The First Attempt

The First Attempt

A Story by Mr. Misanthrope

Exercise | Probably not in progress.


The day had started unlike any other. It was hot and humid, and it might as well have been the hottest day of the summer, even though summer hadn’t yet ended, and it was still entirely theoretical; he never woke up this early. It was ungodly. But the Bulgarian painter had come to give his room a facelift, involving removing nails and hooks, scraping, and filling holes that were missing plaster. So for now, he’d been exiled to the kitchen, with the air-conditioner blasting away, something he only allowed himself when there were other people in the room, and when he was sleeping, because it couldn’t be expected of him to get to sleep listening to his own breathing and heartburn. He’d been transferring stuff from the room to a safer place throughout the previous day, and part of him was surprised to see how few items he actually owned, even though the minor details lacking in his attempted monastic lifestyle still bugged him. His father had left to work earlier, braving the summer outside that Luke chose to avoid like the plague. The workmen were in the other rooms slaving away, and he was here, in cold comfort, with a hot laptop burning over a few magazines to ensure the marble wouldn’t get tarnished.

Occasionally, his mother would make him some tea in a mug.

He dragged both hands down his face, stretching the muscles and feeling like he could just go back to bed if he could. He was meant to be thinking about his future. It was only a few weeks ago he learned that he wasn’t going to be allowed to progress to the next year of law at the local university on the island. He’d failed abysmally during his exams. Some students wouldn’t have been able to handle it, but Luke was a coward and he intended to continue being stubborn till fame and fortune decided to lie across his lap like that cute little black cat from next door occasionally did. He’d been attempting to get into actual writing as a profession for a while now, but whenever the exam results came in and told him he’d be able to continue, it was always a good distraction. Perfectionism.

His mother decided to get up and go into the living room to rest for a while on the sofa. They’d technically slept the same amount of hours the past night. It was daunting for her to know that these refurbishments on her en suite bathroom had been going on for about three weeks now, which had completely messed with her routine. His routine, not so much. As much as he wasn’t a morning person by nature, he had to admit he loved it whenever he had an actual reason to wake up earlier than usual, as long as it didn’t involved any work that made him feel genuinely uncomfortable �" like lectures (go figure). After all, he couldn’t have a Bulgarian working in his room while he was nestled under a warm sheet and soft down throw-over. So here he was, past midday already, and trying his hand at being ‘exceptional’, which meant being a bum if nothing else came your way. Biting threads from his gray t-shirt, twirling around on the rotating chairs at the kitchen counter, the other being occupied by a bunch of old magazines and smudged newspapers (they were actually today’s newspapers but he never cared for that sort of stuff �" anything he ever really needed came from Facebook), and surrounded by mountainous greenery viewable from the glass conservatory windows. The plan was to write something, deal with its quality, and send it off to a literary agent, where it would hopefully find its place among other word vomit written for the sake of ‘work’, cash, and spiritual comfort. Whether the words actually meant anything to him was regardless at this point. He really did need something to focus on. It’s not that he hated the concept of work; just that, after four years of regimental academic torture, that kind of raw personal experience should go to something more than just going back into another course for it to potentially end up in the same way, even if it were to be a subject he felt more confident in. Luke was the sort of person who had learned the hard way that not having anything to do that felt productive and only being able to stare at a (now in the process of being facelifted) wall was mental and physical agony. Time wasn’t going to wait for him, and the August deadline would soon approach, and he’d end up having to pay double the amount for a late application, and the anxiety would probably start all over again. He was fragile. Hopefully, this would lead somewhere. In a partly comfortable position with one foot on the seat and getting to rest his face against his knee, he continued to write, though nothing of value to his mine, but maybe someone else would find it interesting. Professional publishing sometimes does give off the impression that something is better than it actually is. He hoped so, anyway. He promised himself he’d only finish when it suited him, and when it felt right. All he needed was a sign, an income, some digits to show him that this kind of life could be lived professionally, if not comfortably.

The air-conditioning was still blasting, and served as one of the few soothing noises that occasionally brought him back to the real world, if that’s what you could call it. There was an iPad to his right, along with a red notebook that he treated like a journal, jotting down important quotations that he felt might come in handy later on or that described his life or what he wanted to say to a tee, and also a blue notepad, in case longhand was needed. The tea was now finished. How could those desert stains ever get washed out with the time spent glued to the ceramic, he wondered.

He’d be one of those writers who hated absolutely everything he’d ever write, ashamed and embarrassed of them, but published nevertheless. Could you call this stream of consciousness? Doubtful. It helped if you were intellectual and smart. At least that way, maybe someone would actually get a hit out of it. It was contradictory, hypocritical, torture, to avoid differentiating between published garbage and the stuff that had the decency of staying off the store shelves and only on

“The bathroom looks like it’s coming along beautifully,” his mother said, dirty blond hair held back by a black clip. She was tired, and he was mostly to blame. That’s why he needed to show her he had some sort of future, away from people and rules and IBS threats. He’d be famous, rich, and then he’d be able to buy himself nice things and nice things for his friends and family, and enough to buy a house, not that he had any intention of leaving his childhood home. He did provide some entertainment to his parents in the form of film nights. If he kept writing like this, maybe he could become one of those people who didn’t care for opinions, hard and heterosexual and hopefully sexy, telling the world ‘This is my mind, and I’m forcing it upon you because I like money and this is the only thing I can do with relative ease to get it’.

“Damned phone, why does it do this to me?” She’d recently bought a smart-phone, but one of those dodgy ones that cost a quarter of what the proper brands went for. But her complaints were due to her not being able to grasp technology in general. “I hope today passes quickly.” She’d moved to the sink now and he passed her the stained mug.

“I don’t know about that,” I told her. “I’m liking the change of environment.” I was actually getting stuff done. But for how much longer would it last? And if it did, what could it possibly turn into? Luke could see the Bulgarian moving in one of the other rooms through the oven’s reflection.

“I’m out of sorts. I don’t like it.” She took another coffee-flavored sweet and went to sit back down at the glass kitchen table.

One of the ideas Luke had for a character was a totally unrealistic detective that would be completely at his mercy. He’d incorporate all of the things that Luke was attracted to in straight men, and because these consisted of quite a wide variety, the character would almost always be confused and struggling to cope with life. It would probably be a mystery fantasy crime series, and the ‘series’ part was essential, because that’s how you made easy money: creating a character you knew inside out and keeping the story going over a period of short novels, constantly changing things up and relying on random ideas that you might have in a dream. It probably wouldn’t ever happen.

How was he expected to keep writing this stuff, and stretch it on for even longer? He’d never written anything that long. It was impossible. The question he had to ask himself was whether he’d want to write this stuff if he were financially stable. Preferably more than financially stable. None of this mattered, and that was supposed to make him feel better in the long run, like the universe was looking after him. This sort of stuff was only ever meant to be an exercise. More experience. Writers could be found in all forms.

© 2015 Mr. Misanthrope

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Added on July 29, 2015
Last Updated on July 29, 2015


Mr. Misanthrope
Mr. Misanthrope


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