One Thousand Words on Murder (and some other things)

Hannah Monterey walked into the Boston Police Department at 12:02 pm, went up to the first officer she saw and said, “I committed murder today.” Unfortunately she confessed to a man who has just been arrested for impersonating a police officer. In her defense, he was wearing a very authentic uniform. It would have fooled anyone. If he hadn’t been handcuffed to the bench, he would have even pulled out a little pad of paper out of his shirt pocket and taken notes, just like they do in the movies.

Hannah realized her mistake ten minutes into her statement when a real police officer came to take the impersonator to a holding cell. As she watched her confessor being led away down the hall she asked herself, “Well, what now?” She knew she should go over to the desk and ask to speak to a homicide detective. But then she’d have to tell the story all over again. She was tired. It had been a rough day. She wanted to do nothing more than go home, sit on the couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk and watch reruns of Monk. So she did.

==

“Be careful there. The floor’s a little slick. Don’t fall. Oh, it’s nothing. I just made a little mess. I’m getting it mopped up as quick as I can. This is a busy store, people coming and going all the time. I’ve got to get this cleaned up so no one slips, right? No, that’s ok. I can take a minute to check you out. Just the bread today? Ok. That’s $2.99. Would you like a bag for that? No? Ok, here’s your penny. What? Yes, it does looks a lot like blood. Ketchup? Nope, it’s not ketchup. No, it’s not spaghetti sauce either. Give up? You had it right the first time. It’s blood. Really. No, it’s not mine. See, not a scratch on me. It’s from that guy in the beer cooler. See him over there? Beside the Corona? I killed him. Yep, I guess I committed murder today. It wasn’t my fault. He was stealing Twinkies. I told him to put them back, but he just kept going. So I hit him in the head. The fire extinguisher. But don’t worry, it still works. I checked. Hey, come back. You forget your bread! Have a nice day!”

==

Ok, I give up. I was trying to write five two hundred word stories about murder. But I only got through two. It’s funny that I’m struggling with the topic of murder. You’d think that it would have so many possibilities but I found writing about calling the number on the rest room wall last night easier. I started a story about a comedian that kills a heckler, but that didn’t go anywhere. Then I tried a writer that confesses to killing off a character. I still think there’s promise in that one, but I can’t seem to get anything going on it. I like the premise of an author feeling so guilty about killing off the main character in his series of books that he confesses. Like J.K. Rowling confessing to murdering Harry Potter or Janet Evanovich killing off Stephanie Plum. But I’m not sure where it would go from there, not even for just two hundred words. I’ve actually heard that it’s harder to write super short stories than it is to write longer ones. I guess tonight proved that point! Either that or I’m just not creative tonight.

I read that Ernest Hemingway once bet someone that he could write a six word short story. When the other person took the bet, Hemingway wrote “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I don’t know if that’s true or just a myth, but I love that story! I love how those six words set your imagination running. Just six words! And you can change out baby shoes for something else like wedding ring and it still works, but it has to be something significant. You couldn’t put in remote control or box fan. That doesn’t do it. I wonder if there are other six word stories out there. I don’t think I’m up for trying it tonight. If I couldn’t do two hundred word stories, six word stories are out of the question!

Wow, I’m really struggling to get to one thousand words tonight… I think I’ll write about the book I just finished. It was The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. Apparently I’m the last person on earth to read this book, because everyone I mentioned it to says “oh, I’ve read that” like they can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read it. I really appreciated the characters and rooted for them. I was especially intrigued by Elizabeth. I didn’t like her at all at first, but started feeling a little sorry for her and then became disappointed in her. I had no hope for Hilly. I expected her to ignorant bigot right up until the very end, but I thought Elizabeth might get out from under Hilly’s thumb and realize the error of her ways. She didn’t. I guess it was true to life. How many people have the courage to fight for what they know is right even though they were taught something different from the moment they were born?

A couple of things in the book confused me. First was the scene with the naked man out back of the house. I think it was to show the change in relationship between the disliked white woman and her maid (I’m so tired I can’t even remember their names, but I’m bound and determined to make to one thousand words. My apologies to anyone reading this mess!) but at the time it just seemed out of place. I also was baffled by the mother deciding to live. I still haven’t figured out what that was about. And with this sentence I hit one thousand words. Praise be!

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