Magical realism

I wrote a story once about a guy whose friend gets beat up and ends up in the hospital. The beat-up friend got smaller in each rewrite until finally he was tiny in the middle of the bed, skin yellow with bruises, hooked up to various monitors and life-support systems.

Then my first daughter was born three months premature. When I first visited her in the hospital, she was tiny, yellow with jaundice and hooked up to a respirator, monitors and had a feeding tube down her nose.

I wrote a story about a guy who was confused and ended up in the back seat of a taxi with a really old Japanese woman who leaned over onto his shoulder as the taxi went around a corner and he realized she had died. The story ended with him sitting there, riding and riding, her hair occaisionally tickling his face in the breeze.

The next day as I walked to the hospital to visit my daughter I passed an old lady who had died in the street. She just fell over. People stood around her looking, but not in a big hurry. A little blood came out her nose.

I was, at that time, working on a story about a guy who was estranged from his wife and whose daughter was dying of cancer. He wandered onto the set of a movie about Bigfoot.

I stopped writing fiction at that point. I only just started up again recently. I’m having a hell of a time getting going.

6 responses to “Magical realism

  1. D

    Dude, start writing a story about a man who finds a big briefcase *full* of cash that has been forgotten by everyone who ever had anything to do with it…

  2. mig

    I’m also thinking maybe that skin cancer story was maybe a bad idea.

  3. Bauke


    Probably a good idea to follow D’s advice, though.

    Or something about an incredibly lucky guy. Or about a guy who gets a promotion.

  4. mig

    As a rule, it’s usually a good idea to follow D’s advice.

    But I’m already a lucky guy…

    A lucky guy who loses ten pounds! That’s it!

  5. mig

    Jinx Fiction: Caring for the Bees

    The day after I won the lottery I saw in the mirror I looked a little thin and when I weighed myself I’d lost ten pounds. So that explained the cheekbones and abs, first time I’d ever seen them.

    I went downstairs to make coffee and remembered my wife and kids had left to go on vacation (my inlaws were gone too so I had to stay home to care for the bees) for a month so I only made half as much. While the coffee was dripping I heard a sound outside like a machinegun behind the barn. I guessed it was the woodpecker pecking at the stop sign again so I went outside to shoo it away.

    I heard voices behind the barn, though, and when I peeked through the peekhole I saw gangsters had gunned down a dozen attorneys and property developers. So no woodpecker after all. The boss gangster finished tying a woman to a chair and they put cannisters of gasoline everywhere then left. I waited for them to get out of sight then walked over to the woman.

    “Untie me please,” she said when I removed the gag. Wow, I thought, Charlize Theron. Or someone who looks exactly like her. Bees were buzzing everywhere. I hoped they weren’t going to swarm.

    “What’s going on?” I asked her.

    “Look, could we talk about this somewhere else?” she said. “There’s a timer on that gasoline, it’s set to ignite in five minutes.”

    “Don’t worry about it,” I said. “This barn’s way overinsured.” Then I thought, though, probably they wouldn’t pay if it was arson, would they?

    The damned bees were swarming. They were all over Charlize. “Stay calm,” I said. “Don’t excite the bees. Sit still and you’ll be fine. What’s this?” I asked. It was a large musical instrument case of some kind.

    “It’s a Stradivarius cello,” the woman said. “It’s worth a million dollars.”

    I opened the case. There was no instrument inside, just papers and diamonds.

    The woman laughed. “They left the wrong case! They took the cello with them! That there is ten billion dollars in negotiable bonds and another ten in fine diamonds! Ouch!”

    “I told you not to move around or shout,” I said. “Look, this is your problem,” I said, removing a queen bee from her lap. “How’d you get here?” I said to the queen bee. I walked over around the barn and replaced the queen bee in an empty hive. Immediately it started filling up with swarming bees.

    Then I went back and filled a wheelbarrow with the contents of the cello case and wheeled that over to my truck. Then I left a note on the kitchen table for my wife not to let any gangsters in should she get home before I did. Then I loaded the actress-looking woman into my truck too, mostly untied, and put one of the smaller dead attorneys into the chair where she’d been sitting and tied him on and covered him with more gas. Then I moved the beehives into safety.

    We drove away. Those gangsters knew how to set a fire – that barn just exploded. Of course it was really dry, but still.

    We had a Stradivarius to liberate.

    The end.