A Very Short Story About Grip Strength 🧗🏻♂️
Sending some nonsense your way.
Welcome to Only Child, where we regularly take 2 minutes of silence to observe the noon aides that supported us through our youth.
Every two weeks, my friend Ishaan (who writes for Bits, Banter, and Tricks as well as for Maybe: Fiction) and I meet up at his café and write a full short story within 45 minutes. The goal’s to write a full story with the start, middle, and end completed, though some details and exposition might be missing. I’m tied up this weekend at a wedding, so instead of delivering fresh new mundane anecdotes about my life, I’ve decided to share one result of this exercise from a few weeks ago (or, at the least, a little snippet of that exercise’s result). Plus, some of my readers have mentioned they’re curious to read some fiction, so here we are. If you don’t like fiction, just pretend this actually happened to me, or you, or your best friend’s dad or something.
Yes, I remember. I remember it fondly, even.
I should start from the beginning. From a young age, I had a perturbing fascination with fighting figures of authority. It’s always been such fun. There was the time in first grade where I wrestled the noon aide at the beginning of recess, but because her legs were so thick and I was so short, I ended up clinging to her bootcut jeans while she swatted at me and blew her whistle in short, panicked spurts. Kids cheered me on while teachers cheered on the noon aide. People trickled outside to watch the fight. Soon, the whole school was involved. Class was canceled. Kids raised picket signs in my support, teachers threw wood chips at them in opposition, and enterprising library volunteers streamed the fight on Twitch for a profit.
As the sun set, the noon aide fell to one knee. I clung harder, imbalanced from her fall, my knuckles white. The audience roared. But then, in Herculean fashion, she stood back up and crossed her arms. She wouldn’t be taken down again. This, I knew. The rest of the school knew, too. So they filed out, headed back to their homes to fall asleep watching the baseball game or something. Minutes passed, the moon rose to the tip of the sky, and the noon aide tapped my head. Her face was stern. It was time. We called it a draw, and I let go.
Years later, I grew into a very average-sized man. In fact, I was average in every way. My hair stayed a good three inches long and never seemed to grow. I saved money on haircuts, but I worked as an insurance salesman, where I made an average amount of money, so it didn’t matter too much anyways. My body looked doughy but not too round. My eyes were brown like most others, and my fashion tastes involved light blue button-up shirts tucked into khaki pants. Once, my coworker told me I looked like a guy from a stock photo, and I asked him which one, and he said, “I dunno, any of them, probably.”
What will happen next?!?!? Seriously, what will happen next. Taking suggestions. Actually, just finish the rest of this story for me, please? Okay anyways. See you all in a couple weeks.
Only Child is a bi-weekly newsletter where I find excitement in the mundane. Tell your friends and enemies to subscribe!
—Chuckry Vengadam (@churrthing)