Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
"Local man realizes meaninglessness of life, opens bakery."Chad Brunswick of New Hampton had hit rock bottom. His wife had left, and she took the kids. He'd been laid off. He was living in a motel when his car was repossessed. In a flurry of bourbon, self-hatred, and Spanish soap operas, he had an epiphany: life is utterly meaningless.
He took a trip to the pawn shop up the corner, but he couldn't afford any of the guns. He browsed the pharmacy section of a local Whole Foods, but wasn't sure what would kill him painlessly. As he sat at the top of Peter's Bridge in north New Hampton, watching the sunset and wondering if he would die on impact, he had a second epiphany: life is utterly meaningless.
He climbed back onto the bridge and walked straight to the nearest bank. It was closed, so he headed back to his motel room. That night, on brown paper bags from the liquor store and the few clean napkins he had from a Chinese food place, he wrote his business plan. It started out, "Life is utterly meaningless, so why not make the most of it?"
In the morning, he shaved and showered, gathered his business plan, and headed back to the bank. They denied his loan application, but a friendly clerk typed up his proposal for him. He was becoming a professional. The next four banks turned him down as well, but he finally got a loan for $40,000 and was on his way.
He bought a run-down taco place in the gut of New Hampton and started living his dream. As a child, he had baked with his mother, and she had shown him how to make every donut, crepe, bread, and bagel there was. Within six months, his tasty treats had paid the loan back, a feat that surprised everyone at the bank, including the CEO, who decided to invest. He'd always had a sweet tooth, and en eye for surefire businesses.
In a year, Chad went from a penniless, worthless piece of human waste to the richest bakery owner in the state. Things weren't always going to be so sweetly glazed, though. During some fritter experiments, Chad's entire bakery went up in flames. The insurance company suspected arson and started an investigation. They determined Chad had purposely set the fire to claim the $2 million insurance policy.
We met with Chad, serving the second year of a 15-year sentence at New Hampton Prison, and he told us his side of the story.
"I did it," he said. "I wanted the money so I could finally take a trip around the world. I wanted to live lavishly, sleep with supermodels, drink mai tais in hot air balloons over crystal clear waters, hunt and eat tiger, bet on dolphin fights, all the typical rich people stuff. I figured the $2 million plus the cash I already had would be enough. Life is utterly meaningless, so why not make the most of it?"
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