Members Only: There Can Be Only One (fiction)

yeah write 64 When the sun woke me, I realized that I’d be walking home naked.

I had been hoping to be one in a million. It really is one in a million. At least if you live in the United States of America. And I do. I had it all planned out to achieve maximum effect and embarrassment for my wife.

We live across the street from a country club that costs as much to join as it costs to send our kids to preschool. We hear the parties on Saturday nights from our front steps. They are loud, obnoxious DJ-fueled karaoke parties designed to keep rich kids from doing bad things before 10 p.m. After 10 p.m., who knows. My wife wants to join the club because we can walk there. I want to buy a second car so I can get to Home Depot while she goes to the gym with the kids.

All that doesn’t matter now. We can’t do either because I’ve been demoted to part-time at a job I’ve sweated for over the last 22 years. 32 hours a week. And anyone under 35 hours a week doesn’t get health insurance. My wife freelances as a copywriter, so she’s no help. Now we have to figure out what to do about her thyroid issues and my high blood pressure.

So I’m here, on the country club’s well-manicured lawn. I decided on the 8th hole; I figured the 18th would be clichΓ©. And 8 is lucky, that’s what I learned from the last summer Olympics. For more luck, I held our silver wedding cake server in one hand; the knife I got when I attained the rank of Eagle Scout in high school is grasped in my right. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.

At just after 2 a.m. I had stepped out of my pajamas, folded them on the desk chair, and walked the five minutes to the country club’s lawn. It felt great. The promised storm had already begun with wind that promised Highlander-style glory. When I got to the 8th hole on the country club green, I sat down, not wanting a passing car to notice the naked guy on the hillock of the expensive country club at 2 a.m.

Still picturing Highlander, I raised my silver-filled hands to the first bolt of lightning that stretched across the sky, daring it to strike me. I was sure it would. I was sure it would. I was so sure it would.

It didn’t. I am here. Naked. And now I have to walk home. Naked. I’m still gripping my cake server and knife. Our town is small enough that this could be bad.

My shoulders shrug. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so bad to walk home in the buff. I get up and brush off my back and legs as best I can. I look at where my body has left its mark, free of electricity, on the country club lawn. Turning on my heel, I do a one-eighty and begin my journey home.

I’m hooking up with the Yeah Write Summer Writing Series. This is a work of fiction (for those who are confused), and it was a painful challenge to cut this down to 499 words. One to spare! Check out the other writers on the grid. I’m at the Hangout Grid, but there’s lots to see at the summer series grid as well.

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About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to the car culture, dealing with leaving a career I love, and spouting off along the way.
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28 Responses to Members Only: There Can Be Only One (fiction)

  1. Ado says:

    Holy SHIT!
    This is some DAMN good writing. Damn, it’s good! I *loved* this.
    I also know that country club of which you speak.
    This was fantastic.

  2. heidi says:

    This is great, really great!! I mean it. More, please.

  3. it reminds me of an old John Updike story, i think it is – about swimming pools at night. I would love to know what happens next – or what happened before.

    • Thank you! I was going for a little of the A&P voice, but since it was a quick response to the prompt (and I’d had a few glasses of Pinot Noir), I focused on cutting down instead of fleshing out. Which for Updike, really works!

  4. TriGirl says:

    Oh, so glad he didn’t get struck…unless he would have gotten the power of the Highlander! Poor guy, having to walk home in the nude πŸ™‚ Nicely written.

  5. sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms says:

    I enjoyed this story! You did a lot of crafting with your 499 words. (It’s hard to do, isn’t it?) Ellen

  6. Jennifer says:

    I’m not sure which I hope more, that this is fiction or that you really did this. Suicide by cake knife.

  7. Bridgette says:

    Great story! The cake server was an excellent touch πŸ™‚

  8. mamamzungu says:

    Love this story and can’t wait to hear more! Will there be more? Please let there be more…

  9. Loved this. Wonderful, sharp emotional core. Vivid imagery. Great flow and building to the end. Seriously, I just loved this. I’ll stop gushing all over your comment section. It’s rude to make you have to clean up.

  10. Pingback: yeah write #65 summer writer’s series continues: hosted by That Unique* Weblog | yeah write

  11. Thomas Pluck says:

    I really enjoyed this, you had me by the nose the entire time.

  12. Awesome, really! I don’t just hand out awesome to any ole’ piece of writing. One of those stories that you hear every damn day and your ire rises at the injustice. I almost wanted it to happen for him. Well written, straightforward, tense, sad and hopeful, all at the same time. I love your writing style.

  13. Thanks for pointing this out to me. I have a bad habit of only visiting blogs on the grid I’m on that week.

    This was SO fun. I have not yet mastered the art of being funny and tongue in cheek at the same time as being real. Loved the tone. I had forgotten about how conductive silver is. Love that detail. It would be interesting to see the after… is he different after his night out? Although it’s perfect and complete in itself. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for noticing the silver! πŸ™‚ I thought about continuing on with him, but I realized that spurts of “heroism” (such as they are) rarely permanently change us. Had he been actually struck that night…well then.

      • The change that interested me was when he shifted to not caring about doing the walk home naked in broad daylight. How that could lead to a life where he didn’t care what the neighbors thought – and maybe his boss – and maybe even his wife. I admit I’m a sucker for those kinds of stories – the ones where the protagonist is saved from his untenable situation not by being struck by lightning, but by a small shift in perspective. Maybe all he has to do is ask for his hours back at work – or tell his wife it’s time she got a job with benefits… In any case, love the story. He’s a real and believable character, your concerns about male voice aside.

      • Thank you so much. I do have him in my mental files still. I like him a lot. The one change I’m sure of is that he’ll put his bare foot down about joining the country club, whether or not they can afford it.

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