There is no explicit sex in this 'snapshot' in time. I wish to thank the people who helped contribute to and edit this story, per their wishes, they remain anonymous. This story is totally fictitious; any resemblance the characters might have to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental. No part of this story may be published at any other site without the express permission of the author. © February 23, 2008
A very good article I found defining a snapshot, a slice of life, or a piece of time.
August 11, 2007
by Joel Falconer
When I was in high school, I remember an English teacher sternly warning the class: "A short story has a clear-cut beginning, middle and end. I will look for this in your story, and if I cannot find it, I will fail you." What she didn't realize is that a good short story seldom works this way. She was stuck in the rigid conformity to the linear that the educational system encourages, unable to think outside of its structure, or to venture into the fields of her own thoughts.
In my first year of university, one of my lecturers was a best-selling Australian author. And in the first class of Effective Writing, when we got into the topic of the short story, he reminded us of every high school teacher's words. And then...
"Bullocks! Bullshit!" he shouted.
The short story is a concise medium, a style of writing that serves many purposes, but none of them long-winded: a quick bit of entertainment to pass idle time; a thoughtful piece of prose that takes five minutes to read and hours to get off one's mind; a serial adventure that has the reader encapsulated in an unreal world and unwilling to leave until the series is complete. Concise it may be, but powerful it is.
So why should it be linear? Why would it fit into the confines of the linear? It wouldn't! It shouldn't! No: the best short story is not immensely structured, fitting into a prepared time line of events that set plot and drama into stone. It is a slice of life, a snapshot, a piece of time that is taken from the imagination of the author and stamped with the speed of machinery into the mind of the reader.
Stamped so fast that it may never be forgotten.
Short stories are not the vehicles for a history of time, not a life story, not a fantasy epic. The short story is a slice of life, a few centimeters from a whole ball of string.
Now for those not stuck on the linear, on to my written words.
The rock just barely missed the mailbox as it sailed past. Through tear blurred eyes, he suddenly dropped to his knees, then angrily reached down and grabbed another handful from the gravel drive. Picking out the biggest, he took careful aim and threw with all his might.
The sound of banging metal was satisfying, but he knew, 'If I keep throwing at that stupid mailbox from this position, the next victim will be my back ... Losing my marriage was enough.'
Beneath his knees, the small stones were digging in, but he didn't feel a thing. His emotional pain was overbearing as he thought, 'She'll never set foot in this house again.'
His wife, Karen, had just left, slinging gravel as she peeled out. Her dust still hung in the air.
Living in the country had its advantages, and not having nosey neighbors was at the top of the list. Feeling the need, he let loose and cried out, "Why? Oh God ... please, tell me why."
Suddenly filled with rage, he jumped up, and started rapidly firing, but two hits out of six attempts only made him madder. "Stupid mailbox," he shouted.
'Seven ... seven years shot to hell ... all because of one ... God, how I hate that fucking bitch, ' he thought while palming the last rock. Drawing a solid bead on the poor mailbox, he let loose with all the fury he could muster. His flash of pride was short lived as it ricocheted off the back of the small metal enclosure into the rear window of his car.
"Oh fuck," he half shouted as the sickening sound caused him to dash over, only to discover there was no damage. Unlike the pain in his gut, he couldn't even tell where it had hit.
"How could she do this to me?" He wondered out loud, recalling, 'We've been best friends for years, I never dreamed she was capable of this. I trusted her with everything.'
Dropping back down to his knees, his shoulders shook as he cried like a baby. While wracking his brain, searching for relief, he thought, 'The special moments are all I can seem to remember ... God they make it hurt soooo, ' but then suddenly realized, 'truth is, there weren't many bad times.
'I'll never forget the day I first saw Karen. We ended up in a class together and were assigned seats next to each other. The very moment our eyes met, I knew she was devoted to me. I fell so hard and fast, there was no doubt ... I was in love. From that moment on, we were inseparable, ' he recalled.
"Dear God ... why did she do it?" He asked again.
All at once, the knowledge of what had been lost felt suffocating. As his energy drained, he laid over on his side, paying no attention to the hard uneven surface. With each of his sobs, his breath created a small cloud of dust as he wallowed in the agony of his own pain.
'Wait, ' he thought, 'maybe I can call Karen and ... but no, I can't ... I have to be a man bout this. It was her choice and she made it.'
After a while, the gravel began to tenderize his skin and cause his muscles to hurt. Slowly he rose up, his cheeks streaked with a mixture of dirt and tears. Now his body ached, but weirdly it felt good, helping to distract his thoughts from the inner pain that still encompassed his heart.
In a daze, he slowly lifted his hand and rubbed his muddy cheek. As a few pieces of small pebbles pulled loose into his palm, he realized where the sharp pressure like pains had come from.