Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Visions of Joannah--Guest story, by Josie



I’m not a writer like most of you wonderful folks out there, so this story will probably sound very awkward. And it may or may not be a true story, and I may or may not be an observer in this story. And any relationship the characters bear to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

I grew up in a small town on the edge of a forest and my best friend, Helena, lived on the other side of the creek from our house. We spent all our time at each other’s houses, playing hopscotch, skipping, swimming, playing with dolls and doing all the other things girls do. Helena was a goof and she made me laugh. We went through elementary school together and we ate lunch together every day. We would often trade lunches, and I always looked forward to the days when Helena’s mother made her chocolate bar and banana sandwiches. Yes, they were delicious.

We grew apart as we got into high school and found we had different interests. Helena was very athletic and involved in girl’s basketball, where I was more involved with the school choir and painting. We went our separate ways and didn’t see each other again after graduation.

Helena became a teacher and moved to another city and I got married and moved to Vancouver. After my husband died it was necessary for me to go back to work very quickly, so I became a legal assistant with a large law firm. I worked for the senior partner and his junior assistant, a young articling student named Paul.
Paul was a very sweet young man and everyone liked him. He was dark, attractive and sort of self-effacing, but he was a very promising articling student. However, he had made one serious mistake in his personal life during his articles. He had been accused, but not convicted of a petty criminal offense, and there was a question as to whether he would be permitted to be called to the Bar and practice law. A hearing was held before the Benchers of the Law Society. When the hearing concluded it was agreed that Paul could take the Bar and practice law, but only on the condition that he secure a position in any other location, so he moved to a smaller city and found a position with a law firm there.

Re-enter Helena. Helena had been diagnosed with a condition that required surgery. The doctor who performed the surgery botched it, leaving Helena in chronic pain. Helena sued him but it is very difficult to win a case against a doctor and she lost. The firm she had retained to represent her was the same law firm where Paul now worked.

Helena was frustrated with the outcome of her case, and after exhausting all appeals she set out on a mission to take justice into her own hands. She went to the law firm looking for the lawyer who represented her with the intent to shoot and kill him, but she shot Paul instead, who just happened to get in the way. She was captured while she was on her way to shoot the doctor who had botched the surgery.

After a lengthy trial, Helena was found guilty of murder. Canada doesn’t have capital punishment so she was sentenced to life in prison. At the time that this happened, I was in anguish for both my friends. I could not believe that the little girl who had been my best friend could take someone’s life, and the life she took was someone I had met long after she and I had gone our separate ways. But even sadder was the fact that if Paul had not been required to relocate to another city, it would not have happened to him.
That lovely, sweet young man was in the wrong place at the wrong time, just one of those perverse times when something goes wrong in the universe.
And what, I wondered, had made my friend Helena become so desperate she decided to take someone else’s life.

My heart broke for both of them because I had known them both to be charming, kind, funny people. I think if they had met under different circumstances, they would have liked each other.Anyway, that’s my odd little story of how the universe can sometimes tilt on its axis and throw everything askew.


Editor's note: Island Grove Press takes full responsibility for the above "livier a clef".

32 comments:

EA Monroe said...

Way to go Ivan and Josie!
LOL "livier a clef" -- Helena! Josie might shoot you Ivan!

ivan said...

Hi Liz,

What, you never seen a screwed-up title before?

I keep not remembering that Josie is Johannah.

So steal a bit from Bob Dyla and call it Joannah.

Yeah, it should have been Helena.

WT Hell.

All the news that fits.

...I gotta stop drinking this Nightol.

islandgrovepress said...

p.s.:

We Three Quarks (and some satellites) believe that writing well is the best revenge.

Myself, I just offered an opening sentence, as requesteted, over at She'sawriter's blog. She wanted a sample of the opening sentence of my new WIP.

Ivan

So I gave it to her.

"'F*ck Me!' she explained!"...

Now ain't I talented?

Heh.

Ivan

Josie said...

That's okay, Ivan. No one knows my formal name. I have always gone by Jo or Josie, except when someone is mad at me, then it's JoHANNA...!!!

Ha!

Josie

ivan said...

I've gone into hiding.

EA Monroe said...

Oh, Ivan! Come out, come out, wherever you are! 1-2-3-4-5...

Josie said...

Do you guys HAVE to make me laugh when I have a mouth full of coffee? Now I have to clean my computer screen.... again....

Ha!

Josie

Donnetta Lee said...

Hello, You Three Quarks: Very, very nicely done, Josie. Makes you wonder just how this universe swirls around. I still believe people have known each other in times past. Maybe there was karma that had to be fulfilled here. (And, yes, you really are a writer.) Donnetta

ivan said...

Hi Donnetta.

Thanks.

Somebody just sent me a story here.
I have to leave my office for a bit; no time right now to analyze.

As soon as I find your email address, I will send it to you so I can get a woman's point of view.

ivan said...

Hm.

Getting close to sixty hits on the blog today.
I've never had sixty hits in one day.
Got a feeling it's Josie's story--and it's only been up for a few hours.

Ivan

Danny Tagalog said...

Ivan,

I'm checking out Mencken "A Book Of Prefaces"- and he led me to Joseph Conrad ("The Shadow Line" via Project Gutenberg) - strange seeing as a colleague twice as old as me was ranting about Conrad today.

Cheers for the stimulus.

Danny Tagalog said...

I've just gone off to make some of those chocolate bar and banana sandwiches - why have I been missing out on sampling such a diseased treat all these years. Snickers Bar and a Banana in a Bun. Tastes like nothing on earth.

Danny Tagalog said...

Yum Yum.

ivan said...

Conrad continues to be an influence.
Guy of pretty well my background who wrote in Polish, translated to French, then to English for his masterpieces.(I'm not saying that I write masterpieces).

Hollywood uses him quite a bit, especially "Heart of Darkness."

Writing in Edwardian times, he predicted some of our current plight in "The Secret Agent."

H.E.Eigler said...

Josie, I quite liked this! Nice, simply elegant language and a plot that bounces from one interesting idea to another. Good job.

ivan said...

Danny Tagalog,

Donnetta Lee (above) wants you to have a look at her poetry in her blog just before the current one.
She has produced a poem on stars
winking and talking to each other.
Really nice.

The tone of the first poem (there are two) seems somehow Japanese.

Since you live in Japan, I thought you might want to comment.
...Just click onto Donnetta Lee.

Thanks for appreciating Josie's piece.

Ivan

ivan said...

Heather,

Thank you.

Josie will be pleased.

And she keeps telling us she is not a writer!

Josie said...

Ivan, I'm not a writer. I'm surprised at the response, both on your blog and mine. I'm just relating a true story. This really happened.

But thank you, everyone...!

Josie

ivan said...

Attractiveness. That's what it is.

You get it from your lovely grandmother. Love that picture of her on your blog.

Josie said...

Yes, wasn't she pretty? So was my mother, and my daughter and our little Katherine is GORGEOUS.

Cheers,
Josie

ivan said...

Yes.
Beautiful people.

And did you see the picture of Liz, E.A. Monroe when she was little? Precious.

EA Monroe said...

Ivan, I was a tomboy terror! My mom always fixed me up for picture day -- unless I forgot to tell her! That really made her mad.

ivan said...

Ah, youl're still a looker.

Danny Tagalog said...

Ivan,

I left a couple of message, but I'm unsure whether they were received on her blog. In any case, yes - but I really enjoyed the way "Dreaming...tenderly" saw her become an element that was caught by the object of her affections. Noted that the poem began with the plosive "D" and ended with the softer "p" perhaps a metaphor for the rainfall and the capture. Lovely, with a definite Japanese style...

Cheers Donnetta:)

Danny Tagalog said...

Sorry - that should have meant softer "t"...

ivan said...

Thanks, Danny.

I'm sure Donnetta will be pleased.


Oops! American Idol coming up.
Can you get it in Japan?

Gotta watch all the hopefuls.
Reminds me of my young days as a contestant in the talent shows.
...Most times I'd lose, but sometimes...Hell there was always country music, and I was good at that.

Donnetta Lee said...

Hi everybody. Just wanted to say thank you to Danny Tagalong for the gracious comments on the poem. Yes! The first word begins with the voiced plosive /d/ and last is the voiceless plosive /t/. In speech therapy, I tell my children that it is "whispered." Makes me want to write something else! Thanks, Ivan, for having Danny T. communicate to me through your blog. Appreciate it, guys! Donnetta

ivan said...

No problem.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

What an amazing story -- thanks for sharing this with the universe (which, as you pointed out, can cruelly tilt, but which can also conspire to bring people together, in strange and delightful patterns!)

ivan said...

Kimber,
Wow.
You got it.


Ivan

ivan said...

How strangely does our story bring to mind the recent newscast of
Captain Nowak, the lady astronaut and her tale.

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