Monday, October 30, 2017

Character Spotlight: Krissi Johansson (Hiding Behind The Couch)


Another CV / character profile from the Hiding Behind The Couch series.

Profiles posted so far:

Hiding Behind The Couch is an ongoing series about a group of friends—‘The Circle’ (the original main characters in the series), which has expanded and changed over time to include the ‘extended circle’ (additional main characters, below the circle on the right).


Today’s featured character is Krissi, who isn’t one of The Circle, or even the extended circle, but she’s been around as long as they’ve been ‘a thing’. Krissi is Shaunna’s daughter and Kris’s stepdaughter (Circle: The Next Generation?). She turns twenty-one during Season One (Hiding Behind The Couch).

You can find both the writing and suggested reading order for the series on this page: deb248211.blogspot.co.uk/p/hiding-behind-couch.html

Krissi Johansson
Name: Krissi Johansson
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown-black, stupid frizzy, mind of its own
Complexion: Dark
Height: 5' 7"
Weight: average
Build: average
Tattoos/Piercings: ears and nose pierced; Chemical X tattoo on my ankle
Education: HND Business Management
Accent: Northwest English
Languages: English and about seven words of Swedish

Quickfire Questions:
Place of Birth: Northwest England.
Siblings: twin baby sisters (Rosie and Sorsha).
Children: No thanks.
Places lived: Northwest England.
Jobs: Sales assistant in local convenience store, assistant manager/manager of pizza restaurant.
Interests: Theme parks, music, friends, whatever.
Pets: Casper (though technically not, now I've left home).
Greatest Success: Ask me in a few years. ;)
Worst thing you've ever done to someone: Lots of selfish things I wish I hadn't.
Biggest Trauma: None. I'm blessed, really.
Do you have a secret: No.
Favourite Book: His Dark Materials.
Favourite Food: Anything that isn't pizza? LOL. My dad's carbonara.
Favourite Drink: Iced latte.
Strength: Embracing change.
Weakness: Chasing my dreams to the nth degree.
Best way to spend a weekend: Ha. I work weekends. If I didn't, I'd probably visit theme parks, scare attractions and stuff more often. I'm saving up all the weekends to have a blowout.
Closest Friends: Jay.
Love of your life: Wotto.

And here are some excerpts featuring Krissi.

Hiding Behind The Couch

(Setting: Shaunna and Kris’s back garden; Krissi is ten years old. She’s made cow-shaped cookies as a leaving present for George.)

“Have a cow,” George sniffed and offered up his tray of biscuits to Eleanor.

“Oh, bless you, poor love,” she comforted, rubbing his back. A moment later, Krissi followed with a small box containing more cookies.

“Uncle George, stop crying, right now! You’ll make my little cows all soggy! Here’s some to take with you. Kris said the sniffer dogs would find them and gobble them all up, so I put Sellotape all around the lid, look.” This only made it worse. George laughed, but the tears kept rolling.

“Thank you very much. They are lovely and I will make sure those greedy dogs don’t get anywhere near them!”

“Can you let me have a chat with Uncle George please, sweetie?” Eleanor asked tactfully.

Krissi complied immediately and trotted off in the direction of the house. “And Mum said can you bring the box back next time you come?” she called cheerfully as she disappeared through the patio doors.

“Man, that child is something else.” George sighed, wiping his eyes on his sleeve.

***

(Setting: Shaunna and Kris’s kitchen on the morning of Krissi’s twenty-first birthday. Her parents have invited her then-current boyfriend, Matt, to join them for the day.)

“You still haven’t told me what you’re doing here,” Krissi said. Everyone stared at her, grinning inanely. “What’s he doing here?” She directed the question at Kris—the easiest one to break—but it was her mother who replied.

“We’re going out for the day, as a family. And we thought it would be fun if we invited Matt.”

“Nice to be asked what I think,” Krissi grumped.

“At least he gets to see your true colours,” her mum remarked, quickly turning away to rinse the cups she had only just washed. Krissi wasn’t the friendliest person in the mornings.

“So where are we going, or have I got to go blindfolded?”

“No, not at all,” Kris said, smoothing his stepdaughter’s hair. “We’re going to a theme park.”

For a moment it looked as if she wouldn’t give him the response he’d anticipated, but then a huge smile broke across her face. “Excellent. I love theme parks.”

“We know!” Kris and Shaunna exclaimed in unison and with just the slightest tinge of relief.

***

No Time Like The Present

(Setting: the local park/children’s playground.)

“This is super-miserable, even for you.” Krissi reached up through the van window and took the two ice cream cones. She handed one to Jason.

“What d’you mean, ‘even for me’?” he grumbled, but he knew exactly what she meant. They walked back to the swings, took their usual positions—arms hooked around the chains, feet just touching the floor—and swayed gently back and forth. If there had been any children around, they’d have relinquished their seats—reluctantly—but it was late afternoon and cold, dark and wet, so other than the occasional dog walker, they were alone. Jason stared absently into a remote copse of bony trees and poked the chocolate flake down inside the cone with his tongue.

“It’s not so much that I hate the job,” he began, as if there were more to follow.

Krissi waited. “But?” she prompted.

“But…agh.” He swivelled in his seat and looked at her. “I really, really hate it. You know how much I used to love My Chemical Romance? If you take that number, reverse the scale and multiply it to the power of infinity then add another twenty zeroes or so, that’s how much I hate it.”

Krissi turned her attention to the distant trees. “That’s quite a lot,” she said, trying not to smile.

“Oh, it’s all right for you,” Jason snapped. Again, it was done in jest. “With your little pizza shop and knowing the managing director’s girlfriend.”

“Hey, that’s not fair!” Krissi protested, and she wasn’t playing around. […]

“I’m sorry. I was only joking, but it was out of order. I’m a bit jealous, to be honest.”

“Jealous? Of my job? Now you really must be joking!”

“Not of your job, but the fact that you got it on your own merits. Even if I liked mine, which I don’t—”

“Really? I’d never have guessed.”

He ignored her. “Even if I did like my job, we both know I don’t deserve it.”

She wanted to tell him he was wrong, that it didn’t matter his dad was a director. She didn’t say it, though, because it would have been a lie.

“I’m wearing dead man’s shoes,” Jason complained. He’d reached his previously buried flake and was nibbling away at the surrounding cone.

“I thought that’d be right up your street.” She was trying to lighten the mood. He gave her a sideways glance. “Gothboy,” she said, pushing him away.

He lifted his feet and swung back at her. “Scene kid.” He pushed her in retaliation, and she laughed.

***

The Harder The Fall

(Setting: The Pizza Place kitchen with Wotto—the chef—and Kris; they’re awaiting potentially bad news.)

“She’ll be OK, you watch.” Wotto thumbed at Krissi as she emerged again, clipboard still in hand. “She always is.”

“Yeah, she’s tough,” Kris agreed.

“You’re not joking!” Wotto laughed and turned back to his preparations. The restaurant was due to open in twenty minutes and they were nowhere near ready.

Krissi looked from Kris to Wotto, trying to ascertain what had passed between them. Kris gave her a wink, and she came to him and kissed him lightly on the cheek. “I love you.”

“And I you,” he said, returning the kiss on her forehead. “I’ve got a bit more information. It’s not good news, I’m afraid.”

Krissi stepped away and waited while he searched for the words to tell her what he had discovered, each one piercing right into her like a poisoned dart. Almost two years had passed since her selfishness had pushed a wedge between them, and still she didn’t regret what she had done. How could she now, when they were waiting, powerless and ignorant?

Kris watched her carefully, taking in her reaction, for the first time truly understanding why she had needed to know the identity of her real father, and also finally realising that none of it mattered. She was his daughter: as good as blood, this love that filled his heart and kept it beating. However bad it was when they found out for sure, he knew that they would get through this together, the way they always had, and he would at last be ready to tell her the truth.

***

In The Stars Part I

(Setting: Krissi and Jay’s flat. Note: Jay has epilepsy.)

“What do you want to eat?” Krissi shouted from the kitchen.

Jason was lying on the sofa, reading a music magazine. “Dunno. Are you cooking?”

Krissi came through and shoved his legs aside so she could sit. He put them over her lap, big heavy boots and all. She pushed them off, and they fell to the floor with a thud.

“Ouch!” Jason sat up and rubbed his lower back.

“Do you want me to cook?” Krissi asked.

“Isn’t it your turn?”

“Yeah, but…” She stopped, uncertain how best to go on. He put down the magazine and scrutinised her face. She smiled, but it didn’t disguise her anxiety. “It’s just that…well, you’ve not eaten properly for weeks, Jay.”

“I am eating properly!”

“You’re losing weight again.”

“No I’m not,” he protested. He stood up and lifted his baggy t-shirt, showing off his tiny waist, his ribs visible through his pale skin.

Krissi poked his hollow belly. “Yes, you are.”

He sat down again and sighed.

“D’you want to talk about it?” she asked.

“No.”

“OK. But will you try and eat with me tonight? You don’t have to eat very much. Just enough to make sure your tablets work.”

He inhaled, getting ready to protest, but noticed the continued concern in her eyes. She was a good friend, and she didn’t nag, much.

“All right,” he said. “After all, I don’t really want to start having fits again, do I?” He swung his legs back over her lap.

“Thanks!” she said, shoving them off again.

***

In The Stars Part II

(Setting: the communal garden behind Krissi and Jay’s flat. Jay may be attempting a little matchmaking…)

“Ah, the scent of summer.” […] Krissi conducted a panoramic scan of the expanse of slightly too long—where it wasn’t bald—lawn, pausing to watch the couple from the flat downstairs attempt to establish whether their sausages were ‘cooked enough’, their children batting a sponge ball with plastic racquets across the midsection, finally settling her gaze on her friend. “How come you’re sitting out here?”

“Wimbledon.”

“There’s more than one TV channel, you know.”

“And they’re all either showing tennis, or going on about it at every given opportunity.”

“Even Kerrang?”

“Especially Kerrang.”

“Dear me. Well, I’m going for a shower. The air conditioning packed up this afternoon, and it was mad busy for some reason. You’d think parents would want to take their kids somewhere out in the open, not spend the day sitting in a boiling hot pizza restaurant, complaining about melting ice cream.”

“You coming back out?”

“I can do. Why?”

“Could do with your thoughts on my shortlisting.”

“OK. Won’t be long.” Krissi left.

Jason reopened the online chat window, read the message and typed ‘So you still didn’t ask her.’

The response came back, ‘Nope. Didn’t get a chance. Mental all day.’

Jason shook his head. Excuses, excuses. He picked up the papers and thumbed through them, pausing every so often to type into a text document on-screen. He switched back to the chat window and typed one-handed, ‘Swap shifts with Lyn so you’re off on the same day.’

‘Nah man.’

He put the papers down again and quickly repositioned the half brick before they blew away. ‘Why not?’

‘She can’t handle it. Not on a Sunday.’

‘It’s dead!’

‘Not always it ain’t.’

Krissi poked her head out of the window. “You need another drink?”

“Please,” Jason said. She nodded in confirmation and disappeared from view. ‘Got to go,’ he typed. ‘We’ll talk more.’

‘Ha yeah. Alright mate. See ya.’

***

Two By Two

(Setting: the kitchen table. This is from Shaunna’s point of view; she’s reminiscing.)

Krissi’s first serious boyfriend.

Tall, skinny, so fair-skinned he was almost transparent, with piercing blue eyes, such a serious and intense boy. What was his name? Calvin, or Kelvin―it may even have been Kris―after all, they say girls choose men just like their fathers, and Kelvin, or whatever his name, was so like Kris had been at that age it was spooky. He was arty and sensitive, and a bit confused about who he was meant to be, as he explained at length, sat just across the table, on that chair, the day after Krissi dumped him. Shaunna had listened, nodding and smiling sympathetically, and she did feel sorry for him, but he and Krissi were only fifteen. In the end she told him, “Just be yourself,” and he’d frowned, perplexed by the impossibility of the problem. Shaunna never saw him again, and Jason soon took his place in that chair, though not as a boyfriend.

“God, Mum! Are you mental?” was Krissi’s only comment on that notion, before she went on to exchange her vibrant and pretty little girl clothes for big black boots, belt-infested black jeans and tatty black t-shirts. She’d reverted to girly again since those early days, when Gothboy haunted their kitchen, all sullen, moody and mumbled yeah-whatevers. And Shaunna had persevered, because she liked Jason. When the clouds lifted, he’d smile and that smile would light not only his face, but his whole being, as if he were being lifted by a bunch of helium balloons, up, up and away. It was Shaunna’s secret, because, “Jay thinks his face’ll crack if he smiles, Mum.”

“Yeah, but you can just slap on some Germolene and I’ll be sorted, Mrs. Johansson,” he’d say with a twitch of the eye that was almost a wink.

***

If you’ve made it this far…here’s the very first posted excerpt from Season Eight (work in progress)! Minor spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t read Reunions (Season Seven).

Alumni

(Setting: a pub, at lunchtime—think ‘ladies what lunch’. :)

A quick reminder of who’s who:

Barbara is Mike, Dan and Andy Jeffries’ mum;
Adele and Dan are together;
Shaunna and Andy are together;
Charlie works for Barbara’s husband and is friends/teammates with Mike, Dan and Andy;
Karen is Krissi’s former assistant manager;
Alice introduces herself. ;))

The waitress was lingering nearby, so Adele attempted to speed up the proceedings. “Karen Deakin and Krissi Johansson at the end of the table both were managers for The Pizza Place. What are you up to now, girls?”

“I’m on maternity leave,” Karen said, leaning back to show her enormous bump. “Four weeks to go.”

The women around the table made noises that were a mix of sympathy and congratulations.

“I’m unemployed,” Krissi said.

“Between jobs,” Adele suggested.

“Nope. Dole bludger all the way.” Krissi grinned. “I’m actually helping out at Campion Trust until I find a job I like. No offence, Alice.”

“None taken, dear.” Alice smiled warmly. She was next, so she added, “I’m Alice Friar, administrator and trustee for Campion Trust, and I also undertake administrative work for Jeffries and Associates.”

“Saint Alice, we call her,” Adele said.

Barbara, Shaunna and Charlie all nodded in agreement.

“Oh, they’re not bad boys,” Alice defended.

Barbara’s disbelieving snort sent the rest of the women into reels of laughter.

***

Thanks for reading!
Deb x

2 comments:

  1. I'm loving having snippets collected all in one place for each of them. Krissi's another one I like but felt I didn't quite know in the same way as some of the others. She reminds me a lot of several people I know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been quite a handy reminder for me, too! :)

      She needs more on-page time.

      Delete