FictionWritingWorkshop .pdf

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Mitchell / The Big Happy / 1

Mike Mitchell
Fiction Writing I
1,343 words
The Big Happy

The three of them were the happiest they had ever been, if you asked. They sat there in
the living room on separate sofas oriented horseshoe-style in front of the TV, while sitcoms
played. No one was saying anything.
Steven sat reading, looking back and forth between the book and Jocelyn, his girlfriend,
as a kind of reminder to both Jocelyn and himself that they were, in fact, lovers. Jocelyn was too
busy drawing a picture of Nicole, her roommate, to even notice anything Steven, her boyfriend,
was doing. Nicole looked back and forth between both Jocelyn, her roommate, and Steven, her
roommate's boyfriend, the way a puppy does between two equally-appetizing treats that its
master, arms outstretched, will present before him, translating a command that reads, in dogterms: "Choose."
* * *
Steven threw up on himself when he pulled into the driveway and saw, through the
window out front, Jocelyn and Nicole fucking on his kitchen counter. There was only so much
vomit he could wipe onto the dashboard and the floor before he had to suck it up and exit the car
as-is. Steven's shoes were covered in little chunks of macaroni and potatoes and two-percent
milk, which quickly stiffened the soles and made the walk up to his front door especially
uncomfortable. He sort of had to waddle. Approaching the front porch, Steven listened to the
wack-wack-wacking grow louder as Nicole bounced back and forth against the glass.

Mitchell / The Big Happy / 2

Leaving a trail of vomit behind him Steven stopped just before starting to open up the
front door; he couldn't let the girls see him like this, with the stench and food chunks all over, so
he headed back to the car for some napkins from the glove compartment. In fear of spreading the
mess onto the passenger-side door, with his hands, he managed to take off the sock and shoe
from his right foot to jimmy his big toe up under the door handle and try to yank the thing open.
After some trial-and-error, Steven found his toe jammed underneath the little lever of the door
handle. He had put too much force into it. So what he did was, he pressed his free foot (which
still wore a shoe and therefore still had a good amount of vomit on it) up against the car's frame,
for counter-resistance, and pulled the stuck foot with all his might in the direction opposite, a
plan which soon led his unstuck foot to slip off the door frame, spinning him around so his head
and arms and torso and legs all pointed toward the concrete, mid-air, while his stuck foot
remained locked firmly in place, still jammed under the passenger-side door handle, at which
point Steven screamed out, for all the houses nearby to hear (including the three children of his
immediate neighbors, Bob and Tom and Holly, who were giggling amongst themselves as they
watched the whole ordeal from behind their living room window): "Jocelyn!" and ate pavement.
* * *
"Did you hear that?" asked Jocelyn, edging away from the counter.
"Don't stop don't stop," said Nicole.
"No, look: it's Steve, in the driveway!"
"He's licking the ground."
"Get dressed. I think he needs help." said Jocelyn.

Mitchell / The Big Happy / 3

Jocelyn was grateful, in her own way, for how little Nicole seemed to care about Steve. It
was a source of reassurance for her that Nicole was, at least, as of now, reserved for Jocelyn, and
therefore out of Steve's reach (Jocelyn knew well that Steve could never get a woman like
Nicole, but that Nicole could easily get a man like Steve, if she wanted). These were her
thoughts, as she rushed to dress herself. She did not question them.
"How does he look?" asked Jocelyn.
"He's on the ground. His foot looks caught, or something," said Nicole.
"Why don't you like Steve?"
"He already knows, you know."
"Your eyes are stunning. And your body," said Jocelyn.
"Wait here while I go check on him, OK?"
"OK," said Nicole.
"And put your clothes back on before I get back."
Jocelyn slid her socks on and went outside. She could see Steve twitching there on the
pavement, by his car. He was facing the street opposite. She couldn't see his face. Realizing he
may have been hurt worse than she thought, Jocelyn rushed down the porch and was at the last
step when she felt with the bottoms of her feet something slick and gooey, and nearly lost her
balance. There was a trail of the stuff from the porch to the car. It smelled.
"Steve, are you all right?"
"Please, just help me."

Mitchell / The Big Happy / 4

She would need a good grip on Steve's ankle to get his foot out from the door handle,
which also meant, you know, covering her hands in the stuff. His shivering was continuous.
"There are napkins in the glove compartment, if you want to clean my pants off first."
"No," said Jocelyn. She grabbed hold and yanked him free. "What happened?"
"Can you please help me inside?"
Jocelyn put his arm around her shoulder, holding his weight as they walked. She had to
help Steve lift his feet every couple steps so they could both avoid the thin little vomit streaks
leading up to the front door.
Nicole was still nude when they got inside, sitting there on the counter. She hadn't
* * *
Jocelyn and Steven were quiet and motionless. After a while the two of them ended up
going quietly into the bedroom and turning on the shower and being really quiet for a while.
Nicole sat there, still in the kicken, the only audible sounds at this point coming from the
television in the living room, one room over. It sounded like gunshots, a loud firefight, were
coming from the TV. Disappointed, Nicole went into the guest bathroom and put her clothes
back on. She used the mirror to adjust her clothes and wash her face and apply moisturizer and
make-up. She brushed her teeth. She was beautiful, yes, is what she thought.
When Nicole walked out of the bathroom and through the hallway and back into the
kitchen she saw a large and what-looked-to-be nice and expensive hunting rifle, with a strap and
a scope and everything, lying right there on the counter, where she sat earlier. She picked up the
rifle and tried to figure out if the thing was loaded or not. She had no idea how to check, but

Mitchell / The Big Happy / 5

made sure to keep her fingers away from all of the obvious buttons and mechanisms that, for all
she knew, could be used to get a shot off.
Nicole couldn't figure the rifle out. She put it down and picked it up again and put it
down again. She picked it up again and held the middle of it right against her ear, shaking the
gun around to hear if there were any bullets moving around inside. Nicole's shaking of the rifle
actually did produce a distinct rattle that was, in some weird way, pleasant. She did this for a
* * *
Jocelyn and Steven were sitting down in the living room now, watching an old western
on the TV. They were sharing a towel. Nicole stood behind them. Steven had his arm around
Jocelyn, holding her close. He was finally clean. There was a huge battle going on between the
cowboys, on-screen, the gunshots loud and echoey throughout the house. Nicole had never seen
the movie before. Jocelyn and Steven had, a few years back. From the couch, Jocelyn and Steven
could hear Nicole walk back into the kitchen. They listened to the rattle of her keys, yes, a rattle
which went on for some time. Jocelyn and Steven were extremely happy, and Nicole walked out.

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