View Full Version : Fail

M. Cull
February 17th, 2014, 02:54 AM
"Hey man, do you see that hot chick standing over there? The one with all the other chicks?"

"Yeah dude, the one said you'd ask to dance today?"

"Mm hmm. She's looking really hot today."

"So you're really going through with it, then?"

"Psh, yeah, hello? Of course I'll go through with it. And pay attention, 'cause it's gonna be awesome."

"All right, we'll see. Not like tha-"

"No, not like that at all."

For a few seconds silence settles between us. The day had finally come. The day of my reckoning, the day I'd prove I was a real man.

It was the day of the sixth grade end-of-the-year dance.

"You nervous?"

"Nah, she'll totally say yes. I'm telling you, my idea is perfect! No way she'll say no."

"We'll see."

The music's pounding, and all the other sixth graders are really enjoying the dance. I can tell by all of their heads wagging to the time as they form a human coating for the walls. Only the weirdos are actually dancing in the middle. And soon, I will be, too. Oh yeah. This is going to rock.

"K, the song's almost over, go! I'll be watching from here."

Winning smile? Check. Quarter? Check. West-side story Jets swagger? Checkmate, baby. Time to blow her mind.

Swagger swagger. Sure, she's not looking yet, but she's gotta see the swagger first. Rico Suave grin at all the unlucky ladies I'm not asking to dance, just so they know what they're missing. Swagger. Swagger. There! A glance in my direction. Time to light the fire. Quarter out, start flipping. Everything's going according to plan, exactly like I pictured it. Except for one probably unimportant detail - her face isn't quite beaming admiration yet. Not yet, but it would. It would!

Swagger swagger, flip the coin. Again. I can almost hear the finger-snapping, hear the sighs from the love-stricken females. I almost toss my too-long front bangs, opening my mouth slightly for heightened effect. I almost do that, but not quite.
Ten feet away now. Five. I'm shaking, for some reason. Not because I'm nervous, absolutely not! Just...cold, maybe.

"Hi." Too fast...too fast and too tight. Try again. "Hi..." No, dang it, too sultry! "H-"

"Hi." A smile she just pasted on looks too much like a grimace. Not good. But I can't walk away now!

"So here's the deal." Rico Suave comes back, I'm one of the Jets again. Beauty. "I'm going to flip this coin, and if it lands on heads, you owe me a dance. If it lands on tails..." Flip, catch, winning smile...yes! Perfect execution! "I owe you a dance. How 'bout it shuguh?" Dang it, maybe that southern drawl thing was a bit much, I never planned that. And her face is...not beaming. More like confused. Or slightly nauseous.


Why is she glancing around? She can't possibly be looking for a way out...!? "Ok, whatever, just flip the coin."

The concession doesn't comfort me. All the sudden I get really nervous. I mean cold. My fingers are shaking, too. But I can't just walk away! I promised I'd go through with it!

Flip the coin. Trajectory - definitely not as planned.



Coin to the eyeball. The eyeball of the woman I was supposed to be wooing. Crap.

All eyes in the cafeteria train to the sound of the wailing. And to me, standing dumb as a fencepost, staring at the pain writhing in front of me. The quarter's rolling around on the floor. I absently bend to pick it up.

Seven pairs of pre-teen girls' eyes burn like fire. As her friends, they'll probably kill me if I stay here much longer.

Apologize? How? "Umm, sorry I just flipped a piece of metal into your eyeball. Yes I was trying to get you to like me. Could I maybe try again"? No way.

Only course of action?

Turn around and walk away. Back along the walls, in front of the ladies who are lucky I didn't ask them to dance instead.

"Dude, what the heck was that?!"

"Shut up!" I know I'm hissing, but I don't care. I just want to get out of here.

A mental image comes to me, and I'm no longer a Jet, Rico Suave, or anything but a total bungling idiot. Boy walks up to girl. Brief conversation. Coin to the eye of the girl. Brief pause to observe horrible pain. And retreat.

Now I'm in my first period class, and the girl walks in. If her eyepatch were black, she'd look kind of like a pirate, which could be cool. But instead it's white, and it has tape all over it. The one eye that still works tries to kill me by sheer force of will. It almost does.

Thank goodness it's the end of the year.

Next time, No more smooth stuff. No more Jets, Rico Suave, or lines that actually aren't that good. Next time, it'll go better.


March 27th, 2014, 01:06 AM
Looked to see why no one had commented, and was surprised.

It's a nice, simple little piece, that youth and grandfathers might relate to. Of course speech transitions, and I had to use my imagination, from a one room school scene with 14 students in varying grades.

Though it did strike me as slightly more mature in some ways than sixth grade, no doubt kids seemingly mature faster these days with all the exposure available.

Something it brought to mind:

What is youth except a man or woman before it is ready or fit to be seen? ~ Evelyn Waugh


March 27th, 2014, 02:12 AM
I thought it was a very cute little story. Something you could easily sell to a youth based magazine.

Some wrong words and grammar issues but other than that very well rounded. A very cute piece!

March 28th, 2014, 02:32 AM
Ah, the false bravado of a tween boy. It seems so familiar: the impaired judgment, the great idea that declines to good and then to corny/stupid as the moment of execution approaches, the powerful and mysterious tween girls in their protective flocks, the disastrous fail. It's a wonder we ever put our fragile egos on the line.

I would change "would" to "will" where you wrote:
her face isn't quite beaming admiration yet. Not yet, but it would. It would!
There's a change in tense there from present to past.

I guess posting creative work on a forum like this is also putting our fragile egos on the line, but we're all more confident now and can count on the empathy and helpful spirit of those who offer their suggestions. After all, we've all been the embarrassed center of unwanted attention at some point in our lives.

M. Cull
April 11th, 2014, 02:21 PM
Ha thanks guys. I'd honestly given up on getting much feedback on this, so it was a pleasant surprise to see 3 new comments! I appreciate the encouraging words. It was a fun story to write, completely outside my normal writing style, which tends more toward verbosity than anything. I'm glad I found it again!

June 23rd, 2014, 10:47 PM
I read it to a point with a picture in my mind of a contemporary scene, mainly because of the "pounding" music, but then the Jets reference sort of confused things by bringing to mind a late 50's, early-60s scene. Maybe you could do some more stage setting at the very beginning to fix the reader's mind on a specific time period. I also had a little trouble picturing the characters. I needed a little more physical description, especially as to why the "hot" chick was hot. Why is this kid attracted to her specifically? Appreciated the aftermath scene with the eye patch.

Mr. Beanhead
September 25th, 2014, 06:17 PM
I liked this. Very easy to empathize with the MC. The feeling of being inside his head really works. Brings back memories, and makes the reader feel good...like a white cat crossing your path.

March 6th, 2015, 03:36 PM
I too liked this story and found myself smiling through out. I suppose we have all been there. I began to ask a girl to go out with me when I suddenly began to bleed from both nostrils. Hows that for smooth? I still can't for the life of me understand why she declined a date with someone who could hemorrhage at will.

March 10th, 2015, 03:12 PM
I have no idea who The Jets are, and I'm old-ish! This story is awfully cute and I felt it gave me a little insight into how my three boys will think as they get older. Well done :)

March 10th, 2015, 03:39 PM
I have to admit that I had no idea how old sixth grade students are and then remembered that first grade here starts at age six, so if it is the same in your part of the world would sixth graders be as mature as it seems in your story?

"pounding music" and "heads wagging to the time" make it sound as if it is taking place in the present, as does the idea of end of term/end of year dances or proms, which I probably mistakenly think are fairly modern happenings, so a boy imagining he is like a character from West Side Story somehow does not seem to fit.

March 13th, 2015, 04:31 PM
Your writing brought to mind the courage and optimism of youth ... the whole "if at first you don't succeed ..." and the possibilities of next time, left me curious for more ...