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.

Ninety four degrees. Sixty one percent humidity.

Wearing the thick green khakis I got from Old Navy. Cleaning out the brush underneath the old tractor. Rusted and orange. Holdover from the WPA. A holdover of about 70 years.

Narrow dude chain smokes on the rocky banks of The Blackstone River. Long lank blonde hair. Beard. Jean shorts. T-shirt with images of bears, moose, deer and raccoons giving everyone the finger. A nature lover, evidently.

The hair and the beard and the cigarettes and the smart ass get-up usually add up to a dude who like to disagree with people.

His kid, tiny with white blonde hair, is playing in the thick trees and bushes near the water. He’s wearing a bright red t-shirt. Makes it easy to keep an eye on him.

Dude flicks his smokes into the river. Nature lover.

Looks like daddy son time is winding to a close. He’s walking towards me.

He’s smiling and shaking his head. Aw shit. The telltale sign of the smartass hippie who just can’t understand why you complicate your scene, man.

He points at my green pants. “I don’t envy you, man. It’s too hot for those things. They make you wear those?”

“Uniform, man,” I answer.

He smiles and, yes, shakes his head. If I only knew what he knew.

“I don’t envy you, man,” he says.

“I don’t envy you,” I tell him.


“No, man. Your kid’s been playing around in the poison ivy for half an hour.”

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