Wednesday, January 2, 2008


In keeping with the season, here are the first two paragraphs of a fictional story I started writing a few years ago:

     Peabody awoke to the sharp slap of the bartender's hand on the bar top. "Time to go!" the bartender shouted as Peabody lifted his muzzy head to regain his senses. It was closing time, and he had no idea how long he had been passed out. He slid off his stool but reached for the rail as his wobbly legs failed to support him. Images whirling in his vision coalesced into an exit sign above the bar’s door. He stumbled toward it and reached for the door to regain his balance, but the door swung open and he fell face-first into the slush covering the sidewalk outside. Peabody rolled onto his back and stared up into the flurry of snowflakes falling from the yellow sky. Winter, he thought, and exhaled a cloud of beer-soaked steam into the chill night air. More accurately, New Year's Eve, he remembered. Where are all the merrymakers, he wondered, turning his head from side to side to confirm that he was very much alone. He waved his wrist in front of his face to check his watch. It was two o'clock. Rolling back over and struggling to his feet, he brushed the snow off his clothes and staggered off into the night.
     Peabody hadn't always been like this, a drunk alone for the holidays. In better times, he had been something of a success. He had always been bright, which is how he had earned the nickname "Peabody," after the smarter half of Peabody and Sherman, the cartoon duo from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. The original Peabody was the talking dog who wore glasses and was always a step ahead of his boy sidekick Sherman in solving that episode’s mystery. The intelligence came with a price though, and Peabody didn't realize it until he had already graduated from college in the early 1980s.

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