Summer Job

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.

The Kid was stabbing the ground with a posthole digger. Gonna put up a new fence, tomorrow, with Manny. Manny, the retiree, who got up every day a 4AM to lift weights. Manny, one of the funniest guys he’d ever met.

Anyway. Holes.

The fence would separate the parking lot from the path, to prevent people from riding down the gravel straightaway and accidentally running over joggers and bicyclists.

Manny and he had discussed putting up the fence, last summer, but Manny’d broken his foot. Laid up for all of July and August. By the time he returned, The Kid had gone back to school.

Summer job. Parks & Rec.

Vietnam sat in his car. A Toyota Camry. Vietnam changed his story a lot. He lied a lot. Whatever you want to call it. Heavyset guy with busted up teeth that were discolored from years of smoking. Vietnam talked a lot of military shit, but he probably weighed close to 400 lbs. The Kid figured there was no way anyone could put on that kind of weight if they’d ever been to boot camp. The accumulated jogging would burn calories for the rest of your life.

Vietnam hung his elbow out the window. Cheap cop sunglasses and a yellow tank top. A skinny lady with a brush cut and big earrings sat in the passenger’s seat. The back was filled with old Burger King stuff and firewood.

“When you gonna build the fence?” asked Vietnam.

“Manny comes back to tomorrow.”

”He feeling any better?”

”He broke his foot a year ago. He feels fine. Better shape than either of us.”

Vietnam was quiet. Not a good sign.

“I used to be a Green Beret,” said Vietnam, using his quiet, icy, interrogation voice.

“How many languages can you speak?” asked The Kid?

”Why?”

”You speak French?” asked The Kid.

Why?”

“Green Berets could speak French. Deal with the nationals in Hanoi.”

Vietnam got really quiet.

“You know what the worst part of your job is?” Vietnam was winding up.

”What?” asked The Kid.

“Having to reach down with a plastic bag and pick up warm dog shit. I’d never get used to that.” Vietnam pressed his sunglasses up against the bridge of his nose.

The Kid pointed at the buzz cut woman in the passenger seat.

“Can’t be any worse than having to fuck her.”

The Case Of The Murder Of Vanderbilt Crotch

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.

When Inspector Decq arrived, he noticed that he was the only person in the apartment who wasn’t holding a Starbucks cup. He’d gone to Dunkin’ Donuts.

“Bring me up to speed,” he whispered to Sergeant Morales.

“We think Vanderbilt Crotch has been murdered.”

You think? There’s a headless body on the couch.”

”Well, we don’t know if that’s him…”

”…on account of he doesn’t have a head.”

”On account of he doesn’t have a head.”

Inspector Decq lightly blew air across the top of the Styrofoam cup.

“Where’s the head?” he asked.

“That kid has it,” answered Morales, pointing at a small child hiding behind the fishtank.

The boy was about 6 or 7 years old. He was dragging Vanderbilt Crotch’s disembodied noggin behind him by the hair. He’d already stuffed a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in the deceased industrialist’s mouth.

“Who is that kid?” demanded Inspector Decq.

“That’s my son.” A tallish blonde woman wearing a denim jacket emerged from the kitchen.

“Who are you?”
“I’m Becky. I live downstairs, and that’s my son, Dashboard Confessional.”

“Your son’s dragging around a murdered man’s head.”

”We’re homeschooling him, and we’re placing emphasis on tactile experience.”

The Television Set

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.

The Germans had captured Uncle Abel in Tunisia in late 1942. He was taken to Stalag VII-A. Uncle Abel was vague about the details related to his apprehension, leading us to suspect that he’d been goofing off or not paying attention and inadvertently wandered into Nazi territory.

In the 1970s, Abel watched a lot of television at my grandmother’s house. During of Hogan’s Heroes, he would point at the screen at say things like, “They didn’t get that part right” or “That’s not what it was like.”

My Grandmother later explained that Abel, until the day he died, had no idea the show was a comedy.

That doesn’t explain how he got captured, but it partially explains why.

Cheap Trick In Color

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.

Mom had been thrown out of the Daughters Of The American Revolution, and Dad had been asked to leave The Secret Vomit Club. They were both pretty upset. Dad kept talking about how the whole thing was a misunderstanding. Mom kept quiet, but you could tell she was wondering just what the hell you had to do to get ousted from an after-hours regurgitation league.

Dad didn’t show a lot of interest in Mom’s departure. This pissed her off even more. Eventually, she quietly asked her brother, Arnie, to visit. Arnie ‘accidentally’ mutilated Dad’s hand with an electric boot pulverizer. Dad moved out. Pol Pot moved in a few weeks later. This was before he was famous.

The Failure Of Evolution

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.

Jacob was born with six fingers on his left hand. A second pinkie. It wasn’t an inflexible stump, vestigial. It was limber and strong. Independent.

His parents, both surgeons, took notice of his early interest in playing the piano. While infant Jacob pushed gruel around his plate, they speculated in their playful yet clinical way about his potential as a concert pianist. His parents had wonderful senses of humor, which they displayed at gatherings to their intellectual equals.

Jacob could plinkaplunk on the piano all day. When he was about five years old, they noticed he could distinguish melodies – Mozart, Laurie Anderson – and mimic them on the keys. His mother began to investigate the music program at Oberlin.

By the time he was ten, Jacob had become a tall, oddly shaped boy with unusually large feet. He had developed affection for a red plastic belt, which he insisted on wearing with white slacks. He evoked a giant bowling pin that could talk.

The swollen ego he had developed after being declared both a biological wonder and a musical genius at such an early age had created a difficult and knotty personality.

His parents didn’t have the heart to tell him that he had no rhythm.

They had noticed it after Jacob’s second piano teacher had pointed it out. Jacob possessed a preternatural sense of pitch, but he couldn’t count to four without getting lost between the two and three.

Teachers encouraged Jacob to tap his foot along with the music, a suggestion he found demeaning. He exaggeratedly stomped on the wooden floor while attempting Brahm’s Piano Concert #2 and the cleaning lady thought he was doing a Victor Borge impersonation.

In his teens, Jacob gave up playing the piano. He rolled the instrument down the stairs of his parents’ Brooklyn brownstone, and nearly got them arrested.

Now, he makes artisan cornpone in Red Hook.

San Juan Hill

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 ran into Diane at CVS. When we were in high school, she had played Elaine Harper to my Mortimer Brewster in the annual production of Arsenic And Old Lace. Arsenic And Old Lace was performed yearly at my school. The first production, in the early 1970s, was so wildly popular that people drove in from all over the state to see it. Just one of those lightning in a bottle things. The head of the theater department, Mr. Paul, decided to perform it every year.

Mr. Paul loved Diane. He made sure she was written up in all the local papers. He took her out to dinner with his friends. He wrote recommendations to colleges for her, and then burst into tears when she attempted to enroll at Colgate. For three years after her graduation, Mr. Paul insisted she continue playing Elaine. She was 21 years old, playing opposite a 15 year old Mortimer. Me.

Mr. Paul was less excited about me and my Mortimer. He wanted Aaron Reilly from the basketball team, originally, but that got nixed for some reason. I was second string. He didn’t give me any direction, so I watched the movie constantly and just based my performance on Cary Grant’s.

During rehearsals, when Diane would give a certain line reading, Mr. Paul would stop everything and ask her to repeat the brilliant interpretation, sometimes in front of people he had grabbed from the hallway specifically to appreciate her talent.

Diane was shy, at first. Later, she learned how to pretend to be shy.

Mr. Paul eventually got fired. No more Arsenic And Old Lace. He moved up to Quebec and works at a hotel.

Diane is an office manager at a college. Has been since 1991.

I’m a fucking astronaut.

Advice Garnered While Lost At Sea With Daryl

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. Every day, the lifeboat was in danger of sinking. Daryl stood 6 foot 3 and weighed 380 pounds. I sat at the other end of the lifeboat. I was smaller than Daryl. Daryl’s end of the boat would eventually wind up submerged, so he and I would have to hurry up and switch places to even out the displacement of water. Daryl claimed to have been around the world and to have seen unbelievable shit. Unfortunately, most of his time was spent griping about the Circuit City he used to work at. After a few days on the boat, Daryl told me something he claimed to have learned from a monk in Japan: ”There are great men and there are small men.  Great men fear stagnation.  Small men fear being revealed to their enemies.  Tall women fear being mistaken for drag queens if they wear too much make-up.” With that, Daryl rolled over and fell into the ocean. “Ah, son of a bitch.  Can’t swim,” he muttered before sinking out of sight.