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Flash Fiction Challenge: “Bliss”

Another flash fiction challenged by Chuck Wendig on his blog, terribleminds. The random plot generated for me was: The story starts when your protagonist pretends to be sick. Another character is a bartender who has engineered a deadly disease.

My story based on this prompt is called “Bliss.” It’s darker than most things I’ve written, but I hope you enjoy it!


Hey boss, it’s Gary. Listen, I’m not going to be able to come in today… Yeah, I’ve been puking all morning, and I just don’t want to spread anything to you guys at the office.

                He hung up and got back in bed. Bliss. Three more hours of it.

                At twelve he got up, fished a pair of pants out of his hamper, and left through the back door. He had never liked his front door. It was too expected.

                He wandered the streets for a while, stopping for an hour in a park to sit and think about nothing in particular.  The complexities of life rushed by, just out of his mind’s reach. It was long ago that he severed that connection. It was too expected. He would rather think about the mundane. Why can’t I remember learning how to tie my shoes? That seemed important.

                Three o’clock found him in a pub, his second pint tasting worse than the first. He switched to liquor. Were the looks from the barman judgmental or curious? They all turn out the same in the end.

                He asked the barman if he remembered learning how to tie his shoes. He wasn’t drunk. The barman answered with another question. Why are you wearing a dress shirt, tie, shorts, and sandals?

                Why not?

                At five-thirty, a man passing by on the street glanced inside the pub, and pulled out his phone.

Hey boss, it’s Paul. Listen, I’ve just seen Gary in a pub on High Street. Yeah, I’ll go in and talk to him.

                Lenny asked him why he was in the pub. He asked Lenny why he was in the pub too. Lenny wanted to know where he’d been for the last four days. That’s a long time to miss work, you know.

                Lenny went home, and Gary talked to the barman again. He normally didn’t like the people that thought about complexities, but this man behind the bar seemed to have his bearings all right. After a long pause in conversation, he looked at Gary with the same look from before.              

I have a bottle of something you might be interested in. I do a little chemistry on my own time, in the back room. I think it might be just what you’re looking for.

How do you know what I’m looking for?

I know what men like you are looking for.

What does it do?

What would you like it to do?


Then it does everything.

                Gary took the bottle home. He called Sarah on the way, explaining to her that he was too sick to make it to dinner tonight. She told him the reservation was for seven o’clock anyway, so it didn’t matter.

                He made it through his back door at ten o’clock, and sat down with his new bottle. Tiny things were moving through the liquid inside. He smiled at them.

                A knock came from his least favorite door a few moments later. It was Sarah. In the road behind her, he saw his boss’ car pull alongside the curb. They were worried about him. He told them they should wait outside, and that he would be back in a second.

                The bottle was cool against his lips, but he felt an overwhelming warmth an instant later.

                He walked back to the door, where his two would-be guests stood. They looked worried, and said he looked absolutely awful. They offered help, a ride to the hospital, anything.

It’s all so simple, Gary said, and died.

                The man and the woman were on the doorstep. One of them spoke.

I guess he really was sick.


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After a Break…

I chose a rather awful time to start a blog on my process of writing a novel, because a few days after my first post, I left on a six-week study abroad trip to London. But in the weeks since I issued myself a personal challenge, I’ve succeeded in generating many pages of notes and outlines for my story, as well as writing the first chapter-and-a-half of what I hope will be the first draft of my first novel.

A post on my experience so far with outlining will come later, but for now I’m focusing more on my time in the UK. Half of the time I am here will be spent studying at Oxford, and I hope that those hallowed halls will give me some extra inspiration to keep writing!

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A Personal Challenge

Here I sit, having finished my second year of college. Halfway done with what might end up being the best four years of my life. Two years gone, and two years left  before that dreaded step out into the real world. The college experience is incredibly valuable not only because of the great opportunities it offers in terms of education, research, and friend-making, but also because it allows each student to spend a few years searching for (and hopefully finding) any number of new passions. How many people do you know that picked up new favorite hobbies, sports, academic subjects, or other activities during their time in college? My guess is that everyone you know who went to college found something new that they discovered a love for.

Well, after two years of college, I may have found a passion of my own. Since taking a creative writing class this past semester, I’ve been writing more and more, and having a lot of fun doing it. So, I plan on taking it a step further, and this blog will serve as a sort of logbook of my actions.

The passion: Writing
The actions I plan to take: Writing a lot.
The personal challenge: Finishing a novel by the end of my senior year.

I don’t just want a first draft finished, I want it edited and in its final form. That’s not to say I will be looking to get it published any time soon, however. I’m writing this book for myself, because I think it’s a great challenge and I’ll enjoy doing it. Maybe someday I’ll be lucky enough to write a novel and have it published, but as of right now that’s not goal #1.

So I’ll write everyday, and update this blog with my progress. It will be a way to keep me on track for my goal, and hopefully it can be somewhat helpful to any other new writers (youthful or otherwise) who are also inspired to take on this kind of challenge.

So, there it is. I’m going to finish a book before I graduate in May of 2015. Maybe I’ll even finish two or three, but hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? Wish me luck!

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