Suffering Joey ~ Part One ~ Work-in-Progress

It had all gone awry. I had left the house this morning to go on my own personal adventure — an escape, if you will — to free myself from the clutches of an insane house-mate, to move to the city where no-one knew my name or face, to start a new life. Of course, that’s not what actually happened.

Esrann Canyon loomed below. Thousands of jagged, leafless trees swayed back and forth with the wind, each one beckoning, daring me to plummet into their outstretched arms and meet the fates. Joey was behind me, fiddling with the blow-up wading pool that had been stashed with his camping gear, and every few seconds a high-pitched giggle emanated from him.

“It’s almost ready, Jen-Jen. Five more minutes.”

I clenched my eyes tight. It might be ready, he would definitely be ready, but me? I would never be ready.

How had I even gotten into this mess?

How had I even gotten into this mess?

How had I even gotten into this mess?


I tapped the ‘enter’ key and wrote the same sentence again, then again, and again. Surely if I kept writing it, something else would fly into mind and I could continue this damned story. The text cursor flashed and waited for the next letter to be typed; instead, I slammed the laptop closed.

“You know, you’d probably come up with more ideas if you had a few more life experiences.”

“I have plenty of life experiences, Joey,” I rolled my eyes. “I live with you, don’t I?”

“You haven’t left the house since the great blackout of 2014 is all I’m sayin’. It’s been five years. Go out for an hour or two. Live a little.”

“’The great blackout of 2014?’” I peered over my shoulder just in time to see him hide his smirk. “You mean the night you almost burned down the house?”

“It was a glorious night. So the flames got a little out of control,” he shrugged. “Everything turned out okay, didn’t it?”

I looked up at the ceiling. Scorch-marks spread from the centre in thick black strokes, almost as though they had been painted on. They hadn’t. It was the middle of winter; cold, windy, and dark. The power fizzled out and instead of waiting for the local electric company to fix the power-lines, Joey decided to make his own source of heat and light — an indoor bonfire. First the dining chairs were flung upon the embers, their lacquer the perfect fuel for hungering flames, and although I was dubious, things seemed to be going okay… until Joey decided to throw the old armchair on them. The same armchair that had a cockroach bomb buried inside of it.

Not only were we lucky to still be alive, we were lucky the house survived. Well, I was lucky at any rate. Joey came from a loving home and old money, he would be fine; I was penniless and had cut contact with my family years ago. All I had to my name was a ten year old laptop that barely worked these days, a few clothes, and one pair of shoes.

“I guess we’re still alive,” I offered a thin smile.

“Yep! It all turned out okay,” Joey grinned, his mischievous green eyes gleaming beneath his mop of ginger curls. “Jenny. You’re avoiding my observation. Go out, have fun, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll have some inspiration for your life’s work.”

He waved an arm with a magician’s flourish and bowed low, mocking my chosen profession, then turned on his heel and pranced out of the living room.

If only we could all be so utterly mindless, I grimaced. Joey hadn’t yet realised that he was the big, bad antagonist of the book I was trying to write. He was my muse, my inspiration, and he hadn’t done anything lately.

Nothing that I was aware of at any rate.

There was once a time when I crept around the house paranoid that jam sandwiches would fall from the ceiling. I was suspicious of every creaking floorboard, terrified of what new torment awaited me, and it was as he had said; I hadn’t left the house in five years… because the last time I opened the front door there were bees. Bees! I was deathly allergic to bees. Did Joey care that a single sting would render me as lifeless as his Aunt Vera? Of course not. He had ripped off his clothes, slathered himself in honey, and threw himself into the buzzing masses. A few of the evil creatures flew through the open door and I was trapped, petrified, unable to move for fear of offending the tiny beasties.

Some days I can still hear the buzzing.

There was no way I was ever going out there again. Besides, I was quite happy to remain housebound. Not one thing in the outside world interested me and all that mattered was what lived in my imagination. And my muse, of course. It was only a matter of time before my bizarre house-mate did something to summon that golden light-bulb moment and then I could finish my story. I just needed to stare at his ginger ringlets, keep an eye on his every move, and bide my time. His antics would come and the inspiration would soon follow. I knew it.

Smash!

“Jenny!” Joey screamed.

My heart leapt up my throat then plummeted down into my stomach. He actually sounded scared. That was so unlike the Joey I knew that for a moment I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t even think.

“Jenny!”

His frightened scream was even more urgent.

Shaking away my unease, I made my way into the kitchen; my story would have to wait.

 

Hello!

Jenny and Joey are characters I created while joining in with @mariannewest’s five-minute #freewrite challenge and they’re finally getting their own story! If you’ve read any of my Joey and Jenny freewrites, bits and pieces of this will seem familiar. Particularly in this first chapter with the bees and jam sandwiches. A fair bit of my Take a Chance freewrites will be scattered throughout this as well as I go forward.

Once finished, I’m hoping that this novelette (don’t see it becoming much larger than that; just a nice, quick tale with a 1000 words per chapter) will end up being my second self-published book. 😀 Woo! Always happy to share my (many, sometimes repetitive) first drafts here on Steem.

The header is an image from Pixabay that I heavily bastardised.

Thank you for stopping by and having a read! 🙂

 

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