As tends to happen from time to time, I’ll be rummaging through some random folders on my computer when I’ll come across something I’d written a long time ago and done nothing with. Naturally, this is exactly what happened to me today. The beginning of a very incomplete story follows below. It was last saved to my hard drive on July 14, 2003. I remember writing it, but I have no recollection of where I was going with it. It’s a pretty good bet that I didn’t know where I was going.

So I’m calling to you, my readers, to help me out here. Between the six of you, I’m sure you can come up with a good suggestion for the direction to take this. Should it include supernatural elements? Is Bartleby really dead? Is it a dream? Are these characters metaphors for something else? What are your thoughts? Perhaps we should turn this into writer’s workshop of sorts. The forum is now open, please contribute.

With every passing second, Bartleby lost more and more money. He sat to the right of the dealer at a Las Vegas casino’s blackjack table. He started out with a bankroll exceeding $10,000. It was his wife’s inheritance. Her parents had recently been killed in a plane crash. Hard to believe that someone who started out with that kind of scratch could find themselves down to their last $200.

In a casino across the country in Atlantic City, Joseph made more money in three hours than he’d made in a month at his job. Joseph had started out with a bankroll of $200 and had so far won well over $10,000. It seemed he couldn’t lose. Joseph worked the graveyard shift at the Digger Steel Corporation. Bartleby worked as a digger at the Steelmount graveyard.

At exactly 7:06 am, both men stood from their tables. Bartleby rose from his chair slowly, looking a bit dazed. As he stretched, he shoved his hands into his pockets out of nervous habit. He was startled to find that he had one chip left. It was a $50.00 chip. For a split second Bartleby pondered how he could turn this $50 back into the $10,000 he had begun with. In a last minute decision, he flipped the chip to the dealer, thanked him for a lovely ass kicking, and walked out the front door.

Joseph stood up with his eyes wide and his smile wider. He raised his arms high above his head as he stretched. He had cashed all his chips for ten $1000 chips. As he reached into his pocket, he found an extra chip. It was worth $5.00. Joseph looked at the chip and mentioned to the dealer how it really was his lucky day, then he put the chip on the table and made another bet. Joseph lost after hitting on fifteen with the dealer showing a two. He glared at the dealer, turned and walked out the front door.

At 7:48 am, Bartleby was crossing a street a few blocks off the Vegas strip when a drunk driver lost control of his Chevy Suburban and slammed into Bartleby. Both the driver and Bartleby were killed instantly.

At the exact same moment, Joseph was crossing a street a few blocks off the Atlantic City Boardwalk when a drunk driver lost control of his Chevy Suburban and slammed into a tree that stood between the Suburban and Joseph. The driver was killed instantly. Joseph didn’t have a scratch on him.

Not dying that day was the worst thing to ever happen to Joseph.

3 thoughts on “A Beginning. But where to go from here?

  1. Maybe a commercial for the Dodge Durango?
    It really reminds me of a “Twilight Zone”, back when it was good. All I can think of to do is make Joseph have some connection to Bartelby’s widow. Maybe she brings him torment and heartache. That sounds pretty textbook, though.

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