That smug, pompous prick was on the telly again. Big, well-fed face beaming out at people, telling about how he, from humble beginnings, had become the success story of the century.
The dog normally barked at him, but not today.
‘For all we were poor,’ he was saying, ‘we had freedom of choice. I chose education, business school, which I got to on a scholarship.’
Yeah, yeah, freedom of choice. He chose business school on a scholarship and I got to work in a factory, taking home the money our parents needed to get by on, having spent all of theirs on the things he needed for his ‘free’ education. He didn’t see the damage his sort of freedom of choice did.
‘We could be anything we wanted to be. And you,’ he said, peering intently at the camera, ‘you can be anything you want to be.’
Not true, not when I was stuck with second choice. Maybe if I’d been as heartless as he was, maybe then I could have left the folks to sink or swim instead of staying to watch them get old and die. I picked at the hole in the knee of my jeans. Looked at him in his fancy suit. Thought about the accident and knocked on my plastic leg just to hear the hollow sound it made.
‘Pick a path and don’t look back!’
He certainly hadn’t. He moved down to London and we didn’t see him again other than in the newspaper and then on the telly. Broke my mam’s heart.
The dog was lying quietly in the corner. I was relieved at first when he stopped pestering me to go out for a walk but now he was starting to smell.
‘So think,’ Mr Motivational Speaker was telling me. ‘Think about what it is you want to be and take the first step towards it right now.’
I thought about it and I reached for the carrier bag by the side of my chair. I took out the bottle of vodka, unscrewed the top and threw it at the dog. A small cloud of flies puffed up from the matted fur, but soon settled down again, busy busy busy.
‘What do you want to be?’ he cried.
‘Pissed,’ I shouted back at the screen, putting the bottle to my mouth and taking a big swallow. I started coughing as it went down the wrong way, gasped in a lungful of air and got a whiff of the dog again.
Fucking dog. I wiped my nose on my sleeve. I’d sort the fucking dog out tomorrow. I raised the bottle to my mouth again. Today was going to be devoted to being what I wanted to be.
BIO: Julie Morrigan lives by the seaside in the north east of England. She published as e-books a short crime fiction collection, Gone Bad, in March and her debut novel, Convictions, in May.
13 thoughts on “Be Anything You Want To Be by Julie Morrigan”
He certainly got dealt the bad hand in that family. Seems to be handling it well though… Terrific character piece.
‘Sorting out the fucking dog tomorrow’ has priority of choice all over it Ms dynamo Morrigan. LOVE readin’ your dark side of reality-sucks and how one takes ’em on. Details, details and a whole new shade and shimmer you bring to rue.
My applause, Lady.
AT THE BIJOU and ’round WebTowne
Thanks, folks – glad you were entertained.
Lady J, can I ask you a question? Do you even know how to write a bad story?
Oh hell, I already know that answer: Of course not, you lout. Another short and nasty and subtly tear making tale from Ms. Morrigan. Cool!
Very dark. Great build up of tension throughout. Feel a bit sorry for the dog though.
Wow, that was really visual. Poor doggy.
Thanks for the kind words, folks, they are, as always, very much appreciated. (Especially coming from such a badass bunch of writers!) This story was a bit of a gift – I was having a bad day so I decided to vent my spleen and this popped into being. Which cheered me up – result! 🙂
Too brilliant. I love how you reveal a story and the slap me with flies a bloated dog. Well done!
Cheers, Josh! And yup, poor old Fido, bless him, he really did have a dog’s life. (Thanks goodness it’s not real!)
That’s how it’s done. The anger is raw and real.
Thanks, Chris, glad you liked it.
Behind every successful man… excellent little tale!