Here's an excerpt from the story that I'm writing. Enjoy and give me some criticism if you must.
Nila Olwen pushed back her newly hennaed hair and sighed. She
was absolutely finished with people! She couldn’t believe that after all hard
work and complaining that she had had to endure with her last client that the
woman had had the unmitigated GALL to paint the crappy 70’s ranch Pepto
Bismol Pink with Mint Green shutters and Venous Blood Purple railings!
She was definitely a reject from good taste class! Nila had chosen a classic
Barn Red with a complimentary Creamy White and it would’ve looked
awesome! She almost wished that her mother hens, Esther and Sarah hadn’t
stopped by her cramped pigeon hole in the basement of Welcome Home
Realty Company, but they HAD gotten her a lot of her work. Nila restored
old houses and made newer ones look fresher and brighter. Her job were
pretty seasonal and since she had a work force of one, she couldn’t be THAT
selective. She could tear down and put up drywall with the best of the guys
and wielded a pretty effective paint brush. Her clients had always praised her
use of colour and paper…except for this last one…She made it a matter of
pride that she frequented the local Mom and Pop shops in Weymouth,
Braintree, and Quincy for her supplies, sometimes wandering as far afield as
Dorchester and Southie if need be for a special order.
Right now, since she had finished with Mrs. Taste-in-her-Ass’s place,
she had no new projects on the near horizon. But with the economy swirling
the drain, everyone was hurting. Interest rates were bouncing like rubber
balls, and no one was looking for a new house or were too busy trying to
keep the one they HAD over their head. She could use that monthly
mystery check right about now. They had been coming for as long as she
could remember. They were always drawn on a big Boston bank and
forwarded to her at Welcome Home. More than once she had been down
to her last dollar and the check would show up and she’d be solvent once
again. And it wasn’t like she was an airhead when it came to money matters,
but living in a tight economy was just very hard for a single girl on her own.
Sometimes the check had been enough to cover her rent and other bills,
sometimes leeway, and sometimes a little extra to treat herself to takeout at
Panda Palace or La Paloma. Her parents had always made her save a part of
the checks even though they themselves didn’t believe in banks. Well they
were around in the 60’s and all…And Nila always thought it was strange that
her brother Kenny never got a mystery check. She had always assumed that it
came from grandparents that her parents had gotten into a fight with and
never forgave, but had always been close to the little girl anyways. Thinking of
her family always made Nila depressed…as strange as they had been, she
knew that they had loved their children. And now that they were gone, she was extremely conscious of what she was missing.
As she pondered, the office manager knocked on the door.
“Hi, John, come in.”
He was okay looking her books: brown hair and hazel eyes and he was always
nice to her. They had gone out a few times, but Nila had made it clear that
she wanted to be his friend and nothing more. He had readily agreed and
things had remained pleasant between them.
“Nice colour, Nila, but was it in your budget?” He indicated her new
“It was until my last client stiffed me her last payment”, she responded
“Taste-in-her-Ass woman, I presume.”
“Yep. None other.”
“Well then, I’ve got good news and bad news for you, friend. Which
would you like first?”
“Neither” she thought.
“Then I will decide! Bad news is no spring off for you this year, my girl.
And the good news is, da-da-daah! There’s a registered letter in my office for
a certain Nila Olwen, who comes highly recommended. The person wants
their house updated over on Old Town Way.”
Nila knew the one. It hadn’t been lived in for years and Esther and
Sarah couldn’t even give it away!
“It hasn’t fallen down yet?”
“No such luck, but that’s the one. AND, they want you to start next
Nila dutifully consulted her ever present Witches’ Date Book and said that she was clear until next year.
Nila spent the following two days closing the book on her previous
client. She was debating take her to small claims court, but decided against
the action. If the woman wanted to live in a house that someone could throw
up on and not notice a change, that was fine. Besides, she could always write
it off on her taxes as a business loss.
Saturday, Nila spent at the Town Hall, then at the Public Library,
taking pages and pages of notes. There hadn’t been an owner of record for
50 years, but the taxes had always been paid from an Estate account…
“Curious”, she thought, filing the fact away. The last owner on the list
had died during World War II in the Philippines and his body was never
found…Lots of bodies were just left by the wayside during the Death
Marches; 25% she recalled. The poor guy had been a philanthropist, and
had never married or had children. There was a yellowed picture in the microfiched archives. He was handsome, but his eyes were sad.
“Bummer”, she said out loud, looking quickly around to make sure no one heard her.
The house was over a hundred years old, she wrote in her notes, and the family had come from old, old, OLD Spanish money.