Prompts: What In The World Did I Agree To?


One meaningful thing.

One meaningful thing.

Well, I can’t very well make a New Year’s resolution about writing short works of fiction from a writing prompt and then not make the effort to do it at least once! So without further ado, here is my first attempt at writing from the following prompt:

What In The World Did I Agree To?

You had the best time at your New Year’s Eve party—such a good time, in fact, that you can hardly remember it thanks to a little too much vodka. While nursing a hangover, a friend calls and says, “I’m so pumped we’re doing this New Year’s resolution together. I know it’s unusual, but doing it together will make it easier. I’ll pick you up in an hour.” The problem: You have no idea what your friend is talking about. Write the scene starting with the car ride.

Hair of the Dog

I climbed into the passenger seat of Gorey’s sedan, glad to be out of the cold even if it meant sitting in a blast of hot subway breath that blasted out of the dashboard heaters. Amidst the parking stubs and the fast food wrappers on the dashboard crouched a bobble-head pit bull that nodded at me wisely. I nodded back. Gorey slammed his foot onto the gas, fishtailing a bit as the tires lost traction in the grey slush paving the street and then lurching forward sharply. The seat belt slammed into my gut.

“You suck.”

You suck.”

“I didn’t have to get out of bed today you know.”

I really wanted to be back in bed at that exact moment. Back in bed in a dark, dark room instead of lurching through the streets of Chicago with a sledgehammer headache and a stomach full of battery acid. There was a reasonably good chance that I was still drunk.

“You promised. You brought the wire cutters, right?”

I grimaced and pressed my face against the cool glass of the window, trying to force thoughts through the thunder of my headache.

“How are you so chipper this morning?”

“When the bottle ran out I stopped drinking.”

“Wait, wire cutters?” This seemed important.

“You brought them, right?””

“No- why would I bring wire cutters?”

Gorey looked at me with an expression that suggested I was behaving with extreme stupidity. Then he cackled. Gorey was the only guy I knew who could cackle.

“What.”

“Nice ‘stache.”

“What?”

Gorey raised his eyebrows at me and then glanced back at the road in time to swerve around a Michelin man shoveling snow out of his parking space and building the traditional Lawn-Chair-And-Broomstick alter to the winter parking gods.  I lurched against the seatbelt again and pulled down the sun visor, showering myself in unpaid parking tickets, to look in the mirror. Someone had sharpied a Tom Selleck mustache on my top lip.

“Nice.” Not nice. “Just how drunk was I last night?”

Gorey shrugged. “I dunno.” He said. “You got real philosophical about midnight. That’s when we decided to… well, you know.”

“Remind me.”

“C’mon, dude- you know.”

I didn’t. I really didn’t. Gorey waited with puppy-like anticipation for my brains to catch up with the conversation. My brains continued to play static. For a moment his face registered disappointment, then malicious glee.

“You don’t remember!” He crowed.

“Oh come on it’s early!”

“It’s four o clock in the afternoon!”

“Well I just woke up and I feel like I’m dead, OK? Just tell me where we’re going and what we’re doing so I can do it and go home and pass out in a pool of my own barf.”

Gorey stopped the car with a crunch as it sank into a bank of plowed snow outside the chain link fence of an auto junk yard. He pulled on a hat and wrapped a scarf around his face leaving only the tufts of his topknot poking out around his aviator goggles. I stared at my reflection in the tinted lenses.

“It’s showtime.” He mumbled through the layers of felt. “Don’t worry. I brought bolt cutters. I knew you would forget.”

He left the car running and the keys in the ignition and clambered out into the snow. I let my head fall back against the headrest and tried to gather my wits. The junk yard’s faded sign, now spattered with grey gobs of salty snow, read like the final puzzle on “Wheel of Fortune”: Phrase: B_W_RE  OF  D_G

Something clicked in my memory.

I punched open the car door and launched myself out after Gorey, only to be forcibly retracted once again by the seat belt.

“Oh HELL NO!” I screamed at him.

“Hellz yes!” He yelled back, already snipping through the first link of chain link.

I struggled to unhook the belt and staggered out into the snow. On the far side of the fence I could see movement from a wooden crate beside the building’s garage doors. The piebald face of a brown-and-white pit bull peered at us from the darkness of it’s lair. There was a jingle of a chain.

“We are not stealing that f—ing dog!”

“We’re not stealing her, we’re liberating her.”

“From a goddamn drug dealer!”

“Who leaves her outside in sub-zero temperatures.”

The pit bull had seen us now and gave a short bark before launching herself across the snowy lot towards the fence, steaming breath smoking out between sharp white teeth in a pink, gummy mouth. She launched herself at Gorey only to be pulled up short with an astonished “Yip!” as the chain attached to her collar snapped taut.

“Who does that?!” Gorey pointed to where the pit bull was pulling herself to her feet. Her coat was scarred and patchy. She was skinnier than the last time we had seen her. “It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey and they leave her chained up outside?”

“So call Animal Control!”

“And they’ll do what?” Gorey snipped, with an effort through another section of chain link. “She’s a junkyard pit bull. You think anyone is going to want to adopt her?”

“So you’re just going to steal her?”

Gorey stopped snipping and put his goggles on his forehead to stare at me.

“No.” He said. “We are going to steal her. You and me. We made a deal. It was going to be our New Year’s resolution- one good thing that we were going to do with our shitty lives. For a change.”

Behind him the pit bull was making anxious, pacing arcs at the end of her chain, tongue lolling and tail wagging.

“This is unbelievably f—ing stupid.”

“Yeah, well it’s unbelievably f—ing stupid but meaningful.”

I sighed.

“Gimme those. We’re wasting time.”

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 7, 2014.

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