80 Cents

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.

Her freshman year of college was spent at a fairly well regarded liberal arts college located near Pennsylvania mining country. The campus was tiny and verdant. The nearby town was flat and made of concrete.

One evening, she accompanied her roommates to the local supermarket. The three girls who didn’t particularly know or like each other made a spectacular display of being fun-loving 18 year olds. They laughed until tears rolled down their faces and ‘spontaneously’ broke in song. “My Baby Takes The Morning Train” was the showstopper. They spent over an hour ricocheting through the aisles.

When it came time to pay for the case of Diet Coke and package of Eggo waffles, it turned out none of the girls had any money. In fact, none of them really knew how to pay for anything. They managed to scrape together virtually the required amount, but came up 80 cents short.

The three girls asked a few nearby shoppers – the wives of construction workers or former miners – if anyone could assist. Evidently, no-one could. This kicked off another 20 minute laugh riot.

A few days before her 30th birthday, she discovered that the cashier had been the one who set fire to her car, that time. He had left a message in his will to that effect. An admission. Also, noted in the will was his chaotically failed attempt at murdering her roommates with a pipe bomb. Neither of those young women was aware of his efforts.

She eventually completed her education in a town near where she had grown up, graduating with an art history degree at age 37.

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