It was decades ago. A Friday night. He shut the door of his bedroom and turned off the light. It was only 7:00 pm but it was dark and he wanted no part of anything. He shut the door against the man he called dad coming home in his suit after a bad day to find him watching that bad movie and pulling it out of the machine and smashing it. Against his mother cussing and breaking dishes in the sink. Against his brother screaming in the baby carrier. Against the phone ringing every ten minutes. He didn’t want to go out. He didn’t want to stay in. He put a record on and turned it up and sat against the speaker so loud it felt like a live rock show.
One night that man he called dad put the keys in the ignition and stomped on the gas and spun the tires so hard he left black marks and smoke as he screeched away. It scared him and hurt him but at the same time it seemed like a pretty fucking good idea.
Next morning he was waiting for the bus to school and instead of waiting he started walking. He walked like he was going to school and when he got to school he stopped and stood there staring at the doors. He was late and everyone was inside. He started walking again and he walked until he found a pay phone.
He called information and got a number for a cab company. He called a cab and asked the driver to take him towards the bus station. He watched the meter until it got close to the number of dollars he could spend and then he told the cab driver to stop. He paid the cab driver and walked the rest of the way to the bus station and got on the next bus for somewhere else.
He got off in a town with a different name than the one he’d left. It was after midnight and he slept on the steps outside the terminal. He didn’t have anything to use for a pillow like the others did.
It was luck he passed by that mechanics place the next day and their guy had called off. He could do simple shit like change oil and replace brake pads. The man he’d called dad had made him do it so he wouldn’t have to pay someone else. Now he was that someone else the man didn’t want to pay.
I sat down to write a story and no sooner had I started than it went off in a direction I didn’t intend. The above direction. That’s what happens sometimes. Now I’m curious to see what happens to this kid. Where is he twenty years later? What’s he doing? Is he married with kids? Successful? Happy? Is he broke and drunk? In jail? In another country? Dead? I have no idea. I don’t know how it got where it did.
I’d like to see someone, anyone, hopefully lots of someones or anyones, finish this story. You can post your finish in the comments below. Or you can submit it using the thingy under the Contact page above. I would love to see dozens of responses. I would be thrilled with a handful. I would be happy with one. I don’t know what to expect with this. I’ve never done it before. My only fear is the sound of crickets.
The ending could be warm and uplifting, or dark and dreadful, or anything in between. You could mimic the style or do it your way. You could take it to outer space if you want to. Only two caveats: 20 years later; 500 words or less. It could be one sentence. Or one paragraph. It could be many. But the ending – the part you write – should be 500 words tops. Next Monday I will post a follow-up. What that will look like depends on the number of responses. If there are enough to pick three favorites, I will do that and take it from there.
Some of you write fiction. Some of you don’t. Doesn’t matter. Even if you’ve never written a story before, why should that stop you? You may surprise yourself. Go for it.
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