Archive for January, 2013

January 9th, 2013

Excerpt from A Natural and Honourable Death

by Scott Mathison, Learner, Writing Workshops

The room was bleak in the way he assumed rooms for such activity must always be. It could have been nothing more than concrete walls and a mattress and he wouldn’t have given it more thought than he did as he sat on the edge of the bed. He’d found a corkscrew, and two plastic glasses in the bathroom. He removed the sugar packet from his pocket and turned the heat to eighty as had been instructed of him before leaving the table. He separated a long strip of condoms, bought that morning with cash, and placed them in the drawer of the bedside table. There were twelve when he finished, even though he’d never needed more than one in his life. The act seemed a portent of the certain excess to come, and he felt then as though he was tied to a sled that had been pushed down a mountainside.

He removed his jacket and tie and did a few more push-ups. He checked the clock. 12:44. In an hour it would be over. As he sent the message to Amelia, he fell back on the bed and tried to think past her sneezing into the tablecloth. He tried to think past the black scarf and Susana doing the laundry. He thought of Amelia and implored his penis to become erect but all that came to mind was how happy his dog would be when he got home. She would be in the elevator, he realized, holding the wine bottle with yellowed fingertips. How long would it take to get to the fourteenth floor? It was an old building. How much time did he have? He thought of what was to come as a right of passage, an initiation, that all men in his situation must endure such unpleasantness. He thought of the colour violet, of Susana when she laughed at his jokes. Maybe three minutes? Two? He rose from the bed and thought of Amelia exiting the elevator, making a wrong turn and then turning back. One minute? It’s probably all he had. His phone vibrated. I’m here, open the door.

Scott’s piece was written for Cordelia Strube’s intermediate short fiction writing workshop: ‘Short Fiction Writing II’ (CWWR 411).