Three Days

Mitch McCrory awoke as the television roared to life.  He fumbled for his glasses; sat up in bed; stared at the screen.  Pretty faces gummed canned words, spoon-feeding glossy news to a dulled and passive audience.  Bobble head news.  “Why do you watch this, Deb?”  He poked his wife’s back, curved in slumber.

The newscaster reminded Mitch of his first love: Long brown hair.  Pretty blue eyes, a streak of contrived concern between them. 

“…predicting the end of the world.”  From her square and scripted world, she smiled at the audience.  Three days.  What would you do?”

As he packed his lunch, Mitch wondered: What would he do if the world were ending in three days?  He kissed his wife and kids; headed for the train, chewing on the thought like a day-old bagel.

He saw the church.

He stepped inside.

He shoved past elderly ladies in long woolen skirts who hobbled towards the confessional in sensible shoes; pressing down hard on the worn wooden canes supporting them.

He parted thick velvet curtains; stepped into the darkness.

He breathed dust and stale perspiration and the sins of others quietly confessed.

He covered his nose; shallowed his breaths.

One by one, he enumerated his sins, each burden lifted lightening his mood.

He left the church; wondered if the world would cease to exist.

He thought about his first love.

He still had her number.

Before he died, he wanted to talk about something interesting.  Something not involving the kids or the house.  He wanted to eat dinner at a proper table set with silver, not plastic.  Set with tablecloths, cloth napkins, wineglasses.  Not tumblers.

He wanted substance.

He emptied his bank account.  He called his old girlfriend.  He arranged for a cruise.

He had a glorious time.

And when he woke, four days later, beside the curved back of the old girlfriend, the television blaring in the background, he discovered that the world hadn’t ended after all.

But for Mitch McCrory, perhaps it had.


This was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge.  Our prompt: The world will end in three days.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Three Days

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Three Days

Mitch McCrory awoke as the television roared to life.  He fumbled for his glasses; sat up in bed; stared at the screen.  Pretty faces gummed canned words, spoon-feeding glossy news to a dulled and passive audience.  Bobble head news.  “Why do you watch this, Deb?”  He poked his wife’s back, curved in slumber.

The newscaster reminded Mitch of his first love: Long brown hair.  Pretty blue eyes, a streak of contrived concern between them. 

“…predicting the end of the world.”  From her square and scripted world, she smiled at the audience.  Three days.  What would you do?”

As he packed his lunch, Mitch wondered: What would he do if the world were ending in three days?  He kissed his wife and kids; headed for the train, chewing on the thought like a day-old bagel.

He saw the church.

He stepped inside.

He shoved past elderly ladies in long woolen skirts who hobbled towards the confessional in sensible shoes; pressing down hard on the worn wooden canes supporting them.

He parted thick velvet curtains; stepped into the darkness.

He breathed dust and stale perspiration and the sins of others quietly confessed.

He covered his nose; shallowed his breaths.

One by one, he enumerated his sins, each burden lifted lightening his mood.

He left the church; wondered if the world would cease to exist.

He thought about his first love.

He still had her number.

Before he died, he wanted to talk about something interesting.  Something not involving the kids or the house.  He wanted to eat dinner at a proper table set with silver, not plastic.  Set with tablecloths, cloth napkins, wineglasses.  Not tumblers.

He wanted substance.

He emptied his bank account.  He called his old girlfriend.  He arranged for a cruise.

He had a glorious time.

And when he woke, four days later, beside the curved back of the old girlfriend, the television blaring in the background, he discovered that the world hadn’t ended after all.

But for Mitch McCrory, perhaps it had.


This was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge.  Our prompt: The world will end in three days.

Labels: ,

15 Comments:

At July 7, 2012 at 2:30 PM , Anonymous Libby Rodriguez said...

U-oh... LOL! Nice take on the prompt! I love that he went to confession AND THEN took all the money and ran off with another woman!

 
At July 7, 2012 at 2:59 PM , Anonymous Lance said...

wow, all of this in 333 words. don't tell me short stories can't give you everything you want.

This was creative and well crafted. good work.

 
At July 7, 2012 at 3:35 PM , Anonymous MOV said...

perfection. adore the ending (or, perhaps it is the beginning???)

best,
MOV

 
At July 7, 2012 at 9:07 PM , Anonymous Victoria KP said...

Marvelous stuff!

 
At July 7, 2012 at 10:11 PM , Anonymous Ruby Manchanda said...

Every end marks a new beginning. Perfect story.

 
At July 7, 2012 at 10:57 PM , Anonymous JannaTWrites said...

I hope his last days were as good as he dreamed. I think he'll wish the world had ended when his wife gets her hands on him!

 
At July 8, 2012 at 7:16 AM , Anonymous Renada Styles said...

Oh wow. What a drastic action he took! I think about some of these people who believe the world will end this year and how their lives will be when they wake the day after the 'world ends' and it having not ended at all. Then again, perhaps, it gives the freedom to do all that one truly wants without the inhibitions of obligation and living a prescribed life.

 
At July 8, 2012 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous Tara R. said...

I guess even at the end, you need to be careful what you wish for... it's not always what you really want.

 
At July 8, 2012 at 5:47 PM , Anonymous Lisa Harvey said...

Holy cow, there's a lot to love here. I liked the story, of course, but I loved the way you told it. Bobble head news is perfection. Breathing in the sins of others is haunting and beautiful and perfect. I love it. Heh. I hope that old flame has some staying power. Looks like she's around for a bit longer than he anticipated. Great job with the prompt.

 
At July 8, 2012 at 8:39 PM , Anonymous The Gal Herself said...

Aw ... That was my first reaction. This was very well written and it's very relateable. Love the healthy dose of humanity here.

 
At July 9, 2012 at 7:40 AM , Anonymous Mary said...

Now this has impact...well done!

 
At July 9, 2012 at 11:48 AM , Anonymous Jessie Powell said...

Oh my! What a change of pace. And imagine the devastation he left behind with his wife and children. I feel bad for all of them, because I doubt there are any winners here.

 
At July 9, 2012 at 2:33 PM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

I'm not quite sure whether to feel sorry for him or not -- he's destroyed his old life, but he's also gotten a new perspective. Who knows where he'll go from there?

 
At July 12, 2012 at 2:02 AM , Anonymous karen said...

Oh, now that. Is just divine. Wow. The clincher at the end really ties it together. Wow.

 
At July 15, 2012 at 1:34 PM , Anonymous jaum said...

Kell I got a bit behind so catching up. Loved this story, the premise, the outcome and THE LAST LINE.

 

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