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Joseph Huckobey's picture

Passing the Torch

By Joseph Huckobey in Arrest Us

How It Rates

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Once you have read this story, please make sure you rate it by clicking the thumbs above. Then take a few minutes to give the author a helpful critique! We're all here for fun but let's try to help each other too.


This is the story of a junky and his protege. 


RhysWare's picture
RhysWare from Worcester, England is reading The Warriors July 5, 2014 - 4:13am

Hi Joseph,

Quite on the fence with this one. Mainly because it's more of a philosophical piece than an actual story. That's not too bad a thing, but I would say it's not for everyone.

You've got some really good language in there, and some great descriptions. A favorite of mine is, 'all cheekbones and Adam's apple'. That was excellent. Your writing's good, but there are just a couple of very minor flaws there that you could stamp out easily. my main problem was when you were describing the house. It had some great descriptive language, but you used the word 'furniture' about three or four times so close together. Just mix it up a little and you'll be good.

I loved the part about God and his either being benevolent or omnipotent, but he cannot be both. Interesting indeed.

My main problem is that there's no real conflict. We follow the two junkies - it's interesting following their exploits shoplifting and buying - but that's it, we don't have one or both truly making an effort to change, or seriously considering it. It's pure abandon, and although that's obviously what you were going for, it doesn't quite give us any real reason to care about either character. I think you missed the mark near the end. When Tommy dies and our protagonist still has some meth leftover, there could have been conflict right there, having him battling whether to change his ways in order not to end up like Tommy (which is what you were originally getting at at the beginning of the story) or to just take the leftover meth and continue as usual.

I did like the ending, having the torch passed, but it would have been more effective if there had been that battle.

I did enjoy it however, and I think with some tweaks of your writing (again, very minor ones) and the adding of more mental conflict, this would be a very interesting piece.


Joseph Huckobey's picture
Joseph Huckobey July 8, 2014 - 11:01pm

I appreciate the feedback. Honestly, I had the same thoughts about this story. I felt like I didn't have enough happen in the story. I also felt like I wanted to go back and do more to describe the desparate feelings that come with addiction. In truth, there are many ways in which I wanted to do more with this idea. I have some projects that I'm kicking around and feel more passion toward, but I could definitely see expanding this out into something larger.

I'm grateful for the feedback. Thank you for reading.


YouAreNotASlave's picture
YouAreNotASlave from Birmingham United Kingdom July 7, 2014 - 9:32am

Thumbs up for this. I liked that the central conflict was understated and only implicit--that it appears the narrator will battle for sobriety at some point but it turns out to be a fiction, theyre as trapped as Tommy. Good description and portrayal of the drug use, interesting story, not much I can think of right now in terms of critique. Also the descriptions, "buttered corn smile" and the like, were great. 

Thanks for a good read!


Josh Zancan's picture
Josh Zancan from Crofton, MD is reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck July 18, 2014 - 2:12pm

Damn solid story.  Clear descriptions, interesting characters.  I think you focused on the most relevant parts of the experience (or so it seems based on reading this; I've never done meth).  I especially loved how quickly a day and a half had jumped forward.  There was no indicating factor that so much time I had passed, as there shouldn't have been.  It sort of came out of nowhere and you handled the revelation well.

One thing I wanted to point out--and maybe I just read this wrong--the paragraph that starts at the bottom of page 10 with "I found it a little harder to get by without Tommy" seems to change verb tense in an unintentional way.  I thought it was intentional at first, but the character says "when it was just me" and then later switch back to present tense when talking about the kid he takes in.  So there seemed to be conflicting timeframes there.  Am I reading this wrong?

Anyway, I thought this was great.  Thumbs up.


jay777's picture
jay777 from Brooklyn, NY is reading Snuff July 19, 2014 - 1:38pm

Good story. An interesting slice of life few will ever experience outside of soulful stories like this one.

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK July 20, 2014 - 5:02am

Nice junky vignette. Like it.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday July 22, 2014 - 12:23pm

Very well done.  The writing was tight.  There wasn't much for conflict, but the material was good enough to stand on its own.  Thanks for sharing and best of luck.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 22, 2014 - 12:50pm

I liked this. It’s a nice little cyclical piece, and as such, it is perfectly named. You have a good turn of phrase, and managed to keep my interest just fine with very little story.

I do things perhaps that you need a bit more a story arc in there. The point you make is a good one; that the addiction is everything (even if that is a bit myopic), and that even this close relationship is nothing in comparison with the overriding need. Personally I’d have liked to have seen a little more foreshadowing of Tommy’s death, and I think that’s one way you can up tension, and have a little more story arc in there.

Otherwise this is a nice tight story. Solid thumbs up from me.

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 26, 2014 - 6:20pm

Excellent story. The characters are great and it reads at a good pace.I think the title is perfect for this story. There is one part where you make an odd transition between tenses in the moments after leaving Tommy that caught me up. There's not a whole lot of conflict here, and no traditional "crime story" crime (other than illegal drugs being taken). I think it's exceptional anyway.Thumbs up.