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I need to come up with a better ending to my story?

My story is called "The Poker Player". I need to make the ending stronger… like more "philosophical", or "deep", you know? More insight about betrayal and deception. So I want to know what you think on the matter. For those of you who don’t want to read the story (as it is quite long), let me give you a quick briefing of the situation.

Mina, an 8 year old, lets in a man into her apartment during a blizzard
storm so he could use her phone. Her mom is caught in the storm and doesn’t come home until morning. Mina offers the man, Anthony, dinner and hot chocolate. Anthony offers to teach her poker, since she is so nice to him. Mina develops a sort of daughterly love for him because her real father left her a long time ago. She becomes fond of him. So when her real father is murdered, Anthony is the prime suspect. Mina doesn’t believe it, but in the end Anthony DID kill her father. He often killed people for money. Mina wonders how someone as kind and caring as Anthony he could have done something like that and feels so deceived and betrayed.

Now for the whole story:
Monday, January 16, 5:30 PM

Sturdy little hands opened the recipe book. Mina had another month to go before she turned nine, but she was used to fixing supper. Her mom had to work late tonight, like she did most nights, which meant supper would be Mina’s job.

She didn’t mind; she liked cooking. She just wished she could make something good. Mina had seen cooking shows with chefs demonstrating how to make things like veal with scallions or four cheese ravioli. But the stuff they used was not the stuff in her mom’s fridge. Her ingredient list tonight was chicken thighs, potatoes, and carrots.

Mina dug out a small packet of taco seasoning. Maybe that would taste good on the chicken. One chef had put maple syrup on baby carrots. But she wasn’t sure; their maple syrup tasted pretty bad on pancakes. It would taste worse on carrots.

Her homework waited on the table. She would do it after the chicken went into the oven, maybe after she finished watching Hannah Montana. She shook her head from side to side as if trying to clear her mind of Miley, Jackson, and Robbie Stewart. Mina knew she couldn’t afford to slack off one more time, her teacher was upset with her as it was. Ms. Stallings loomed up in her imagination, glasses on a chain-necklace sort of thing around her neck. She would peer at your homework through them, and if she didn’t like it, she would look at you over them and call your name in front of the entire class. She’d sent a note home today to complain about her homework. “Slapdash effort, sloppy writing, bad spelling. Mina must improve her work.” Her mother would never see that note. Mina decided to improve on her own, before Ms. Stallings demanded a parent-teacher meeting. But what was “slapdash?” Something bad, she thought as she sprinkled the taco seasoning over the chicken.

She put the chicken in the oven and looked out the window. The snow was getting worse. Worries clouded her mind… “How will mom get home tonight? What if she gets into an accident?” Mina shrugged those thoughts off and told herself her mom was going to come home, like any other night. Mina peeled two potatoes and put them in a pot of water. It would be enough to feed the two of them. Caving in, she turned on the TV set to watch while she did her homework.

The news was on and she was about to change the channel, but then the news lady said something strange. “…a snow emergency for the county. Police are saying: If you are in a safe place, stay there. Do not travel unless it is an absolute emergency.”

Don’t travel? Stay where you are? How was her Mom going to get home? The phone rang, and she went to answer it. It was her mother. “Sorry, honey, I can’t get home tonight. You’ve got food there, and it’s just one night. You’ll be all right.” But her voice was nervous.

“But, Mom, I don’t want to be all by myself.” “You can do this, Mina. You’re a big girl now.” Her mother’s voice became firm. “I can’t talk any longer. Everybody else needs the phone so they can call home.” Mina waited until she heard the dial tone before she hung up. The kitchen and living room were lit, and the TV still yammered in the living room, but it felt like the rest of the house had just gotten even more dark and quiet. Maybe she should call her dad. He had a big truck, and he could come get her. She dialed his number. She hoped he would be home.

When he answered, she forgot about the quiet house. “Daddy, Mom can’t get home. Can you come get me?” Of course he would come get her, and she would stay at his apartment. She could bring the chicken over, and they would eat in front of the TV. Dad had plenty of movies. Unfortunately, he said, “No, sorry, honey, I’m snowed in.” “But, Dad, you’ve got that big truck.” “Sorry. It’s a big truck, but it’s got no traction.” “But it’s always okay when you go off-roading!” Mina protested. “That’s mud, honey. Different from snow
Well, I gotta run.” He hung up before she could say anything else. She held the phone a long time. The news still babbled in the background, about accidents all over the place and how much more snow they were going to get. Mina decided she would bring her unicorn downstairs with a pillow and a blanket. She didn’t want to go upstairs at all, but she would get her things as fast as she could and hurry back to the living room. She would sleep here with the TV on. The newslady was pretty, and she had a nice smile. It made Mina feel better to watch her, and listen. She wondered how deep the snow would get.

And then there was a knock. She stared at the door. Her mother? No, Mom would have just unlocked the door and come in. The knock came again, and she went to answer it.

A man stood there. He stammered, “I’m sorry, but my car got snowed in. Can I use the phone?” He looked like a nice man. He might be about her dad’s age, with brown hair and blue eyes, and his coat was covered with snow.
Her mother had told her never to open the door to strangers. But this was different. It was cold outside, and the snow was bad. He might get sick or even die out there. She’d heard about somebody who was out in the cold too long, and the doctor had to chop his fingers off. She finally nodded. “Okay.” She led the way into the kitchen. “There’s the phone.” Maybe it was too late and the doctor had to chop his fingers off anyway. He needed to warm up so it wouldn’t happen. “I’ll fix you some cocoa.”
He looked at her in surprise as he dialed. She’d made it a command. Then he spoke into the receiver. “Yeah, I’m near Fourteenth Street, but I can’t get out. The snow’s shut everything down. Can you get to me? … Yeah, I was afraid you’d say that.” He looked at the kid, on a chair now, digging around in the cupboard for a mug. By the time he hung up she had put a packet of instant cocoa into a cup. “My mom doesn’t let me let in strangers,” she announced, “but I didn’t want you to die or have your fingers chopped off.” He blinked twice. “I appreciate that. Where are your Mom and Dad?” “Mom’s stuck at work, and Dad doesn’t live here. I fixed dinner for me and Mom, but she won’t be home. So you can have it. If you want it. But it’s the only thing I fixed, so you can’t have anything else. What’s your name?”

He seemed to hesitate, like he couldn’t remember. “Anthony Parker.” “I’m Mina Barrow.” She extended her hand, and he shook it. Then she went to the table. “I have to do my homework.
You can watch TV, if you want.” He stared at her for a second, then he went to the living room and sat down. She went to the table and looked at her homework again. Anthony didn’t talk, but the house didn’t feel so quiet anymore. She remembered how it had been back when her parents were together. Her dad would watch TV while her mom fixed dinner. Now she felt funny, like Dad was back home again and everything was back like it was before. In the living room he watched the news. The regular streets were being ignored; the plows were busy enough just trying to keep the freeway clear. This was not at all what he planned.

But he was indoors at least, and he was glad about that. Now, what about this kid?
Something went Ding, and a young voice announced, “Dinner’s ready.” He reported to the kitchen, where Mina was hauling out a pan holding two pieces of baked chicken. They each got a chicken thigh and a potato. It wasn’t the best, but what could you expect from a pint-sized chef? She read over a textbook while they ate in silence. He felt grateful that Mina seemed so utterly incurious about him. Mina looked up from her textbook and finally spoke. “What’s slapdash?” she asked. “Dunno.” She pulled the teacher’s note out of her book and handed it to him. “Why are you giving this to me?” he asked.

She explained it like he was a little slow. “My teacher gave me this to give Mom. But I’m not going to. You’ll be gone by the time Mom gets here, so you can read it.” He took it and looked it over. “I think she means you need to write neater and check your spelling.” “How do I check my spelling?” He shrugged. “Dictionary, I guess. You can look up slapdash too.”
“I don’t think we have a dictionary.” “Well, you need to get one. Learn to spell. It’ll make your teacher shut up.” “I’m sick of homework.” He seemed to think a minute, then he pulled out a pack of cards. “I don’t suppose you play poker.”

“My dad does. I don’t understand it, though.”

He dealt them five cards each. “As long as I’m stuck here, you might as well learn five card draw.” He put his cards face up. “Put your cards face up too, so I can show you how this works.” He looked at her cards. “You’ve got a King, two deuces, Five of Hearts, and the Joker.” “What does that mean?” He sighed. “I can’t explain this. Just play along until you figure it out. Keep the Joker and the King. Put a Deuce back on the table.” He took one away from her. “Deuce is—uh, garbage, unless you get a Three and a Four. Take another card.”
The game fumbled along until Mina started to understand, and he picked up his cards. “Okay, you’ve figured it out. Now hold your cards so I can’t see ‘em. If you get a good hand, don’t let it show on your face. And you have to guess what I got.”

She frowned at the cards in her hand. Then she looked back at him. “Where did you learn?” “My dad taught me when I was a kid.” “Do you have kids?” Mina asked curiously. He frowned. “Yes. I have a son.” “Do you have a daughter?” “No.” He laid a card down. “Are you married? My mom’s single.” “Pay attention or I’ll win this game,” Anthony snapped, trying to change the topic. She bent back down over her cards, looking up at him now and then, trying to guess what he held. He wondered what to do. The kid was a huge complication.…and somebody else was knocking at the door. More complications. Mina looked up in surprise, and Anthony twisted around his chair. She saw something silvery glint under his jacket, but she couldn’t tell what it was.
Mina went to answer it. It was Bill Grysinski, her mom’s boyfriend. She hated Bill. At first she had been indifferent to him. After all, her dad had a girlfriend, so why shouldn’t her mom have a boyfriend? But Bill was fat and he ate all their food. He left a mess everywhere he went. He stunk up the bathroom. And he would stare at her when her mom wasn’t looking. She didn’t know why he stared like that, but it made her feel creepy. “How did you get here?” she asked. She hoped he would notice she didn’t say Hello or Hi Bill or How are you. She just wanted him to go away, and if he died or got his fingers chopped off she would be happy. “I drove in my truck.” He stepped past her into the house. “Corinne called and told me to check up on you.” “I’m fine,” she said. “You can go home now.” But he had already stepped into the kitchen. He saw Anthony Parker sitting there. Bill said, “Who are you?”

Parker stood up. “Got stuck in the snow.” Mina wished her mom would like Anthony instead.
He wasn’t fat and stinky and he didn’t stare. But now the look on his face frightened her, and she decided maybe her mom shouldn’t like Anthony after all.

Bill sat down at the table. “Mina, fix me some coffee.” Anthony said nothing, and Mina went and got out the coffee can. “It’s almost empty,” she announced. “So?” Bill replied irritably. “My mom needs it to wake up in the morning.” “She won’t be here tomorrow morning. Make me some coffee.” Anthony spoke. “Looks like it’s going to be a long night.”

“I guess so,” said Bill. “I’m going to be sitting with the kid, so you can leave if you want.”

Anthony looked angry. “I didn’t come here to baby-sit. As much as I’d like to leave, my car’s under four feet of the white stuff.” “I can dig it out,” said Bill suddenly. Mina looked at Anthony. She hoped he wouldn’t leave her alone her with Bill. The thought made her skin crawl.
Anthony glanced at her for an instant. Then he said, “You could try. But I don’t think you can dig a trail for me all the way back to Buffalo.” “Guess not.” That shut up Bill. “You play poker? We’ll deal you in.” Anthony sat down at Mina’s spot. “Kick out the kid. Let’s play for real.” “I didn’t bring a lot of money.” “Aw, come on. Let’s make it interesting. Mina, get us a couple of beers.” “What about the coffee?” she asked. “I’ve changed my mind. Pour out the coffee and get us a couple of beers.” Anthony said nothing. He didn’t seem like he even cared.

She went to her room and worked on her math. She hated math, not as much as she hated English, but she wished all she had was science. They were on Diseases right now, and every time she read about a new one, she imagined Bill with it. So far Bill had caught influenza, measles, smallpox, and Ebola. The Ebola had killed him horribly, and Mina replayed the scene every night. Sometimes she would throw in smallpox to make it worse.
She wanted to see if there was any disease worse than Ebola.

The men were playing Texas Hold‘em, and Grysinski was on his fourth beer. Parker saw that the guy wasn’t too shabby as a poker player, whatever his other faults might be.

Everything was going wrong tonight. First the weather, then the kid, and now this tub of lard.

“Hit me,” said Grysinski. He said it loudly, and looked very cheerful. “Have another beer?” Grysinski shook the empty can, and nodded. The fridge was nearly empty except for two twelve-packs of cheap beer, but apparently Mina’s mom wanted Bill to be happy. Pathetic.As he moved away from the fridge, he looked out the window. “Hey, it’s finally stopped snowing!”
From his spot at the table, Grysinski pushed the curtains aside. “I’d say you’re right. We’d better go dig out the cars before the plows come along.” “They won’t be here for awhile. We’ve just started this hand.” He put the beer in front of Grysinski. He’d switched to water, himself, but if the slob wanted to get himself good and sauced up, so much the better. “Loser shovels the driveway.”

Eventually he threw the cards down in mock disgust. “Fine, fine, I’ll start the driveway while you dig out your truck.” “Knock yourself out. Sorry Corinne doesn’t have a snow-blower. She’s always whining how broke she is.” “I don’t mind shoveling. It keeps me from turning into a lard-butt.” The slob glared at his trim waist. “Watch your mouth.” He slurred the words as he slowly got to his feet, stumbling toward his coat as Parker opened the door.
The temperature was already starting to drop, and the wind had picked up. In her room Mina heard the door shut, and she looked out of her window. She could see Anthony starting to clear the driveway, while Bill was digging around the truck. She decided that she should go brush her teeth.

When she came back, she could still see Anthony digging, but Bill was nowhere in sight. Maybe he’d come in? She locked her bedroom door. She didn’t know why she did that, but she always went to her room and locked the door if she had to be alone in the house with Bill. She put on her pajamas and curled up under the covers, listening to the scrape, scrape, scrape of Anthony’s shovel. Mom made a different shovel sound, short little digs. Anthony sounded strong, stronger even than Dad. Her mother would be surprised when she got home. Bill would say he did it, of course….
Tuesday, January 17, 9:00 AM

She heard her mother calling her, and she opened her eyes to see the sunlight streaming through the curtains. Her mother called to her again. “Mina? Mina, open the door.” She sprang out of bed and unlocked the door. “Mom!” She wrapped her arms around her mother. “You’re home.” “Yes.” Corrine still wore her coat, and it felt cold. She must have just walked into the house. Her mom hugged her tightly, then pulled back, stroking her hair. “Where’s Bill?” Corrine asked all of a sudden. “I don’t know.” “His truck is outside, but he’s not here.” Mina wondered where Anthony was. Should she mention him? Better not. Her mother might get mad if she found out that she’d let a stranger into the house last night.

A policeman came out and looked at Bill’s truck. Mina thought it was silly that the policeman looked inside it. Of course Bill wouldn’t be there.
He said the truck was blocking traffic, so they would have it towed. The tow truck man was busy, so he came out the next day. And that’s when they found Bill. Actually Mina found him. She had been watching as the tow truck man attached a big chain to the bumper of Bill’s truck. She stared in awe at the tightening chain while the tow truck pulled and pulled, slowly bringing Bill’s truck out of the mound of ice left by the snow plow. She looked back at the empty spot where the snow had actually melted a little, leaving patches of street visible underneath. She saw something sticking out of the ice. It looked like the hand of a big doll. The tow truck man came back again to look at the chain, and she called to him.

She pointed to the pink hand. “What’s that?”

The tow truck man stared, and then he started to look upset.
“Uh, honey, why don’t you go inside.” He went up the driveway with her and pounded on the door as she went in. “Ma’am,” he called to her mother, “You need to dial 911.” The police came out again and took a lot of pictures. They slowly dug Bill out of the ice. A policeman came into the house, and asked Mina to sit at the table. He was huge, not like Bill, but huge with muscles and a big belt with things all over it. One of those things was a gun. He could shoot somebody if he wanted.

“What happened the night Bill came?” “It snowed.” She wasn’t sure how much to say. Anthony was still her secret. She wasn’t going to mention him in front of her mom. The policeman seemed to stare right through her, like Anthony when he was trying to guess what cards she was holding. She stared right back with wide eyes. Grown-ups didn’t really care what kids saw or thought.
This policeman would give up and go write notes or something. But he didn’t give up. “Yeah. It snowed. What were you doing when Bill came?” “Fixing supper.” “Did Bill eat with you?” “Yep,” she said quickly. The policeman wrote something down. “What did you eat?” “Chicken and potato.” The policeman wrote again. “What time was that?”

She frowned. “I don’t know.” “Did he say he was going to leave?” “No. I saw him shoveling around his truck, though,” she said helpfully. “Do you like Bill?” asked the policeman suddenly. She glanced at her mother. “Yes,” she said. The policeman’s face didn’t change, but she knew he didn’t believe her. “My name is Officer Garrett,” he said. “We’ll talk again.”

Wednesday, January 18, 11:10 AM

The next day school was open. She was sitting in class when the lady at the office called her name over the intercom. “Mina Barrow, come to the office, please. Mina Barrow, come to the office.”
She’d never been called to the office before. The principal stood there waiting for her with her mom. Officer Garrett was there too. The principal and a policeman? She must really be in trouble. Had Officer Garrett come to arrest her? They all went into the principal’s office together. The policeman didn’t even wait for her to sit down. “You lied to me, Mina.” He sounded sad. She gulped. “Now, this time tell me the truth. What happened that night?” She glanced at her mom, who said, “Tell the policeman everything, Mina.” “I don’t want to get in trouble,” she whispered. “I promise you won’t get in trouble,” her mother said. “Just tell him what happened.” So she told the whole story, about Anthony and the poker game and how Bill showed up and she went to her room after she got kicked out of the card game and then she saw them both shoveling.

“So it was Anthony who ate the chicken.” Officer Garrett nodded, like everything made sense now. “Now, I have a question for both of you.
Her mother nodded. He pulled out a plastic bag that held a silvery-looking pistol. “Was it this one?”

Her mom looked uninterested. “I never saw it, to tell the truth. He just told me he had one.”

“We found another one at his house. But this was the gun we found in his pocket.”

Mina remembered the silver thing under Anthony’s coat. It was three weeks later that Officer Garrett came back and talked to her mother. They sat in the kitchen, but Mina sat next to the air vent and listened closely. A man in a wheelchair had been shot a few blocks over.

He had been dead for at least a week by the time they found him, and it had taken another two weeks for some tests to come back. The tests showed that the bullet had come from the silver gun.
They did tests on Bill, too. They had immediately found out that Bill didn’t eat the chicken, which was how Officer Garrett knew Mina wasn’t being honest. But they’d also learned Bill was drunk when he died. Officer Garrett was talking. “The guy in the wheelchair who got killed was a con artist who hurt himself up in Maine, running a scam. He had people all over New York mad at him, so we got a whole bunch of folks to talk to. But it doesn’t make sense. On the one hand, this seems like a professional job. Just one shot to the back of the head, very quick and neat. We couldn’t see any sign of a struggle, and the shooter left no fingerprints. Somebody turned the heat off to prevent any smell. But then I’m supposed to believe that the killer drove over here and got himself roaring drunk? That’s nuts. Then he tried to dig his truck out, slipped on the ice, and hit his head. It doesn’t wash. I want to get a hold of this Anthony Parker guy.”
“You think he was the one who did it?” “Likely. But I can’t get to him, so with your permission, I want to do the next best thing and talk to Mina again.” She shrank into herself as she heard them coming up the stairs. He saw her sitting next to the vent and seemed to smile, but the smile disappeared as soon as she saw it. “You know what we’ve been talking about, don’t you, Mina?” She said nothing, so he continued. “Tell me about Anthony Parker. What did he look like?” He sat down on her bed. It was like he was saying he wasn’t going anywhere until she told him the full story. She considered making something up.

“Don’t make anything up, Mina. Tell me what he looked like.” He looked kind of funny sitting next to her stuffed unicorn. She tried not to smile.
“He was tall.” “How tall? Stand up and hold up your hands as tall as he was. Stand on the bed if you need to.” She thought, then held up her hand a little shorter than Anthony really was. “What color were his eyes? Imagine him looking at you, and then tell me.”

“Brown,” she said. Officer Garrett looked sad again. “Mina, did you like Anthony? Was he nice to you?” She stared at the floor for a while, but she finally nodded. “Did you like Bill?” “Yes.” He asked again, like he didn’t believe her. “Did you like Bill?” He stared at her with shining eyes that seemed to know. Finally she admitted it. “No. I hate Bill.” “Mina!” her mother cried. “How can you say that? You know Bill was always nice to you.” She turned to Garrett helplessly. “Bill had a few rough edges, but he was a good person. He was so kind to me.”

Mina couldn’t stand it any more. “He ate all our food and he stunk and…”
Officer Garrett held up his hand. “All right, all right. We have a difference of opinion. But, Mina, tell me what Anthony looked like. Maybe he was nice and Bill was mean, but Bill’s dead and Anthony’s missing, so you have to tell the truth.” Finally Mina told him what Anthony looked like. “But he shoveled our driveway,” she added. “And he taught me how to play poker.”

“We’ll take those things into account.” The policeman smiled a little, and he stood up.

She had to ask. “How did you know his eyes weren’t brown?” “Every time you lie, Mina, it shows. You’ve got so many tells I don’t have time to go down the list.”

“You play poker too?” He suddenly grinned, and his whole face looked nicer. Then he was gone.
A few days later he came back and sat down at the table again. “Mina, I have a drawing I want you to look at.” His face looked sad, and all of a sudden she she felt frightened. “What is it?” He held up a drawing of Anthony. “Is this Anthony?”

She nodded slowly. “Mina, I’m sorry.” He took a deep breath. “Anthony is dead.” His voice was kind, but it felt like he had just punched her in the nose. “We found him in a parking lot in Buffalo. Somebody shot him. This is a picture of what he looked like when he was alive.”

“Who killed Anthony?” She felt tears pricking the back of her eyes. “I don’t know yet, but we’re going to try to find out.” “Why?” she whispered. “Mina, we think he killed people for money. Men who do that don’t usually live long. His name wasn’t even Anthony. His real name was Kyle Milson, and he’s suspected of killing two other people.”
“He was nice. He wouldn’t do things like that.” “He was nice to you. That doesn’t mean he was nice all the time. In fact, he has a son about your age, and his son didn’t like him. He said his dad beat him over nothing and smacked his mom around.” Mina cried all night for Anthony. She could hardly believe what Officer Garrett told her about his son. It made her feel even sorrier for him. She couldn’t – wouldn’t – believe someone like Anythony, who had treated her like a real father she needed so much, had done such evil things. Maybe his son deserved to get beaten. She would have been much better than him, if only Anthony could have been her dad. It took her a long time to understand. But many years later, when her mother spoke of Poor Bill, Who Was So Nice To Me, she would shake her head as she remembered Anthony. He beat his wife and son and shot somebody in the back of the head, and then he ate supper like a normal person and taught her poker. And then he killed somebody else.
Sometimes, it really was hard to tell when it comes to people.

Yeah, that’s the end. Sorry I had to keep editing because Y!A wouldn’t let me put the whole thing in at once, it was too long.

I like it! I have read half sorry but I can’t finish it, it’s too long right now.

6 thoughts on “I need to come up with a better ending to my story?

  1. Andrea says:

    ok i don’t really know how to end your story i think you could figure it out since you figured half the story out. Maybe you could have a dream of the ending like stephanie meyer had for twilight. But i do think that you should make Mina older. I mean dint you think 8 is kinda young! Maybe like 13! But good story! If you publish it i might buy it!!! Hope i helped you-in some way!
    References :

  2. ♥Toodles♥ says:

    I like it! I have read half sorry but I can’t finish it, it’s too long right now.
    References :

  3. Baseballin’ on a Budget (A’s): Are the Starting Pitchers Going Too Deep Into Games? “I worry though that the more teams see a pitcher on a given night, the more likely he is to give up runs.  Pitchers that throw strikes will…

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  4. kayjay0630 says:

    There are two different ways of listening to better sound. First, of course, better source. (VHS

  5. angelandyday says:

    Had to do my make up twice today because I cried the first lot off..

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