Friday, March 6, 2015

TMoH #3: A New Year

And here we are again, with another thirty minutes of hell.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, my introductory post on this topic provides a quick summary.

The writing prompt from NANO fiction is: Write a micro essay, flash fiction piece, or prose poem about a New Year’s Resolution. Be specific!

A New Year

On the first day of the new year, Oscar woke up and decided that he was done with pizza.  Finishing off the pie had seemed like a good idea at the time (what was the point in saving the last piece or two?  who really liked re-heated pizza?).  But his stomach was telling him now what his brain should have known last night: it had been a mistake.

He stretched, wincing, and forced himself out of bed and into his desk chair.  Then he wrote down the date and his new resolution ("FUCK PIZZA" was his elegant way of putting it), and filed it away with the others.  Then he started his painful preparations for the day ahead.


He had expected the walk to the bus stop to hurt, but to his surprise, it seemed to massage away his aches and cramps.  By the time he got to work in the call center, Oscar was in a fine mood, whistling cheerily and greeting his co-workers with a big smile.

Some of them came by his workspace and asked if he wanted to join them for lunch; they were going to the pizza joint a block away.  Oscar smiled regretfully and shook his head.  "I can't," he said, "I made a resolution."  His co-workers laughed.  "Another one?" they said, but left him alone to his own devices.  He ate a cold sandwich from the building's commissary instead.  It tasted disgusting.

Who knew that lunch was such a key component of the day?  Oscar only realized the truth of this as he stepped off the bus for the walk home in a bit of a cloud.  He was hungry, and no matter what he did, he couldn't get pizza out of his mind.  The weather in September had also turned chill faster than he expected, and the light jacket he wore wasn't much protection.  He scowled as he took step after step, shooting one furious glance into the pizza restaurant he sometimes ate at for dinner... and then stopped.

There was someone new working behind the register, someone new with lively eyes.  She was leaning against the counter looking off into space.  Then suddenly she turned and looked directly at him.  Oscar blushed, shame-faced.  To his surprise the woman laughed and beckoned him in.

Oscar's flush heightened.  His resolution flashed through his mind as he backed away with what he was sure was a ridiculous expression on his face.  He held his hands up as if to say Sorry, my bad, and hurried away.  The truth was that even without his resolution, he would have probably refused to go in.

He returned to his apartment in a confused state, a mix of disgust at himself and despair at his future... and an odd sort of hope.  She had waved him in, after all.  He glared at his resolution box... and the brightened.  Almost running to his desk, he sat down, tore his morning's resolution to shreds, and then wrote a new one, dating it for the next day.  "Every day a new year," he said.  "Every single day."


And this is what you get when you have a reasonable story idea and too little time to add minor things such as characterization, subtlety, or detail.  Ugh.  The whole thing clearly needs to be reworked to flesh out Oscar much, much more, with a greater sense of the twin optimism and pessimism that I imagine he has; and to make the events of the day read more organically, rather than as the clearly artificial constructs they are.

Still, I do like the central conceit of the story, so there is that.  Maybe I should make a resolution to finish it sometime (haha, I'm so funny)!

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