Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hey Kid - Short Story

**NPR hosts a competition called “Three-Minute Fiction.” The goal is to write a short story about the prompt that can be read in 3 minutes (under 600 words).

About a month ago the prompt was this image:

This is the story I wrote (it didn't get picked, but that's okay).**

Hey kid.

Yeah, you. With the ear-things in your ears clacking away on your computer.

Hand me that newspaper will ya’?


You know what I like best about the newspaper? Everything in it’s yesterday’s news. None of this late breaking news crap. Everything in here’s done broke already. There’s nothing in there that hasn’t been checked and rechecked up the wazoo.

Whatsat? Dewey defeats Truman? Everybody makes mistakes. But that’s my point, had they waited a day ‘til it was old news, they woulda got it right. That’s the problem with this computer-web-net thing. Everyone wants their news right now and nobody cares if it’s right or not. I’d rather have real news later than maybe-real news now.

World events? Why should I care that some yahoo has blown himself up in Wherezitstan? I don’t live there. I don’t know anyone who lives there. I don’t own property there. What does it have to do with me? Is it going to affect crops in the US? Will it affect the cost of my coffee?

Speaking of coffee, where’s the waitress? Whatsat? I have to go up to the counter to get my coffee? I paid four-fifty for a cup of coffee and they won’t even bring it to me? How do I know when my coffee’s ready? I don’t remember what I ordered. Since they don’t have just black coffee here I told the guy in the green apron “I’ll have what he’s having.” It’ll probably taste like watery milk. All these frou-frou drinks taste like that. Whatsat? You can get black coffee here? Does it cost four-fifty? No? It’s a racket, I’m tellin’ ya.

I could have had free coffee at the hospital. But as crappy as this coffee is, that coffee’s worse. And it’s cold. Even free coffee should at least have the decency to be hot.

Why was I at the hospital? My wife’s a patient. She’s got cancer and our doctor back home didn’t know what more to do for her, so he sent her here. They’re doing tests. Always more tests. She says it’s like being in school again, only with needles.

We’ve been married forty-eight years, y’know. We were just out of high school. Thought we knew everything. That’s a laugh. Her daddy made us wait until we were done with school and I had a job. It wasn’t much of a job but it paid the bills. I started out as a farmhand. A cowboy you could probably say, but it didn’t have much to do with cows. I mucked stalls and sat on the tractor. We did well enough that my wife stayed home when our kids were little. Heck, By the time I retired I practically ran the place.

We have three kids. Two boys and a girl. She’s still my baby girl, even though she’s in her thirties. Our little miracle born eight years after her last brother. We’d given up havin’ a girl. She keeps tryin’ to plan a fiftieth anniversary party for my wife and me. Her oldest brother tells her not to bother; mama won’t be around that long. He’s such a bully, always was.

Oh, that’s my cell phone. About the only good thing that’s come from technology. Not that I want just everyone to be able to reach me at a moment’s notice, but it’s been useful since she’s been sick. She can get me whenever she needs me.

The latest test results are in.

If you find my coffee you can have it.

Whatsat? Sports page? Sure. They’re last week’s scores anyway.

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