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He woke up suddenly, with a jolt. Having escaped the nightmares of sleep, he groaned internally, realizing it was time to accept the nightmares of the day. What did he care that it was a little melodramatic to think like that? No one else knew what was going on in his head. There were a lot of plans for the day, for the month, for the year. Get fit; stay fit; learn the name of that girl at the library; learn to like salad without dressing; get REALLY good at guitar; become someone people might like. Or was his goal to become someone he might like? He’d have to change a lot to get there.
He rolled over and propped himself up on his pillow. Screw homework; it didn’t matter to him that he had Econ in 45 minutes. He opened his laptop and procrastinated even checking his email. He scrolled down the blogs he followed, full of pictures of the kind of person he wanted to be, he wanted his girlfriend to be. Tall, suave, cool, sexy, almost perfect. Why couldn’t he just hide in a house or a room or a hole until he was perfect, until everything just made sense and he didn’t have to worry anymore?
Well, no sense in being late to class. Getting bad grades wouldn’t help at all, especially the part of him that was longing to be intellectual. Time to shower and face another day, just another chunk of time to suffer through on the way to the perfection he was waiting for.
This excerpt of fiction was selflessly provided by Freshman Lucy Weber. She writes in her free time when she isn’t participating in Cross Country and Lazy Zipper. She also makes a mean shake at the pub.
The following selection of fiction was part of Junior Alistair Brockmeyer’s midterm revision for his Fiction II class (taught by professor Sara McDaniel). The short story titled, “The Road to Starbucks” is a tale told in the first person about how a successful motivational speaker became the man he is. The story opens with him giving a great speech and then thinking about what he would tell a newspaper about how he got to his place in life. This part of the story is a recollection of his first attempt giving motivational speeches at coffee shops around his neighborhood.
Reading the speech over and over, I felt my stomach flip and turn when I finally entered the building. I began to scan over my audience when suddenly a voice yelled out,
“Sir! You can’t bring your dog in here! No pets allowed.”
“Good start” I mumbled under my breath. I took Lucy outside and tied her to the parking meter. I kissed her between her eyes and told her to wish me luck. With every ounce of confidence I could muster, I strode back into the building. No one seemed to notice my entrance, but then again, I wasn’t really planning on it. By habit, I hopped in line to order. I figured it would give me time to scout out the best spot to give my speech, and a few more minutes to prepare. I finally made it to the register, ordered myself a small black with two equals, and made my way to an open table in the far corner of the little store. I took a seat and took one last look around. There was a small buzz in the store and music playing over an intercom system. I realized I would have to compete with that, but I figured I could project loud enough. Realizing it was now or never, I pushed myself into a standing position and called for the attention of the room.
“Excuse me! Excuse me everyone, if I could get your attention for a minute…” The entire store came to a quick stop and to my unsuspected horror, everyone was staring at me. I reminded myself to keep calm (wasn’t going to happen) and to be confident (also wasn’t going well).
For me, the book of the week was The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin. It’s a story about a utopian society where women who were once insanely successful become doting housewives to their averagely successful husbands. What is happening to these women? Brainwashing? Surgery? Robots? You might think you know the general plot from the movie that came out with Nicole Kidman in 2004, but the book is way better. There are MUCH more disturbing concepts in the novel. Also, if you read the book you won’t have to see Glenn Close mack on the severed head of Christopher Walken.
After some deliberation I’ve thought it reasonable to consider opening the doors wider submissions to this column. I think what the two previously featured writers submitted to me is great. There also seems to be a theme between the two: perfection. In Lucy’s piece, the character has a drive to succeed in school, fitness, with girls, and on the guitar. In Alistair’s story, the protagonist is determined to give the perfect speech, one that will inspire his audience. The same theme is prominent in The Stepford Wives. Ultimate perfection. Ultimate success. Ultimate control over the situation. I like the theme of getting somewhere in life throughout both passages, and perhaps submissions will be analyzed for a common thread to discuss. Long story short, I’m doing away with the prompts. It’s a fiction FREE FOR ALL!
Thanks for reading, and keep submitting!