A good raconteur makes a long story short and entertaining. A good storyteller makes a short story and turns it into a long story, aka a novel. Aren’t y’all glad I’m not a raconteur? Anyway, today’s #1lineWed THEME is **LONG**. Now, I write romance. Sometimes, I write down and dirty romance. And there’s that whole size matters discussion so you know my brain went there…like…immediately. However, I decided to share the short beginning of a very long story instead. As this is the start, it shouldn’t need any explanation. If it does, I need some serious rewriting!
Brian “Boru” O’Hara was a wily old Wolf. At the age of sixteen, his parents shipped him out of Belfast during the Troubles and he landed in Boston on the first day of the first month of the year of 1969. A distant cousin, a small-time hood, took him in. That was a momentous year for the Irish teen. In July, the US put a man on the moon and Brian got his first taste of running numbers in South Boston. A big lad, he moved on to a bit of leg-breaking and breaking-and-entering, but generally kept his head down. He mostly stayed up-wind of the likes of Whitey Bolger and the McLaughlin brothers, the Mullens, the Killeens and the Winter Hill gang. He managed to skirt the edges of all of them. Brian O’Hara was known as a stand-up guy and it was Whitey himself who gave the lad the moniker of Boru.
“Just like Brian Boru taking over t’be the king of Ireland, this lad will be king of Boston before he’s done,” Whitey told a group of his associates. “And he’s as loyal as the day is long.”
That last part was true. If Brian was on the payroll, he was loyal and that worked to his advantage.
At twenty-two, he met, courted and claimed his mate, a lively Irish lass with hair the color of a sunset, freckles on her nose, and a love of dancing. They were married in Saint Brigid’s Catholic Church in 1975, in the middle of a mob war. As a testament to Brian’s standing with the various factions, they called a cease fire for the festivities.
Eventually, Glenna presented him with two beautiful daughters, Bernadette and Noreen, who in turn married good Irish American boys—one a doctor and one a lawyer, both of whom wisely ignored their father-in-law’s less-than-legal enterprises. He had a passel of grandchildren, Glenna and their daughters were still beautiful, and he’d lived a prosperous life.
He’d stayed in the background, waiting and watching. On his 66th birthday, with his family and friends gathered to celebrate, Brian retired to his study around nine o’clock. He didn’t call in either of his sons-in-law. No, he summoned a man he considered his son—of the heart if not of blood. Ronan O’Connor arrived with a bottle of good Irish whiskey. The two men remained closeted behind the closed door for over an hour.
Late in the night, after the food and the festivities, and after Glenna danced a jig with the old man, Ronan walked alone into the chilly Boston night, Brian’s words still ringing in his ears. “It’s time, boyo. Go take what is ours.”
Yeah, yeah. I realize that’s quite a bit of telling rather than showing but that’s what fits the narrative, the timeline, and the story. Chapter 1 gets off to a banging start. 😉 Writers, any long words to share? And readers, which do you prefer short stories/novellas or full-length, ie. long, novels?