San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
August 15
A "writer" in that I transmit others' words, all the time, on a huge variety of subjects. A professional observer; a silent listener. I nonetheless have a voice, which I like to let out once in awhile (nice doggie). Owner of children and cats and one puppy. Standing still, battling fight or flight syndrome.


JANUARY 29, 2010 6:03PM


Rate: 43 Flag

     Sue-Ann Pederson gave birth hard, on a cracked linoleum floor, beige and black.  When her son popped out, the toaster oven on the counter by the fridge rang, indicating the bread was ready for its oleo-margarine, cinnamon not far behind.  Sue-Ann sang out,   "Ding!  Ding!" as she always did in the morning, while  fixing her father's  breakfast.   When the   lady paramedic asked the baby's name, her silver pen in hand, she paused only a second, cocking her head, before entering D-i-n-g carefully into her logbook.

     Sue-Ann hadn't known much love in her life.  It was a revelation, like swimming underwater for the first time, then breaking into the air, into the light, to be so necessary to someone.  And she was necessary to Ding.  At the hospital, they taught her how to hold him, how to change him, how to swaddle.  She really liked the swaddling.  It seemed both loving and confining, and the idea of it brought a strange comfort.

     When she brought her son to her breast, he stared up into her eyes, never wavering, with a fierceness that took her breath from her.  Only when fully sated would he give way, pass out, and still he clung to her tight. 

     No one had known Sue-Ann was pregnant.  Her mother sat in the living room, day after day, chain smoking and looking out the greasy window.  Her father worked at the fabricators.  He was a machinist.  He left at 5:30, after his toast and coffee; got home around 3:00.  He'd clomp down the basement stairs, six-pack in hand.  She'd hear the t.v. down there, but he never came up again till time for breakfast.

     Sue-Ann's parents hadn't had much to do with her for her whole life.  She came early, and her mom would leave her in her crib for hours with her bottle.  Sometimes it had milk in it.  Most times, weak tea.  The specialists had said she might have brain damage, might be autistic.  It didn't really matter.  Sue-Ann's mother just shrugged and looked away, thinking of getting outside, thinking of not being in some bright room with some bright doctor peering at her.  Social services were called in, but they were kind of hit or miss.

     One September afternoon, when Sue-Ann was 19, a man named Hoke knocked on the door.  He'd been trimming the hedge on the grade school property across the street.  He was asking for a glass of water, but really looking for something he might steal and sell downtown.  One look at the house, though, and he saw there'd be nothing for the pawn shop today, nosir.  But there was this girl here, yeah.  She might be a little slow, but she sure smiled at him, she sure liked him.  She even laughed at his jokes. 

     Hoke came back after dark, scratched at the back door.  When she opened it, Sue-Ann couldn't have known she was meeting her future, creating her destiny.  She couldn't have known that something so wrong might actually save her.  She didn't know much, Sue-Ann, but she was going to find out about love.

         red bubble / mother's love 


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A dark story. Yet Ding has a chance of growing up normal, as in socially normal. Kids that get that intensity of focus in their first few years acquire a flexibility that lets them survive a less than perfect upbringing.
ConnieMack--This phrase caught me right off: "Sue-Ann hadn't known much love in her life. It was a revelation, like swimming underwater for the first time, then breaking into the air, into the light, to be so necessary to someone. And she was necessary to Ding."
It could be her salvation. Fine piece of word art here my friend.
Powerful post, dark and yet a real ray of hope for Dink.
Oh I'm glad to see more of this. The backstory is infinitely interesting, as was the first piece about Ding...keep it up! I adore the way he got his name.

I love that you've fleshed out this story more. I think you're on to something!
omg, what you DO with a pen. (okay, keyboard)
Like spudman said, the swimming bit was so good. Evocative.
Like using words to paint images.
And something so wrong might actually save her.... that, too.
Very fine writing... I like!
I LOVE this. And I believe it to be true in more people in life than we imagine. Your story and words are so well-crafted. I loved the revelation in the second paragraph. And of course, the last paragraph with the thoughts about meeting her future and creating her destiny.
Happy to see you're continuing with this story! Lovely, especially the second & third paragraphs where we see how much the mother loves her son.
I'm surprised how short these Ding posts are. I would take twice as long and tell half the story. It's a talent that serves you and your stories well.
Y'all... I don't know how to say thank you. At least, not well.

I'm a bit verklempt (!) and prone to drop into antic humor to create confusion.

But really, thank you. Thank you so much.
Thank goodness we don't have to rely on that paramedic to invent the wheel, or anything. Anyone who would write "D-i-n-g" should not be trusted to save people's lives. Or invent wheels.

Your writing is entrancing and enveloping. I love Sue-Ann and I hate her mother. Don't even get me going on her dad.

Can't wait to see where this leads.
Please tell me their last name is not Bat. That would just be cruel and unusual for poor, sweet Ding.
Chris... what would you say to Dhong?
Connie Mack: I love to witness these characters unfolding. Great job. I can't wait to read more....
Your style is powerful, Connie; this omniscient, matter-of-fact voice is telling an amazing tale.

And the idea that this awful crime yielded something beautiful, life-saving, even, should give us all pause. We can hate the crime, but we simply cannot judge all the consequences. Wow.
This is marvelous.
This is so good. So very, very good.
First comes the dark then the dawn, first comes love then comes marraige then comes the baby in the baby carraige. We used to sing this as children as I think about it now. It was a precursor to life, before the questions until the questions are answered, the storys sing song quality remind me of the song "Bobby Joe McCalister Jumped off the Tallahasse Bridge".
Your writing style in this story reminds me of Billie Letts stories. Very good!
ding, ding, and more ding please. Let me know when the story starts again.

"She couldn't have known that something so wrong might actually save her." I'm so curious...
Fuck. That was beautiful and gut-wrenching.

Great story, Connie.
*in his best Oliver Twist voice*

Please, ma'am - may I have some more?


Now you've got me wondering exactly where this is going. So I hope there will be more come Friday. Maybe even sooner.

I'll bring the cinnamon.

Thanks again. This is a painful story but, as Frank says, we need to see the good within the bad.

And thanks, Paints, for the reference to Letts. I don't know why, but I've not read her, and the short story is my favorite format. My eldest Dot, Dot 1, was reading her over my shoulder the other night and she said, Yep, that sure sounds like you.

Must be a midwestern - um, I mean, a Plains State confabulance. Billie is from Oklahoma; I'm from Kansas.

I'm just sayin'.
I have such hope for Ding...and you sure can write!!!
I've read this several times, and each time I come again it is to say thank you for posting. Good writing.
This is one fine piece of writing Connie. Impressive really.
Wow. I'm late, but still, wow! You transported me. This is brilliant work, brilliant, I say.
Wow. Raw and powerful. I like the sharpness and speed. This is a rough story -- and eminently believable. Great work!
This is the story of my sister in many ways. She was/is too innocent in her mind (though her body is now 53) to know good experiences from bad in the way that you described. I don't know if I'm making any sense here but like Sue-Ann, she doesn't know much but I think/hope she knows love.

Thank you...

Signs of a good storyteller, wanting more. Rated -- better late than never!
Conniemack: Great story! Dark and haunting. I've written some dark stories too. Read my blog. (And thanks for responding to my post on the Littleton shooting. I'll check out that link.)
coming to this late but loving it.R
just lovely, your writing. R.
These characters are so real and expertly drawn.
I'm with Dr. Spudman 44 - those lines really grabbed me too. And your hard-hitting style. Very real, in-your-face, not romanticized but still love there. Impressive stuff.
I love your spare style, it's effective and keeps the tempo of the story moving but you still manage to paint a full picture for the reader.
Oh my ! You are something else. Just read this one after you found me and I am looking forward to reading more. WOW !
Connie, Connie, Connie. You have a knack for picking just the right word. The perfect phrasing. You draw us in with such ease. I don't know the words to tell you just how superb this is.
Ding's for sharing this...feels like she lives in my heart!