In my storytelling class (what we have traditionally called “composition”) we practice writing through a lot of freewriting and flash fiction work. Throughout the year, we experiment with formats ranging from six-word to 100-word stories, sometimes with a prompt, other times with a short list of elements that must be included in the story. This is an activity that I practice with my students, and we all share our work.
This week, the assignment was to write a 100-word story that includes gasoline, a Hostess product, and a childhood hero, with no adjectives or adverbs. Here is mine:
Nozzle in hand, I gaze into the distance, crumbling the pastry between my fingers. My brother had been telling the truth when he said Twinkies never decay. He and I had fueled his Chevy at this same station 27 years ago, when he told me he was marching off to war. We each ate a Twinkie in silence, ignoring talk of the possibilities that frightened us.
Robbie left the remaining two Twinkies with me, promising to return to re-enact this scene after the war. I still wait, knowing it is in vain. I wish I knew where his remains lay.