Welcome to Week One of the 52 Week Short Story Challenge!
This challenge was created by SM Cadman, based on the advice of Ray Bradbury:
‘Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.’
— Ray Bradbury pic.twitter.com/SDIrmFwEKs
— Writing for Wellbeing (@write4wellbeing) September 9, 2016
The rules are simple: write one 200-10,000 word story a week using one of the prompts provided, then post on your blog – even if it’s terrible.
The first prompts were posted Saturday and are St. Patrick’s Day themed, and I’m really excited about doing this! I’m planning on posting my stories on Tuesdays, much the way I did the Yeah Write challenges. If you want to play along, here are the prompts for this week!
“Come on, it’s only one drink.”
“Can you just tell me what exit I’m supposed to be taking?” According to his GPS, Ellis had driven off the side of the world ten minutes ago and trying to get help from the extremely intoxicated woman in the passenger seat was almost impossible. In addition to being nearly incoherent, she also wouldn’t stop flirting with him. Poorly.
“My house is just right over there,” the woman said, her words blurring together like a tray of watercolors that had been flipped over. Ellis sighed. There was nothing outside the window but a lonely highway, and as much as he wanted to speed up to get rid of her faster, the cops were out in full force.
“Come on,” Ellis said, pausing to look at his phone. He couldn’t remember the woman’s name, and although he had a pretty good idea that she wasn’t going to remember any of this, he at least wanted to be professional. As professional as an Uber driver could be, anyways. “Just help me get you home, Karen.”
“Only if you’ll come in for a drink.”
“Sure, okay, whatever.” Ellis thought privately that one more drink would probably kill her, but he was ready to get her out of his car so he could go back to 7th Street and start the whole disappointing process over.
He’d thought working the bars during St. Patrick’s day would be a good idea. With surge pricing and the fact that drunk people tended to tip without looking, he’d been more focused on the extra money he could make and hadn’t considered that he would have to deal with people who were trying to set a new world record for drunkenness.
“All right, this looks like the place,” he said when he finally pulled up to what he hoped was Karen’s house. “Why don’t you go on inside and I’ll join you as soon as I clock out.” The last shot she’d taken seemed to have finally hit her and Karen stumbled up to her front door. He waited until she’d started jabbing at her lock with a key, then sped away before she could open her door. It didn’t matter if she was mad at him, she wouldn’t remember it in the morning.
As he drove back to the bars, Ellis thought about his night so far. In addition to Karen, he’d driven a hipster girl with a guinea pig on a leash, two guys in suits that smelled like their blood had been replaced with whiskey, a guy who had been escorted out of a tattoo studio for being belligerent in the waiting area, and a threesome of giggling girls that looked like they were maybe 16 years old. He’d flat-out refused the two frat boys with the goat. Even a guy trying to pay off his student loans had his limits.
Even though he still had a couple of hours on his shift, Ellis was considering clocking out and getting drunk himself. At home, though. He didn’t want to subject some other poor Uber driver to his evening.
Just finish your shift, he thought. Finish your shift and never do this again. He marked himself available as he got closer to 7th Street and immediately got a call. Hoping that this one, at the very least, wouldn’t have an animal with them, he drove to the bar set away from the street with the back patio. A guy wearing a Kappa Theta Chi shirt was standing on the curb, and he checked the picture on his phone to make sure that was his passenger. Ellis pulled up to the curb, opened his passenger door, and plastered on his usual fake smile.
“Hi, I’m Ellis. I’m your—” Before he could get the words out, the frat boy leaned forward and vomited what looked like a gallon of green beer into his passenger seat. He wiped his mouth, smiled, then passed out on the sidewalk. “That’s it,” Ellis said. “I’m clocking out. Forever.” He reached over and pulled the door shut. When his phone started to ring, he threw it out the window and drove away.