Title: The L
Subtext: One way ticket.
Date: 22 Dec 15 (Tuesday in the PM)
Time: Less than a minute
Replies: 13
Revisions: 5
Publicity: Superfeed
Visual: View

The front room was the coldest. Rodney lived on the third floor of a walk-up, railroad style. The source of heat was a little coal stove three spaces away from the front room. But cold or not, it was home to a vertical Baldwin’s bell-tone treble. Plus, the windows faced 1948 Broadway and the thirty foot elevated BMT. On a big dusty cushion at the sill he’d watch sparks fly from the L’s third rail and illuminate the snow.

Summer next, Rodney walked down that Broadway for that L, to the Cypress Hills Swimming Pool. It was a Saturday and the diving show was on. Riotous clowns would follow graceful olympians. They’d fly from platforms – three, six and twelve metres up.

Rodney bought his first and only ticket in. He received a numbered key to a wooden locker. The pool received its water from the mouths of ten lions guarding its edges.


Turtle » Authorship
Elk » 6:52 PM 04 Jan 16
Elk » 6:48 PM 04 Jan 16
Elk » 2:46 PM 25 Dec 15
Elk » 2:05 PM 22 Dec 15

The Thread (13)

 Author's voice in grey. 

  1. Thirty-six feet, about.

  2. Of course, we all know Rodney takes the prize.

  3. In retrospect, I’m always surprised at what passed for acting, or a movie.

  4. I’m still fuming over R.D.’s Oscar snub. Rumor is that was all a first take.

    Great evocation of time and place here, Turtle. The edge of guarding lions is a terrific image.

    Wondering what the significance is to this being Rodney’s first and only ticket in. Does he not make it out?

  5. That’s how I’m reading it, Bear. It’s a one way ticket to a wooden locker, ending with golden guardians of an ethereal substance.

  6. The last line of the first paragraph made me think of the first five words of an album unrivaled in so many ways (“sparks fly on E Street”).

  7. If that’s the case, how about a line in there about Rodney’s fear of heights, or some such thing pointing more concretely to his mortality? I think the ending is asking us to take a bit of a big leap.

  8. This is a nice picture. I like how it gradually becomes more complex, including indoors and out, winter and summer, to echo Bear. Also, I was fine with it the way it was, but Elk and Bear have whet my appetite for another line or two.

  9. Congrats on your first posted piece, Turtle. Welcome!

    To weigh in, I’m fine with the information we’re given in the piece and the ambiguity of that “first and only ticket” line. There’s already such an anxious, doomed feeling to the images and language that not knowing the specifics of Rodney’s doom doesn’t bother me. After all, Rodney does start out in what’s essentially a morgue.

    There are a few things that confuse me, though. For one thing, I’m not sure when the last paragraph takes place. The first paragraph is winter; the second moves to a summer previous to the winter of the first paragraph. Is the third paragraph also during that summer? If so, that does leech a little of the fatalism from that “first and only ticket” line.

    Also, the description in the first paragraph swings wildly from cold front room to outside the building to warm back room, which makes the “there” in “the windows in there” logically refer to the back room when it actually refers to the front room. Does that make sense? I love the language and the scene in that paragraph; I’d just clean up how you move the reader through space.

    And then — this is probably just me not knowing — what is “the big dust sponge?”

    Finally, that last line is brilliant. Brilliant.

  10. Welcome, Turtle. You’ve officially carved a corner in the barnyard for yourself with that last line.

  11. Made a couple of changes to suit Mako’s remarks, and pulled this from flux. Thank you, all.

  12. Late to the game here. Nice to have you on board, Turtle. Hope there’s more East New York in the 40s to come.

  13. Not sure it was ever disclosed, but the piano piece attached to this vignette is an original Turtle, as well. It’s almost worth its own set of replies.

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