THE USE OF DESCRIPTION:
* The Reader creates his own image of the character.
* The Writer describes the character by actions.
* The Character will automatically take responsibility to
his image and for his actions.
Herby’s Delicatessen through the eyes of a child.
From Robin of Tudor Gables
One day Drew peeked out from her back door and asked Robin if he’d be a pal and run over to the corner and get her an ice bag from Herby’s, one with a screw top lid. Her hand came out with a five dollar bill.
Robin loved Herby’s. Big, fat Herby was a pharmacist. He could fill a prescription, but Herby’s was not just a drug store. All the shelves and windowed cabinets were jammed with every kind of bandages and trusses and hot water bottles and cloth ice bags with screw top lids and bedpans. There was, after all, a hospital right across the street: people would come in for things. But there was always fresh ham salad, too, and chicken salad and slaw and a rack of ribs turning, not to mention a Herby’s hamburger with more French fries than you could eat. There were posters of hot fudge sundaes and banana splits and crisp ham and cheese sandwiches with a cold, wet glass of Coke. There was a freezer full of popsicles of every flavor, or Herby would make you an ice cream cone, a double decker if you wanted, any flavor. There was every conceivable color of candy bar and bubble gum, racks of them, and cigars in exotic boxes and cigarettes and pipe tobacco, even tobacco you could chew and spit. Robin had seen guys do that. There were more magazines and comic books and newspapers than Robin had ever seen anywhere. Every dark, dusty shelf on every paneled wall was stacked with something to be sold. And there were two ceiling fans that spun around so slow, so quietly, they couldn’t have done any good, but they were the heartbeat of Herby’s. They made the slowest summer day in the city seem even slower. The first read of every comic book Robin ever bought was at one of the little tables under the slow moving fans at Herby’s. Herby’s was a museum piece. And the entire mélange blended into the delicious fragrances Robin breathed the minute he stepped through the door.
“What’s wrong, kid,” Herby said. “You got a hangover?”
“It’s not for me,” Robin said. “It’s for my pal, Drew.”
“Drew. She’s my pal.”
“You’re a good kid. You eat all them Baby Ruths yet?”
“Yeah. A long time ago.”
“Here. Have a couple more on me. Here’s your change. Receipt’s in the bag. Your pal, she still live on the first floor over there at Tudor Gables?”
“Okay. You better get that over to her. She probably needs it right away. Tell your mom and dad I said hello.”
Robin went around to Drew’s front door. She’d have to open it wider than the back door for him to hand her the package. She did her best to hide her face, but Robin could see. He heard Larry’s voice. “Who the hell’s that?”
Drew dismissed Robin quickly. “Thanks, pal,” she whispered. “Keep the change.” And she closed the door. He wondered why Larry was always so mad.
Robin rushed down to his hideout. He counted the change. Three dollars and seventy cents! It was a fortune! Not to mention two more Baby Ruths! Robin hid the money an arm’s length deep into the fold in the carpeting and opened a candy bar. The grownups were crazy.
A SIMPLE DESCRIPTION OF A CAR CHASE, USED
TO FURTHER DESCRIBE A CHARACTER.
FROM ROBERT’S CHOICE
“What did Monte say?”
“I didn’t tell her. She would have thought I was making excuses. A man has only so much credibility with a woman to begin with, Willard. When he starts making excuses, he starts losing his credibility. When a man’s out of credibility with his woman, all he has left is a household to maintain, and that’s when your heartaches begin.”
Credibility? So far he’s been the date from hell. He has the worst possible history he could have with a woman, and he’s worried about his credibility. I said, “That must have ruined everything with you and Monte.”
“Oh, no,” he said. “There was no harm done. Monte was a bit worn out, but quite content. I wrapped our blanket around her shoulders and dragged a hose from the boat shed over to the car. I rinsed off our shoes. She opened the door and sat down and I bathed and massaged her feet. She was okay.”
I was angry. The man was beyond all logic and reason. “Well, wasn’t she upset with you on the way back from Lake George?”
“Not really. It was a gorgeous night. Ugarte’s Brujo was purring along. We had some station on the radio with good music. She sat close to me, holding my hand, looking out the window, and she began to laugh. It was contagious and we laughed until we had tears in our eyes. After a while she said, ‘I have never put my trust in anyone the way I have with you tonight. I felt safe. You’re amazing, Rob.’ So, you see, Willard. Everything was okay
“Don’t underestimate Monte, Willard. She’s not a delicate woman. When we were in high school Monte and I were in a rather mad car chase. Ordinarily, no one would chase you if you were with a girl. It just wasn’t done. But these two guys were notorious for roughing up you and your girl if they caught you. We always had an eye out for them. They chased us for an hour or so. I had a fifty-one Mercury with two four barrel carburetors. These guys were running a little old forty-nine Ford. It was noisy and banged up, no match for my car. We could have lost them easily, but we joined in for the fun of it. We tore through the Crown Point cemetery, across open fields. At one point we jumped Prott’s Ditch at eighty miles an hour. All through Glen Park cats were scurrying, dogs were barking, and early risers were cursing over their coffee as we crashed through alleys and plowed through vacant lots at very high speeds. Our wheels literally left the ground in some places. We finally outdistanced them on the Old Lincoln Highway. We pulled off into a thicket and they raced past just a few seconds later. It was a chase as fast and reckless and dangerous as any I had ever been in.”
I said, “And Monte wasn’t upset with that?”
He shrugged. “Monte was driving.”
Description can be used to describe a place, or an action scene that furthers the description of a person.