Short Story Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from a little story I just whipped up this morning, after a touch of reading on the rather lovely – *cue sad laughter* – state the media’s in. Always good to have a healthy reminder now and then, but in this case, it spurred a touch of the creative in me, and this is the beginning of that result. I won’t claim it’s perfect, nor anywhere near finished – but these are the first 450ish words of the 2,000+ word work I have going at the moment. I’m not even all that pleased, to be honest, with how it’s turning out at the moment…certainly not one of my finer works, and not my usual style, but a little external opinion’s always good to have with these uncertainties.

It’s a modern piece, grounded in my native Michigan. All companies and people and likenesses therein are imagined, not real, so please don’t go hunting around for skeletons in the closet. Any likeness they share with real people are purely coincidental…yada yada. You know that shpeal by now, I’m sure. As for the story itself, it’s a modern piece, supposed to address Media Consolidation, and its detrimental affects on society, as well as some of the little horrors we all-too often have no idea are racing by, right under our noses. This opening section primarily just sets up some of the main figures of our little piece here…

So without further adieu, I give you the introduction to what is ostensibly being called: “When all else fails.”


Time never much mattered to Daniel Doriddy. It came, it went, and always there was more besides—the established realization that as one breathed, it was unlikely that, in the next moment, that breathing would simply cease altogether. Life was a steady variable, and it, as time, seemed constant, abstract, intractable.

Death had never meant much to Daniel either, more a concept than a reality. He had never killed, never known anyone who died, and gave no thought to the limitations of his own all together timely existence. He thought in the moment and of the moment, and thought to remove himself as thoroughly as possible from any thoughts of past or future.

Yet at 12:03 p.m., on the first Friday of the fourth month of the year, his name became synonymous with death. Death consumed him, altered him, broke him—and the man, the voice, became the spokesperson of corporate murder. In 2015, more Americans had an opinion of Daniel Doriddy than of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Barack Obama.

Without ever trying, he was a man that changed the world, and neither he, nor they, would ever forget it. For a man that had never worried of the past, Daniel became defined by it.

It all began with a train.

At approximately 11:00 a.m., a train with the letters “BON” inscribed across the side of its cars left its yard outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, bearing with it nearly 400,000 gallons of a thick, greenish compound not so unlike anhydrous ammonia in bearing. Yet this was a new product, a new tool, even, some within the company had argued, a new weapon – or at least, it could be used as such, they claimed, before a defense committee. For the train, it was a trek made on average twice a month, and though the contents changed, the men handling it remained ever the same. Five men were always onboard: two transporters and the conductor, coupled with two additional men that identified themselves as security, answerable solely to the company itself.

Bon, as the company was known, or Bon Chemical, as its stockholders knew it, was an old company, founded in the midst of the Vietnam War. It specialized in chemicals both mundane and military, though it preferred to keep the latter under the table. Unlike some of its competitors, it had kept itself somewhat confined to rather rigid and efficient security protocols, which had long guaranteed a record of safety and reliability in their work.

Yet even the most cautionary cannot account for sheer dumb luck, and on that day, it played its hand, and many people were drawing cards.


4 thoughts on “Short Story Excerpt

  1. I’d be a lot more interested if you moved the line “It all began with a train” to the beginning. It introduces the main character with a mystery from the first line which gives the audience an attachment to him.

    Right now you’re explaining your character to us in the first sentence, and we’re not getting the chance to figure him out along the way. An audience needs the chance to put the story together for themselves.

    That being said, you seem to have a very detailed way of viewing the world and a gift for language. I’m looking forward to reading more. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog.


  2. I kinda agree with Dorraline a little, and it would be easy to incoperate a train reference into the first bit… what with trains being on routine schedules and all.

  3. You certainly know how to build up tension in your story.
    Keep the ‘it all began with a train’ where it is.
    Such introduction make me think oh no, to many stories start it all began with ……

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