Genre: Crime caper
Subject: Identity Theft
These are the constraints that were sent to my inbox at midnight last Friday, under which I’m supposed to write an entire 2500 word fictional short story by midnight on Saturday for this competition I entered. So far, all I have done is entered a bunch of words including those above into an online story generator, in the hopes it would send a jolt of inspiration into my over-cooked omelette of a brain.
The story generated was called “The Foul Madonna’s Bra,” and it was truly a work of staggering genius, displaying lines of intricate prose such as: “Doris is an over-bearing microwave with obese knees and a hairy fanny.” And, “They move onto the dance floor, where two odd uncles are screaming to the beat.”
Can I just write a story about these two odd uncles?!?
Turns out, I do not know how to write fiction, and I do NOT do well with constraints. I do not want to write a crime caper, I do not want to write about identity theft, and I do not want to write about a skater—whether it be the type that took me to my high school prom and spent the whole time out back with his friends getting stoned, until finally I was like “If you can’t beat’em, join’em” and ended up getting so baked I spent the rest of the evening sleeping in my friends’ car; or the type who whips around on a bunch of ice, wearing nothing but a sequined bathing suit and tights that are a really unsettling shade of “nude.”
Have I written the story yet? This all seems pretty usable.
Anyway, It’s Wednesday, where, presumably all 6,200 of the other writers who entered this competition have all banged out a first, second, or even third draft… and are now in the process of polishing. Adding little quirks for their main character, like, he always wears a trucker hat that says “Pussy,” and yet pores over the poems of Emily Dickinson when he gets home. Re-arranging the words, the sentences, the paragraphs so they pop instead of repelling you before you’ve even gotten to the part where you discover…
He is not really a skater!! He’s a flawed, loveable, under-cover criminal—disguised as a skater (IDENTITY THEFT) so that he can break into the school during prom, when the corridors are accessible but vacant, to steal… what is he going to steal… A DIAMOND NECKLACE. Too basic. A 50lb BAG OF MEATLOAF.
A TEXAS INSTRUMENTS TI 84 calculator.
Enter just the right coordinates into your graph, and BOOM the whole something explodes. The school explodes? No we don’t want the kids to die. Or maybe they’re all out in the courtyard? A school bus explodes.
THE SEWERS explode.
You hear Ginuwine’s “Pony” playing in the background, as three rich-white-girls-you-love-to-hate stand dissecting their gorgeous faces in the bathroom mirror, picking out the tiniest flaws. “Ugh I hate what my stylist did to my hair. Curls make my face look so fat,” one of them says. “What? I love your curls. At least you don’t have freckles!” And then from the stalls behind them erupts a GEYSER OF FECAL MATTER, splashing all over their designer dresses and onto the mirrors. They all have freckles now.
No maybe this should happen in the boys bathroom! Screw always making girls the shitty ones in high school. A dude bro, surrounded by his creepy crew, is bragging about nailing his prom date later that evening, when POOP FLIES DIRECTLY INTO HIS MOUTH. Okay sorry this is getting out of hand.
Anyway our hero uses this massive distraction… to… do something really important. He… bugs all the souped up Honda Civics in the parking lot. No, that has to lead somewhere else, and this story needs to end like now. He steals… all of the expensive audio visual equipment so he can start making indie movies about his troubled childhood. He steals… the gr. 10 class pet, a talking African Gray named Bart. GAH no he could’ve done that WITHOUT having to blow the entire school up with literal shit!! Can somebody help me?? Fiction is hard. What would this endearing criminal want to steal from a HIGH-SCHOOL?? What of value is kept in a high school???
He steals a solid education.
Ugh good thing this is NOT my story and just, what I imagine the other competitors in my group to have written… oh boy. Well worst case scenario, I don’t submit anything, and lose $59USD. Which would feel horrible. Or, I could try to hack something out, likely inspired by this skater character from my real life, because that part was actually kindof working. And I think it was working because it’s much easier to build fiction on top of reality, than it is to create an entire world from scratch.
But maybe I just use this as a ($59 USD) lesson, that I don’t much care for writing fiction. I’m entering a period of my life where I have just zero interest in doing things I don’t find satisfying or fun. What I really love is writing about the truth. I find the truth is already so fascinating, so absurd…at least in my life… there’s absolutely no need for embellishment. Maybe I’m just lazy. Did I mention I’m supposed to be working on writing the music for my 75-minute storytelling show?!? Yes I am PROCRASTINATING FROM PROCRASTINATING right now.
Thank you for your time, this has been very unproductive.