Last week I mentioned how I expected Fiction Friday #6, “Conflict,” to head in a super dark direction, but I feared taste might be an issue. Because of that very analysis, I wanted to write the other version right away.
I was curious to see just how far I could push the same idea to the opposite extreme. So here it is.
The titles differ because each story tackles a different issue, even though they share the same genesis. Tell me how you think both tales compare. As always, thanks for reading.
Stats: 388 words. Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 56 seconds.
Sitting alone in my study, I finally got I wanted. No wife. No kids. No dog. No noise—except for the running water of the bird fountain in the backyard. I’d installed it so recently that even the dirt was still loose beneath. That could stay.
The kids took their toys to their aunt’s house. I relished not tripping over dolls and dump trucks on my way to the kitchen. All the dishes were clean and put away, just the way I liked it. Even my wife’s shoes and laundry were either lined up in the closet or folded neatly in her drawers. I didn’t even have to change out of my sweatpants and faded college sweatshirt since there was no one to impress.
Winter always was my favorite time to write. I wouldn’t be teaching Hitchcock and Truffaut for another month, and my students were off doing whatever the hell my students did when they weren’t in session. It didn’t matter, really.
They weren’t my concern at the moment.
Nope. Nothing but time to write.
My fingers tapped the keys, and the words flowed like the water in the fountain.
“See that, Margaret,” I said. “I haven’t been this productive in years. All thanks to you.”
When we first got together, my wife used to be my muse. Yet over the years that inspiration faded. Until she was gone, that is, when her absence helped me find new inspiration.
This flow continued for hours. I really don’t know how long. I could have continued for several more except a pounding began in the back of my head. Words slowed. Each syllable tapped out to the echoing beat. That’s when I realized the interruption wasn’t in my head. Someone was at the front door.
I grumbled, stood up, and crossed the spotless carpet to open the door. Two police officers stood on the porch.
“Are you Bob Newhall?” one of the officers asked.
“Can we get in your backyard?”
I shifted, braced myself against the door. “What for?”
The officers stiffened their postures.
“A neighbor saw you bury something there.”
“I installed a new fountain recently. Maybe that’s what they saw.”
“No. Under the fountain, sir.”
The officers waited for a response, but I couldn’t think of one.
“Where’s your wife?” he asked.
Ah. My muse.
Haven’t read the other version yet? Click here to read “Conflict.”