Here’s today’s Daily Prompt. What will I have to say for myself this time?
Write about anything you’d like. Somewhere in your post, include the sentence, “I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.”
Once upon a time, there was a guy who had to include a certain sentence in his story. Let’s call him Kevin. This is the same Kevin from last time, and this is a sequel because I have no imagination.
Kevin was in trouble. Three hours ago, he was defending his masters’ thesis at Stanfarvardale University. Thirty minutes ago, he lost his train of thought. Three minutes ago, his train of thought crashed, and he ran away from his audience in fear. And three seconds ago, he face-planted into a pile of snow.
“This is not my proudest moment,” Kevin said. He usually didn’t talk to himself, but the cold snow was having a funny effect on his brain.
Which is why when he finally flipped himself over, he couldn’t believe his eyes. (His eyes have a very good track record, so this was an unusual assumption to make by Kevin.)
“I hope that this isn’t as bad as it looks,” Sally said. She was standing over Kevin’s body with a concerned look in her eyes and a large shovel in her hands.
“Why are you here?” Kevin asked Sally. “Is everybody still waiting for me inside? Why are you holding a shovel?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Sally said, tossing the shovel away. “Listen, I have an idea to get you out of this. We’ll go back indoors and finish your presentation. All you have to do is follow my lead.”
Kevin didn’t say anything. His brain was still frozen.
Sally continued the conversation for him, “Look, when I give you the signal, just say the phrase ‘I heard the car door slam and immediately looked at the clock.’ That’s literally all you have to say. We’ll get you out of this situation together. Trust me?”
Kevin took a deep breath. “Okay.”
Sally and Kevin returned to the auditorium.
“Hey everybody,” Sally said to the audience. “Here’s Kevin. Don’t worry. He’s fine. I didn’t actually have to shovel him out of the snow. And we have a perfectly reasonable explanation for the unusual behavior today during his presentation.”
Kevin didn’t say anything. He wondered where Sally was going with this, and he wondered if he could go there too.
Sally explained to the audience, “You see, Kevin’s thesis wasn’t actually about oil rigs in Denmark. It was a psychology experiment that we planned on all of you. It was a study on audience patience. We were testing to see how long you would follow a story that had no ending in mind. A story with absolutely no train of thought or sense of logic. A story being told by a complete idiot who’s only telling a story because of a specific prompt.” Sally coughed.
“I heard the car door slam and immediately looked at the clock,” Kevin said.
Sally glared at Kevin. Frustrated, she turned back towards the audience. “You guys lasted in your seats for over two hours, which is an exceptionally long time for an experiment like this. Finally, we noticed an audience member leaving the room and walking towards the parking lot. Assuming that the audience member was heading towards his car and not merely taking a bathroom break, we knew that it was time to end the experiment.” She gestured at Kevin.
Kevin understood now. “I heard the car door slam and immediately looked at the clock,” he repeated, smiling.
Sally nodded. “That’s right. You guys clocked in at two hours, fifty-seven minutes, and twelve seconds. Incredible. You’re the most patient audience we’ve had yet. Anyway, Kevin went out to stop the car, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do in this story that I’m telling.”
Uh-oh, Sally thought. This story wasn’t making as much sense as she initially thought. She immediately regretted her decision to help Kevin. She didn’t even like Kevin. She liked Todd.
“I, uh,” Sally stumbled. “You know, you might be wondering how we heard the car door from indoors, and how exactly I’m involved in this experiment, and why Kevin did this test as a student in the Economics Department. Well, to answer that question, I think Kevin has a good explanation.”
Kevin gulped. He looked at the audience again. They seemed confused. “Uh, yeah. Thanks, Sally. Well, to answer that question, we might have to finish the story that I started earlier. So let’s go back on that train of thought that I started earlier. We were talking about sandwiches….”
Sally stood awkwardly by Kevin. She knew that as long as Kevin continued his uncomfortable presentation, she was stuck here, too. Their fates were now intertwined.
And so the story that I started that makes no sense about a story that Kevin started that makes no sense claims another victim.