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The Second Cowardly Act

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Old 12-30-2016, 01:35 PM
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Default The Second Cowardly Act


Partial story. Appreciate any feedback, especially critical.

The Second Cowardly Act

About eleven-thirty one evening, Peter Minno sat in his room watching television when the telephone rang. He leapt from his chair to silence the ringing which he feared might wake his mother who was asleep in the next room. Hurrying towards the phone on the bureau, the sixteen-year-old reached for the receiver while swinging around to face the television. With the receiver secured in his hand, he uttered "Hello" into it.
 
His eyes fixed on the TV screen again, Peter listened to an unfamiliar male voice which politely stated: "May I please speak to Peter Minno,"
"This is Peter speaking," the teen answered, curious but still more interested in watching TV.

"Peter, this is Detective Patrick Mulligan from the Fifth Precinct; I need to ask you a few questions. Would you mind coming down to the station house?"

"Whatís this all about?" Peter griped, surprised that a cop was on the other end of the line.

 
"I want to speak with you," the detective reiterated.

"Well, I canít come down now," Peter snarled, turning away from the television. "Itís almost midnight, and I have to work tomorrow."
 
The detective replied, "I wonít be long,"
 
"Iíll come tomorrow after work," Peter objected.
 
Losing patience, Mulligan applied old-fashioned cop pressure. "Peter," he sternly said, "either you come down or I come up,"
 
The ultimatum quickly changed the teen's mind. "Okay," he grumbled into the receiver, "Give me about a half hour."

"Iíll be waiting for you," Mulligan replied before hanging up the phone.
 
After placing down the phone, Peter scanned his room, not looking for anything in particular. His eyes wandered from the floor to the wall to the ceiling, while wonding why a cop called him. Definitely, the teen was rattled and didnít know what to make of the disturbing call. Confused, he walked towards the television to turn it off. Then he grabbed his wallet and his house keys which were lying on top of the TV set. After stuffing the wallet in his back pocket, he clutched the keys in his hand as he left his bedroom to leave the apartment. Approaching the door, he reached for the knob to open it and as he did, he was startled by a soft voice coming from another bedroom.

"Peter," his mother cried, "who was on the telephone?"

"That was just a friend. Ma, Iím going outside for a while," he replied.


"Where are you going?" She said, in a sleepy tone.

"I wonít be long," he continued, while opening the door.

 
"Peter, itís late."

"Ma, don't worry. Go back to sleep," he shouted back, while closing the door behind him to head for the stairway which led into the street.

Peter emerged from his building onto the sidewalk with a Marlboro cigarette dangling from his mouth. The June evening was warm, and while he promised Detective Mulligan heíd get to the station house in a half hour, he was not about to rush to get there. The police station was only about six blocks from his tenement, and if he even walked slowly, he figured heíd get there with time to spare. As he started strolling nonchalantly past the metal garbage cans lined in front of all the tbuildings on his block, the only thought in his mind was about Mulliganís phone call. "What does this cop want with me?" Peter repeated to himself, while walking through the dimly-lit, lonely streets of his neighborhood. Though it was late, he was still surprised the streets were practically deserted for such a warm evening. Usually there would be men chatting on the corners, but tonight there wasnít a soul out. Taking his last drag on the cigarette and then flicking the butt into the gutter, he picked up the pace. Now hurrying towards the police station, he tried to pinpoint a time when he may have had a skirmish with the cops. But no matter how hard he wracked his brain, he just couldn't find any past incidents to merit attention from the police.

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Old 12-30-2016, 04:20 PM
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"About eleven-thirty one evening,"

It would be better to say "One evening at about eleven-thirty" because otherwise it might be confused to say 11:31

"
Hurrying towards the phone on the bureau, the sixteen-year-old reached for the receiver"

Why do we need to know his age there?

"
With the receiver secured in his hand, he uttered "Hello" into it. "

He answered the phone. That's all you need to say.

"stated: "May I please speak to Peter Minno,"

comma after stated, period after Minno.

"After placing down the phone, Peter scanned his room, not looking for anything in particular. His eyes wandered from the floor to the wall to the ceiling, while wonding why a cop called him. Definitely, the teen was rattled and didn’t know what to make of the disturbing call. Confused, he walked towards the television to turn it off. Then he grabbed his wallet and his house keys which were lying on top of the TV set. After stuffing the wallet in his back pocket, he clutched the keys in his hand as he left his bedroom to leave the apartment. Approaching the door, he reached for the knob to open it and as he did, he was startled by a soft voice coming from another bedroom. "

A lot of stilted sentences and useless details that could be simplified.

"Where are you going?" She said, in a sleepy tone.

she said

I really can't buy that a cop calls a 16-year-old at nearly midnight and asks him to come down alone to a police station. Practically speaking, does the cop expect him to ride his bike down there at night? I'm no lawyer but it is also probably illegal to bring a minor in without a parent or guardian.
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:39 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. The cop thing is true. You wouldn't ride a pony down Main Street today, but it was common once. Different times, my friend. Thanks again. Appreciate your suggestions.
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Old 12-31-2016, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Cityboy View Post
Thanks for the feedback. The cop thing is true. You wouldn't ride a pony down Main Street today, but it was common once. Different times, my friend. Thanks again. Appreciate your suggestions.
Nothing in this sample indicates this is a different time period.
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:32 PM
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Once upon a time in America, sixteen-year-olds didn't ride bicycles. They went to work to support their husbandless mothers. There are many things you may not buy because you are probably in the dark to them. Were you raised on a farm? Or to wealthy parents?
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:37 PM
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Why should a cop expect anything from someone (whether 16 or 66) whom he believes may have commit a crime? The cop gave the teen a choice--either he goes to get him or he waits for him to arrive at the station house. The teen chose the smarter option--going to the stationhouse on his own rather than having the policeman knock on his door to cause a disturbance and frighten his mother.
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:40 PM
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A ringing telephone (with a receiver) resting on a bureau doesn't signify a time period different from today's cell era?
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:20 PM
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I realized it was set back in the day. Maybe that's because I know you are an old dude, but I am aware of a day when cops called you and asked you to come down to the station. And nobody I know has a landline anymore. You could make it really clear by naming the television show, though.

'which he feared might wake his mother who was asleep in the next room' >>> remove: who was asleep. >>> if he is afraid to wake her, she's obviously asleep.




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Old 01-01-2017, 04:42 AM
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nice catch: might wake/was asleep

Old? Like death, no such thing--I'll bet I can hit a baseball farther than you, throw a football farther than you, and run a race faster than you.
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:45 AM
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Illness makes human beings "old." Have a happy & healthy New Year.
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:51 AM
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And walk out of a bar with a prettier gal than you can walk out with. But I'll concede the book thing.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
I realized it was set back in the day. Maybe that's because I know you are an old dude, but I am aware of a day when cops called you and asked you to come down to the station. And nobody I know has a landline anymore. You could make it really clear by naming the television show, though.
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They called 16 year olds? At almost midnight? Really?

There people who still use landlines. If that's all he's going on it's weak. The TV show is a better idea.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:28 AM
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Good advice. Will keep it in mind during rewrite. Tks.
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