Troubling Thoughts

I must admit, I struggled with this one. I had to write three different stories before I had one I didn’t actively dislike. The first story was boring. As for the second, I liked the idea but 100 words turned out to be too limiting and the story just didn’t flow well after it had been edited down. I’m not saying I’m 100% in love with this third attempt, but it’s better than the others. For some reason though, the people had the same names in all stories, though not always specifically mentioned. They are Charlie and Mary. Charlie wasn’t even part of the second story, but he was still Charlie. I didn’t use Mary’s name in this story, but it is her name nonetheless. Anyway, let’s get down to business.

Here’s the prompt from Rochelle and my story follows:

Copyright Renee Heath

Copyright Renee Heath

Troubling Thoughts

Bet she doesn’t even notice me, thought Charlie. Of course she doesn’t, why would a girl like her notice a guy like me?

“Pardon me?”

She’d probably think you’re a loser anyway. Everyone else does. Lost in thought, the woman’s inquiry went unheeded. His hand gripped the piano wire in his pocket.

“Pardon me?” she repeated.

He turned toward her intoxicating smile. “Yes?”

“Happen to have the time?”

Charlie looked at his watch. “3:38”

“Thanks, cutie.”

The woman crossed the street and Charlie’s grip on the wire loosened. For the first time in a long time, his smile was genuine.

(word count: 100 words)



25 responses to “Troubling Thoughts

  • neenslewy

    Sometimes we get the characters without a story. (Re: your 3 attempts)
    I like the mystery – was the piano wire a ‘fatal’ tool? Who was the victim? Many questions litter this piece – and then none of them matter as Charlie loses all power to the woman who needed the time.

  • helenmidgley

    I love the way it ended, it was gearing up one way then flew off in another, good job 🙂

    • Adam Ickes

      Thanks, Helen. I have a tendency of killing of my characters, or implying that that they’ll soon die. I have to throw in the occasional happy ending to mix things up.

  • rochellewisoff

    Dear Adam,

    We never know how a kind word will effect or change another person, do we? This is subtly illustrated in your story. Another good one and the care you put into it shows. Thank you.



  • summerstommy2

    Adam this piece works well. I liked the characters interaction and conclusion. The piano wire? That is a mystery, I hate to think what he might do with it. Well done again.

    • Adam Ickes

      The piano wire is for one thing and one thing only, and it doesn’t involve a piano. The real question is has he used it before or did she narrowly avoid being the first?

  • vb holmes

    Good portrayal of an insecure man with a lousy self image who may have had evil thoughts about the wire, but doesn’t seem to be the type who would do anything about them . In any case, he met up with a lucky lady who said the right thing. Well done.

  • Joe Owens

    What was he going to do with the piano wire? TO himself or to another?

  • elmowrites

    In my mind, she turns him from a dark path with her unwitting distraction. I’m sad that we lost the details of that path in the editing, though. Maybe you can post the longer version sometime too!

    • Adam Ickes

      It’s unlikely you’ll ever see the longer version, unless I turn Charlie’s story into something a lot longer in the future. I have some sort of weird OCD when it comes to making these things exactly 100 words. I spend way more time on that than I do on the actual story.

  • pattisj

    I thought your meaning was perfectly clear. I guess I watch too many crime shows! Glad this one had a happy ending.

    • Adam Ickes

      Personally, the only crime show I watch is Psych, but that is more of a crime show spoof than an actual crime show. I like my shows/movies funny and my writing/reading on the darker side. Makes for a nice balance I think.

      Glad you understood what I was going for. Thanks for reading!

  • Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    So that’s the real opposite of a killer smile isn’t it?

    • Adam Ickes

      You pose and interesting question, but I’d have to disagree. To my knowledge a killer smile has never actually killed anyone whereas her smile has definitely kept someone from being killed.

  • dmmacilroy

    Dear Adam,

    Not that i’m counting, but welcome to the top ten. This was a very good story an many levels, now put down that piano wire.



    • Adam Ickes

      Thanks, Doug. It’s an honor to be in the top ten.

      But, about the piano wire: does it matter if it is slightly used and has a few red stains? Do I still have to put it down then? Think maybe I could sell it on Ebay and get a couple bucks for it?

  • sustainabilitea

    I got your direction loud and clear, Adam, and your title was perfect. I had the same though as Rochelle–you never know how the smallest action might affect someone else. Good to have you back.


    • Adam Ickes

      I’m glad you understood where I was headed. I’d say I went with a happier ending because killing my characters off every week would be bad for business, but I’d be lying. There are plenty of replacements waiting in line and I don’t get paid, unless you’re putting a check in the mail that is. No? Well, can’t blame a guy for trying.

  • rgayer55

    Gee, I wish she’d call me cutie. Your hard work paid off, Adam. This one is definitely a keeper.

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