What if stories died like people?

What if stories didn’t end neatly tied up with a bright bow, or a poignant lesson? What if stories were like people with messy, unresolved ends?

Maybe the story suffers dementia and loses coherence to the point of becoming incomprehensible:

Gunnar strode into the empty coffee shop tablet in hand. He ordered an espresso and sat down by the window table overlooking the patio. The metal chairs outside glistened with remnants of rain. Gunnar set the tablet down, first brushing off the pastry crumbs onto the sticky floor. He hated espresso, a tiny dose of bitterness. His hand jerked out and knocked the black liquid onto the tablet where the blackness pooled into a corner.

He looked up at the counter, catching a glimpse of the barista’s shirt through the mass of bodies lining up for their flu vaccines. She was missing a button. The remaining bottle cap buttons sparkled catching the overhead spotlights like a strobe light. The clock on the wall watched, the movement of hands marking time, tick-tock, tick-tock , tick-tock.  The crocodile ambled through the patio puddles its tail knocking over the chairs. Peter Pan swatted at the annoying fairy buzzing at him like an Amazon drone.

“Take the damn package already!” The drone blared as more dogs rained down.

There were a few cats in the mix yowling as they landed on all fours. Dogs of all kinds splattered across the patio tables. The window shattered struck by a beagle projectile. Coffee and wet dog aromas swept in. The crocodile opened its jaws, lunging at a cat. The rabbit bounded out and checked its pocket watch, tick-tock.

Perhaps the story suffers a terminal illness, floating in and out of consciousness and ends in pain killer induced apathy:

Detective Poppy leaned over the body. Her gloved hands searched the tweed jacket pockets. Who has empty pockets — not even a ball of lint? Her own pockets would yield a treas…

The murder weapon was found in a nearby alley, wedged in the grate of a storm drain. It wa…

She had returned to the crime scene. Something was bothering her about the murder, and she always thought better at the site of the deed. Poppy shouldn’t have come alone, not without her revolver. She backed herself against the wall thinking about the dinner she had left cooking in the oven. The barrel flashed. She slumped ove…

Such a waste, the pot roast was sure to get charre…

The story could stop in mid-sentence, an unexpected end, like a bus ran over it:

This was it, the final clue! All that time spent on research to come to this point, the missed birthdays, the walks on the beach not taken, the career thrown away, it was validation of the effort. There would be retribution. The object in her trembling hand puls..


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