Writing Exercise, or The Unreliable Third

Several typewriters in a row on a long table.

From Brian Kitely’s The 3:00 A.M. Epiphany: Write a fragment of a story from the POV of an unreliable narrator – third person limited (or attached) narration. This is a deliberate misuse of the more objective third-person narration. 500 words.

My attempt:

Sindra pulled the fire alarm but not before she shot the man – her father – dead. The click, click, click of the empty cartridge had ceased her efforts, unexpectedly and regrettably. She would have continued happily had she more bullets. Endings were never her strong suit anyway.

The idea to pull the alarm came to her when she heard people mumbling and screaming outside the man’s door. They are so done! The thump of the body slumping to the floor interrupted her flow to the door. Damn him! He was always interfering with her style.

“Get the fuck out of my way!” She flashed her now useless gun. The man’s minions cowered and ducked and two of them fell to the floor. Sindra strode to the alarm pull, turned to his fan club, pulled the bar down, pointed the .38 at the man’s number one fan, the one he had been banging for years, and shouted “run.” The single-action plastic bar with the words “pull down” written in red snapped in Sindra’s forefinger and thumb.

“I’m glad your dead motherfucker,” she said, back in the office, standing over the body. “And I’m glad I’m the one that did it.” His right arm flopped down to the floor from the force of her kick.

Steadying herself against the desk she thought about the first time he touched her and all the times after that and the secrets. Oh the goddamn secrets!

No one could know. She was a bad girl if she told so she kept quiet. She kept quiet when her mother or her boyfriend asked why she was so sad. She kept quiet when he would sneak off with her to the family bathroom at the mall and it would all be over in five minutes. And she kept very quiet when their very last five minutes together created a difficult situation – that’s what he called it – nine months later.

Sindra worked up a large pool of saliva in her mouth. Perfect! The globular, gooey mass hung from his right eye. “There won’t be anymore difficult situations now will there motherfucker?” She began applauding herself and bowing slightly to an imaginary audience.

“Does she do that a lot?” The psychiatric tech asked the nurse.

“Several times a week.”  Sindra stopped for a moment, as though a window opened between her and the two psychiatric hospital employees and somehow she and the two staff dwelled together in the same three blinks of reality. The window slammed shut. Sindra went back to applauding.

“She experienced a psychotic break several years ago. Sort of left and never came back. Used to get a car load’s worth of visitors every week. Now she gets just one.”

“That guy that visits her every week?”

“Yes, her father.” Sindra’s hands stopped mid-air.

“He’s been coming every week for five years. And every week for five years Sindra sits in front of him and rocks herself and hums. Even the doctor told him there was no point in visiting anymore.”

Sindra chortled to herself.