Friday, April 1, 2011

Free Fiction (no fooling)


On their first date, he explained that he wrote "advancers" for the local newspaper. When any person of note passed away, readers expected full profiles online within minutes; newspapers, then, were in the business of preparing such obituaries in advance. He estimated his office had 500 on file -- politicians and celebrities, the most famous, the oldest and most infirm, and of course those most likely to die from drugs or alcohol.

He saw it everywhere now. He made a game of it, thinking up the obits for fellow diners, the pre-deceased. Following a long illness. Survived by. The highlights of education and career.

He shrugged, embarrassed by his morbidity. Occupational hazard, he said.

But she laughed. She worked in a psychiatrist's office, transcribing the doctor's oral notes and maintaining the medical files. She would never breach confidentiality, of course, but she knew the patients on sight: name, number, neuroses. She played a different version of the same game. Who was addicted to what. Who was the cheater, who was the cheated. What would push someone over the edge.

He smiled. She took his hand. They decided to stay for coffee and dessert.

Naturally, when he started drinking and she let the relationship die, neither one of them saw it coming.

Creative Commons License
Compatibility by Carrie Kei Heim Binas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Count on you, Carrie, for a story that takes place in the interplay between great characters! Love how in control these two feel when observing life at a distance. And then....

    Blog as lit mag? I like it! Good reading and inspiration by example. I’m going to see if I can sprinkle some Carrie Kei dust into my story.

  2. Hi, Carrie, How cool is that story!!! So O Henryish! I love it.

  3. Nicely done. I didn't realize it was a story at first. Good twist.

    Have you taken a look at my site lately to see what is happening with the April A to Z challenge. We are over 1100 sign ups. It's crazy! I've added 300 followers since the sign up began-- 60 today alone!


    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  4. A few years ago Peter O'Toole said he'd gotten a call from the NYT. When he asked the occasion, the man said he was writing O'Toole's obituary. I forget what O'Toole said, but it was classic British wit.

    And great story. Everything I've once judged, I've either done or become. It's a humbling experience for sure.

  5. Hey, brilliant wrap-up ending. Loved it! And I'm always in the market for free fic, particularly if it's good, like this.