Father's hatrid for son who goes mod as punk rocker
Invaluable Family Values
by Izzy Vella
A man sees a kid that reminds him of his son and thinks about their shattered relationship
There goes another loser, another kid with pink hair spiked a foot high, tattoos on his face, arms, everything visible, and dear God, how many pins does he got stuck through him? Poor son of a bitch must hate his parents.
“Hey, check that one out, Chet,” my buddy Jack said. He pointed at the freak show from our vantage point on my front porch. “Didn’t your kid have hair like that last time he came visiting?”
“Why do you think he ain’t visited again?” I said, taking a gulp from my tallboy. “That little queer ain’t coming back to this house, or my name ain’t Chet Sutton.” My gaze followed the boy wandering down the street. His eyes were on his feet. “Look how that kid’s walking, though. Least he looks ashamed. Should be, out in public like that.”
“Darn right,” Jack said, taking his feet down from the railing and sitting up in his chair. “I wonder how yours got turned that way.” A sly grin spread thin lips.
“Don’t you be starting, now,” I said. The freak disappeared around a corner. “Kid’s a dud. I ain’t wasting my time talking about him. Why’nt we go work on the car?” The Mustang that hadn’t started once since he got his paws on it sat lonely in the drive next door.
“Think I’m going to sell the thing.” He shrugged. “Scrap it. Ain’t no good. Like your boy.”
“You’re a real piece of work.”
“What’s that kid even do now, looking like he does?”
“I don’t know, he’s some kind of singer or some artsy fartsy bull plop.” I looked down at the ground, fiddling with my beer can. “Last time I seen his place, he was living in a broke down basement with six other people. Said they was his band.”
A couple of birds landed on the railing. Jack kicked at them, sent them scattering. They fluttered to a nearby tree to groom each other.
“Must be on drugs or something. Boy ain’t been right since his mom died.”
“That’s too bad.” He took a long drink.
“Kids these days, they’re all screwy. Ain’t got no past, no future. I always hoped he’d come work at the shop, take it over someday. Find a nice girl and give me some grand kids, you know?” Jack was looking bored. I guess teasing me about my kid was no fun if I got melancholy about it. “Why’nt we go inside? It’s getting cold out here.”
“Winter’s coming.” He gazed at the thin steely clouds that hung in the graying sky a moment before following me into the house.
I set up a fire in the woodstove before joining Jack in the living room. He had his feet on the table, sat with the remote in hand, lazily flicking through the channels. Soon as my ass hit the chair, there was a knock on the door. “Son of a…”
I got up and opened the door. There wasn’t a body in sight, so I took a couple steps to see out, tripped on a thick envelope and nearly broke my damn neck. Caught myself in time, though, I grabbed the railing before I fell down the stairs.
“The Hell…” I picked up the envelope and opened it. There was a huge wad of cash and a note. My heart skipped when I saw the scrawl.
I’m in town for a few days. The band’s been doing real well and we’re touring. We got a show tonight at Red’s, and I was kind of hoping you’d come. I know things ain’t been great between us in a while, but I’d really like to see you.
I heard from Irma things ain’t so good at the shop. I know you probably don’t need my help, but this should get you out of trouble. It’s the least I can do. My address is different from the last time you saw me, so don’t try to send it back unless you want to make a stranger real happy.
I hope you’ll be there tonight. I miss you.
“Je-zus.” The kid flabbergasted me once again. I read the letter over and over until the cold drove me indoors, then I stood in front of the woodstove and read it again.
“What’s going on? Who was at the door?” The springs of my couch said Jack was getting up to investigate.
I still clutched the letter and the thousands of dollars. “No one,” I said, throwing the cheap paper in the fire.
Hello: Izzy Vella:
This review is being submitted by a student of Dynamic Reviewing. Thank you for allowing me to read and comment on your writing.
My name is Charlie and I saw your story on Reviews Wanted Page.
I Personal Impression/Opinion
The older, conservative generations, who refuse to understand some of the radical youth's ways, miss out on their interesting culture.
I felt sorry for Chet Sutton for having so much hate for his son's and other Punk Rockers' life styles. His hate for his boy may lead to hating others as well.
The dialogue was great using words as: [ain’t, artsy fartsy bull plop, they’re all screwy, and Why’nt,] showed just what kind of class the father was in. These type of self-righteous persons who want their children to do things their want, miss out on a lot interesting varying life styles.
Effectiveness of tone and mood
The father's hatred toward the punk rockers' culture was seen through out, making the tone of an older generation vs. a new generation sad.
The mood the story left me in was one of frustration at not being able to see reconciliation between these two people and the life styles they represent.
I felt disgust for the dad who should know that, through out history, the younger generations ushered in new ways of life.
Tense and Point of View
Past tense was adhered to throughout the story, and the first person view point was used remarkably well and did portray the situation nicely.
I liked the opening, as the powerful lines packed a punch that kept me reading. Who would want to quit reading after knowing there will be a big controversial subject following?
The rising action expressed by the conversations between Jack and Chet did build on the opening paragraph that foreshadowed the story of hate between the older conservative culture and the mod punk rocker life style.
The dialogue between Jack and Chet expressed the distantance between the values of Punk Rockers and several of the preceding generations' life styles. The story was easy to read and believable.
The dissonance between the father and his son provided the conflict that built to a great climax with the father throwing the note and money in the fire.
The resolution needs to be imagined, but in doing so, I don't see any resolution to these two life styles. The resolution to the story is that there isn't one between this father and son. The story ended with the climax, but it did work without any additions. This was a fine story with the plot revealing the hatred between two cultures.
Chet Sutton is such a credible character, who could ever doubt the class, education, soical stature or personality of the man. Mr. Sutton's voice is clearly seen in his dialogue as: [ain’t, artsy fartsy bull plop, they’re all screwy, and Why’nt.] One of the characteristics of Sutton is revealed in his dialogue, as his hate for the Punk Rocker's style as seen in the following few sentences: “That little queer ain’t coming back to this house, or my name ain’t Chet Sutton.”/Kid’s a dud. I ain’t wasting my time talking about him/he’s some kind of singer or some artsy fartsy bull plop.
The character, Chet Sutton, is revealed in his relation with his friend, Jack. His appearance really isn't clear, however, as a beer drinker and the choice of his words, lends me to believe he was a fairly big guy; what little guy would have warned his buddy not to run down his kid too much.
The character's past is touched upon when it is revealed he and his wife, Irma, own a shop. They ran the shop
and hoped their son, Billy, would do the same, settle down and have children and grandchildren with his wife.
His hatred for Punk Rockers' culture raises suspicion about his feeling towards other youths, after all, he did say
[“Kids these days, they’re all screwy. Ain’t got no past, no future.]
What is the character's motivation? Over all, I suspose he wants to live a happy and peaceful life with his wife, and earn a living by working in his shop. His motivation regarding his kid is brought on by his dislike for the kid's culture; he wants the kid to stay away from him.
DialogueRegarding the use of dialogue, I need to compliment you on capturing the [low class] demeanor of Chet. You also made it clear that he can be a friend by the conversation with Jack. The use of slang made the dialogue realistic, and Chet's personality came through as somewhat coarse. Images are important, and the image of Chet Sutton speaking on the porch with Jack was clear, as was the woodstove where he threw the note and money.
The conflict between father and son was emphasized excently in Chet Suttons's dialogue.
Once again, thank you for letting me review your work; remember I am a student of reviewing, not an official one.