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Fred's Fifth Favour-Part Three

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Old 02-02-2018, 11:26 AM
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Default Fred's Fifth Favour-Part Three


Fred turned down the street. Here, the houses ran in continuous terraces on either side, and there was an air of general shabbiness in the flaking paintwork, cracked brickwork and litter.

Choosing a door at random, close to the corner he had come round, he knocked. The door was answered. Fred spoke; the homeowner spoke, concluding with a shrug and shake of the head. This was repeated a few houses down, then yet again even further along.

The fourth time was different. 'Yeah, I know the one. Lives nearly opposite me, there at number fifty-three,' said the lady who had answered, pointing. Fred thanked her and crossed to the address. He rang the bell.

The door opened. An Asian man stared at Fred.

'Are you Ibrahim?'. The man looked surprised, then affirmed.

'You had a break-in? Your shed? Tools were stolen-household tools, not garden tools? You kept your toolbox in your shed with the gardening stuff?'.

'Are you police?' asked Ibrahim

'No.'

'But you know my name, and that I was stolen from and what was taken-but how?'

A suspicious look appeared on Ibrahim's face. With wry amusement Fred realised that he was probably under suspicion...

'Your brother, Mahmoud. I'm often in his shop. I mentioned the Methodist Church. He said that his brother lived just round the corner and had just been robbed. He's spoken of you before, by name. I asked along this street & found you. You must be wondering why?'

Ibrahim nodded and waited.

'They were my father's old tools, then my mother's when he died and mine when she passed away. Already had my own set-so these were just spares.'. Fred held out the zip-up bag. Ibrahim hesitated, then took it.

'Please, open it. Look inside.'. The Asian did so, and saw an assortment of household tools within. Understanding appeared on his face.

'Ahh, I see,' he said. He quickly rummaged through the bag, lifting one, then another of the items within.

'Yeah, they look okay,' he said, at last. 'Let me see, would you happy if I just gave you, in cash....?'

'You've got me wrong,' said Fred. 'I'm not selling them, I'm giving them. They're spare, I don't need them, and I don't need the money.'. Ibrahim looked at him in surprise.

'Are you serious, my friend!?' he said, after a pause. Fred nodded.

'But...but you are being too good....' said Ibrahim, looking unsure. 'No, I-I must give you something,' he said, taking a wallet from his pocket. 'Even if you do not want full price. I do not feel right just taking without giving....'

'I tell you what,' Fred spoke decisively. 'Whatever you think would be a reasonable price, give it the Salvation Army. I really admire their work and often donate to them. You've seen their charity shop, in town, yes? You can give them it there. If you paid me, I'd give them the money. Promise me you'll do that and I'll be satisfied and you can feel you've paid me back. Is that a deal?'

'Yeah, okay!'. Ibrahim replaced his wallet, and smiled. 'I promise I will do that. You are very kind, sir, too kind!'

'No problem,' said Fred. 'Happy to help out!'. A thought came to the householder.

'But, if the police get my stolen tools back; if they catch the thief and find them....'

'Well, in that case, give the tools I gave you to the charity shop. They sell all sorts of stuff, those places. Or maybe keep 'em for yourself, as a spare set. Up to you.'

'Okay, then. I will do. Do you want the bag back?'. Ibrahim held up the zip-up hold-all with the tools in.

'No. That's fine. Keep it-no, really, I don't need it. You can have it. Just an old bag. I don't want it back.'

'You are good man, sir. Thank you!'

'As I said, always happy to help out.'. The two said goodbyes. Returning to the bus stop, Fred's walk was brisk with the same simple satisfaction he always felt on doing good for someone good. Not sanctimonious, self-righteous; not patronising. Just a warm feeling of having done right. The sort of humble spirit his father had always told him he should offer help in. On the bus home, his father's old maxim echoed once more through his mind

'Five favours a week for man or beast keep you sound with God and secure from Satan.'

He couldn't recall a recent week when he'd not followed this. Before, his five good deeds had been counted from Monday. But he had usually managed five favours by Friday evening, so now began the count from Saturday-today.

Rescuing the cat was good deed one for this week. Giving Ibrahim the tool set was good deed two. His third one woud be house-and-cat-sitting for Sally. So just two favours left to do this week-and it was only the first day of it, too. Fred felt quite delighted with himself; he was so far ahead with his accounts....

Fred got off the bus near his house. He still had some time before he was due at Sally's. Time enough to shower and change his clothes, for he was too grubby and sweaty to go to her house as he was.

And it was some time after Fred had gone in to do these things that Don Black emerged from Miss Beaufort's house. Anyone who had been watching all day might have wondered why he had knocked at the front when arriving, but now snook from the side or rear. As he walked, he wiped one hand with a rag.

As he turned from Miss Beaufort's drive, Black inspected his hand. It was clean, now. He pocketed the blood-stained tissue and entered his house, slamming the door.


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Old 02-02-2018, 12:47 PM
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Do you happen to speak another language, or a different dialect than American English? Just curious, because that answer is going to influence my further critique
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:45 PM
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I speak English English. I'm in England.
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Old 02-03-2018, 01:55 AM
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("...perhaps you would increase you readership by decreasing your paragraphs since often more is less, and one can't change scenes if each and every other line is a spaceline as seen..." ventured the goblin never one to hold fast to anything really, like the plot though, then smiling "...there is no right way to write, only your way to write here, and to find out what works for you I guess...")

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Old 02-03-2018, 11:47 AM
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Interesting story with a lot of potential. I'll look for the beginning of it and then go forward.
Meanwhile, would you like a line-critique when I've finished collating the damn tax receipts?
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Palindrome View Post
Meanwhile, would you like a line-critique when I've finished collating the damn tax receipts?
Yes please.
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Old 02-04-2018, 01:26 PM
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Fred turned [a corner] On this street, the houses ran in continuous terraces on either side, and there was an air of general shabbiness in the flaking paintwork, cracked brickwork and [litter - sounds like the litter is cracked, too. How about 'littered walkways' for consistency?]

Choosing a door at random, close to the corner he had come round, he knocked. The door was answered. Fred spoke; the homeowner [spoke - ?responded ], concluding with a shrug and shake of the head. This was repeated a few houses down, then yet again even further along. The fourth time was different.

'Yes, I know him," said the lady [I'd like some description - old, stout, haggard, frowzy? just one adjective, and woman, I think, given the class of housing] who had answered. "Lives at 53."

Fred thanked her and walked to the address, [and rang the bell - just so's to avoid a second 'who'].

The door opened[; an] Asian man stared at Fred.

'Are you Ibrahim?' [He'd probably say something like, "Mahmud's brother?" That would save some of the back-and-forthing to follow. Just sayin']The man looked surprised, then [affirmed - I'm not sure why this sounds wrong. A gesture might work better. Inclined his head; nodded, yes...?]

'You had a break-in? Your shed? Tools were stolen [ - ] household tools, not garden tools[.] You kept your toolbox in your shed with the gardening stuff?'.
Green bits seem redundant. In square brackets are suggested changes.

Last edited by Palindrome; 02-04-2018 at 04:05 PM.. Reason: toc correct a mistake
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:58 PM
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'Are you police?' asked Ibrahim.

'No.'

'[Y]ou know my name, and [ what was stolen from me. But - how?]' A suspicious look appeared on Ibrahim's face.

With wry amusement Fred realised that he was probably under suspicion. ['Mahmoud told me.] I'm often in his shop. [He mentioned that his brother lived just round the corner from the Methodist Church, so I asked along this street until I found you. You must be wondering why.']

Ibrahim nodded and waited.

Fred held out the zip-up bag. 'These were my father's tools, then my mother's when he died and mine when she passed away. [Is the mother's death necessary?] I already had my own set [ - ] so these [are] just spares.'

Ibrahim hesitantly took it.

'Please, open it. Look inside.'

The Asian did so, and saw an assortment of household tools within. Understanding appeared on his face. He quickly rummaged through the bag, lifting one, then another of the items within. 'Ahh, I see,' he said. [' 'Yeah, Go a little more ethnic here? they look okay.' he said - ? concluded ? decided] 'Let me see, would you [be] happy if I just gave you [how much?], in cash....?'

'You've got me wrong,' said Fred. 'I'm not selling them, I'm giving them. They're spare, I don't need them, and I don't need the money.'

Ibrahim looked [stared?] at him in surprise. [or something a little stronger? bewilderment? ]'Are you serious, my friend!?' he said, after a pause.

Fred nodded.

'But...but you are being too good....' said Ibrahim, looking unsure. 'No, I-I must give you something,' he said, taking a wallet from his pocket. 'Even if you do not want full price. I do not feel right just taking without giving....'

'I tell you what,' Fred spoke decisively. 'Whatever you think would be a reasonable price, give it the Salvation Army. I really admire their work and often donate to them. You've seen their charity shop in town, yes? You can give them it there. If you paid me, I'd give them the money. Promise me you'll do that and I'll be satisfied and you can feel you've paid me back. Is that a deal?'

'Yeah, okay!'. Ibrahim replaced his wallet, and smiled. 'I promise I will do that. You are very kind, sir, too kind!'

'No problem,' said Fred. 'Happy to help out!'.

A thought came to the householder. 'But, if the police get my stolen tools back; if they catch the thief and find them...[.?]'

'Well, in that case, give [mine ]the tools I gave you to the charity shop. They sell all sorts of stuff, those places. Or maybe keep 'em for yourself, as a spare set. Up to you.'

'Okay, then. I will do. Do you want the bag back?'. Ibrahim held up the zip-up hold-all with the tools in.

'No. That's fine. Keep it-no, really, I don't need it. You can have it. Just an old bag. I don't want it back.'

'You are good man, sir. Thank you!'
Seems to me Ibrahim pops in and out of vernacular. If he's not significant to the story, I'd be happier with a stock Pakistani (Well, I mean, Mahmud and Ibrahim --?). If he is significant, he needs a more complex character - an occupation, a surname, gestures, a physical feature or verbal tic... You know what I mean?
The word 'just' is a bug-bear of mine. It should be used only when unavoidable, since when it is needed, no substitute is readily available.

Last edited by Palindrome; 02-05-2018 at 10:14 AM..
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:13 AM
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'As I said, always happy to help out.' The two said goodbyes, and as Ibrahim disappeared into his house, Fred turned set off the way he had come. Fred's [His] walk was brisk as he passed the church again, then crossed the park. He had the same simple satisfaction he always felt on doing good for someone good. It wasn't sanctimonious, self-righteous or patronising - just a warm feeling of having done right.

[His father had always told him to offer help in a humble spirit.] As he caught the bus home, his father's old maxim echoed through his mind [once more]:
'Five favours a week for your fellow man keep you sound with God and secure from Satan.'

He couldn't recall a recent week when he'd not followed this. Before, his five good deeds had been counted from Monday. But he had usually managed five favours by Friday evening,(??) so now began the count from Saturday[ - ]today.

Rescuing the cat was good deed one for this week. Giving Ibrahim the tool set was good deed two. His third one would be house-and-cat-sitting for Sally. So, just [That left only ] two favours left to do this week-and it was only the first day of it, too. Fred felt quite delighted with himself; he was so far ahead with [in] his accounts....

[Too grubby and sweaty to go to Sally's as he was, Fred got off the bus near his own house. He still had some time. Time enough to shower and change his clothes.]

And it was some time after Fred had gone in to do these things that Don Black emerged from Mrs Beaufort's house. Anyone who had been watching all day might have wondered why he had knocked at the front when arriving, but now [snook ? Is that a word? If not, it should be!) [out] the side or rear. As he walked, he wiped one hand with a rag.

[Turning] As he turned from Mrs Beaufort's drive, Mr Black inspected his hand. It was clean, now. He pocketed the blood-stained tissue [decide which. I'd stay with rag] and entered his house, [own home] slamming the door.
Too many repeats of 'house', and 'time'. You don't need all that walking; we can figure out how people get from place to another.

I'll get back to Part 1 soon. I imagine Mrs. Beaufort and Mr. Black will be identified there.

Last edited by Palindrome; 02-05-2018 at 10:19 AM..
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