The Point Of Living

Peter Wells, of the countingducks blog, is a proficient author of short fiction. Each of his stories exists independent of the others, and while they are typically only a few hundred words long they never leave the reader asking what’s next — the writing is precise and focused, providing a thorough examination of a concept or character while also being consistently entertaining, with the occassional clever line that never seems forced or overbearing.

His About page is worth reading on its own, and contains its own little gems —  Life soon passes, my skin attests to that.

His latest story, The Point of Living, is the first-person narrative of an unnammed man who follows numerous paths to personal fulfillment, each of which leads to a dead end. Over two decades of this man’s life is summarized in just a handful of paragraphs (approximately two mouse clicks are required to traverse from beginning to end, your exact effort a function of  screen resolution), and at the conclusion the narrator is as uncertain as ever, yet somehow in exactly the place where he’s most comfortable. Like most of Peter’s stories, it provides an image that lasts far longer than the time required to read this clever little fable.

Suffocation

Today’s inspiration comes from KittyKat, who contemplates faking illness to avoid an unpleasant family gathering, then wonders why she doesn’t use depression, a genuine illness, as a justifiable excuse.

The comfort of the acceptable lie
Smothers truth in the vacuum of our uncertainty

The Offer

A short work of flash fiction for KittyKat, and the promise of victory

“A deal?” He uses that mocking tone every time he reminds me I’m wrong. “May I remind you that we’re not married — there is no room for negotation in our relationship.”

Fine, I reply with silent words that echo loudly in our conscious vacuum. Call it a change in our terms, then, my voice steady with the certainty of justice. You have an energy, a drive that has been the source for so much of our success.

“A most convenient shift to the plural.” If he had a cigarette, he’d draw on it now with a empty smile.

We (catching myself at the last second) need you to keep driving, keep pushing. Foward, towards the goal.

“All right.” He’s smart, can tell I’m making no attempt to hide anything from him. “And what’s in it for me?”

Freedom. It’s the only thing I can provide which is of value to him. No restraints, no forced shutdowns. None of the barriers we’ve had to impose on you. You take us where we need to go, I won’t hold you back.

“I see.” And I know better than to ask for anything more from him. He’ll either accept or decline — his actions will be the answer he provides. I feel naive, having made this devil’s bargain, but for once my naivety seems more blessing than curse.