Writing stories takes time. More time that I had originally estimated, to be completely honest. So while the goal was always to have at least one story per week posted on themuggo.com, the reality is that’s really difficult to do with long-form articles. I was brainstorming at some point in the last few weeks and knew I needed to have something else to fill the time between the longer, more time consuming stories.
You’ve read the Mixtape Breakdowns, part I and part II, right? Those posts took me about two days to work through. Not bad. But I need more variety, so I came up with something I’m going to call “Four Word Fiction”. It’s exactly what it sounds like, but I’ll explain it anyway.
First, I’ll solicit friends and/or family to give me the first four words on their mind. Once I have those four words (and after I silently judge them based on the four words they give me), I’ll use those words to create a short, fictional story. I’m shooting for 400 words or less.
Why? I have (at least) two weaknesses in writing. First, I don’t think I’m very good at writing fiction. Not yet, at least. And second is this: some people would freak out if they had to write 400 words. I, on the other hand, am terrified of the notion of having to cram every ounce of incredible material floating around this noggin of mine into just 400 words. I’m a word salad kind of guy, if you haven’t already noticed.
So this will be good practice for me. And it should be entertaining for you. With all that said, here’s my first crack at it. Let me know what you think when you’re through so I can either be encouraged to continue or I can be shamed into continuing. Either way, I gotta get stronger.
The submitter: Adam. Thanks, dude.
The four words: treason, hungry, crabcakes, BO (as in body odor). Words are bolded below when used.
Setting: London, England, the year is 1788
“Can you believe those Americans, John?” James Piper asked, his tone dripping with disdain toward the rotten scoundrels.
“What do you mean, James?”
John was common criminal. A burly brute, with body odor strong enough to injure a passerby. He was presently serving his time in the musty jail cell for fighting the constable’s son at the tavern the evening before.
“Seriously? What do I mean?” Piper asked incredulously. He paced in a tight circle, trying to decide whether it was worth his time to dive into the politics involved, especially with his dullard of a friend. After a moment, he stopped.
“What I mean, John, is this: doesn’t it seem ironic to you the we – two fine and upstanding citizens of England – are locked in this horrific cell while just across the ocean a large group of ruffians are free to roam about without recourse? Treasonous ruffians, at that! But here we are. Rotting in the cell. And for what?”
“Well, not you perhaps. But me, yes.” James Piper was a lanky man with a face like a crow, though his personality was more reptilian in nature. Piper was in jail for attempted robbery. More specifically, he had attempted robbing the tavern where John had started a brawl the evening prior. It would have been the perfect con had John picked his target a little more carefully.
“But that’s neither here nor there, John. My point is that whilst the two of us are confined in this miserable space, these Americans – who are the real problem, I might add – are out ruining the world and no one seems to care!”
“What’s so bad about the Americans?”
“What’s so bad? I think the easier question to answer would be what’s good about them.” James couldn’t believe he was having this conversation.
“Excuse me. Did you say…crabcakes?” James Piper was at his wit’s end. The brute was slowly killing him with his stupidity.
“Yes, crabcakes. That’s what the Americans are good for. They invented them, you know. It’s like a small cake – or maybe a pie – but made of cooked crab mixed with other stuff. They’re delicious, James.”
James was furious.
“You could stand to eat a few crabcakes. I believe you’re angry because you’re hungry. One might say you’re hangry,” John chuckled, proud of his newfound vocabulary.
And hence, the birth of the term “hangry”. ♦
word count: 400, on the freakin’ money! One for two ain’t bad.