"Innervintion" (~600 wds)

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Jack McManus

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Jackie was smiling when she opened the door. “Come in," she said, pulling me inside. "Everyone’s here.” She seemed a bit tense underneath the cheerful veneer.

I pulled off my gloves and shoved them into my coat pockets. "Everything okay, Jax?"

"Fine, yes. Go," she said, prodding me toward the interior. Holiday stress, I figured.

The house had a somber, un-holiday air, though. Low voices and whispers wafted from the living room. Somebody must've made an ass of himself, and I had good notion who it was. I tried to relax, be cool. My mind played out the old familiar scene as we made our way down the hall. I felt embarrassed for Jax because it was her first big holiday dinner in the new place and we were all invited over to celebrate with her.

Tommy, yeah, his car was out front -- Joey’s too, come to think of it. Those two never fail to disappoint. I could hear him in my mind’s ear, a little drunk and mouthing off … Yep, Tommy pissed off our brother again and then dad had to holler at both of ‘em to “set down ‘n shut-up.” I made a mental note to tune-up Tommy later.

Trying to lighten the mood, I said to Jackie over my shoulder, "So, how big a turkey you get this year?" We had reached the living room. Our dear brother Tommy stood beside an empty folding chair.

"Oh, it's a big'un, bro," he said through a lopsided grin. He patted the chair and motioned me in.

Jax's living room had been turned into an intervention. Folding chairs loaded with various family and acquaintances surrounded the empty seat in the middle of the floor. And what redneck family crisis session would be complete without a banner across the mantle proclaiming INNERVINTION? I silently blessed their pointy heads and sat down.

I was busted, no getting around it now. Good. I was tired of the deceit, the sneaking around, the lame excuses. I could start fresh, a do-over. I couldn’t wait to unload and get it all out. How much did they know? My mind began to spin up again, figuring who knew what first, who talked to who . . .

No. It didn’t matter. Whatever they didn’t know about my gambling addiction I would fill them in. That’s what intervention is, right? A support system, right? I looked into each face and saw concern. Hell yeah. Self-confidence washed over me and I was already starting to feel like a new man.

I was proud of my family and friends for stepping up, dad and my brothers right there for me. A tough road lay ahead but I knew that as long as these fine people believed in me, I could face anything. They all stepped up and I swore an oath to myself right then and there that I would not let them down, never again.

Besides, the money we'd gotten from selling the farm was all but gone now anyway; I had blamed it on bad investments -- the economic downturn. Probably best I got some help with this addiction before we ended up on the street.

Dad spoke first. “Son, we feel that this writin’ hobby’s took over your life. All the day long, you've got your nose in a book or you're scribbling on a notepad. We think it best you step away from it for awhile."

Around the room, heads nodded in somber agreement.

He continued. "Ever since you moved back home, we never see you ‘cept for meals ‘n such. You're up all hours working on them stories of yours. It just ain’t healthy.”
 
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ajaye

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Ha! Just after I started I realised I should be leaving for work but I hung around to finish it and comment. So it hooked me. I thought there might be a twist but the ending still worked for me. If anything I thought there was a bit too much about the gambling (for a flash), plus I'd have expected a bit of squirming and denial planning as his first reaction - then the positive silver lining thoughts.
Good job.
Now I'm off to work.
 

Jack McManus

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Great insight Ajaye! I see what you mean about needing less of him dwelling on the gambling guilt and more on his denial before surrendering to the inevitable.
Thank you!
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away