Friday, June 14, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 186-190 Draft Comparison

Hot Chips and Sand
Copyright © 2013 Mary Hughes
All rights reserved

He frowned. “Vickie, I feel like I’m arguing against the unknown. a black box. What’s really bothering you?”

            “I’m telling you, you moron!  [M1] I would“I’d never have worked on this project if I had known it was going to benefit Fahrrad.  I wouldThe bastard kidnapped me, remember? I’d never have helped you if [M2] I had known you were going to stab Kulinahr in the back and cut off his feet at the ankles.”  ‘I would neverNever have made love with youto Cliff, no, gone to bed with youhim if I hadshe’d known you wereit was going to hurt me.’  Vickie pounded on the desk.this much.

She pounded on the desk as if that could equalize the pain. “I have some professional pride, you know, and a hell of a lot more professional responsibility than you do.  Just because . You may think you’re sotoo powerful, you think  to fail, that you can back whoever you want, that you don’t have any responsibility.  Well you may not, but I do. don’t. I am not going to Middle Yemen.”

“No,” she!” She screamed.  it. “You’re not leaving me again.”  She grabbed her purseBefore he could open the door she ran between and pushed furiously against his broad chest.  HeShe barely moved him but he backed off, but under his own power.[M4] 

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. I told you. When I first told you I wouldn’t work on a project for Fahrrad, and you didn’t care, you didn’t care what he’d done to me, you only cared about your profit margin. So you left, and had your secretary lie to me. Rather than talk it over, rather than honoring my feelings, [M5] you left.” Her voice faltered. “Just like Ron.” And then a whisper. “I told you.”

His fingers slid under her chin but she jerked away.  “No,“Don’t you can’t get me that way again.  I know better nowdare, Mr. Hawkesclyffe.  IfDon’t you can’t dare short circuit my reason with her, talk to her body.” seduction.” Her voice became strident; she couldn’t help it.


            He shook his head slowly.  His face had become very pale. paled. “No, Vickie, never that.”


            “No? “Never? Then what about ourwas the picnic, when sex was more important than `arguing?’  What about working together, when the‘arguing’? Can you honestly tell me you don’t want me to put up and shut up and fly out to Middle Yemen like a good little employee? The professional facade wasis always more important than any personal feelings, isn’t it?”

“Did Ron treat you that way?” he asked hesitantly.

She forced a laugh.  “Naturally.  I should have known nobody would want me for me.  Why would anyone actually care about me when they could have my mind and call it professional and have my body and call it love.” [M6] “What do you think?” She shrugged. “Go to Middle Yemen, then. . But this time I’m leaving too. If you don’t have to be responsible, neither do I.”

He held his hands out in a pleading gesture. “Be responsible for what?”

She answered as if she hadn’t heardshook her head. “Don’t worry about firing me. I quit.”

Her eyes werebody went cold.  “You want me to believe that, too?  Hey, Ron told me he loved me every. Every day. He sent me a dozen roses for every birthday and every Valentine’s Day.  It’s the easy way out, Cliff, just like running out.  Only this time, I’m leaving youUntil I didn’t do what he wanted. What he really loved was his image of me, not me. Goodbye.”

She tookgot her purse and strode out, dignity carrying her as far as her car.  She unlockedOnce inside with the door, got in, and  locked, she collapsed, crying.  He wasn’t coming.  She had been right,She’d really thought that Cliff was different. Not that they’d agree about everything but that he hadn’t meant it, he didn’t wantwould listen to her, and they’d work things out, he.

No, time to go. She turned the key and started out.

She didn’t care about her.


            Then she sawsee him burst from the office at a dead run.  Panicking, she turned the key, dropped the car into gear and pulled out almost before the engine had caught.  She didn’t even look into the rearview.[M8] 

She got back to her apartment, exhausted. She cried a little, but nothing felt right. She made herself a cup of tea, and when the phone rang, she jumped a mile.  It was just a phonePhone marketer. She hung up on him.

What was wrong?  It couldn’t be how she had handled Cliff.  with her? She should be exultant over that. . At last, she had seen through a man before he could hurt her too much, before he hurt her irreparably. . She had even walked out on him for a change.  No, that couldn’tShe should be it. triumphant.


            ‘Well, of course.  My career.  I’veAlthough…she’d never walked out on a job before.  IOnce she committed, she saw it through no matter.

Yes, that was it. Simple need to finish what I set out to do.’


            she started. Relief filled her.   She would

Followed immediately by dismay. She’d have to go back.

She wouldn’t go to Middle Yemen, of course, but she would finish her task at Hawkesclyffe Computers. She picked up thegot her phone and dialed. The operator answered.called John. It went to voicemail.


            “I’d like to speak to Mr. Hawkesclyffe, please.”  Vickie twirled the cord around her finger.


            “I’m sorry, “This is John Cavanaugh, Mr. Hawkesclyffe’s PA. I’m away from my desk, but…”

Shock made Vickie press end call. Cliff is out of town on business.  Can I connect you to his personal assistant?”


            “No, that’s okay.”  Vickie hung up in a hurry.  Gone already?  And tookhad taken her at her word. John was no longer her secretary.  Ouch.

Still, she needed to get this over with. She picked up the phone again, reluctantly redialing.


            The operator immediately connected her to John.  “Hi, John, it’s Cavanaugh.”[M9] 

She was startled, but automatically said, “It’s Vickie.”

“Vickie, glad to hear from you.” His voice was a bit strained.

“Look, I don’t want to go into detail. Is Cliff theregone yet?”

“I’m sorry, Vickie, heyes. He left me a few instructions and slammed out of here. He’s half‑wayhalfway to Middle Yemen if he’s still going at the same rate.  And,” he.” He hesitated, “he. “He said something about you quitting?”quit.”

“Yeah, well, I said it’s a long story. But I’m not quitting.  I don’t quit a job before it’s finished.”


            John sighed with relief.  “Boy, amA sigh. “Am I glad to hear that. Without Cliff, I’m glad someone knowledgeable is in charge.”


            “I’ll be back tomorrow.  I figure it’ll take another two weeks or so to clear“Only for as long as it takes to finish the bank security things up.  Soundjob,” she cautioned. “Another two weeks or so sound right?”

“Sure. You’re in charge.”

Right. I’m in charge. She hung up the phone after saying good bye to John.  `goodbye to John. If she really were in charge, the next press release would read “The Hawkesclyffe Computer Company announced in a surprise move today that they will no longer be doing business in Middle Yemen. Would the president of the firm please return at once to the United States.’  Sure she was in charge..”

Sure, she was in charge.


Chapter 12Twelve


            Vickie felt as though someone very close had died.  Even though she knew Cliff was in Middle Yemen, would be returning, would be just the same, she walked around in a daze, carrying a void that had just begun to be filled by him.  Now there was no hope of filling that great, aching loneliness.


            She informed JohnVickie went back to work but even countless last minute SNAFUs—which extended her two week estimation into three, then four—couldn’t pull her out of her cold daze. Cliff had gone. Though she didn’t want to, she missed him desperately.

Almost as if she hadn’t walked away soon enough.

Or maybe it was simply because she hadn’t cut ties completely. She’d come back to do the job to his company. He was everywhere, from the company pictures on the walls to the ghost of her intentions first thing that him at the half-dozen restaurants she frequented for lunch.

So obviously, she needed to make a clean break.

Monday. “ she marched into John’s office. “We deliver the HCC300 in two weeks. I’m leaving once the HCC300 is delivered, John.”  immediately after that.”

It was supposed to be a catharsis; instead it felt flat.

“But Cliff is expecting to talk with you when he gets back.  He’s very impressed with your work here, and I know he’d like you to stay.”


            “I wouldn’t like it.”


            “He “Not happening.”

John’s expression conveyed his sympathy. “He had to go, Vickie.”


            She was too depressed to be irritated by his deliberately calming tone.  He “I know he thought he did.”

“Look, I understand what you’re thinking.” , really I do.” He spread his hands in a gesture of appeal. “But there are some other thingsfactors you should know about.”[M10] 

“Like how much profit he’ll make?” Vickie arched an eyebrow.


 [M1]Name calling doesn't work with these characters.
 [M2]I have to work against going from the starting argument to the conclusion without putting the steps in between. Cause, then effect. So important.
 [M3]I also continue to expand my repertoire of ways to show what a character is feeling, rather than coming right out and saying it.
 [M4]This didn't flow, timing-wise
 [M5]I know what she means, but there's a backload of issues on that one statement. I think it's easier to follow this way. Besides, in a real argument between adults, it's best to say "when you do [specific thing], I feel [sad/mad/glad/afraid/hurt]." When I write, I try not to have the characters too unhealthy.
 [M6]yikes. Is it me, or is this bloated prose?
 [M7]This needed more preparation.
 [M8]She wants him to work things out but when he runs after her to do so, she speeds away? While I sympathize with a character who has that much fear, that's not where Vickie is. She'd have worked it out and bang, that would have been end of story. Better to have her drive away without seeing him. That way the reader knows Cliff's the real deal, even if Vickie's not so sure yet.
 [M9]Ah, technology. Remember curly phone cords?
 [M10]Dunno if its me or getting up to early to edit, but this seemed to need a lot of work. Point of view shifted subtly between Vicky and John, and a lot of wordy exchanges saying what I meant but not really showing it.

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