Four Rooms

July 15, 2010
By Irene_Adler BRONZE, Holland, Michigan
Irene_Adler BRONZE, Holland, Michigan
4 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Jules, you know honey... this isn't real. You know what this is? It's St. Elmo's fire."

The shrill ringing of the phone filled her with dread. She took a deep, self-cleansing breath and picked up the old, corded, black, shrieking phone.

“Is this Diane Helms?” A man’s cordial voice asked after she had choked out a hello.

Diane cleared her throat and nodded. It was habit, even though she knew the man couldn’t see her. “Yes,” she added.

“We’re calling you back about your interview. Unfortunately, there were so many talented people who interviewed that we don’t find ourselves in need of your particular skills.”

Yes, Diane thought, it was all worded very carefully so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Not that it had worked.

“Right,” she said, daring her voice not to waver.

“We are sorry, and we hope you go far with your various ambitions.”

Diane doubted very much that this man actually cared about her various ambitions, but she mumbled, “Thank you, sir,” and hung up the phone.

The click of the phone hitting the receiver and the silence that followed rang loudly in her ears.

That was the seventh failed job interview that June. There had been nine in May, and a rock-bottom twelve in April.

Diane was frantically searching for a job she liked. She made money with two jobs--one as a barista in the coffee shop under her apartment, and the other was working the register at a Borders across the street. Even with both, she barely made enough for the rent of her small apartment. She still had trouble with the finances, even taking into consideration her discounted rate, the owner being her Sorority sister from college.

The tiny four-room always smelled a little like coffee and burned Asiago Cheese bagels. There was her bedroom, painted a faded blue with her twin bed in one corner and a dark wooden dresser in another. In her room was one window that overlooked the streets of New York City, with matching blue, cheap, thin curtains on it. Another room was a bathroom with darker blue walls and only a white toilet and sink with the smallest shower that Diane had ever seen. Then there was the red-walled kitchen, with exactly one pot, one pan, one stirring spoon and two knives, spoons and forks, and a burned spatula. She had a fridge and a microwave, a toaster and a stove, and a tiny oven. She had decided not to spend money on a coffee maker--living above at coffee shop made it seem redundant, even though the coffee probably cost a lot more in the shop. The last room was painted a dying yellow. It had the biggest window, almost one whole wall, which showed a slightly shifted picture of the view from her bedroom. She had an overstuffed red couch and a worn-in brown leather chair, which were situated around a glass coffee table that was covered in rings from where sweating glasses had been set down. There was a small wooden desk in the room, too, and on it sat a tiny radio that Diane had found at a garage sale in Albany when she last visited her brother.

Diane sat on the couch, which felt like more than a friend to her than any person she could remember. She put her head in her hands.

Being a barista and a book seller was slightly depressing for someone who had gone to college as an English major.

The job she’d interviewed for this time was for a publishing company. It wasn’t an editor or anything--she had actually stooped low enough to interview for a receptionist--but she had thought that even being near people who edited actual books would add some glamour to her otherwise glamour-less life. She had even hoped, quietly and secretly, that she would somehow rise up and become an editor when someone from the company had realized her potential.

But of course, she hadn’t gotten the job. Like so many interviews, she had botched this one up.

Diane felt the bitter, silly, petty tears welling, and forced herself to swallow the lump. Being a woman of pride, she hated crying--even if there was no one around to see her. She especially couldn’t cry over this.

It was just a stupid job, she told herself, just another stupid job. She let out a frustrated scream. Just a job at Little Brown! she thought.

She gave a shaky sigh and raised her head, her eyes catching on the clock above the radio--which she only used for NPR.

The clock told her it was 5:02, and her shift at Borders started at five.

“Damn,” she said aloud, throwing herself out the door and barely remembering to grab her overlarge soft red leather purse.

She tripped down the stairs to the door that opened into the loud, exciting world of New York City.

Dashing across the street just before the light turned red, Diane had made it to Borders in under a minute.

Dropping her bag behind the check-out counter, Diane called a breathless hello to Delilah, the near-deaf seventy-something woman who had the same shift as her. Then she took up her position in front of the left register, and without stopping to catch her breath she said, “I can help whoever’s next!”

She did this for three hours.

The author's comments:
This is only one scene in a longer story I want to write... I wrote it in one sitting and I have to go back over it again to check stuff out, but... this is the first draft.

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This article has 5 comments.

on Aug. 19 2010 at 10:46 pm
Irene_Adler BRONZE, Holland, Michigan
4 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Jules, you know honey... this isn't real. You know what this is? It's St. Elmo's fire."

Wow, thanks! That's what I needed!

on Aug. 19 2010 at 6:50 pm
HotTeenWriter24x7 BRONZE, Poughkeepsie, New York
2 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Forbidden to Remember, Terrified to Forget."

Wow this was really good...i like the story line and her feelings towards the way life is...and the fact that she keeps trying no matter how many times she's turned down...ur descriptons of her thoughts are done well...keep writing...can't wait to read a part 2..which i hope u of luck ;]

on Aug. 19 2010 at 5:26 pm
SecretNonConformist SILVER, Marblehead, Massachusetts
6 articles 0 photos 195 comments

Favorite Quote:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of
evil is for good men to do nothing."
-Edmund Burke

"Bless the children, give them triumph, now!"
Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers

I loved Diane's emotion. It seemed extremely real. Actually, this entire story seemed extremely real. I hope you make this into a longer story. I think I would love it even more if you did because it seems awkward standing alone. Also, I want to know what happens :)

Keep up the good work!

on Aug. 19 2010 at 11:31 am
mudpuppy BRONZE, Orangeburg, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 475 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is like a box of cheese and flower petal sometimes it's soft and sweet, sometimes it just plain stinks. - M.J.

 I really like this. I can feel the emotion in it.

on Aug. 18 2010 at 3:28 pm
squidzinkpen SILVER, Buffalo, New York
9 articles 0 photos 193 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The Irish gave the Scots the bagpipes as a joke, but the Scots haven't seen the joke yet"- Irish Proverb

Well, because this is a draft, I'm not sure if I should go harder or easier on you...just kidding! You'll be cleaning this up on your own as you reread and edit, so I'll zone in on major things and suggest alterations. It's a very modern piece. Basically daily life, not an exact plot, very simple and relateable.

In the first paragraph, you've got a lot of descriptions, and they weigh down the story. To keep the flow, you may want to try:

"She took a deep, self-cleansing breath and picked up the old phone, and managed to choke out a 'hello'."


I know an expression that applies to this story. "Cut the fat" In reguards to steak (and writing) the filete mingon is the best cut of meat with just the right amount of fat on it. Make your writing a filete mingon, cut the fat.


"The click of the phone hitting the reciever and the silence that followed rang loudly in her ears."

That's a tad difficult to follow. Silence has a sound, but limit it to either the phone reciever click or the dreary silence that followed.


I don't think you need to describe every room in the apartment. You've got good metaphores and descriptions going on before. Cut the fat. You can just say how tight and cramped the apartment, but not every appliance and feature in the room, let the reader imagine this place on their own using the beautifully written descriptions hidden beneath piles and piles of other words.


"The job she had interviewed for this time was for a publishing company."

Keep contractions to a minimum, it makes the writing more mature.


Again, when you're describing her purse, cut the fat. We don't need to know every little detail about her purse. Describing is probably an authors favorite thing to do, but we've gotta keep that urge under control. It can be our greatest downfall.


For a draft, I think it was great! When you have your final product, it should be even better! I hope you don't feel like I've ripped your writing to shreds, I hope that you learn from what I've commented on. It's my goal to educate young authors with the knowledge I've been given.

This was a great start, really, it was. Keep writing, good luck!



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