Saturday, July 26, 2008

Micro Story

NOTE: I was told last time not to reflexively apologize for putting fiction on this blog, so I won't. It's hard not to though. Going against the grain of years of psychological issues!

The Party Across Town And The One In Here

"Do you want me to read you the new issue of Entertainment Weekly? There's a big article about the next season of LOST..."

"No. Why would I want to hear about all the exciting things coming up on a season I'm not going to get to see? Just make me sad."

His parents had gotten him a private room. They had money, and I gathered they were using most of it to make sure their son was as comfortable as possible right up until the very end. I get the impression that, were it a possibility, they'd offer the cancer a hundred bucks to, ya know, "take it easy on the boy, there." At the moment, they're at dinner. A work thing, they assured me; not for pleasure. No one is allowed pleasure right now. Because obviously. So I'm on Friday Night No-Fun patrol. Keeping things dour.

"I want to go to a party."

"You weigh 90 pounds and can't walk. The parties we go to, you'd be in pieces on the floor like a dropped LEGO castle within moments of walking in the door."

"Yeah well."

The TV anchored to the top corner of the wall plays an old black and white movie. We've got the lights off, so everything in his room appears to be black and white too.

"Are there any parties tonight?"

"Jeez, would you leave off with that?"

"Are there?"

"Yeah, okay... yes. Jess Horstein's parents are out of town. Everyone's going over there tonight to test the limits of their home-owner's insurance. I'm sure it will be a blast. Literally, if anyone finds out that Jess Horstein's father collects old WWII weapons. He's probably got an A-bomb in his basement..."

"I want to go."

"Dying people don't get to go to all-night ragers. Sorry, I don't make the rules."

"You're not supposed to tell me that I'm dying, fuckwad."

"Well I promised you when we were thirteen that I'd never lie to you. Haven't thus far, not starting now."

"Whatever."

We sat there for a while, not doing anything. He stared off into space and I pretended to be gripped in the narrative thrall of the black and white movie. Really, I was just focusing on not getting up, walking out the door, and never coming back into this stinking hospital room again.

But then I leave. A half hour later, I come back, armed with a bottle of cheap vodka and a couple of red, plastic Solo cups. I pour him about an inch of the hard stuff and then dilute it with water from the big, omnipresent pitcher that's been on the nightstand since this whole ordeal started. I hand it to him and I pour vodka into my glass up to the rim. No dilution for me, thanks. I'm not dying.

"We're partying now, my shrunken friend. If you get me drunk enough, I might take my top off."

He laughs and then coughs for a minute or two and then takes a drink from his cup. And we drink on in the black and white, having absolutely no fun at all, but trying all the same because what else are we going to do, young and not dead yet, on a Friday evening? What else could we possibly do?

9 Comments:

Blogger Sonny Amou said...

Just wondering if you're planning like a patchwork quilt of these things that interlock. Kinda like what Altman did with Short Cuts...?

Peace/keep it up,
S.Amou

10:39 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Ah, um... yeah, no. Cool as it would be, that would require a whole lot more forethought than what I'm currently putting into these. I'm looking at this series of Micro Stories almost like dumping the steam valve on a boiler before it explodes and kills everyone in the Overlook hotel. If that makes any sense.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Bill From Gainesville said...

C- dog... You write well. You should send some shit off to get published and stuff, and then maybe you can quit your day job one day.

11:36 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I have a friend who puts 200 words of fiction on his blog as a writing exercise every Tuesday. He calls it the Tuesday 200 and some of it is very enjoyable. Relax. Who would judge you for such a thing (other than yourself, that is)?

9:06 AM  
Blogger Sonny Amou said...

Hey Clinton, thanks for the explanation. I really enjoy reading your stuff since my day involves reading 200-300 page electrical engineering manuals. Really, really dry. Your site is a nice break here and there when I need something that provides brevity to the day. Ditto your friend Lioux over at Born 2 Be Riled.

Unbearable has a valid point. FWIW, Stephen King wrote a superb book on the process of writing, you might want to check it out. I think it's called "On Writing" or a similarly such bland title; regardless of what you think of King as a writer, he has some great ideas how to get into a solid habit of cranking stuff out.

Hope that helps. I'm always wary of providing unsolicited advice/pointers to peeps I don't know, so if this is overkill, no worries.

Pax,
S.Amou

12:44 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Bill... Ah, were it that easy. But thanks!

Banishment... The Self is the harshest judger of them all.

Sonny... No worries at all, dude. I've read that book, actually, though not recently. Guess it might be time to pick it up again. Also, electrical engineering manuals? Just thinking of that makes my brain hurt and fall asleep, simultaniously.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

Hey Clinton - you don't know me, but I read your blog like everyday cause, like everyone else, my job is boring and I'm overqualified for it....

But anyway! This is by far the best fiction post you've posted. I want you to write more. Like, in installments, so that I can look forward to something. You have a bit of Palahniuk's style going on. You read him a lot?
-Sam

11:21 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Samantha... Thanks, dude. I've kinda felt like each one I've posted has been a little better than the one before; it's at least FELT like progress, ya know. Anyway, I like the idea of doing something in installments... might be a fun challenge. Thanks for the idea! Oh, and Palahnuik... you know, I actually HAVEN'T read a lot of his stuff. I read Fight Club (like everyone else) and I read Haunted (which, ick) but otherwise, that's been it.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Todd said...

The Self is the harshest judger of them all.

Dude, your writing is awesome. If yourself is giving you shit about it, you should tell yourself to go fuck yourself.

2:19 PM  

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