Field, Carrot, Clock

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Immediately, he thought about Alice in Wonderland. The white rabbit frantically leaping into the air at every glance at his oversized pocket watch.

He snapped off the end of his carrot and kept thinking. More than a cup of coffee, chewing woke him up in the mornings. This morning, however, his mind seemed to be stuck in that fog between dreams and the reality of the world that his eyes took in.

He stared at the clock, hoping against hope that a story would come to him. Something resembling a beginning middle or end, but no matter how much he chewed or looked around the room, he stayed in his daze. A story was unable to develop, he was only able to fish out words, sentences but nothing that connected into an overarching narrative.

SNAP! He was getting closer to the end of his carrot but still no more alert than when his alarm had gone off. This morning, writing felt like dipping an oversized spoon into a bowl of alphabet soup. He was unable to be as precise as he’d liked and so meandered along, tapping away at the keys like a jazz pianist.

Tossing the end of his root vegetable in the trash, he turned to look out the window. His eyes finally registered something that pulled him into the land of the awake. A figure maybe 200 yards away, stood in the empty field near his house. As soon as he looked, the figure begin walking towards him. He turned back to his keyboard and typed:

A figure protruded from the weeds in the empty lot.

It was a good start, and further than he had written that morning. He looked back outside. The figure was still walking towards his window. A small mouse, crawled up his leg and bit his left calve.

Flinching from the pain, he reached down and touched the area. The mouse chomped down on his finger and hung, dangling with each of his movements.

Looking out the window, he could see the figure, now across the street, biting the air, holding out his hands to secure an invisible cob. The mouse crawled up his arm and reached his shoulder, biting down on the skin inside the clavicle. Right up against the outside of his window, the figure was smiling and licking at the invisible cob, furiously whipping his tongue side to side and shaking his head along it’s length.

He jumped up from his desk, flung the mouse from his hand and crawled back into his bed. Maybe sleep was better.

Mash, Irate, Light

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
words/phrase provided by

it was a rerun. The episode where radar does something or other but that’s not the point. What really stands out was the person trying to open my hotel room door multiple times throughout the night.

His feet disrupted the clean line of yellow light that bordered the bottom of the room door.

In Spanish, I asked who it was and what they needed. No reply. Then I tried in English. This time a nervous, out-of-breath voice said, “Your alarm sir.”

He spoke as if scrambling to figure out what to say. He had a thick Italian accent. He never answered my question.

Maybe 15 minutes later, I could hear someone trying to open my door. I pictured my knife on the bedside table, over 1,000 miles away. Searching the room for some sort of weapon, I settled for the desk lamp. Unplugging it from the wall, I held it over my head and asked again who it was.

This time I saw the shadows of the feet disappear but the sound of his presence lingered a couple of feet outside my room. As if he wanted me to open the door in order to find out.

“I’ll bash you head in.” I said. Now I was thinking of my wife lying in the bed behind me, with nothing but a solid wall behind her. Trapped.

I tried to drown my fear by working myself into a frenzy of anger. Why was this man trying to come in? What fucking alarm? Why couldn’t I bring a knife with me?

Now I was irate.

“What do you want?”

He shuffled his feet. I wanted to throw open the door to see a tired worker raise his arms with fright and me lower the lamp in relief. We could laugh at the misunderstanding.

The other part of me wanted to keep the door shut.

He eventually left.

It’s been two hours and I’m terrified to leave the room. I have the desk lamp. We can order room service. I’ve seen pictures of Italy, I get the idea.