Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.
I used to hide things.
My neighbor was ill in the head. People said she was melodramatic. On shopping trips, she would start conversations with strangers in the checkout line, and, within minutes, be in tears. She was once pulled over for rolling through a stop sign. She cried so much that she hyperventilated and had to be taken to the hospital. She never drove a car in the state of Rhode Island, again.
I would visit my friends, her sons. We’d play LEGOs and watch Batman and The Monkees on Channel 56. She’d sit in the kitchen and smoke and cry. At the end of the afternoon, she would angrily remind us of how nice she had been, tolerating our antics.
One day, and I don’t know why, I hid her brass clock. I took it right off the bureau. It wasn’t very big and fit easily under the couch. According to her sons, she collapsed when she noticed that the clock was missing. Rather than looking for it, she called her ex-husband and screamed for 20 minutes. Family lore tells that the brass clock was under the couch for over a year before some of her sons’ other friends discovered it.
Not long after that, I started rearranging the magazines on the rack at the pharmacy. Not messing them – rearranging them. Modern Bride rested elegantly next to Black Belt. When I would return, the following week, the magazines would have been returned to their original, less interesting locations.
A test of wills.
I hid the birdbath from the Catholic Church in my house for six years. The police only found it after I wrote those letters. It had nothing to do with detective work. A few months earlier, I had gotten shoo’ed away from the reservoir by some EPA chumps. Some people simply don’t want to hear what I have to say. I wrote a letter containing some powdered laundry detergent – that’s it –to their office, an action deemed ‘hostile’ by some anonymous cabal. The authorities came to talk to me, and noticed the birdbath.
I’m back to living with my brothers.