Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Final Failure - Indie Ink Weekly Challenge

It's Indie Ink challenge time again. I'm lovin' this stuff, kids! Actually I wanted to give up on this one but thanks to the solid advice from and  massive brainstorming situation with a fellow II writer, I found new hope!

My challenge prompt is at the end. Enjoy!

“Why are you doing this?” Michael asked. He was trying to stall. 

“Why?” Jonathon said with a maniacal laugh, his voice raising to a shrillness that showed just how close to the edge he really was. “Why? All you can ask me is why?  I should have expected that you would be clueless, you always have been.” 

“I don’t understand Jonathon,” Michael calmly. “Please help me understand so I can help you?” 

“Look where I’m at right now,” Jonathon said, his exasperation reaching its peak now. “I have nothing to show for my time in this world. I have failed at every single thing I have attempted. Losing Sara is the final insult to my wasted life. What have I got to live for Michael? You tell me that!”
Jonathon moved closer to the edge and looked down at the street below. His whole body was trembling and Michael could see him convulsing like he was going to throw up, but he started laughing instead. 

Jonathon’s laughter echoed off the walls of the surrounding buildings. He had not picked the tallest building to jump off, that would be for an overachiever, someone who wanted that final glorious jump to come with a view. He was satisfied with a six story building in the middle of town. Six stories should be more than enough to finish him off while not being such a grand gesture as to make him seem pretentious or that he was fooled into thinking he was more indestructible than he knew he really was. 

He hadn’t known where he was going when he left that dingy studio apartment earlier in the evening. He just knew that he would not be coming back. He walked for hours, not looking up, not contemplating anything, just walking; absorbing the noise from the city around him like he himself was a long dark hallway. The sounds bounced and reverberated in a mind-numbing jumble of chaos. 

When he looked up, he was on this rooftop. And all the noise stopped. He could hear himself think for the first time all day. That’s when he knew he had to call Michael.  

Michael needed to be here for this. His best friend since 5th grade, Michael had been the one person that could understand Jonathon, could appreciate how his mind worked. Michael had seen every failure first hand. He would have to agree that it was about time Jonathon did something about it. 

And Michael had taken Sara from him. Sara, the first and only girl that Jonathon could say he loved, and Michael just had to have her. He knew that Jonathon wasn’t good enough for a girl like Sara, she deserved someone like Michael. Smart, ambitious, handsome, he really had it all. It made perfect sense for Sara to be with him instead of Jonathon.
So Michael had taken her. Well, that’s not how he tells it of course. 'It just happened,' he said to Jonathon one night, 'We never meant to hurt you.' 

Of course he didn’t mean to hurt Jonathon.  But he had. Michael had stolen the last remaining ray of light form Jonathon’s existence. And since Michael was his best friend, he needed to be here now to see this. He would understand. 

Jonathon turned around one last time and looked Michael in the eye. 

“Thank you Michael,” Jonathon said in a steady, even tone. “Thank you for being my best friend. And for taking care of Sara. You helped me see that I am deserving of nothing and will always be a failure. You made me see that this is what I need to do, so thank you.” 

Before Michael could say anything in response, Jonathon turned towards the emptiness of night that surrounded the rooftop and took a step forward, falling into nothing.  

All Michael could do was stand there on the empty rooftop, knowing it was his fault.

My challenge this week came from K Syrah and was: “I’m 29, Michael, and I live on the west side of SoHo and Y.” – Jonathon Larson
(A Google search revealed this to be a line from the musical Tick...Tick....Boom!, I had no idea)
My challenge went to Disease and he killed it! It's awesome! 


  1. There's always a woman to blame..I mean, what?

    Interesting you chose suicide as the way to use the prompt. That's a brave choice.

    I took a creative writing course about 9 years ago and had to write about this subject. I thought sicne suicide is such a selfish act, I used the point of view of a sibling. It was similar to this approach.

    I don't see failure on Michael's part. He's the victim. The way you wrote this showed Johnathon as the perpetrator and thus the piece is much more powerful.

    good job..hard prompt and you did it.

  2. Wow, very powerful! I was hoping at the last minute, Jonathan would save Michael, but no, it didn't happen. Well done!

  3. This is stellar work. I love what you did with this prompt, how you used the right mix of dialogue and narrative to emphasise Jonathon’s feelings and his re-education of the Michael character.

    Two entire paragraphs stood out here. The one beginning 'Jonathon’s laughter echoed' right up to 'mind-numbing jumble of chaos'. Whether you realised it yourself or not Lisa, those two paragraphs were where you were in the zone with this piece. There are moments where writers left go of themselves and simply become the words, and for the briefest of moments it happened here and spilled out to the rest of the piece.

    If you haven't guessed already, you totally ROCKED this week. I'm going to come back again and again to what you've done here for inspiration, and yes I've copied and saved it on my hard drive marked 'Lisa's Gem'.

    Fantabulocious work! Xx

  4. I want a piece done on Michael. I want to know the psychological impact (no pun intended)that will manifest between Michael and Sara. Excellent work. Whenever you leave readers wanting more, you have found the addiction vein...all you have to do is maintain the steady stream of literary juice.


  5. So dark and disturbing - I too would like something on the aftermath for Michael


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