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A wasted Journey? (short story/500 words)

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Old 09-05-2011, 08:59 AM
eez (Offline)
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Default A wasted Journey? (short story/500 words)

The following was something I just fancied writing and thought that as I haven't put a story up for some time, I'd, well, put it up. Do you like it? Only wrote it thirty minutes ago and haven't had time to check it.

Neil, Ed and Mike sat down for a final, pre-journey meal.

“You know,” said Neil, “we’re the modern day version of Three Men in a Boat. But I reckon we have Jerome K. Jerome well and truly beaten with this one.”

Mike looked at Neil. “Who the hell is Jerome K. Jerome?”

Neil looked at Mike and said, “Christ Mikey, have you never read anything other than a Marvel comic?”

As Neil and Ed laughed, Mike simply muttered, “If either of you two call me Mikey again, then you can set up base camp and I’ll carry on with the trip and take all the glory. The name’s Michael.”

Just over twelve hours later, the three men sat in the cabin and waited for departure time to finally arrive. The wait to leave their home and all the time spent on the lengthy preparations for a journey had always been the most difficult thing to bear: repetition, check and double check and working on the basis that anything that could go wrong would go wrong.

Ed turned to Mike and Neil. “Well, not long now. How many times have the three of us sat together waiting to set off on a journey that is ridiculously stupid?”

Before Neil could respond, Mike threw a glove at Ed and said, “Ed, would you please, for the love of God, keep your mouth shut. The three of us have done more stupid things than the rest of the country put together. We’re off in a minute, and then you’ll have three days of nothing to do. Enjoy the moment; we’ve waited long enough.”

Neil, Ed and Mike set off on their journey at a little past nine thirty in the morning.

During the journey that, as expected, took three days, very little of excitement happened. The scenery was exhilarating, but continuous and unchanging.

Ed, as always, complained about the dried food they always brought along for their trips.

As agreed, Mike set up and stayed in base camp and Neil and Ed left for the final destination.

They arrived. They were in a place that no man had ever visited.

The climate was clearly inhospitable and Neil had taken every precaution before stepping down on to the new territory.

As he stepped out, he made a decision to call home and pass a message. Neil was aware that he’d be unlikely to return to the new place, so he felt a meaningful message home would be appreciated.

About to jump down, he looked at where his boots would land in the dust.

There was no doubt in his mind what he was looking at: a heel, a ball of a foot and five indentations at the top…a human footprint.

He paused for a moment and then jumped down landing directly on top of the footprint, obliterating the image forever.

He called home: “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

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Old 09-05-2011, 09:25 AM
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Good stuff. And extra points from me for the reference to one of my favourite books!
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eez (09-06-2011)
Old 09-05-2011, 03:17 PM
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I like your idea because I like getting conned. I like the progression of vague to more specific to Aha!

However, the ending of your story is by far the most intriguing point: other humans, BAREFOOT humans, have set foot on the moon? It's a great twist... for another story.

Nothing prior to this builds up this notion. This ending would be equally as effective if it stood by itself because nothing precedes it that gives it momentum, and nothing really can, given that your goal appears to be to keep us in the dark for as long as possible.

I think you have to decide which idea you really like more and commit to that one. I'd personally love to read a story devoted to the idea the ending suggests.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time." - Leonard Bernstein
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eez (09-06-2011)
Old 09-05-2011, 06:47 PM
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I have to disagree with Storyteller, I think it works fine. You use the structure of flash fiction well. Good job.

(I've never heard of Jerome K. Jerome. )
"My own mind is my own church." - Thomas Paine
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eez (09-06-2011)
Old 09-06-2011, 06:32 AM
eez (Offline)
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Nadja, thank you. And I'm so glad Three Men in a Boat is one of your favourite books. I gave an old copy of the book to someone who was visiting from Canada; she now considers it to be a prize possession.

Storyteller, I think you have a point. However, bearing in mind the story is only 500 words, I thought it needed a thought provoking and 'punchy' ending. I have suggested on someone else's work that all short stories (I hate the term flash fiction) require a good and surprising ending.

Hilee, stop sticking out your tongue..."I've never heard of Jerome K. Jerome": Heathen.

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