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Honesty and Cynicism

They took their seats in the coffee shop, which was largely empty. There were a few locals enjoying their customary morning brew and one or two students with earbuds and laptops going out into the world so they can block it out entirely and work. Other than the light acoustic strumming coming from the speakers up front, there wasn’t anything to disturb their conversation.

“So, what’s new with you? Been a while.” She was always going to be the one to start the conversation. Not that he didn’t talk, but because she was always looking for somebody or something to start a conversation with. She was bursting with enthusiasm for the world around her. Too protective of herself to be naive, she was still too appreciative to be anything but excited.

He had friendly eyes and a slender frame, but he carried himself like a very tired man. He wasn’t ugly, in fact he had a appealing, if different, attractiveness to him. He took a sip of his drink before answering.

“New? Not much, really. Kind of have the same routine as always, I guess.”

“Which is?”

He shrugged. “Work. Trying to clean up the house. Hanging with the guys. You know, things sort of stay the same.”

She smiled, “No girls in your life?”

It wasn’t that he was trying to be rude, but he did laugh a little bit at her question. “No. You know me. I mean, my life is a mess. Don’t see the reason to bring somebody into that.”

Read More…

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The Offer

The sun was out only what seemed like seconds earlier, but as soon as Thomas stepped onto the restaurant’s patio, the day was overcast and he couldn’t help but think that it wasn’t a good sign. Before he could turn back, though, he heard his name called out from the corner of the patio and felt compelled to follow the voice he heard.

There was only one person out there with him. A person much younger than he expected, which he thought was odd because he didn’t know who he expected at all. A person he had never seen before. And although he had never seen him before, the stranger felt somewhat familiar, as if he knew Thomas well regardless of how well Thomas knew him. It was because of this feeling that Thomas decided it was worthwhile to ignore the dark skies and ignore the fact that he had no idea who the stranger was and went to have a seat across from him.

“Alright, I’ve seen the movies,” Thomas declared as he took his seat. “I know how this works. I press a button and get rich but somebody dies or something, right?” Read More…

The Unusual Suspect

Here is what I wrote for the Sudden Writing Challenge that Ricky Anderson and I started up the other day. Click here for a full list of participants and the rules we set up for the challenge.

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“Okay Mr. Matthews, can you tell me what you saw?”

“You can call me Glenn.”

“I won’t.”

By this point, Lieutenant Jackson was tired and just wanted to go home. This was to be the last person he had to talk to today, and he knew already that this janitor wouldn’t have anything new to say. Nobody had gotten a good look at the suspect, they only knew that he was a man of average build who escaped to the roof and disappeared. There was no sign of a getaway vehicle and seemingly no lead to go on. Jackson only wanted to finish up and get home before his wife’s meatloaf was too cold to save.

“Mr. Matthews, I just want to finish up and get home before my wife’s meatloaf is too cold to save.”

“Well I’ll try to speed things along, but I’m sure you’ll have plenty of questions to ask me about it.” Read More…

#CaperChallenge

The other day, Ricky Anderson approached me with a creative writing idea. He said, “Hey, let’s get a group of people to agree to writing about the same subject on the same day” or something like that. Either way, the idea quickly snowballed and we developed the Sudden Writing Challenge and tricked a few people into participating.

Here were the rules we came up with, borrowing a similar format to the 48 Hour Film project.

Participants had 48 hours to write a short story in a Caper style. You know, like a bank heist or something? Basically any sort of tight situation that a character must get out of. The deadline for the story is this afternoon, so not all stories are up yet.

Each story also has to include these three things:
1. A rooftop
2. A janitor/custodian named Glenn
3. The phrase, “Well, that’s not how I would have planned it.”

Don’t worry if you feel you missed the chance to join in. We’ll do more Sudden Writing Challenges very soon!

Here are the people who agreed to play along:

December 25th

This is the final chapter of a story entitled The Other One. To start at the beginning, click here. Thank you so very much for reading.

“You’re late! ;)”

There wasn’t a chance I would ever understand why Jenn insisted on ending every text message with some sort of smiley face. There also wasn’t a chance she would ever stop doing it, so I guess I just had to live with it. Plus, I wasn’t late. I had just pulled up to her place to pick her up. We weren’t late quite yet, but the rest of my family had already gathered at my parent’s house so we were certainly holding things up.

Jenn got in the car and greeted me with a quick kiss on the cheek. As she held my hand, the rock on her ring finger glistened in the sunlight. It would, of course, be a sunny and warm Christmas here in Manchester, Mississippi. I’m not sure we were capable of having any other kind of weather. Read More…

December 30th

This is chapter FOURTEEN of a story entitled The Other One. It’s getting close to the end. To start at the beginning, click here.

“Well, here we are.”

Jenn and I stood in front of a tombstone that seemed all too unfamiliar to me. I don’t think she had ever actually known Ethan McLaurin, but she certainly knew who he was. I figured this would be the closest she would get to meeting him, and I figured I owed him another visit before I flew back to New York.

My bags were packed. I had already been to see Alex and Rachel and little Bryce, who has spent a great deal of time since his surgery sleeping. Recovery would take time, but all signs pointed to him living a life with very little limitations. I said a few words to Alex, we had a few laughs, and then I said my goodbyes. Jenn drove me here to the cemetary, and after this I would grab my stuff, say goodbye to my parents and Ashley, and she would drop me off at the airport.

“So why did you feel like you had to come back?”

I pondered her question just a bit before answering. “You know, I guess because his death was such a dividing point for me. I had a life that ended seven years ago at this very spot. I guess I had to stand here again when I still had the opportunity. Standing here seven years ago prompted this stage of my life. Maybe standing here again will prompt the next.” Read More…