#10 Alphonse

by Bill Keis

As kids we would ride our bikes to the abandoned brownstone mansion perched on the cliffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Local lore was that America’s most wanted gangster, Al “Scarface” Capone, occasionally hid out there during the Prohibition Era and his gang ran a speakeasy in the caves along the waterfront 120 feet below. We snuck in through the coal chute and spent hours searching for hidden treasure or tunnels and pretending we were gangsters. It was all fun and games until the police caught us and hauled us down to jail.

In my junior year at Harvard, I met Alexandria and immediately fell for her beauty, intelligence, sophistication, and her mysterious charm. She was from Chicago and claimed to be an orphan, but was obviously raised with money and class. Her “working girl” mother had died during child birth and she knew nothing about her father, other than that he had a large, loving, Italian family. She was raised by her Godfather.

We were married after our graduation at the Cathedral in Chicago. It was the first time I met her family. I’ve never seen so many “Uncles” and cousins; all with nicknames! Some of those guys scared the hell out of me and warned “You better take damn good care of Alexandria, or else!” As a wedding gift, Sophia was given the huge Victorian home she grew up in along with a box of photos, family heirlooms, cash, with a letter of explanation from her father, Alphonse Capone!


Deb said...

Hi Bill,
I was a bit thrown when the bride's name changed from Alexandria to Sophia, but it's an easy oversight when we decide to change a character name. At the end, I'd suggest using a period rather than the exclamation mark, as that would let the reader realize the surprise rather than being "told" that this is surprising. That said, it WAS surprising, and I really enjoyed the story.

BIll said...

Thanks Deb,
This is only my second fiction entry ever. Great opportunity for a beginner to get his feet wet and get valuable feedback! My mistake, the brides name was not suppose to change. The only critiquing and editing I have is myself, so that one got past me. I chose the name Alexandria because it's a feminine form of Al. I'm looking forward to the poetry contest in June!

Bill said...

I've been thinking about critiquing and major editing in creative writing. I like my stories and poems to be raw; no one else's fingerprints on my soul that I share/bare. I can see if you're writing for publishing and sales were these contributions can be useful.

Professionally, I wrote technical, scientific reports. Reviewed by lawyers, laymen, other scientists, regulators, etc. Definitely a need for peer review and good editing for this kind of writing. A style of it's own.

I'm breaking loose!

Deb said...

"No one else's fingerprints on my soul..." I like that. The thing about feedback/critique is, we still get to decide what advice to take and what to leave. I like sentence fragments. Use them on purpose, leave them in after critique.

Happy breaking loose! Look forward to your poetry.

Bill said...

Sentence frags -- Implied, unspoken words. The heart of the sentence, without verboseness! Simple, straight arrows to the heart. Creates complex imagery in easy to swallow bites.

Can you look at my other entry #16 Beth; and critique it, please. Feedback is good, I see what you mean. there would be no e.e. cummings if he listened to his grammar teachers.

Deb said...

Will do, Bill : )

Jonathan Riley said...

I love that she was raised by her Godfather. Nice little allusion there. I agree that there is no need for the exclamation point at the end. And the name change threw me for a loop also. Otherwise, nice work. Keep at it. You definitely have the chops to be pretty good at this.