Brevity takes time

to_the_pointJune 18, 2013 – “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” – Mark Twain

This week’s WordPress challenge asks us to select a post from our archives, remove all unnecessary words, and make the same point. Here’s an attempt at flash fiction from a few years ago; my goal – write a story with 250 words or less.

Purchase Anxiety (Originally posted January 28, 2011 – 248 words)

The doorbell chimed something resembling Pachabel’s Cannon. It was the piece of music she loved the most.

I hope that’s an omen of good things to come, she thought as she walked into the store.

Books for sale lined the wall in front of her, featuring authors who wrote about the new age. She picked up a copy of Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. She’d read it in high school, wondered where it was, and decided to buy another copy. Chances are it was lost somewhere in her travels. Or maybe her father deliberately lost it for her.

Sadly, she remembered how upset he was when he saw her reading a spiritual book not written by a Christian author. He accused her of turning her back on her faith to follow the words of some Middle Eastern lunatic. He was even angrier when she exclaimed that Jesus was also considered a Middle Eastern lunatic, and he would know that if he wasn’t such an idiot.

She hated that memory. Faith was certainly her father’s Achilles’ heel, and she took full advantage of hurting him with it. She felt guilty for years and never understood why she struck back at him with such venom. But she was 16 then, and maybe that was reason enough.

Somehow they found a way to forgive each other — she for his overbearing religious side, and he for her less than enthusiastic attitude towards religion.

Sliding the book back on the shelf she realized she didn’t want the book after all.

Purchase Anxiety (Posted June 18, 2013 – 198 words)

The doorbell chimed Pachabel’s Cannon, the piece of music she loved most, and she smiled hoping for good things to come as she walked into the store.

Books for sale lined the wall featuring new age authors. She picked up a copy of Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. She read it in high school and decided to buy it again, figuring she’d lost it in her travels. Or, maybe her father deliberately lost it for her.

It upset him that she read a spiritual book written by a non-Christian author, and he accused her of following a Middle Eastern lunatic to spite him. He became angrier when she spewed that people called Jesus a Middle Eastern lunatic too, and he would know that if he wasn’t an idiot.

Faith was her father’s Achilles’ heel, and she took full advantage of hurting him with it. She felt guilty for years, and never understood why she struck back with such venom. She was 16 then, which may be reason enough.

Somehow they found a way to forgive each other — she for his overbearing religious side, and he for her unenthusiastic attitude towards religion.

Sliding the book back on the shelf she realized she didn’t want it after all.

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2 thoughts on “Brevity takes time

  1. I remember this story the first time you posted it. It DOES read better now. Remember our writing teacher always said, “Kill the adverbs!”

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