The Hardest Story I ever had to Write

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Two Rivers


Ever try to write something on the spur of the moment?

Submitted: April 25, 2018

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Submitted: April 25, 2018

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It was 2007 and I was at the Myrtle Beach Writer’s Conference.  We checked in and got our rooms and then met for the introductory get-together. 

The next day we began our classes in small groups.  My first class was on conflict.  The class began with the instructor, a published author, telling us the story of Cinderella, and graphing the conflict in the story.  Then 40 minutes in she said, “I want you to take twenty minutes to write me a short story incorporating everything we have learned here today.  After the twenty minutes, we’ll go around the class, and each will read their story and rest of us will critique it.  No pressure!”  We all laughed. 

So, there I was no computer, no spell check, and no inspiration.  All I had was a pen, paper, and the order to write a story.  Wow!  The story I wrote went like this:

 

Broke

Jake needed money.  It wasn’t like he hadn’t done this before.  He’d just go into the liquor store, talk real loud and the demand money.  Maybe he’d walk out with a two hundred or a thousand dollars.  About a month ago, he walked out with $1700.  It was easy, and it sure beats working.  Anyway, who’s going to argue with a thirty-eight in their face?

It was nearly closing time when Jake crossed the street and busted into the door of The Empire Liquor Store.  “GIVE YOU’RE YOUR MONEY!” Jake yelled at the top of his voice.  He was happy the store was empty.  The owners seemed more timid if they were alone.  “COME ON HURRY IT UP!”  The owner, an oriental man in early sixties stumbled and moved to the back of the counter to the register. 

“I have no money I put it all in safe,” the owner said.

“GIVE ME ALL YOU GOT!” Jake demanded.  He vowed he wasn’t leaving empty-handed.  The owner reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar and some change.  “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Jake said.  His attention diverted for only a moment.  When he looked up, he was staring down the barrel a handgun pointing at him.  He reached over to his right and pulled the candy display down in front of him and the owner.  The owner fired once.  It caught Jake in the left shoulder. 

Jake stumbled back and fell against the beer stacked in the middle of the floor but managed to pull one off in the direction of the owner.  The owner ran around the end of the counter to get a better shot at Jake.  Jake, off balanced, sent another shot at the owner and miraculously caught him in the gut.  The owner sent a hail of shots at Jake before falling to the floor.  One bullet hit Jake in the face, one to the chest, one missed sailing through the front window.  Both Jake and the owner fell to the floor dead.

 

Hours later, the two detectives working the crime scene walked out of the liquor store.  The younger one said, “I can’t believe a guy would give his life to steal $1.39.”

The older one stopped and looked back at the liquor store and then said, “I can’t believe the owner would sacrifice his life to keep it.”

 

Well, that was the story.  The instructor told us the ultimate conflict was a matter of life and death.  I had to incorporate that into my story as quickly as possible.  After all, we only had twenty minutes.  Being the second one called, I went up to the podium to read my story.  Standing there reading this story in my own handwriting, I couldn’t believe I had written it.  It was like it was written by a stranger.  But, I must have written it!  Out-of-body experiences do happen I guess.  The story had misspellings, words left out, and words repeated.  I recognized all the grammar errors, yet I read it flawlessly.  It was an instant, uninhibited exercise in creativity.  And, the stories read by others were amazing.

 


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