"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Reluctant I (assignment posted on facebook 7/20/10)

I have a few books on writing prompts and I'd like to share some of them with you as I'm trying to work through them to see how creative I can be. Try them along with me and see what you come up with and then share them here or on your page.

Write a first person story in which you use the first person pronoun (I or me or my) only two times -- but keep the I somehow important to the narrative you're constructing. The point of this excercise is to imagine a narrator who is less interested in himself than what he is observing. You can make your narrator someone who sees an interesting event in which he is not necessarily a participant, or you can make himself-effacing, yet a major participant in the events related. It is very important in this excecise to make sure your reader is not surprised, forty or fifty words into the piece, to realize that this is a first-person narration. Show us quickly who is observing the scene.

source: The 3 A.M. Epiphany: uncommon writing excercises that transform your fiction by Brian Kiteley, Writers Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH, 2005, p. 20

No one should have to go twenty-five years without knowing what happened to a loved one. No one. Now, one local family will finally have some peace, thanks to the grisly discovery I accidentally made three weeks ago.

Within minutes of calling 9-1-1, what seemed like an army of police officers rushed to the scene, followed by a steady stream of fire fighters, FBI agents, crime scene investigators, an ambulance and its crew. Then came the brigade of television, radio and print journalists and other news media folks cramming for the next big story for tomorrow's news, swarming like a hive of angry bees taking pictures and interviewing every Tom, Dick and Harry who might know something. Finally the inevitable crowd of curious spectators, bystanders and rubber-neckers came, once that telltale yellow ribbon went up, warning folks not to cross the police line.

Someone in the mass of spectators asked who discovered the body and in the blink of an eye there were fifteen different versions of who, what and how floating through the crowd. No one knew the real story except for those who needed to know right then.

This kind of news, in this little town, swept through like wildfire and got everyone talking. Over the next few weeks, the media coverage was spectacular. No one could recall its like in recent memory. The stories on television and in the newspaper kept repeating the basic facts of the story, as they were known, slanting them this way and that. The only thing missing, for now, was the identity of the victim and the cause of death.

In the stories, the media called her Jane Doe, but according to DNA tests and matching dental records, her name was Jennifer Alison Ray. Jennifer had been abducted in 1985 when she was sixteen. She had been missing for three days before her disappearance was reported. The police worked the case hard for a long time, but they had no solid leads, though many people, including family and friends, were questioned. No one came forward with information and no suspects were arrested. After about two years, the case went cold and was closed. Everything the authorities knew sat in a file down in the basement of the local police station.

Now that the body has been recovered, the family notified and the name released, the media reported that the girl had been beaten and raped before being strangled with a garrote and from blunt force trauma to the head. They disposed of her body in a shallow grave in the woods near a lake that was three towns away from where she had lived with her parents, two older brothers, a younger sister and a Bassett hound named Rex.

Ironically, the lake near where I found her remains is a very popular place for walkers, photographers and nature lovers in the summer. In the winter when the lake freezes enough there are ice skaters and snowmobilers aplenty. With all of the people and activity in the area, it’s unbelievable that someone else hadn’t found her body sooner.

Jennifer would have been forty-one this autumn. Who knows what kind of life she would have lived had this not happened? Would she have been married, or had children of her own? What would she have done for a career? Would she have lived in the town she grew up in or moved on? Sadly, these questions remain forever unanswered. It is evident that her family is relieved to know what happened; comforting that some of their questions are answered and their grief somewhat lifted.



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