|Influences||Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Faber, Charlie Kaufman, Richard Ayoade & Joel and Ethan Coen|
|Bio||I usually watch at least two feature-length films in any given day. I sacrificed one of those films to write this short story. Please enjoy.|
He looked underneath his stack of workshop notes again but he couldn’t find anything there, no matter how many times he lifted it up to have another peek. Teddy was convinced that somebody took it. But why? Who would have any reason to steal from him, especially something so inherently worthless to anybody but Teddy? Well actually, Teddy didn’t believe that. His manuscript was bound to be talked about. He knew that once he had put the final polishes on it then it would truly be a provocative and subversive masterpiece. People would finally start taking note of him. He decided to walk back to the car park and have another look.
Teddy was the only one on campus because it was Friday night, almost Saturday morning. All of his friends had gone out. Maybe he ought to have joined them? Teddy wasn’t a very social person. One time he went out clubbing with his classmate Edgar. He introduced him to all of his friends: Robert, Ismail, Cindy and Samantha. Teddy smiled as the image of Samantha popped up in his mind. He remembered she was pretty, especially in all of her old Facebook profile pictures. He would have gotten to see her again tonight but Edgar didn’t send him an invite. Next week he thought. He’ll try and sit closer to him in class and get his attention. Teddy accepted the fact that people rarely acknowledged or even noticed him. In fact Teddy’s name is actually Edgar. Over the course of his freshman year, people started to call him Edward and from there it naturally became Teddy. It was easier and more memorable that way. So most of the time, Teddy didn’t know which name to respond to. He often just let his friend Edgar have Edgar since he wanted to be polite.
He stopped at the crossroads next to Building 6. The path continued onto the student car park where Teddy had parked. On the left was the gazebo area, nobody ever went there, and on the right the path went towards the library. Teddy had begun to second-guess himself. Had someone truly played a mean prank on him and hidden his short story somewhere in the university or had he simply misplaced it? As far as he could remember, Teddy had always been the only one on campus at this time of night apart from campus security. Perhaps one of them took it? The thought occurred to Teddy that a security worker doing a sweep of the lab he was in waited for Teddy to take a break, saw his manuscript, read it, realised its potential, and had taken it to use as his own entry into the writing competition. It was a bit far-fetched but the idea lingered in Teddy’s mind as he slid his chilly hands into his hoodie pockets and continued on to the car park.
The short story that Teddy had written was mysterious and had many twists. It was about one character who had lost his own manuscript on a Friday evening and went to go look for it in the dark. One thing Teddy learned was that a good story had twists and that the main character should have to overcome many obstacles. He read that in an article he found in a Google search once. So, he made sure to incorporate those facets of story-telling because if he was going to win that competition then people had to be engaged. He built in as many bumps and hurdles as he could for his main character and in the end he didn’t even find his manuscript.
Now that he thought about it, he realised how similar his current situation was compared to the character in his story. They were both aspiring artists trying to get their own stories out into the world and they both faced challenges in order to make it happen. In Freddy’s (Teddy’s Story’s protagonist) case the drama was preordained by Teddy with his pen and paper. Freddy’s life struggle was the subject of a fictional narrative whose ups and downs were designed uniquely to make it more interesting. But in Teddy’s case someone, he speculated, had effected a series of malign schemes to upset his evening and potentially ruin his magnum opus. Teddy pictured it. They were probably sneering at him from behind a bush and laughing at the results of their clever game.
The door handle, as well as the rest of Teddy’s car, was covered in a thin layer of ice. He rolled his stretched out sleeve over his hand like a mitten and pried the door open. A million tiny ice flakes could be heard shattering. Teddy searched inside. Nothing. He took another peak inside the glove box. Nothing again. The deadline for the competition was in an hour. Even if he did find the manuscript, he still had to type it up and upload it to the competition website. He felt that his face had now turned a pale pink colour and that some ice had crept down the back of his ankles and melted into his socks. Defeated, Teddy dropped to his knees and exorcised a blood-curdling screech towards the heavens. Then, almost in immediate response… a gust of wind blew Teddy’s manuscript out from under his car. He couldn’t believe it. He grappled to his feet, barely gripping the icy bitumen, and grabbed it. He scanned the whole thing as if to make sure that every word was still there. Reading the final line, he chuckled to himself. He hadn’t even finished the story. Teddy kept on laughing. It was as if the whole narrative would have been concluded with a few more lines but he had stopped writing it in the middle of