Thursday, February 16, 2012

The unlikeable protagonist: Terrible Minds flash fiction contest

Chuck Wendig of the Terrible Minds blog and author of fiction and books on writing, as well, is one of those people who issues flash fiction contests regularly. This week, his challenge is to write a story with an unlikeable protagonist that is still compelling enough to make you read on, and to do it in under 1,000 words.

I decided to write about the worst person I can think of. And at 999 words, the only remaining test is to see whether you get to the end.

If you do, please leave a comment and tell me what you think!




The Unlikeable Protagonist Gets Knocked Up


Alexa’s cell vibrated. “Go home, now, Daddy. Debbie will wonder where you’ve been.”

“So? I’ve been with my daughter. Nothin’ wrong with that.”

“Put your pants on. My husband will be home soon.”

“You like saying ‘my husband,’ doncha?” Carlo pulled up his pants. He always had trouble buckling them beneath his stomach.

Alexa looked at the clock on the night table. The phone vibrated again. She lit a cigarette as the phone vibrated a fourth time.

“Hubby won’t like that, will he?” Carlo chuckled. He took a cigarette for himself.

“Shut up and get out of here!” She thumbed the Call button. “Hi, baby!”

“Hey.” Sean sounded slightly out of breath. That meant he was already on his bicycle.

“How was work?” she asked in her sweet voice. She scowled and prayed that Sean could not hear the front door slam as Carlo left.

“Long shift. D’Wan didn’t show, so the rest of us had to pick up his slack,” said Sean’s voice, strained thin through the phone.

“Sarita sent an email. She wants you to come in to the hotel tonight.” She sucked in a lungful of smoke and stepped into the bathroom.

“Fuck! No way. I need some rest tonight.”

“We need the money, baby.” Alexa propped the phone against her shoulder so she could open the pregnancy test box, then sat on the toilet.

“How’s your job search going?”

“I’m looking.” Alexa sighed a cloud of tobacco smoke. “You know what the economy’s like.”

“I managed to get two jobs.” Sean groaned. “All right, I’ll go to the hotel. Lemme come home and take a shower, at least.”

“How long till you get here?” She put the little stick between her legs and let out a stream of urine.

“I dunno. Fuck! Bastard in a truck cut me off!”

“Maybe you shouldn’t talk on the phone when you’re riding a bike, Honey.” She shook the test stick and left it on the sink.

“I’ll be home soon.” He disconnected.

Alexa pulled on a negligee. She opened the windows wider to try to clear some of the smoke out and swept fast-food wrappers from the kitchen table into a bag, then threw that in the bin outside the back door. The teenage boy next door smiled, enjoying the sight of a woman in a sheer negligee in the afternoon. She flipped him the bird.

She checked the pregnancy test and saw a plus sign. She nearly danced. Carlo will be so happy, she thought.

Shit. Sean’ll wonder. She looked at the clock and estimated she had just enough time.

She dialled the Red Roof Inn. “Hi, it’s Alexa.”

“Alexa who?” Sarita answered.

“Bowers. Sean’s wife.”

“I didn’t know Sean was married.”

“Well, he is.”

“Okay! I mean, he looks so young!”

“He’s 21.”

“He is? I didn’t think he was a day over 19!”

Alexa made an effort to brighten her tone. “He has a real baby face, doesn’t he? Anyway, he won’t be able to make it this evening, after all.”

“But earlier, you said—“

“I think he’s coming down with something. He’ll come in early tomorrow.” She disconnected.

She tossed Sean’s newest condoms onto the bed. Using a sewing needle, she carefully poked a hole in each one. Just as she heard Sean’s key in the front door, she put the condoms back in the box, shoved the box roughly where it had been and closed the nightstand drawer. She opened her negligee a little more just as Sean came in.

“Is there anything to eat?” he asked.

“Hey, baby. I called Sarita and told her you couldn’t come in.”

She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him deeply. “You have me all to yourself tonight.”

Sean forgot being hungry and laid her on the bed. He pulled her nightgown off and kissed her small breasts while fumbling in the nightstand drawer.

Of course, she was wet. Sean sat up to put on a condom. “Shit, it has a hole,” said Sean.

Alexa reached up to rub his chest as Sean rolled the condom off his penis. She reached into the drawer and unwrapped another. Looking up at him and smiling, she rolled it on, then pulled him on top of her. She urged him to a groaning climax. Poor baby really is tired, she thought.

Sean rolled off, panting. “Shit, this condom broke, too!”

“It’s okay, baby. We’re married.” She lit a cigarette.

“Put that out!” He reached into the drawer. “Shit, there are holes in every goddamn condom—right through the wrapper! What the hell?” She smiled and blew smoke in his face.

“Why are there holes in all my condoms?”

“I put them there.”

“Why?”

“Why should a married couple need birth control?”

“Fuck, Alexa, you gave me an STD last year!”

She jumped off the bed. “Why do you have to bring that up! You know it wasn’t my fault!”

“Shit, it took me months to get over that!”

“You’re over it now, so why bring it up again? You’re always making me feel bad!”

“What are you going to do? Cut yourself again?”

“Fuck off.” She lit another cigarette, even though one was still smoking in the ashtray. “I stopped taking birth control pills two months ago.”

Sean’s mouth hung open. She could not help smiling. He looked so adorable, like a confused puppy. Alexa felt as if she wanted him again. Yes, yes, let’s do it again. Knock me up, stud.

I’m already knocked up, she remembered. Now, I have to convince dumbo, there, that it’s his.

She stepped toward him and kissed his open mouth before Sean could react. “Come on, stud. I want a baby.”

Sean struggled away. “No, Alexa! I told you I don’t want kids! Fuck.” He stomped into the bathroom.

Alexa puffed on her cigarette. Too bad, stud. You got me, already.


Or maybe, it was Carlo.

11 comments:

  1. I managed to read it to the end. I don't have words to describe how horrible I think Alexa is; absolutely despicable! This is a great story and you did really well with the prompt. Good job!

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  2. I agree with Erin--you have certainly written an unlikable protagonist, here. Really well done. I think I hate her a little bit. :)

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  3. That Alexa is one nasty b..... Pardon me. Poor Sean. Wouldn't want to be him!

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  4. Nicely done! She is nasty - the point driven home by the "you gave me an STD last year." How sad for Sean. I'm from the Campaign, but I think I might already be following you on twitter! If you would like to play 4th Campaigner tag, come over to my blog (www.motivationforcreation.blogspot.com) and pick up the eleven questions I have for you!

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  5. We now are the proud owners of a utility sink once again. The most beneficial thing about the whole project was the cleanup, which I did not have to do within the downstairs bathroom sink.

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  6. Hi there,

    I'm also from the campaign and I also hate Alexa - nice job.

    Just to keep to the 'also' theme, I also have 11 questions if you're interested.

    Claire

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  7. Here's my unlikeable protag story for Chuck Wendig's terribleminds.com
    http://wp.me/p1BAlV-2e
    Not perfect. And my protag isn't as dispicable as yours. Even though he's a pyschopathic serial killer.
    Alexa wins.

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  8. Alexa is so awful, I'm addicted to her! What happens next? We all want to know! Great job!

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like/hate her so much! Tell you all what: if I get one more request for more of Alexa, I'll write the next chapter in The Worst Person in the World.

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  9. She's certainly not easy to like. But I'm afraid I don't hate her. I ended up feeling sorry for her. And Sean's comment of 'What are you going to do? Cut yourself again?' actually left me feeling that maybe he's the asshole, and he's part of the reason why she's so messed up?

    That's my feeling anyway :)

    If it were down to me, I'd cut the very last line, about Carlo. 'Too bad, stud. You got me already' is a much stronger finish.

    Great story! I enjoyed reading it :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the advice! The thing is, there's a lot more to reveal about Alexa. Check out the follow-up flash fiction on Brad Fleming's blog:
      http://bradfleming.co.uk/the-worst-person-in-the-world/

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