When It Finally Happened Part II – Indigo Spider Writing Challenge

This is a two-part story based on a photo prompt over at Indigo Spider’s blog. One of the challenges of the prompt was to try tag-write it with another writer. Uma, over at Blue Sky Musings invited me to be her writing partner. I gladly accepted, knowing we would be able to come up with something great together. I was not mistaken!

Please, please, please – before you read the entry below, go over to Part I of the story: When It Finally Happened. I have posted Part II written by Uma below. She has posted Part I, written by me, on her post. So you need to hop on over there and read that post first, then come back and finish the story here.

Here’s the photo it was based on:

The photographer is Vivian Maier. She was completely unknown. Took literally thousands of rolls of film, mostly with a medium-format camera. NEVER SHOWED them to anyone. Died extremely poor. In the last years of her life she could not pay the storage fees on the unit with all her undeveloped film and photos and they were auctioned off. Luckily someone who bought a large lot of them recognized how amazing they are and has found most of the collection. He is bringing her to posthumous recognition. Amazing stuff. Check her out! Click here to see the photo we chose for the prompt – Photo Prompt from Indigo Spider


“But, Daddy—“
He turned and loped toward the door. She ran after him.
He didn’t even turn his head. The bell on the handle of the glass door jangled as he pushed it open, bolted down the sidewalk, and pushed aside a woman with a fur hat. As Charley raced out the door, the fur-hatted woman turned to look after the tear-faced clown and the ragged little girl chasing him.
A half-block away, he suddenly stopped and leaned against a brick wall. She reached him, panting. He was crying. Taxis honked; the man selling hot dogs and pretzels on the corner watched as Charley hugged him, wailing.
Her thin body pressed against him, her arms wrapped his waist. Desperation rang through the streets. The near-hideous clown slumped, his weight falling onto Charley. She released her arms and he collapsed in a pile on the hard sidewalk. His odd clown-hat fell off his sweating head and lay at a grotesque angle beside him.
People gathered around them, stood in mute silence, staring. Panic rose in Charley’s chest. When her father performed his strange, dark-clown, street dramas, she played her part silently, passing the hat, eyes downcast, invisible. She had to get him home, out of sight. It didn’t matter that it was freezing in that 5th floor walk-up, the refrigerator shelves were bare and they had to huddle around the gas stove to keep at least their hands and noses warm. They would be alone and together.
“What’s going on here? Make way, make WAY, I said. Police, make way.”
Charley froze.
She hissed into her father’s ear.
“The police are here!”
To Charley, the illiterate daughter of an illegal street performer, the police meant one thing: run.
Her father mouthed some words. She leaned in to catch them.
“What, Daddy?”
“I love you. I’m sorry.”
She started to scream and tried to twist away as the cop put his hand on her shoulder.
The woman in the fur hat stepped forward from the crowd.
“Please, sir, unhand my daughter.”
Charley stopped mid-scream.
The cop released his grip. “Ma’am, what is going on here?”
Charley didn’t move.
“Sir, I do apologize. This man has been taking care of my daughter. I will see to them both. I would appreciate it if you could move this crowd along. Thank you.”
The woman squatted down to Charley’s eye level.
“Hello, dear. What is your name?” She said very quietly.
“Charley.” Charley whispered.
“Well, hello Charley. I am Anna. What is your father’s first name?”
Anna stood and spoke to a man standing beside her who Charley had not noticed. A car pulled up to the curb. Her father’s eyes opened as the man leaned down to help him to his feet.

And that is how Charley and Willhelm came to live with us — Mama found them on the street.

14 thoughts on “When It Finally Happened Part II – Indigo Spider Writing Challenge

  1. Madison Woods

    I enjoyed the story, but did expect a darker end although I’m relieved at the ‘Shirley Temple’ wrap-up 🙂 Ya’ll did a good joint story. I wondered how it would be to read something written in halves by two different people.

    1. Re Gypsy

      P.S. You writing ( part 1), flows so beautifully, and the voice that you use transports me back into a different era. Great stuff.

      1. screen_scribbla Post author

        Thanks – I stepped out of my usual comfort zone for this one and wrote from an unfamiliar place. It felt good, even though I wasn’t sure about the writing. I’ll definitely look to step out of my comfort zones in future too. I’m really pleased about how well our styles gelled seamlessly too. I thought Uma’s contribution was amazing.

  2. Pingback: Sunday Picture Press II | Indigo Spider

  3. Team Oyeniyi

    I didn’t notice the transition between authors either. Stunning work to the both of you. Even if there were a host of instructions to follow first! It was like a treasure hunt!

    I’d like to know why both were illiterate. I see this set in about the 1920s.

    1. Find an Outlet

      I found myself thinking about this story last night, so it had more of an impact on me than I thought. Compulsory education was mandatory in the US by 1918, but back then I imagine it was easier to slip through the cracks, especially in a big city or a rural area, and especially if you lived on the fringes of society. There are still many illiterate people today all over the world. The reason I don’t like the father is because he said “I can’t do this anymore,” which was all about him. He wasn’t thinking about his daughter and what would be best for her, and leaving her to fend for herself is pretty cruel and traumatic. She would have become a ward of the state or a runaway. She didn’t because they were saved, but still, it makes me hate the father.

  4. Find an Outlet

    What about poor Andrea, left crying on her bed with her dead mother in the next room? And why is the father’s facepaint stored on a shelf in Andrea’s room? I think the father is a loser for dumping his daughter and his niece and if I were them I would never trust him again.

  5. Evelyn

    I was certain the differences in style would make the transition abrupt, but I didnt even notice I was so involved in the story.
    Awesome. This little world exists, I know it.
    Charley becomes so many great things…

  6. Indigo Spider

    Bravo! You both did such a fantastic job. As I said on Blue Sky’s blog, I couldn’t click fast enough to get to the rest of the story.

    Little Charley is so well written I felt like wrapping her up and taking her home myself, poor little thing. I’m not one who usually loves happy endings but this one, I was so relieved. I’m glad she was able to stay with her dad and they found a better place.

    Again, repeating what I said to Blue Sky, you both inspired me to keep the challenge going so I can read more great stuff. Thank you both so much!

    1. BlueSkyPoet

      I was on the verge of writing something dark and dismal for the end, then had this sudden Shirley-Temple-moment. Happy endings. They’re not so bad, really.

      Oh, and also, the original second half started at almost 900 words. There was more about her new life also. If either of you want to read that version, I can send it along. Let me know!

      1. Indigo Spider

        Yes, please, do send it along, I want to know what happens to little Charley 🙂


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