Boredom

Bradbury’s story had the protagonists’ comfortable lives stripped away from them in an instant. I have long had a story in my head about someone who chooses that kind of renunciation of their life, mostly just due to boredom. This is a small portion of that story:

Boredom (@ Scrawlers)

I have a habit of writing short stories.

But I never finish them. Rather, I write a couple of paragraphs that follow a loose outline, but never fully develop a character, or form a cohesive narrative. The stories I do finish often end with an abrupt plot switch, or the absolute opposite, in which the arc of the storyline dissipates into the disappointment of a not-quite ending. Somewhere between the violence and apathy of my writing, my life coasts along; five miles under the limit, on a straight highway, under a pleasantly overcast sky.

Fifty – A Family Vacation

Scrapbooks.

Old pictures and tickets of things that I did as a child. Family vacations in the summer, and the games we would play to pass the time on the long drive out to wherever we were going.

Fifty – A Family Vacation (@ Scrawlers)

Minnesota (first)

Iowa, Michigan, Dakotas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas (nearby)

California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois (well populated)

Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas (Southerners travel)

Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky (big enough)

Kansas, Arizona, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma (close enough)

Heading west, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington (easy)

Conversely, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts (rare treats)

Hawaii (Mount Rushmore, a long drive from Honolulu)

Throw in Alaska, two Carolinas, two Virginias; only one remains.

In a parking lot unremarkable to anyone else, a license plate declares ironically, “Delaware, The First State”.

Fifty!

Eddie B.

“Your dreams shouldn’t let you sleep.”

That was the phrase that I started this story with. It struck me that those words didn’t really apply to me. I’ve never been one to lose sleep over much of anything, so it seemed this story would involve someone who was quite different from me.

That’s it! I’ll write this about my polar opposite. So I set down to write a descriptive entry about a person who differed from me in as many ways as I could fit in. Of course, the story ends up saying an awful lot about me when its constructed that way. Let me know what you think.

Eddie B. (@ Scrawlers)

Of the group of us who started together, Eddie had proven the most suited for corporate life. He was above me, but not directly, on the company’s org. chart. Clearly, he felt his standing, in this situation, obligated him to deliver a motivational speech.

He leaned in, so uncomfortably close I couldn’t make eye contact. I focused on his collar. While he spouted empty slogans (If I’m relaxing, I’m not achieving. Your dreams shouldn’t let you sleep.), I noticed, under his perfect Windsor knot, the top button of his shirt had worked its way undone.

Why I’m Afraid of the Dark

This one was inspired by fear. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, so it felt pretty good to set it down and work on it a bit. I initially had it set up as a juxtaposition of the woods in the day and at night, but I pared it down to its current form.

Why I’m Afraid of the Dark (@ Scrawlers)

I went there at night only once.

I needed an escape and my clearing in the woods promised some respite. I lay on my back with the black sky above me and found the night unexpectedly thick with silence. My mind raced to find something to fill the emptiness. When I was younger, I would imagine creatures or madmen in the darkness. Now I couldn’t even summon those childish frights. Without the familiar stimuli of the daytime, I was lost in an overwhelming darkness.

I’m not sure I will ever find my way back.