Over on the KiwiWriter website, timb5 and myself came up with a small challenge, just to keep people writing, and to encourage people, like myself who aren’t short story writers, to come to grips with them. Following is my effort.
The challenge was this:
First Line: The world rests on that question. Like waiting to see which indicator the car you are following will set blinking.
Last Line: So many jokes start with people walking into bars, yet none of them wind up with black eyes or concussions. Why is that?
The world rests on that question. Like waiting to see which indicator the car you are following will set blinking. The question flashed to the back of my mind as I sit beside Matt, my lover of four glorious months.
Our time together has been wondrous, sensual, sexual, and yet there was something more to Matt, something I could not put my finger on. He is talking to some of his friends, so I sit here patiently, waiting for him to return his full attention to me.
But while he is talking, I can take full advantage of looking at him. His chiselled features in stark contrast to the soft wavy blond hair that fell into his eyes. Oh his eyes, don’t get me starting on his beautiful hazel eyes, that seem to hold so much depth to them. Mmmmm.
Anyway, I am watching his lips move, the small quirk at the corner of his mouth as he half smiles at something someone says. The sound of his laughter. Matt, is a comedian, not just amongst his friends, he is a real life comedian, the type that gets paid to make fun of other people. But Matt is different. He makes fun of himself more than others and as a result people love him. They love his sense of humour. I think that is what I like about him too. That and his brutal honesty.
“So Honey,” he interrupts my thoughts. I am still staring at him.
“So yourself,” I say. He laughs, a genuine laugh that makes my insides warm up.
“Are you ready?” He asks. I try to calm down the anxious feeling in my stomach, the butterflies that are busy flitting the sides, making me feeling slightly nauseous. Until he had mentioned it, I had put the fear to the back of my mind. Now it is back again.
“Um, yeah, I guess,” I stammer awkwardly. I know that doesn’t sound very assuring. He smiles at me, and my stomach butterflies disappear. When he looks at me, I know I can do anything.
“You will be alright, just remember to focus on me, like we practiced. Can you do that?”
“I can do anything,” I say, wondering if I really can as I take a deep breath.
The compere is back on the stage, the sets are short, only a minute or two each. Which happens on Beginners Night. I look at the clock, and it is nearly my time. The dead butterflies resurrect themselves and I feel that sinking feeling.
“You’re up,” Matt says. I smile weakly at him, trying to remember to lock my knees when I get down off the barstool, because I don’t know if I will be able to stand or not. I hear the compere call out my name, and I slowly walk stiffly to the front of the room and awkwardly climb the stairs. I smile weakly at the compere, and take the microphone from him. I stare out through the lights. Where the hell has Matt gone. I search the room, silence deafening from the audience. I can barely see him through the lights, but there he is, at the back, waving and smiling. Encouraging. The butterflies die and I focus all of my attention on him. I can feel it. I can feel the confidence building. I open my mouth and start with my opening line.
“So many jokes start with people walking into bars, yet none of them wind up with black eyes or concussions. Why is that?”