Stanley stumbled to the bathroom. The blue light from the fluorescent bulb flickered in the cold morning. Fumbling through the medicine cabinet, Stanley finally found the bottle of aspirin and shook out a few. He popped the pills into his mouth and chased them back with a couple handfuls of water from the sink faucet.
He reentered the one room apartment and stared at his desk. Next to the typewriter was an ashtray full of crushed cigarettes and an empty bottle of scotch. The ream of paper he had bought yesterday was neatly stacked beside the old Corona. He shook his head as he sauntered over to the desk. Another evening useless spent.
Stanley looked down at the stack of typing paper. Something was different. There was print on the opposite side. Stanley picked up the stack and quickly thumbed through the papers. They all had print on them. He flipped the ream over and looked at the bottom page. It was actually the beginning of a story. His story. “Evening rain washed the grime away from the skin of the city’s high-rises. People trudged through the gathering puddles; their backs bent against the weather and the individual burdens of the day.”
Stanley set the manuscript down. Five hundred pages, less a few that were crumpled in the waste basket, were in front of him. A novel. He grabbed the last cigarette from a pile of twisted cellophane packs, lit it, and stepped over to the apartment window.
The glass seemed to let in more light than usual, as if it had recently been scrubbed. Sunlight bounced off the top windows of buildings in the early morning. But down below the streets and sidewalks still held the evidence of a passing storm. They glistened and reflected the lights of passing vehicles. Water still trickled down into the storm drains; a sound not unlike the water of a brook as it flowed over mossy rocks.
How long have I been up here writing thought Stanley.
Footsteps in the hallway brought Stanley back from the cityscape below to his apartment. Taking no more than four large anxious steps he reached the door and opened it. Mr. Hanley was taking his garbage out.
“Hey Hanley, what’s the day?” Stanley queried his neighbor.
“Sunday, why?” answered the old man. “Another broken timeline, Stanley?”
Stanley closed the door. Could I have written this in two days? The last thing Stanley recalled before waking up this morning with a whopper of a hangover was picking up a couple packs of smokes and the bottle of scotch on Friday afternoon. He grabbed his coat and hat and headed back out the door. He needed to call his agent and buy more cigarettes and booze. Maybe, just maybe, Stanley finally found the recipe for success.
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This story was in response to Be Kind Rewrite’s Inspiration Monday. Please feel free to head over and check out the other great stories. Join in too!
There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.
No really; I need rules!
Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.
BATTLE OF WITS
ANSWERS IN SONG
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