think anyone here wanted that.

    • I don’t think anyone does either.They want praise, they want to be told their story is good, they want people to pat them on the back because their life is hard. People just want to be liked, not critiqued.

      Look at the blurb on the back of books. Do you think Stephen King loves to read that Tess Gerritsen had a comment worthy of putting on his book? No because he knows that the words mean nothing, Tess may not even have read his book, but he was paid to put a comment on her so she did it for him. There’s even reports in the publishing world that the authors don’t even know their name is being used half the time.

      Everyone just wants to be liked. But King wouldn’t be the writer he is today if he didn’t ask for good and bad critique.

  7. Funny for me to envision SK caring a fig about opinion any more. I think maybe it’s because all creative people want their stuff to be appreciated, maybe not loved, but just the acknowledgment they tried, or even did their best.

    • Of course he wants it liked, but he also wouldn’t care as much that people want to give him a bad review.

      But he’d also have a team of editors and proof readers who read his stuff and he will change things based on their ideas.

      Chances are he’s got proof readers, an editor that focuses on the text, an editor that focuses on the grammar and an editor that focuses on the story and there may be more.

      An editor will no doubt suggest changes as opposed to just having thoughts but that doesn’t mean King wont change a large portion of the story because he realises in his mind he didn’t explain things the way a reader reads it. He might not too, but without the explanation the system for him fails.

      Blogging doesn’t need to be any different.

  8. I only care that people understand. Maybe liking it just isn’t the point. I do admit to feeling soft toward Danny. What “good” reason can a woman have for just walking out. It isn’t like Tracy is explaining anything. Whatever Danny did, she is lying and being secretive. Plus her dream is creepy, and it’s a song I love.

    • I guess it’s understand that is the issue. Not being able to understand how others come to a conclusion I don’t, when I wrote the character. Having someone explain how they get to that conclusion helps all sorts of things.

      My question has always been that if Tracey can’t be trusted because she lied how can Danny be trusted for not telling the entire story. It’s fine that others don’t see that but explaining why they see it differently helps, I’m not changing anything but it helps.

      Creepy dream, hmmm again that’s not the way I wrote it but I guess I can see why it would be a little creepy.

      • You are right, not creepy. Not sure why I thought that last night.

        • To be honest because it’s been a week or so since I wrote it, I wasn’t sure there was a dream. I thought she was laying in bed awake and thinking. See I learn things about my own writing every day not just other peoples 🙂

  9. As a reader I’ve got my own stuff. Whether you can tap into that and use it is the key. (I really sound like I know something, don’t I. Me who never wrote a book. That is about to change.)

    • We all know something, sharing that something shouldn’t be frowned upon just because it’s not positive.

      Are you writing a book? Is that why you up are up and some weird hour of the morning? (isn’t it about 6am there?)

      • I was up at 4 am. I’ve got my basic concept written. Now I am working on an outline of sorts. Trying not to sweat the small stuff right now.

        • Wow you are worse than me in the hour you get up 🙂

          Every writer does things different. I don’t outline or plot, sometimes I don’t even have the final idea in my head when I write, other times it’s the ending I have and nothing else. Whatever gets you through is what you should focus on. It’s good to have a solid goal and work through to it though. Good luck with it, just don’t steal my publisher 🙂

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