Writing Exercise: The Cure for Unhappiness is Happiness

One of my life goals is to write a novel, so I’ve been getting back into writing. I am veeery rusty. I used to write stories when I was younger, then I got writer’s block and stopped for many years. It’s something that I always missed doing, so I started attending a writing group. We write for an hour about a theme or a prompt, then read our stories out loud. I find it really helpful to get feedback, and it motivates me to actually sit down and WRITE when I’m surrounded by others doing the same. The more I do it, the more I feel myself fitting back into the groove of things. Anyway, I want to share some of the stuff I’ve been working on. There’s no such thing as too much encouragement, right?

The following story was written in the spring of 2012. It is completely unedited, just so you’re fairly warned. It is inspired by the quote: “the cure for unhappiness is happiness. I don’t care what anyone says.”

He closed the door behind him and sighed. Click the lock. Slide the deadbolt in place. Turn on the light. The living room is spacious and sparsely furnished. There’s a couch in front of a TV set on top of a short black table. It’s the tube kind. No flat screen here. He likes it old school.

He hangs his jacket on a coat tree, loosens his tie and heads to the kitchen. Damn, today was rough. I don’t know what to do about that nosy woman, he thinks to himself. She needs to learn to mind her own business. It doesn’t take long to grab a beer, pop the cap off and turn on the TV. It’s the news channel he’s interested in. It’s good to know what’s going on. Better make sure there’s no sickos out there. Kicking off his shiny black shoes and resting his feet on the black Ikea coffee table (chosen to match the TV bench), he slouches into the couch. He stares at the big toe poking through the hole in his sock and thinks about his day.

Susy is a bitch, as previously mentioned. All it took was one night of drinking at a stupid company party months ago that he had only went to in order to keep up appearances, and now his life is hell. “I shouldn’t have flapped my mouth like that,” he muttered at his toe. “I can’t believe I did that.” But he was drunk and she had asked him just the right questions to get him going and now she and everyone knew about his business. The divorce, the custody battle, and he had cried. Not a lot, but enough to garner Big-Mouth-Susie’s sympathy for now and for eternity. Well, maybe not for eternity, but at least until she felt satisfied that he was happy.

Today she had approached him on his lunch break. “You know, I have this friend who is recently single. I think you might like her,” she had said to him, then gone on a spiel about how great this broad supposedly is and how great they’d be together. She was always going spiels and she always had pity in her eyes.

“I don’t need her help,” he said. Empty beer bottle went on the floor. “All women are bitches anyway. They’re only good for one thing and I’ve got what I need.” He turned off the TV. Nothing of importance had happened and that was good news for him. It meant he could relax for another night. For how many more nights, he wasn’t sure, but that white door down the hall was waiting for him, waiting to be unlocked. Waiting to be opened. He reached under his dress shirt and pulled out the key he kept wrapped around his neck at all times. He fit it inside the lock on the white door, a distinct clicking sound breaking the silence of the place, the doorknob turning to open the door with a creak.

There she was as he’d left her. Hands bound to the bedpost, mouth gagged. Hair blond as honey, as blond as his ex-wife’s hair. That fucking bitch. “Screw you, Susy,” he said to the woman on his bed. “The cure for unhappiness is happiness. And I’ve got that already. I don’t care what you think.”

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