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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Michael K on April 25, 2008

The Universe Isn't Working Correctly Today

"The universe isn't working correctly today."

The speaker was the city's wise, beloved mayor. He was a short, balding man with sallow complexion and scarred cheeks from a multitude of old pimples that never healed properly. His words were stilted, hesitant, and uncomfortable, as though he couldn't find the perfect word to properly explain the strange disturbance he felt deep within his troubled soul.

"That is what I think," he finished, speaking into the long gray microphone mounted on the beautiful, carved oak podium that stood in majestic splendor at the front of the enormous auditorium.

All around the elegant, massive room, thousands of frightened men, women and little children sat in straight rows of red upholstered chairs, and their upturned faces nodded in complete agreement. Their seeking, questioning faces were cast in alternating dark shadows and bright light from the flickering tallow candles in the exquisite crystal chandeliers that hung from the high vaulted tile ceiling. Their soft, murmuring voices began to rise in perplexed and uncertain accord. The terrified crowd, like the ineloquent yet well loved speaker who addressed them with such ambiguous words, found it difficult to express in clear language just what it was that seemed so utterly wrong with the universe.

One shrill and piercing voice cried out in stiff and cumbersome language, "Fear has me!" Another deeper, manly voice exclaimed with manic desperation, "I feel so..." But then his sudden declaration trailed unfinished into awkward and eerie silence.

Though I'm a kind and compassionate man, I haven't the heart to explain to these troubled and disturbed citizens: the simple reason they can't express themselves with any degree of eloquence is because I stole every last adjective from their universe in order to write this absurd and silly little story.

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