For the second Creative Writing lesson, we were asked to write a short story with conflict and we were taught tips on how to escalate conflict during the lesson. The three things we were told were –
- Give out all the details but avoid showing how all the details are connected. For eg. Sherlock Holmes kind of thing where you’re putting the puzzle together.
- Leave out some details on purpose to misdirect.
- Giving the character a time limit to solve their problem
I thought I had difficulties with the first exercise of coming up with a story from inspiration from a song (Lisa And Alice), but this… this was just harder and hence, much shorter. Not sure if it’s any good but it’s what I’ve got.
The Sunday Night Affair
It had been a long night. The family had come around the circular table in the living room an hour ago and the end was nowhere in sight. Mel glared at each of her family members before getting up to go get herself a glass of water. They had all been taking turns to spew their grievances and she was tired of hearing it.
She grabbed a glass and turned the knob of the tap with so much force, the water gushed out of the glass onto her hand. Letting out a frustrated grunt, she adjusted the knob. How her parents put up with her appalling Aunt Ruth and Uncle Rylan was beyond her. Even if it was her mother’s sister, her mother was too kind. Her Aunt Ruth was always getting into trouble. She was always needing money. She always needed help. And her mother always provided, not in loans but in gifts, which only served to irk Mel more – sometimes, in the expense of Mel because after selling off most of her possessions and properties, Mel was who her mother came to depend on. Mel was sick of her aunt. She was sick of her Uncle Rylan too. Just the thought of him rattled her. Her grip around the glass tightened as she lifted it to her mouth. Mel, by no account was sexist, she did believe in equality but she couldn’t help but scowl at the man’s incompetence in taking care of her aunt. There were only two things he was adept at, making fun of Aunt Ruth and making use of Aunt Ruth. And if he’s not doing one, you could bet, he was doing the other. Nine out of ten times, you could find him chiding her for her naivety, her misinformed choices and her terrible luck. But the tenth time will come around, as would Aunt Ruth’s luck and with it, a change in Uncle Rylan’s behaviour. Disgusting.
“Baby, get your cousin a glass of water too,” her mother called out.
Mel choked. Why can’t he get it himself was what she thought but, after a bout of coughing, okay was what she said.
Her eyes glanced over the glassware. Her mother had an exquisite collection. Many of them had intricate carvings. Others had interesting shapes. But Mel did not bother with them. She returned to the table with a plain cylindrical one for her ex-convict cousin, Rory. He barely managed a nod to thank her.
She let it go.
She preferred his silence over his whining anyway – which was all he ever did. He made a spectacle when he was sentenced to prison. He was almost in tears, screaming that he didn’t deserve it despite all the money he’d swindled from unsuspecting victims who were just passing by. He was just at the wrong spot at the wrong time was his defence. I say it was karma. Jail was the one thing Aunt Ruth couldn’t help him out with. He did his time and paid his fine.
As she took her seat, Uncle Rylan slid the money he owed Mel across the table with a glum look.
Karma. Mel let out a mocking laugh. It irked Uncle Rylan. He clicked his tongue.
“It’s just monopoly, guys, chill,” Mel’s mother said.
“Tell that to the banker,” Uncle Rylan spewed nodding his head back in a gesture to Mel.
I was going for puzzle.