Write a story about how when one seemingly benign thing changes, everything else changes with it, resulting in unintended consequences. Write about an unintentional “domino effect”! Try to incorporate the following random words in your first draft if you can: chill, peanut, corner, lift.
Here is an example of this kind of story, an excerpt from “Lifts” which appears in my new flash collection Alligators At Night.
Our son, Frank, has run off to live in Chile and we don’t know if we’ll ever hear from him again. Sometimes a place, a spot of the world, a tiny corner can make it better, he said, shooting me and his father a scowl the night before he left. There was nothing to do about it, so I packed him a peanut butter sandwich.
Frank stopped wishing to be our son after we had facelifts. We used our retirement savings to pay for our youth. We looked thirty years younger. We were happy. We looked lovely. But Frank said he didn’t know his parents anymore or maybe he never did.
“You really need to chill, dude,” his father said, beaming—younger-looking than Frank.
“I have always believed age does define us,” I said. To which Frank replied: “How the fuck would you feel if I changed my name to Leonard Bernstein and moved to Chile?”
To which his father said, “We all need to follow our dreams, Lenny.”