Twelve Stories is an online literary journal that comes out every time the editors agree on twelve stories, unanimously. Sometimes that takes a couple months, sometimes more than a year. At least, that’s their story, and I have no reason to doubt them.
In reading over the twelve stories currently featured at Twelve Stories, I came across Megann Sept’s story, In Between.
It was the third day. The blizzard wasn’t letting up and Trent’s pickup was stuck—high-centered on a drift in the middle of I-25 somewhere between Buffalo and Sheridan—and the gas gauge was creeping up on empty. Last night, wearing every piece of clothing he had in the truck (including two pairs of white briefs on his head), turning on the pickup every couple of hours to run the heater for a few minutes, he had still been shivering for most of the night.
This is a short-short story, so I won’t give a detailed summary. Too much detail would be longer than the story. But, a brief summary is this: Trent has left his wife and kids at home to attend a “car auction” that is really an excuse to visit his girl-on-the-side, and on the way there, he gets stranded in a snow storm. He is stuck, both literally and figuratively, in between.
This story has the key element I love when writing a story, and when reading one: an interesting character in an interesting predicament. Most of my own fiction starts with something like this: There’s a guy, stuck out in a snow storm, half-way between his wife and his girlfriend. Richard Hugo calls these little snippets of fiction that come to us the triggering town, and poet Kathy Smith-Bowers calls them abiding images, but whichever term you use, this is the kind of thing that jumps out at me and ignites that fire for writing a story.
Megann Sept’s story, here, take a few fun twists and turns. The guy is cheating on his wife, but he takes time to pull people out of snow drifts before getting stuck himself. He has a cell phone, but only a wall charger. And, the ending contains a fun little tidbit about how he gets out of his jam, and how he tells the story of getting unstuck.
I found In Between to be a fun story, an enjoyable read, and I think you might, too!
Read the story here.
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