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Take My Coat

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May 13th 2012  |  30  |  Category: Comedy , Drama , Fiction , Romantic Love  |  Author: uthaker  |  18771 views

[I]

“Inmates of Gu..an..ta..na.. Bay,” he watched the cluster of syllables scrolling off the prompter like runaway rascals and the intern news reporter, under the spell of an email he had read minutes earlier, blurted, “Cut, cut, cut!”

The news director’s peeking tongue and his glee-splashed face squinting at the computer screen titled Pension Details for Earliest Eligibility suggested that he was set out to daydream. Willard Ramhorn was about to click OK when he heard ‘cut’ repeated twice. A moment passed. The JH Broadcasting news director felt emerging turbulence in his stomach. He slid down headphones and asked the nonexistent in his cabin, “Who the heck?”

The sight of a subject at the newsdesk turned the insignificant looking short-legged hawk eyed plump Ramhorn into an impressive belligerent. The subject, measuring over six feet, deer eyed, peace loving news reporter Buxton Painskill was presently engaged in humoring the cameraman, apparently least expecting any entity’s purposeful advancement towards the news platform.

“You!” the sound resonated slightly within soundproof walls, “What the heck you think, you’re doing?” Ramhorn stood in the middle of the platform like an amphitheatre thespian pointing a gun finger.

“Aaooov!” reciprocated Buxton Painskill and put up hands. He looked as if a barbarous roar had entered from the eardrums and shocked his cardiovascular compartment.

“Who the — asked you to direct my people?” he jabbed the finger in the air, “are you the freaking director here?” Ramhorn lasered at Buxton whose body had visibly shrunk.

“Urragh..” Buxton released a sound equivalent to that of a trombone’s short note and lowered his hands with hesitation.

The newsroom seemed to have transformed into a wax museum and the fervent curator cradling an extra-large coffee cup was addressing a particular one of several sculptures around. Had a studio fly been present on the wall, it would have however confirmed existence of another life throbbing in the upper lip of Cameraman 1. His lips twitched in direct accordance with Ramhorn’s pitch.

“But, Willard, Guantanamo -” The intern argued with vowels and consonants.

“Do not say a word. You understand? Do not.” Ramhorn, in a heightened theatrics, spaced and emphasized each word. Marilyn nodded affirmatively. He turned, as if expecting consenting nods from statues, and spotted intern Switcher who avoided eye contact. Cameraman 1 examined the floor tile design as his lip resumed spasmodic movements. Ramhorn noted an empty seat at Audio and eyed Cameraman 2 who had assumed battle hoplite posture and gazed at a fictional horizon.

The lid flap kept bumping his nose as it refused to stay in the notch; Ramhorn tossed the lid before taking a swig and swung his gun finger at Buxton. The hand that swung had the cup embraced in it. The liquid with second-degree burn potency splattered on his limb and the Greek warrior Achilles exited the scene babbling unscripted lines.

Buxton’s heart still drummed over the prescribed rate; the bright studio riddled with snaked cables and dangling fixtures stifled the intern reporter. The fat finger kept coming at him; he clutched his microphone a few times and almost pulled it before his phone vibrated. Buxton felt giddy seeing another email flashing from the ex-lover Studio Security officer Vifareli. The message read her urge to disembody his certain organs. However, cameras rolled, the prompter started and Cameraman 1 watched him with a nervous eye. Buxton put on a newsreader’s face and looked at the camera.

“Inmates of Guantanamo Bay dug a kilometre long tunnel and escaped last night. US Marines are now searching sick-teen, umm, sixteen runaways in Cuban Island.” Dews popped on Buxton’s eyebrows and the tie chocked him. “This is all from the Orb news at noon,” he said and every cell of his body screamed for a stiff elixir. However, Mr. Adam smiled from the sky at that moment and Buxton’s virility aroused. Despite Ramhorn having not asked, he looked into the camera, pointed his thumb like Mr. Adam and said, “Back to you, Marilyn.”

When glanced beyond his thumb, instead of a cheery blond anchor who had bent under the desk to fix a stocking wrinkle, Buxton spotted on the diffuser umbrella, a crisp shadow of seemingly a crouching female with a pointy object gripped in hand. His body uprooted itself from the chair, his palms swung on the left chest and wide eyes fixed at the umbrella, Buxton yelped a high octave, “Oaieeee, help! My god sheez here, help!”

“Aaieee. Aaieee” Marilyn joined the commotion with a shrill variety of primal sounds after banging her head to the desk. Disoriented Anchor looked for the invading primates. Sound Engineer backed against a wall and took lateral steps towards the exit. Switcher toppled a computer and landed on the floor in an attempt to jump over wires spaghetti. The lad in pain demonstrated potential for throat singing as he cried for his mother.

In the midst of a mayhem, the person emerged from the umbrella-cover was not Buxton’s ex-lover but longhaired Floor Manager and part-time Ballet Danseur Otto Pickabu. Buxton, as his incredulity faded, noted that the Floor Manager held a screwdriver and not a dagger.

Chaos subsided albeit a dispute continued to determine the cause until Willard Ramhorn reappeared with a fresh coffee, accompanied by the security. He handed the letter and looked at the bulky guard, “Throw that goof out immediately.”

Buxton walked to his desk with a trailing fidgety wrestler and put on the coat, the one that his Dad had presented him with tears a week ago on the first day of his job. He stuffed the letter and exited JH Broadcasting for the last time. Nobody said goodbye. Nobody looked at him.

[II]

Bloated clouds drizzled and turned the studio pavements dark wet.

When Katya Hotfry stumbled out of Broadcast Building and slumped on the lawn, it looked as if she was performing an inconsolable protagonist in a heart-wrenching scene and the rain seemed accentuating the mood. In reality, a prior event, unparalleled in shock, had affected the growing up girl: The lovebird hopeful of surprising her beau had tiptoed to the newsroom and pushed the greenroom door ajar. Katya saw a long-haired man, arched like Tango milonguero, struggling to stay grounded due to the weight of a clinging woman by his neck. From the mirror, it became clear that it was her lover Otto Pickabu making out with the blonde newsreader and his tongue was attempting to reach new depths in her mouth. His body language spelled temperament of a mating season canine. The stun was instantaneous but her cognitive organs responded seconds later and Katya waltzed with surroundings and landed on the lawn.

Hotfrys belonged to a species that preferred anonymity in affairs of love betrayal. Katya scooped herself and loped to the gates of JH Broadcasting. The mustached guard stood up surprised and fussed with things in the cabin before mumbling, “Want umbrella, Ma’am?” Katya registered his moving lips and replied that she wanted fresh air.Outside gates, the devastated lover found a lone sorry looking tree to lean on and shake off the hurt. Vehicles zoomed by on the road. Guard’s Fyfe, on a scheduled round to mark the territory, saw the young girl wetting the tree although with tears. Judging the level of her despair, Fyfe concluded youth’s inexperience with love’s trials and tribulations. She left the matter at that and proceeded to the fire hydrant.

Hotrfys, in addition to managing romance treachery secretively, handled heartaches by flaring up. Presently Ms. Hotfry tested new highs of her fury as the greenroom scene replayed in slow motion. Had Pickabu been in a kickable proximity, the ballet danseur would have had lost his jewels forever. Katya contemplated to go back in. However, the rain got heavier and she moved on towards Avenue K. The rain added to her misery and the sidewalk was getting crowded, she wished to reach the taxi stand sooner. For a moment, it seemed she was in a surreal dream of a witch swinging by the neck of a ballet danseur demon while wet raincoats brushed one another, umbrellas collided under the waterfall from the sky.

——

Buxton Painskill walked out of the liquor store with a brownbag and joined the crowd under the canopy of packed Avenue K café. A few quick sips later, he called Shiva and arranged to crash at his place for the night. The divine influence of the cocktail coupled with rhythm of raindrops raised his spirit; it was the time for an ontological dialogue with Mr. Adam. Buxton lifted his head and looked beyond the end of skyscrapers:

“Mr. Adam, am I the news reporter or just a guy?”“Boy, what you see, hear, feel and taste is what you are.”

“Did you forget smell? But why can’t I taste 100 year old Macmillan like Brokaw and Jennings? Why can’t I feel the wheels of Porsche like those big shot anchors?”

“Thank you Bucky, of course smell too. Dear, to your query, I say you do their deeds and you shall be what they are.”

A banker type man frowned and Buxton thought of connecting to Mr. Adam some other time. He took a gulp and tossed the can seeing heads including banker’s turned towards the harbor side. Buxton held his breath and stretched over a shorter man. There was a girl in white drenched and ambling as if she on a runway. Water streamed off hair tendrils of the tall tanned model material. Collective eagerness soared under the canopy. Buxton’s amusement however vanished as she neared; the beauty appeared dazed and engrossed in pathos. ‘Is she crying?’ He muttered.

The wet fabric clung to her body. Upon closer inspection, Buxton realized that her white costume had turned a see-through. He gasped, ‘Why on the earth, the pristine Aphrodite exposed to a row of devouring eyes?’

A gang of lads from the station spotted Katya. The yellow poncho kid made palm cups in front of his chest and walked behind her swaying. The toothless hotdog seller laughed along with the hooligans. Buxton yelled at them and hollered at her. The beauty glided further. He removed the coat, marched past and blocked her. Katya bumped into him.

“Get lost! Move away.”

“Take my coat!”

“What? Who’re you?”

“It’s all visible”

Katya swung her arms in front, buried her face in palms. The sounds dulled down, air was too thick. She wanted to evaporate in the air.

“Put it on, you crazy!” Buxton wrapped the coat on her shoulders and waited.

“Go away, go away!” Her face fell back in palms and shoulders shuddered.

Buxton told her to go home. She stared a long few moments and strode off, leaving him to recover from seeing human tragedy in a pair of pure green eyes. He experienced nothingness, no thoughts bubbled.

“What happened, Mister?” asked the hotdog guy. Buxton noted the crowd had grown and watching, water flowed from the shirtsleeves and the brown coat was a dot in the crowd.

—–

On the bus, Buxton remembered emails from Vifareli. He had not seen her since midweek. The peculiar peace that followed the rainstorm helped clear his conscience and allowed remorse to fill his heart. Although her curiosity revolved around the animal-love and his platonic needs were regarded excessive baggage, the quarrelsome chick was sweet at core. He recalled the bubbly girl had opened the fist, one finger at a time, counted her needs,

“A bottle of Jim Beam Rye with juicy lamb”

“And?”

“Nice touch,” she had grabbed his palm and rubbed on her face, “and yes, Country music”

“And?”

“Smell of men and flowers. And of course, all night long, ya know whata’e mean”

Her laughter had sounded like a diesel engine running on a steep slope. The vigorous punch on the shoulder had almost knocked him. Then she had said, “Nowya tell me honcho, wata ‘lse matter?”

She was one pushy gal and even Ramhorn had succumbed to interviewing him. Buxton believed his termination at JH Broadcasting was a punishment for dumping Vifareli for no particular reason. Fair enough, he thought it was a fair play of destiny and felt his life aplomb for a fresh start. In the seat across, he saw a man in a brown coat and words echoed in his head, ‘take my coat.’ Life is a box of assorted events, he mused, and sometime it involves a green-eyed girl staring at you.

——

At the door, Buxton heard Shiva whistling exotic birds along a Bollywood song. The old chum handed him a bottle of Taj Mahal at the door and pulled him to the table, “Chicken biriyani, garlic naan and tadaka dal, we’re in business baby!”

They ate their plates clean while talking about this and that. After dinner and a few beers later, Buxton narrated day’s events. Shiva felt he just had taken a tour to the Studio en route Ave K.

“O Bucky, those who seek the fruits of their work are verily unhappy,” said Shiva staring at a wall picture of a meditating man with an aura circling his head.

“Come again?” Buxton was not sure who was drunk.

“Do you remember that day, at the plaza across our dorm? You’d let an old man go ahead at the lotto and you, bloody bugger, won five hundred from the ticket”

Buxton smiled at the amused chum but he could only recollect losing over a grand at the casino.

“Bro I’m glad you came. Stay away from your old man for a couple of days,” Shiva glanced up, “Almighty always keeps one opportunity door open, don’t forget. Bud, enjoy your time off the grid.”

“Yah man, I didn’t want fireworks at home,” Buxton took the last sip, “thanks for everything bud”

——

When she woke up by a chirping bird, Katya realized that Otto was not jumping and fumbling to grab the water flask from her hand nor was she riding a hot air balloon in middle of a desert. From missed calls, three were from Dad and in the last message Mr. Hotfry was worried and flaming. As she texted him, a wave of guilt overtook her as she recalled lying to him in the morning. He had a big smile hearing that his only heir desired to go the studio to learn his Business. She had said, “I want learn nitty-gritty of broadcasting, Dad”. ‘I lied and ended up seeing Otto-the-otter smooching the blonde hamster’ Ms. Hotfry wanted vengeance and reflected of venues the otter frequented in nights. She searched for Otto’s address book and spied the coat on a chair. The coat man had lingered all night. She sat and pondered, ‘was it his unconditional kindness or those big innocent eyes? He should have given his number. I gotta find him at the station.’

The girl bloomed. She put on the coat, glasses and walked to the window like a somber noir detective and placed her hand in a pocket. She felt the paper. It was the letter from JH Broadcasting. It was the termination notice.

[III]

Sun sprung in the east radiated the sky and its crisp rays filtered through the tree gave no trace of previous day’s downpour until he walked out of Shiva’s place. The leaves were a bit soggy and air was damp. Buxton hopped on the ten-thirty express almost empty. He watched shops and traffic as events of previous day burned like smothered coal.

At condominium entrance, the rabble of butterflies fluttered in his stomach. For a news reporter, breaking the news was not tricky if it was not about own job loss and the viewer was not Byron Painskill. ‘I can look in the old man’s eyes and take the humiliation.’ He wanted to tell them right away. ‘Mom will be sad.’ It was always disheartening to see guileless Mom attempted to hide her despair and cheered him. Buxton’s heart sank further within him realizing that parents’ anniversary was next month and he was just two paychecks short for their cruise to the Caribbean. And another paycheck would have bought his little brother the promised mountain bicycle. Buxton decided to think about all until next morning. Today he just needed to release the coat loss news, a plausible story to keep the old man cool. After all, from Dad’s view, it was an expensive all-season shiny polyester coat with detachable cashmere lining.

“What happened? You got flu?” Joshua asked at the door and ran back.

Byron Painskill had settled on the usual living room sofa spot watching Two and Half Men with Gizmo, who always remained within a short radius. Byron pointed the remote to a bikini-clad girl, “Look, that’s Megan Fox!” Gizmo aroused from a meditative trance, raised ears and heard him say, “Hang out on the Harbor Square with that kind of clothes and some Marco or Dick will kidnap her, for God’s sake!” Byron shook his head and returned to the TV, Gizmo seemed confused whether Byron had more to elaborate.

Senior Painskill got up when he saw Buxton and like a polite front desk receptionist he said, “Oh, welcome! Welcome back to Painskill’s humble hotel. Sir, we missed your patronage yesterday!”

Buxton looked at Gizmo, “Mom knows I was at Shiva’s.” He glanced at Byron, “And just to let you know, I am not feeling well today.”

At dinner table, Painskills congregated. Mom opened a pot of Chicken Roast with Capers sauce. Byron and Josh made noise with plates and spatulas. Left elbows on the table, heads at the plates. Mom was a slow eater. She radiated joy, as men were busy stuffing her dish.

“O, by the way, guys you won’t believe what happened yesterday!” Buxton saw the opportunity. Mouthful Mom widened her eyes in interest.

“You know, I was having lunch at the set. And the crew was readying a shot for some thriller sort of scene. You know, cops with a bunch of dogs, kind of stuff. And my coat. Well-”

“What’s the name of film?” Joshua inquired chewing his food.

“Don’t worry about the name, I don’t know,” Buxton snapped.

“Last one. Don’t screw with your health, Giz!” Byron tossed bony meat in the plate.

“Where was I? O yes, I had half sardine sandwich in my coat. And guess what?” Buxton looked at Sr. Painskill who was interested in anything but guessing and presently belching a chicken leg while watching Gizmo chewing its.

“Out of the blue, two scary giant dogs started sniffing my coat.” Buxton scanned the table and raised the volume, “long story short, those crazy dogs tore apart my coat literally.”

“Who? What?” Byron’s curiosity upped several notches as the talk turned to destruction.

“Coat? Oh -” Joshua chimed in.

“Hold on Josh. Well, good news is, they were quite sorry and gave three hundred bucks!” Buxton pulled a wad of bills and waved. Byron shoved the food in the corner and shouted,

“How many times I’ve told you, don’t keep money in a role like mafia man? Bucky, you gotta respect money!”

“Oh, speaking of the coat, there was a man from JH film or something like that. He left the coat and said it belongs to you. Oh yes, he also gave the envelope” Joshua spoke in one breath, ran to his room and came back. At the sight of coat that he instantly recognized, all grew dark before Buxton’s eyes.

“My coat?” Buxton asked placing a finger on his chest, “but It’s not mine,” He said to Mom almost in a defending voice of a child.

“Okay, then I’ll take it” Joshua shrugged.

“But Bucky darling maybe they felt terrible and sent you another. How nice of them -” Mrs. Painskill interrupted by Painskill Sr., now engaged in the table talk, shouted,

“Do you know that thing cost two hundred and forty nine dollars? Where’d you left it?” he pointed at the coat that Joshua held as an exhibit for the jurors. Gizmo also took interest.

“But, mommy, he doesn’t want it” said the impatient.

Buxton reckoned to drop the coat theme and he snatched the envelope from Josh. Parents busy debating monetary importance and conversing etiquette, and Josh disappeared with the coat, Buxton opened the envelope. The letter had a JH Broadcasting logo and the owner Jeoffry Hotfry had signed it today. He turned away from the noise and read:

‘JH Broadcasting, Inc. is pleased to offer you a job as Junior Anchor for our news segment, Around the World in Ten Minutes. We trust that your knowledge, skills and experience will be among our most valuable assets. Should you accept this job offer….

* * * * *

Thank you for reading Take My Coat. Any feedback greatly appreciated!

 

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30 Responses to Take My Coat

  1. Avatar of unstoppable unstoppable says:

    Yay! your story is finally up! :D

    • uthaker says:

      Thanks. It feels great to see my first ever…
      Eager to get some feedback from readers. Any feedback on the following question would help me further.

      - Any alternative ending of story that suggest (i.e end the story at Buxton getting the grabbing the envelope)
      - Is First chapter or Third chapter funnier?
      - Anything you did not like about this story? (all brave, honest answers are welcome)
      - Any question/suggestion?

      Thanks you,
      UThakker

    • uthaker says:

      Hey Unstoppable,
      When is your next story coming out. Have you submitted already? I am looking forward to your work.
      Currently, I am expanding Take My Coat.
      Ciao,
      Utpal

  2. It’s a great site!
    I loved your style of writing comedy. One of the good stories and I liked the central theme of a coat.
    Let me try your questions:
    - The ending is good for mass readers. You can chop off the story at the envelope to lift story’s literary value
    - First and third are funny. My pick is first chapter. Is has great visual humour exaggerated characters for the satire
    -Story material begs the story to be longer (and still fit 20,000 words). Romance is a possibility between the main characters.
    I see it is your first. Your humour presentation will get finer as you write more.
    I await more from you, UThaker

  3. uthaker says:

    Wow! Thank you so much Anita2Charles !!!! I earned a first thumbs up!
    I am considering to expand the story. Thanks again, you made my day :)

  4. ranstone72 says:

    Nice story. I agree with other’s you can make it a Novella. Funny names of the characters. I love Buxton.

  5. ranstone72 says:

    The second time I read the script and I realized how easily yet with absolute beauty and creativity, you have managed to show Humor, Emotional highs and lows, Hope and above all Generosity in your characters…Indeed it is roller coaster ride…Absolutely amazing!

    • uthaker says:

      Thanks brother. You got my story through FB share? Thanks for your generous comments and encouraging words! Any constructive feedback?

      • ranstone72 says:

        Hey UT,
        Yes, I got the link from FB. Revisit a couple places and see if you can reword:
        Chapter 2 – third para – The anxiety…
        Chapter 2 – fourth para last line – Katya registered…
        Chapter 2 – in the para – Seeing a man with feathered-hat. Change from blue to green eyed.

        You rock. Great subtle humour throughout. I want you to expand the story.
        Later,

        • uthaker says:

          Thanks you Ranstone! I need feedback like this one to improve my story. I have edited the story based on most of your comments as well as few others’. I also added a little more of context regarding how and why of the coat at the end of the story (I don’t want to throw a spoiler here).
          I have started chapter 4 to expand the story as many folks including you have advised.
          Thanks Bro,
          Utpal

  6. uthaker says:

    Thank you all for reading my story and I am honoured to receive 26 Likes. It feels great as first-time writer to get encouraging thumbs up :) I am eager for any constructive feedback.

    Any kind volunteer to help proofread my story? I would appreciate it.

    Thank you,
    Utpal
    utpal_thaker@yahoo.com

  7. uthaker says:

    Fellow writers,
    Can I edit and repost the story?
    Also looking for any kind volunteer to help me proof read (grammes and sentence structure) this story.
    Thanks a lot,
    Utpal

  8. Avatar of Ami Ami says:

    perfect story in every way

  9. Rimzhim says:

    a good drama with humor.. sensible title:)

  10. uthaker says:

    Folks,
    I am writing this note in a hope that novice writers, like myself, get a tip from my first experience:
    - Curb your excitement of posting the story without doing Nth revision. Reread and rewrite. Remove what is not required to tell your tale. (I have rewritten and re-edited Take My Coat and see huge improvement from this posted version)
    - Have other folks read and get feedback (what they like and not like, proof reading etc. Join story writing workshops/groups and get you story and writing style critiqued.

    Please share you thoughts on this topic.
    Cheers,
    Utpal

  11. uthaker says:

    Thank you all for reading, commenting, rating and sharing Take My Coat. I wouldn’t have asked for than 1000 views in two weeks :)

    In a spirit of sharing my experience, here is the tip on writing that has worked for me.

    - Read out your story loud. You will catch some of the flaws in thought rhythm and more importantly in dialogues.

    - Utpal

  12. Avatar of amandablair amandablair says:

    It’s a great piece of work. I loved the comedy and characterisation. I feel that a subtle revelation towards the end is the hit stroke of this story.

  13. uthaker says:

    Thank you so much Amandablair for your encouraging words music to my ears. Any other feedback to embellish my story will be greatly appreciated. Feedback in some of the following will help:

    - Dialogues real and interesting?
    - Characterization interesting ? Anything missing?
    - How is he ease of reading from Language construct point of view?
    - If and which part(s) funny/humourous?
    - Any other feedback (pace of the story, complexity, grammar etc.)
    Thank you once again,
    Utpal

  14. Hey UT,
    Story reads quite smooth now. I see your humour is getting better. LOL when I read Buxton’s reactions to Ramhorn. You are funny UT. Keep writing. When are you posting next chapter (remember, you promised to extend the story? :)
    Cheers,
    Anita

    • uthaker says:

      Hi Anita,
      I cannot thank you enough for your help shaping this story. Thank you for your praise and I want to improve to be worthy of it – I promise I will get there.

      The latest version of Take My Coat is more smooth and has more humor (that is what friends say). I will email you the latest

      I also intend to bring Jeoffary Hotfry, Vifareli, Shiva and Pickabu in consecutive chapters and intend to create a comedy with interesting end.
      (Any ideas from dear readers are most welcome).

      Thank you again Anita for you help and feedback !

      For fellow writers, here is another tip I learned in past few weeks:
      - Use sparingly adverbs and adjectives in your tale

      Cheers,
      Utpal

  15. uthaker says:

    I want to say a sincere thanks to SSL Owners, Editors and Administrators for doing such a wonderful job and keeping the free content afloat.

    The team at SSL is what one would hope at any magazine and publication outfit.

    Thanks you folks for your professionalism and flawless job!

    Readers and Writers, please support SSL in anyways you can.

    Cheers,

    Utpal

  16. Avatar of SANJAR SANJAR says:

    Its great piece of writing . You can do better putting some more philosophical fiction on your story . Hope you gonna be a great writer if it continue.

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