I think I’ve found my calling with proofreading! If anyone doesn’t mind a newbie looking at their work to build up my portfolio. Please email me: email@example.com I’ve already proofread and edited 10 chapters for the lovely Karen Galista. I’ll write anything articles/blog posts/ even ghost writing.
Hi, gang if anybody is looking for an editor/proofreader I am offering my services for FREE to build up my portfolio. Please message me or email: Rachelmariewriter@mail.com
Scene one: Miscommunication
Joanne is all dressed up in her finery (A floral cupcake dress, her hair is in a beehive, not a hair out of place.) she’s waiting for husband Jack to come home from is a business trip in Wales. The dining room has a soft glow thanks to the candles she’s placed on the table. There is also a trail of roses leading from the hallway to the kitchen.
Joanne: (Flits around the room straightening knives and forks, constantly patting her hair and twisting her wedding ring on her finger. Her hands shake slightly. She goes to the radio and flicks on a classical radio station.)
The front door opens and Joanne rushes forward to greet her husband. Richard is a tall man wearing a grey pinstripe suit and shoes with not scratch on them. His tie is uninformed straight and he wears diamond cufflink. His black hair now has silver streaks is neatly combed and his mouth his set into a thin line.
Joanne: Hello darling! (her voice has a nervous ring to it. She takes his suit jacket and hangs it on the stand. Two sets of slippers are by the side of the umbrella stand, Richard puts his pair on. Joanne goes in to give him a peck on the cheek. then suddenly remembers that he doesn’t like the feel of lipstick. she awkwardly pats his hand.) Good day at work? How was your trip?
Richard opens his mouth to answer but he lifts an eyebrow when he sees that she is wearing her new heels on the cream carpet. Joanne realises what he’s staring at and hastily puts on her own pair of slippers, blushing and not reaching his eyes.) Oh silly me! It’s just these are new heels and I just wanted to show them off with my due-
(Richard points to the needle pointed sign that hangs over the umbrella stand. It reads: PLEASE REMOVE SHOES. Joanne looks down at the floor.)
Richard: You know very well Joanne, that I don’t like to be accosted about work as soon as I walk through the front door. (He looks down at her with disdain.) I assume that you’ve prepared supper and not played dress up all day?
(Richard starts to move towards the kitchen where the delicious smell of lamb chops, is coming from. As Joanne is shuffling behind him, his slippers catch on the trail of rose petals on the floor. His eyes narrowed, he did not like a mess and his wife knew it.)
Joanne: (Quiet voice as she begins to pick up the petals like an anti flower girl): I just thought I’d push the boat out for you my dear, stupid of me obviously.
Richard: Your right there.
(He sits himself down at the kitchen table, he pointed to his plate as an indication to serve him. Like a sparrow she flits around the room, putting things on his plate. He had a kings supper portion in comparison to her pauper one. She pours him a large brandy whilst she had half a glass of water and before she sat down, she tied a long linen napkin around his neck. They eat in stony silence with only the tragic opera offering any kind of conversation. Joanne’s eyes keep flittering towards her husband to see whether he is enjoying the meal.)
Richard: Delicious as always Joanne. (he lets out a burn as he stands up from the table.)
(Joanne looks relieved at the compliment and her shoulders lower slightly.): Thank you, dear, would you like anything else? (She was hopeful for a kiss at least.
(Richard considers this for a moment. His appetite for food was sufficient. But he was hungry of her. He licked his lips and began to mentally undress her in his head. Suddenly he remembered the note in his breast pocket, the moment gone.): I shall just return to my study thank you and I do not want to be disturbed. (he turns swiftly on his heel and strides out of the room): Goodnight.
(Joanne is standing in the kitchen looking as if she might cry. All her efforts to please him wasted. She began to clear up the plates. At least she was grateful that she didn’t have to endure his ‘passions’ tonight. After she tided away she turned off the radio after finally snuffing out the romantic ambience. her shoulders sag as she walks into her bedroom and began to take off her makeup; her shield was down. She didn’t have to pretend anymore (A bruise is covering her left eye and her arms) She went to bed a broken woman.
Scene two: King in his counting house.
Richard is now in his study sitting in an ornate chair at a dark ebony desk. He is surrounded by stacks of files and letters. But, it is the letter in his breast pocket that he studies in depth.
(Camera pans over his shoulder so the audience can see what’s written.): I AM GOING TO BE NEEDING A RING ON MY FINGER. – M XX
(Richard looks dishevelled now compared to earlier. The air of authority was gone. His tie is crooked and loose, his cream shirt now showing sweat patches. Wrinkles line his forehead and his dark circles more prominent. He glances down at the letter in his hand): What have I done? What have I done?! (He glances toward the bedroom door where his dutiful wife lay. He breaks into sobs, cradling his head in his hands.
Outside a thunderstorm rumbles, the air feels charged.
Fade to Black.
Scene three: Spring Cleaning
Joanne wakes up on Sunday morning to find that Richard has disappeared to golf. His club is absent from the corner of the plush bedroom, his weekend clothes are still neatly hung up in the open wardrobe in favour of his golf slacks. The skies outside the window were overcast and it seemed as if trouble was brewing.
(Joanne gets up and begins to write in a small notebook about last nights dinner. [camera pans so the audience can see it,] Last night was awful! I tried especially hard to be romantic last night but it was thrown back in my face by his rigid ways. Sometimes I feel like house help more than his wife and god help me if I’m wrong or else I’ll feel the thwack of his fist. Wednesdays bruise still hasn’t faded. Mummy keeps telling me I must try harder. I can’t seem to tell anyone about the beatings… I so wish I could leave him but, that isn’t ‘the done thing’! Well, neither is forcing your wife to have sex or hit her!
(Joanne sighs as she hides the notebook underneath the shelf of her jewellery box. She then paints on her ‘shield’ and begins to start on chores after her breakfast.
She begins to vacuum and dust everywhere looking at it with an eagle eye to spot any dirt. She notices that Richard’s study door is ajar. Not having the chance to clean it often she hesitantly steps in and sees the mess. Three empty whiskey bottles lay smashed on the floor, the desk chair not tucked in and piles of paperwork on the floor. She puts the whiskey bottles aside, gathering up all the papers she puts them back on the desk. A scrap of paper lies crumpled in a ball. thinking it may have been a mistake she tucks it into the pile. But, this time curiosity peaks her and she reads it. Her hand’s flying to her mouth in shock.
Scene four: Pressure.
Richard is busy working at his desk at his office because of the nagging thoughts in his head. His senses heightened; he could hear his colleagues mindless chatter, the ticking of the clock and the drip of the water fountain.
(He twisted his wedding ring, his fingers were tight and the band burned in his hot clammy skin. He threw it off and tucked into his pocket)
Richard is standing outside the smoking shelter with a few colleagues on his break, puffing a cigar as if it could puff away all his problems. He kept hearing snippets of chatter.
Group on; (munching sandwiches in suits and trilby hats): Did you hear about-
Group two: It’s not going to be easy!
Richard walks back inside as the heavens opened. Usually being the top dog at work he was usually calm and composed. But now he felt like he couldn’t breathe! [Richards thoughts: Does everybody know my shit?!] He glances at the gossiping typists eying him suspiciously. He scurried away to his office but stopped when he saw her.
(Irene Wood was a receptionist at a local law firm. Richard made business there once or twice. Her swollen ankles were stuffed into court shoes. Her raven hair curled loosely around her face, her facing having an innocent glow.
Richard: softly Irene?!
(Irene turns around a smug grin on her face when she sees the panic in her eyes. In her arms she has an infant in her arms no more than a month old)
Irene: [in a sing-song voice, cooing at the baby] Look Rose! There’s daddy! (tone turns smug) When can I get to pick out my ring? (Richard looks stunned)
(Suddenly the main doors burst open making everybody look up in alarm. Joanne is soaking wet in a rain mac, makeup has gone from her face and her hair is soaked so those little droplets from a puddle on the carpet. Her voice Thunderous): SAVE YOURSELF THE BOTHER! YOU CAN HAVE MINE! (FLINGS THE RING AT IRENE. SLAPS RICHARD ACROSS THE FACE): HOW DO YOU LIKE IT HUH?!
Scene four: Happy endings
(Richard is taken into his bosses office along with the two women. Richard can be seen to be fired from his job and the boss pointing towards the door with the two security officers hauling Richard out. his colleagues stare incredulously.)
Irene (Aghast): He didn’t tell me he had a wife! I wouldn’t of-
Joanne: Yep. I am – was that sad sap. (Encloses the ring in her hand. voice hard with venom): Good luck sweetie. (She turns and makes her exit.)
Close to my heart
“Bloomin’ heck Nan, you’ve got enough in this place to keep Antiques Roadshow going for months!” Katie, Vera’s granddaughter gave a little laugh as she carefully wrapped yet another floral plate in bubble wrap that was in Vera and her late husband’s bedroom. Today was moving day for Vera. With Jack gone and the price of living rises whilst pensions meagre as they were, were cut even more and each day the stairs became a little more difficult to climb as Vera’s arthritis was getting worse, Vera had decided now was the time to move into sheltered accommodation which meant Vera had help with the basics but still clung on to her independence. Vera couldn’t help feeling a little misty eyed as she thought of all the wonderful memories.
Vera was just hoovering her once plush but now tattered hallway carpet when she heads a thud. ‘I hope that girl hasn’t broken one of my perfume bottles, as much as she loved Katie, she could be clumsy at times’. Vera thought to herself as she headed back to the almost bare bedroom. She was momentarily shocked like someone had doused her in ice as she stood in the doorway and watched Katie carefully arranging her precious costume jewellery back into the wooden mahogany box. That wasn’t the problem. Her eyes were fixed on the now grey booties and the small ring box that lay open on its side open, its contents lay on the rug. “Oh that’s so sweet Nan, you kept some of Dad’s baby things” Katie fingered the grey bootie. Vera was like a whirlwind and snatched up the booties and scooping the precious contents and its box into her arms before Katie could say a word, she looked confused whilst Vera’s eyes flashed with anger.
“Please, you must never ever touch these things again!” Vera’s voice was usually scolding. It shocked Katie.
“Sorry nan I didn’t realise -”
“No, you never do. Somethings I like to keep private, my personal treasures just for me and no one else!” Vera sat on her bed cradling her treasures now sombre. Katie knelt in front of her nan and took her hands. “But it’s only just dad’s baby things,” She sighed softly.
“That’s just it though their not his.” She couldn’t keep this from Katie as she knew she’d keep prodding or worse tell her father then Pandora’s box will definitely be opened. The seconds ticked by before Vera spoke again, the air thick with tension, the clouds now casting a dark shadow across the room. “Katie, if I tell you this, you mustn’t tell anyone else till I’m ready okay? Not even pop or your Dad knew. Katie felt torn, privileged that she was being trusted so much and then keeping secrets. Katie nodded. Vera smiled as she tucked a stray hair behind Katie’s hair, the luscious blonde locks so familiar.
“Your father, he had a brother.” Katie was confused, her dad was an only child. She began to object but Vera ploughed on. “It’s just as clear as yesterday…”
Vera crossed the street towards the forbidding hospital with its grey brick and windows with iron bars. She didn’t want to do this, she had no choice. She looked down at the sleeping bundle in her arms before hesitantly crossing the road and knocking on the heavy oak door. The sky was black, the rain poured down as the sky split in two like Vera’s heart.
They were greeted by a rather formidable looking nurse with a sharp face, dark eyes and a stern demeanour. She peered at the bundle in her arms before speaking, “Mrs Tanner, I presume? Welcome to Oakmont Hospital. Vera muttered a small thank you as the nurse stepped aside and let her in.
“I can assure you, you’re making the right choice, this way,” said the nurse as she took the jerking and whimpering bundle from Vera’s arms and lead them down a passageway. The doors and windows were all padlocked, vacant-looking souls slumped in wheelchairs sitting listlessly. This was a hospital for the spastics and retarded.
The nurse led her into what was presumably her office before sitting down and unwrapping the bundle revealing a small puny body with stiff jerking limbs and big doleful eyes. As if the poor thing knew what was happening he let out a groan.
“What’s his name?”
“Michael Tanner Matron”
She noted this down on a file.
“It says here he’s aged two and cannot speak apart from groaning, unable to walk, feed himself and has no bowel control, is that right?”
Vera merely nodded, the urge to ran with her baby was strong. To hell what everyone thinks! To hell with her husband who couldn’t bring himself to call their son by his name, never mind say goodbye! Vera wished things to be different.
“Right, well that all seems to be in order. Follow me please” The nurse asked whisking her darling Michael down the corridor.
She came to award and stopped. She opened the door where the stench of urine was overpowering. The hall was sparse with thirty cots made of iron with thin mattresses and one nurse between them all. Now the the the girl was rocking back and forth, another eating the contents of his own mess, a large teenage boy in a wheelchair was screaming and banging his head with his hand.
“The children here, receive the best therapy in the country, fed three times a day, bathed once a week and have plenty of recreational activities.” The Nurse said briskly.
Vera went to stroke Michaels head but the nurse stopped her. “We don’t encourage pandering her Mrs Tanner.” Before she knew what was happening she was propelled out of the ward and back down towards the door. “You’ll receive a letter once a year on his progress. “I promise you, Mrs Tanner, Michael will be alright. Try and forget this incident and live a happy life.” With that she the front door was shut in her face, The cries and images from the ward burned in her memory. Vera didn’t stop crying for a whole month and after that, her first husband left as he couldn’t cope with her ‘hysterics’.
“He died last year of pneumonia and they didn’t let me attend the funeral. If I’d have known the cruelty he would endure I would never have let him stay. But, in those days it was the husband who wore the trousers and Harry couldn’t bear to raise a.. cripple.. ‘it was for the best.'” Vera sobbed.
Katie was crying too and whilst she wanted to comfort her nan she didn’t know what to say, so they sat in silence and Katie swore she heard her nan’s heartbreaking a bit more.
Later that night when Katie left she asked her Gran if she could borrow the photo of her uncle. She handed it over with glistening eyes and her lip quivered, “be careful”.
A week later when her Gran had moved into her apartment Katie presented her with the tiny photo and a wrapped present. She smiles as her Gran grappled with the ornate bow. Her grandmother gasped as the paper fell away. It was a large canvas of her beautiful boy. “Now he doesn’t have to be hidden away again.” She said as she hung it above the fireplace. For once in her life, her grandmother was left speechless. But the surprises weren’t over yet.
Katie‘s grandmother was puzzled as to why they were at the allotment. She looked at Katie prompted to explain cupboard Katie just gestured food for me. They came to his pitching she was confused as to why there was a snowdrop plant to be buried in the ground and her son, his wife and the vicar were standing around it.
“Its time for my uncle to be honoured properly.” Her gran’s eyes welled with tears, Katie knew she had to explain things to her dad but, now it was time to acknowledge her first born’s existence. The family gathered around as the vicar began saying prayers whilst Katie shovelled the snowdrop into the ground. These flowers were survivors and it suited her uncle to a T. The December wind was bitter and the clouds grey but, it’s as if her uncle was watching as the winter sun broke through the clouds and bathed her family in a halo of light.
The flash of the camera startled me. The noise was defeating a small space. Press were clamouring at the bit for bit of juicy gossip for the magazines on the glamorous centrepiece in the room. I managed to catch a glimpse between two gentleman shoulders and I was momentarily taking back by what I saw.
only middle of The room swarmed by guards was none another send Marilyn Monroe.
She is every inch the sex icon. Her slim legs peaked out from the slit in her silver dress, Beautiful stockings with a hint of a lace a garter, her tiny feet waiting ensconced in silver heels with the classic and uneven heel to give her her trademark walk. Her skin with the colour of Ivory even though it was heavily made up I noticed that she looked rather drawn and grey. She was being her charming self her but, her eyes lacked sparkle. She looked rather buxom in her gown however his face and arms looked thinner and beforehand when she accepted the flute of Champagne her hands shook with their eyes dancing around the room, she gave the impression of a frightened dove looking for her exit
After the press displaced the blonde beauty circled the ballroom chatting to other guests. Tonight was a charity function in Manhattan and as my husband was Chairman I was allowed to attend. Seeing as there were rumours of Marilyn’s decline on the ‘Prince and the showgirl’ set, it was probably a wise decision that she received some good press.
The Poor girl, she looked terribly lonely even with all these people here. Even her lover was ignoring her only posing for photos, Stage happiness.
I went over and sat next to her, I touched your shoulder lightly and she jumped spilling a little wine on her dress she hastily dabbed at it with a napkin her eyes flitting towards her manager who scowled at her.
“Don’t worry darling I said at least it wasn’t red wine!” She gave a false laugh and her wrap slipped revealing a purple bruise on a forearm, she’s saw me glance at it and she quickly cover herself up not meeting my eye.
A broken doll forced to be on display.
Mary pulled a storybook out of her voluptuous bag and settled her skirts as the children sat around waiting for the story to be read. Mary Poppins ran a children’s home in London near Great Ormand street, it was 1947 and there had sadly been an increase in new arrivals due to the war. She’d left the Banks’ family nearly twenty years ago now and in that time she’d had a child of her own. She was hurrying back to her lodgings one foggy night and was assaulted by a sailor who ran the Mermaid Cove public house. Unfortunately, when Mary and her a Nanny agency found out she was pregnant, she was stripped of her Nanny privileges, forced to give the baby up for adoption and thrown out.
After Mary had been working in Mrs Potts cafe she discovered an old aunt had died leaving her some money. Hoping to redeem herself she opened a children’s home called Wish Upon a star, wanting to be a mother to the little ones who’d suffered.
She smiled at the loving faces in front of her and each time felt a warm glow, she was just opening the storybook when a boy of ten strode in. “Aw come on Mary! We don’t want to hear that story again do we?” The little ones always agreed with Peter. Peter had been the longest resident at Wish Upon a Star and was once adopted but brought back again. He was a trouble maker which Mary secretly had a soft spot for. Mary fixed Peter with a stern stare, “Now Peter if you don’t want to hear the story you can go to the other room, don’t spoil things for the others.” She admonished gently but firmly. She returned to reading Jack and The beanstalk aloud but was again was interrupted by Peter sighing. “Alright, but I guess you don’t want to hear more Captain Hook stories.” He said playfully, knowing that the children were more interested in what he had to say. Mary rolled her eyes. Of course Tink, Peters Surrogate sister was the first to clamour; ”Hook! Hook!” Then the rest followed suit. Tink was six years old but a bit slow so some years ago Peter had taken her under his wing and they came as a pair ever since. Peter smiled at Mary and proceeded to shrug his shoulders in a ‘What can you do?” Tink climbed on Peters lap and snuggled in close and a hush came over the room as Peter began to tell the tale. “Hoist the sails! There’s treasure afoot…”
Whilst Peter entertained the children Mary went and turned down each bed. There were ten children overall; the twins, Hannah and Celia, Tink, Peter, Adam, George, Katie, Holly, Ella and Jack. Each of them was either from bombed-out homes or found on the front steps of hospitals. Some had come from terrible homes of abuse but, with a lot of love and good food, they blossomed into happy content children just wanting to be loved.
It was at night time that she thought of her son; he would be eleven now, would he have a bed at night? A decent meal? Someone, to hug away his nightmares? It was her biggest regret signing the contract relinquishing all responsibility. But, what could she do? She had no job and little money. The only thing she did have was a snippet of hair which she kept inside a locked tucked by her heart. She wasn’t allowed to name him or feed him once though, in her head she had called him Archie after her own father. She would be ashamed to learn what she’d done, though it was not her fault. This was the only way she could make it up to him.
She went along the nursery and tucked a hot water bottle under each of their covers. Even though the home was generously funded with heat, the Lino floor and thin windows made it draughty.
Back in the living room, she informed them that it was indeed bedtime. Fearing tension in the ranks Peter jumped up with Tink on his back; “All lost boys and girls to bed!” The children ran merrily behind him as he deposited Tink in her bed with a kiss. Before climbing into bed the children lined up to the nightly ritual of each being lifted to the window and wishing upon the evening star. Mary thought these moments so precious.
As the children snuggled into their beds she said a prayer before lowering the oil lamp creating a safe cosy glow.
Little did she know that her own precious wish was right under her nose.
Her love for each gem was worth more than any pirate bounty.
Once upon a time in the lush green valleys of S Wales lived an ordinary girl called Gwen.
Gwen lived happily in the two by two grey stone house with her mother, Amy and Pomeranian pooch, Princess. Her father had left the family home some years ago when Amy discovered him having an affair with his piano student in their marital bed. Everything was going fine until one day Amy noticed that her fourteen-year-old daughter kept nodding off.
“Wake up sleeping beauty!” Amy thrilled as she shook her daughter’s shoulder and brushed back her strawberry blonde curls behind her ear. Gwen’s eyes flicked open however her bright sapphire eyes were unfocused and dull. “What happened?” She asked groggily as she rubbed her eyes and sat up straighter in the leather armchair. Amy smiled, “You nodded off for a bit sweetheart, don’t you remember? Must be all that netball you play! Early night for you!” Amy ushered Gwen up the stairs and into her bedroom. Gwen felt as if everything her mum said was underwater and as if she couldn’t really focus, just on autopilot. Gwen yawned as she climbed into bed, snuggling under her duvet and purple velvet throw, nuzzling it against her cheek. She barely remembered her mum kissing her goodnight and flicking off the light switch, plunging her into the darkness. She didn’t tell her mum but this was not the first time she’d fallen asleep, it happened in science last week during a frog direction. No matter how early she went to bed it still happened. If she was being honest with herself she felt that something wasn’t right with her but afraid to say it out loud in case it came true. She didn’t have time to feel vulnerable because she soon fell into a deep sleep.
A few months later and the problem steadily grew worse. So much so that Amy had been called into seeing the schools’ welfare officers as Gwen’s marks had plummeted. “We’re just concerned.” The three women said softly as Amy sat in front of them. “Is anything happening at home?” Said Miss Hennessey, Gwen’s form tutor. This question made Amy burn in her seat, was she insinuating that she was a bad mother? “The doctors are investigating the cause and we’re taking vitamins as well as keeping a sleep journal, it’s most likely to be stress.” Amy shifted in her seat as she felt as if she was under scrutiny. The three women agreed that this was a good way forward but Amy could just see that they were condescending. In the meantime, Gwen was to give up her beloved netball.
This made matters worse as she seemed to sleep for hours and her speech began to slur as well as chronic headaches and confused state. “I don’t want to live any more mum!” Gwen sobbed in bed, making Amy feel slightly helpless.
A year later and things were still no better despite a new regime of supplements and diet changes. The doctors reviewed her sleep journal and decided to send her away to a sleep clinic for a week. Gwen hated the harsh lighting, the constant noise and the banging of doors swinging open and shut. The squeak of the nurses’ trainers irritated her as well as having to deal with a lumpy mattress, static producing sheets and hardly any privacy. She was even followed to the toilet by an aide in case she had a sleeping episode! The worst part was the lack of appetite due to the unappealing smells of bleach and plastic that seemed permanently seeped in every piece of furniture and curtain. She could deal with the rashes of the various monitors stuck to her but, the hardest part was being without her beloved Princess.
It was after a fainting spell that they diagnosed her with narcolepsy a condition where suffers have episodes of prolonged sleep throughout the day as well as cataplexy that caused her to collapse usual brought on by strong emotions such as excitement. Gwen felt relieved because now she could start treatment and get back to normal but was devastated again that although there was medication, there was no cure. She was stuck with this for life.
“Looks like we’re going to have to find a prince to break the spell!” Her dad said when he came to visit her in the hospital with his new girlfriend Lola who was six years older than Gwen. Gwen scowled at this and so did her mum earning him a dig in the ribs from Lola. She was cursed.
To make things worse she was on a children’s ward with noisy five-year-olds and grumpy pre-teens. The only way she found solace was starting a blog called ‘The Welsh Sleeping Beauty’ where she could rant and talk to other sufferers in the USA where 25% of people were affected but unable to afford the new experimental treatments. She loved her late night chats with Ryan who really understood what she was going through. That laptop was her source of hope and every day when she went home she signed up for every medical trial. She was in school part time and she was studying science for GCSE where one day she hoped to be able to find a breakthrough so that good may triumph over evil.
The moral to this tale is to not take anything for granted and sometimes you cannot prevent your fate, it can also be the making of you. Sometimes you have to make the best out of a bad situation.