Dos Azucares formerly The Two Jorges

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TexasPoet

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Sitting in the Jorge Booth at McDonald’s, Junior turns to his father and says, “We share the extraordinary curse of useless hands, hands that could not save Mother and my beloved wife from cancer.”

They remember standing next to death beds watching the stars in their wives' eyes, the stars that held them entwined by love and sorrow, burst into silence.

Without looking up from his paper cup with dos azucares, Jorge replies, “We are not cursed, my son, even though it may seem we have fallen from God’s grace. I will admit, however, that we are being watched over to see how we will bear this cross.”


They unwrap biscuits from yellow paper and spread strawberry jam over them.


Saturday mornings are reserved for this weekly trip to McDonald's, to sit in silence and eat biscuits, to know what the other is thinking before he says it. It's a strange ceremony of remembering and taking comfort in common loss.

Though they have lost much, they still have each other to watch over.


"I will make menudo when we return home," Jorge says as he wipes his lips with a brown paper napkin. "I'll make enough for the weekend."


"It never turns out as good as your mother's, but I've been wanting it for a while now," Jorge adds.

Junior shakes his head. He understands what his father has really been wanting, but knows that his hands are again useless to provide it.


"Do you have tripas," Junior asks.


"No, we'll have to stop at the market," his father responds, as he places his straw hat back on his head.


"Ok, we can pick up other groceries for you while we're there. Do have coffee?"


"Yes, I never let myself run out of coffee. How else could I make it through the night?" Jorge smiles, and Junior follows suit.


Jorge rises and shuffles his feet toward the door as Junior cleans up the table.


As they exit, a flash of something follows them in the door's glass, two momentary starbursts, as Junior opens the truck door for his dad.


Previous Version

Sitting in the Jorge Booth at McDonald’s, Junior turns to his father and says, “We share the extraordinary curse of useless hands, hands that could not save Mother and my beloved wife from cancer.”

They remember standing next to death beds watching the stars in their wives' eyes, the stars that held them entwined by love and sorrow, fade into silence.

Without looking up from his paper cup with dos azucares, Jorge replies, “We are not cursed, my son, even though it may seem we have fallen from God’s grace. I will admit, however, that we are being watched over to see how we will bear this cross.”


They unwrap biscuits from yellow paper and spread strawberry jam over them.


Both have lost their wives within a year of each other. It is unusual for them to speak of it, but something has possessed Junior to address their unconscionable grief.


Saturday mornings are reserved for this weekly trip to McDonald's, to sit in silence and eat biscuits, to know what the other is thinking before he says it. It's a strange ceremony of remembering and taking comfort in common loss.

Though they have lost much, they still have each other to watch over.


"I will make menudo when we return home," Jorge says as he wipes his lips with a brown paper napkin. "I'll make enough for the weekend."


"Sounds good," Junior answers.


"It never turns out as good as your mother's, but I've been wanting it for a while now," Jorge adds.


Junior shakes his head. He understands what his father has really been wanting, but knows that his hands are again useless to provide it.


"Do you have tripas," Junior asks.


"No, we'll have to stop at the market," his father responds, as he places his straw hat back on his head.


"Ok, we can pick up other groceries for you while we're there. Do have coffee?"


"Yes, I never let myself run out of coffee. How else could I make it through the night?" Jorge smiles, and Junior follows suit.


Jorge rises and shuffles his feet toward the door as Junior cleans up the table.


As they exit, a flash of something follows them in the door's glass, two momentary starbursts, as Junior opens the truck door for his dad.

Previous Version

Sitting in the Jorge Booth at McDonald’s, Junior turns to his father and says, “We share the extraordinary curse of useless hands, hands that could not save Mother and my beloved wife from cancer.”

They remember standing next to death beds watching the stars in their wives' eyes, the stars that held them entwined by love and sorrow, fade into silence.

Without looking up from his paper cup with dos azucares, Jorge replies, “We are not cursed, my son, even though it may seem we have fallen from God’s grace. I will admit, however, that we are being watched over to see how we will bear this cross.”


They unwrap biscuits from yellow paper and spread strawberry jam over them.


Both have lost their wives within a year of each other. It is unusual for them to speak of it, but something has possessed Junior to address their unconscionable grief.


Saturday mornings are reserved for this weekly trip to McDonald's, to sit in silence and eat biscuits, to know what the other is thinking before he says it. It's a strange ceremony of remembering and taking comfort in common loss.

Though they have lost much, they still have each other to watch over.


"I will make menudo when we return home," Jorge says as he wipes his lips with a brown paper napkin. "I'll make enough for the weekend."


"Sounds good," Junior answers.


"It never turns out as good as your mother's, but I've been wanting it for a while now," Jorge adds.


Junior shakes his head. He understands what his father has really been wanting, but knows that his hands are again useless to provide it.


"Do you have tripas," Junior asks.


"No, we'll have to stop at the market," his father responds, as he places his straw hat back on his head.


"Ok, we can pick up other groceries for you while we're there. Do have coffee?"


"Yes, I never let myself run out of coffee. How else could I make it through the night?" Jorge smiles, and Junior follows suit.


Jorge rises and shuffles his feet toward the door as Junior cleans up the table.


As they exit, a flash of something follows them in the door's glass, two momentary starbursts, as Junior opens the truck door for his dad.


Previous Version

Junior holds the door of McDonald's open as his father, Jorge, shuffles into the restaurant. Jorge's feet find their way to the Jorge Booth, as it's come to be called. He removes his neat straw cowboy hat and runs his leathery hand over the sparse hair on his head.

"I'll get the coffee," Junior says.

"Dos azucares," Jorge reminds his son.

"Si, as always," Junior replies.

He returns with a brown plastic tray that holds biscuits wrapped in yellow paper, plastic packets of strawberry jam, one black coffee and one "dos azucares."

They sit across from each other and spread the red jam on their biscuits.

Both have lost their wives to breast cancer, something they rarely discuss. It would be unconscionable for men of their disposition to expose so much grief.

Saturday mornings are reserved for this weekly trip to McDonald's, to sit in silence and eat biscuits, to know what the other is thinking before he says it. It's a strange ceremony of remembering and taking comfort in common loss.

During an unusual night of drinking too much beer, Junior said they had shared the extraordinary curse of useless hands, hands that could not save their loved ones from death.

"I will make menudo when we return home," Jorge says as he wipes his lips with a brown paper napkin. "I'll make enough for the weekend."

"Sounds good," Junior answers.

"It never turns out as good as your mother's, but I've been wanting it for a while now," Jorge adds.

Junior shakes his head. He understands what his father has really been wanting, but knows that his hands are again useless to provide it.

"Do you have tripas," Junior asks.

"No, we'll have to stop at the market," his father responds, as he places his straw hat back on his head.

"Ok, we can pick up other groceries for you while we're there. Do have coffee?"

"Yes, I never let myself run out of coffee. How else could I make it through the night?" Jorge smiles, and Junior follows suit.

Jorge rises and shuffles his feet toward the door as Junior cleans up the table.

As they exit, a flash of something follows them in the door's glass, two momentary starbursts, as Junior opens the truck door for his dad.
 
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JuniperJ

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I think you have some compelling ideas here but might need a bit more length to flesh them out, and allow you to show more instead of telling. For example, instead of saying they've lost their wives to breast cancer but rarely discuss it, maybe have them see a picture of themselves with their dead wives and turn it over so it doesn't show, or have them react (or not) to a comment from someone else about their dead wives.

It took me a couple times of reading it to realize that the following was a reference to an earlier event, not a shift in tenses: "During an unusual night of drinking too much beer, Junior said they had shared the extraordinary curse of useless hands, hands that could not save their loved ones from death." Just one sentence, then we're back at McDonald's. It feels jarring, and maybe a little too obvious that Jorge then says he will make menudo. I can see it working to have him cook to cure the "curse of useless hands." But to me, it would read better if these ideas were spaced out a little more, if we saw a bit of the night of drinking, then saw Jorge's attempts to make use of his hands.

Are the starbursts in the glass supposed to be other-worldly, like ghosts? It seems to come out of nowhere and for me didn't pack the punch I think it was supposed to. It might help to have some build-up, like maybe there's a belief that people's spirits will show up as glints in glass, and one or both Jorges are constantly looking in mirrors and windows, searching for it but never seeing it. Buildup like that would make this ending more powerful for me.
 

Hedwig

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Hey, TexasPoet,

I really love what you are doing here by addressing a very emotional subject during a very mundane moment (eating biscuits at McD's). The juxtaposition of those two things is beautiful. I also really like the focus on the hands and how they wish those hands could have been more useful. It's a very poignant image for the focus of this piece.

I do think there are some places you could tighten this a bit. For example, a lot of the dialogue feels unnecessary. For example:

"I will make menudo when we return home," Jorge says as he wipes his lips with a brown paper napkin. "I'll make enough for the weekend."

"Sounds good," Junior answers.


In this example, Junior's line isn't needed, because it doesn't add anything to the story. Jorge's lines, meanwhile, could be paired down to a sentence. In flash, I find less is more. The less dialogue, the more tension. If a line of dialogue doesn't add to the plot or character (preferably both at once), cut it and see if you can do without it. I also think the dialogue reads a bit formal and may need a bit of relaxing, however I also understand if you are trying to imitate the dialect of Spanish speakers speaking in English.


I also agree that perhaps telling about the passing of both wives may not be the strategy you want. For example:

Both have lost their wives within a year of each other. It is unusual for them to speak of it, but something has possessed Junior to address their unconscionable grief.

In this example I think you can do without the second sentence. You may need the first sentence, but it is short enough it may just fill in a small blank before you proceed with more showing. But I encourage you to think about other modes of delivery. What images can you give your reader that show that both wives died? What images can you give the reader that this topic is uncomfortable and that it doesn't come up often?


I'm also curious about the supernatural element. If this is a standalone piece, I think you may need to flesh that out a bit more rather than just hinting at it. What is the significance?

Best of luck!
 

TexasPoet

When Is It Dark Enough?
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Brilliant input, Hedwig! I appreciate it very much!

A rewrite's in the works.

Hispanic (and Cajun people, my heritage) believe that our dead visit us...watch over us....I'll need to work that into the star image...I was hoping the "star" image from the beginning would carryover, but it didn't.

Working.

tp :)
 

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