Word count – 6,600 words
Quitters Inc tells the familiar tale of one man’s desire to stop smoking, and the lengths he goes to in order to do just that. On the recommendation of a friend he speaks to a very shady man who promises he can ensure he never smokes again, although his methods are a little… questionable, to say the least.
There is a campy quality here which is a little reminiscent in execution to The Ledge, from earlier in the anthology, which is certainly not a bad thing, although this has not been afforded quite the same level of skill and care.
Quitters Inc has a good story at its core, and although it is not as polished as some of the other entries in Night Shift there is enough good stuff in here to be counted as one of the better entries in the collection.
Well, I promised three short stories by Christmas Day but only managed to deliver one by the end of the year. I finished Last Chance Lagoon just in time to close out the year on a high note.
I think it was always going to be the one I finished first, but at 1400 words it’s a little longer than I had originally expected. It’s good – I like it – and I did enjoy presenting it to my captive audience, who seemed quite taken by being the star of the show.
This is my final post of the year, but I have big ideas for 2020. There are many things I want to accomplish in the next twelve months and beyond, and I’m going to get on them right away.
Happy New Year, folks!
First of all, Happy Holidays. I hope you all had a good time, and got what you wanted and deserved.
Unfortunately, I didn’t finish any of those short stories that I had tasked myself to do. All three of them are in the home stretch, and I reckon if I had put down the chocolates and the turkey I may have found the time to have completed then over the last couple of days… but alas, the call of the festivities was much too great.
While I may not have met my self-imposed deadline, I have manufactured a few decent tales that I otherwise would not have created. I think they will turn out pretty well – it’s just finding the inclination at this time of year to put a bow on them.
2020 is just around the corner now. I aim to make it a good year for me and mine, and I hope you all do the same for you and yours.
The Lawnmower Man tells the simple tale of Harold in his quest (and subsequent hiring) of someone to cut his grass. That’s it. It doesn’t get much more mundane than that, does it?
It’s not a classic set-up for a horror story, but it’s one that will stick with you long after you read it, for reasons that become clear quite quickly, as Harold’s new employee has a decidely strange way of performing his job.
The Lawnmower Man is a very odd tale, but a perversely enjoyable one. It’s a horror story in the very unfiltered way that King presented in the early part of his career. Gory, gruesome, and totally bonkers, this is the author before his journey through life sanitised him and his words.
Not as much as I would have liked, that’s what I’ve done this week.
Christmas is not just one day or even one long weekend – it’s a whole damn month. I’m certainly not complaining – I love Christmas – but it does create a bit of a dip in the work rate.
Having said that I did manage to take my second of three tales over a thousand words, and it – like the first one – is almost ready to bring home.
I did promise myself that I’d have them completed in time for the 25th. It will be tight, but I’ve got a week off work leading up to the big day so I’ll get them done, even if I have to stop wrapping presents to do it.
Word count – 6,700
The Ledge tells the story of a man who has fallen in love with the wrong woman – by which I mean she is attached to a local mobster. As a result of this he is blackmailed into walking around the ledge of the building, forty-something floors up.
What the story lacks in action it more than makes up for with good pacing and expertly crafted tension… and of course, a pigeon that doesn’t know when to quit.
The Ledge is a great tale. If I was being picky I could say that perhaps it is overly simplistic in its delivery, and it is possibly a little truncated in places, but the core of the story is very enjoyable, and it is certainly in the top tier of the stories I have read from Night Shift so far.
I got to thinking about killing Hitler this morning – not in a real world sense, of course, but a conversation about the Christmas armistice of World War One got my creative juices flowing. I think there is some comedy to be mined in that scenario.
I am slowly plodding along with my challenge tales, but this week has been mostly about the mystery of Last Chance Lagoon. The only trouble is that it has now bloated to over 1100 words, which is a wee bit longer than I had anticipated it would be. Still, every story is fluid until you put a cap on it, so I won’t stress too much about it. And if it wants (or needs) to grow from there, all I can do is put the words down.
The other two are still moving forward, although not with the same fervour. Juggling several pieces at once is bound to have its ebbs and flows, so I’m not worried about it. This time next week it would not surprise me if the words were coming thick and fast for one of the others.