Saturday, August 1, 2009

BULLHEADED - Short Fiction

This short story is in response to
Click on the yellow link to join in or read other entries.

How it works: Raven supplies two sets of words (or phrases) to use in a piece of writing. One can choose the ten- or five-word challenge ---or combine both into a fifteen word mega-challenge.

Mega Challenge: fair warning, hormones, journalism, philanthropist, burgeoning, running the bulls, saturation, tossed in the towel, whine, indelicate details, hard labor, lurid, quick fix, sizable contributions, trumpet
(Words from the challenge are in bold face in the story.)

Art Rivers, one of the world’s great philanthropists, had made sizable contributions to the Running the Bulls Amputees (RBA) a group that provided prothetic limbs to those who had lost arms or legs in the idiotic attempt to outrun a herd of bulls through the streets of Pamplona, Spain.
When a reporter asked why he would support boneheads who had put themselves in danger by ignoring fair warnings that injury was not only possible but probable, Mr. Rivers told of the time he had planned to run with the bulls himself. Early that morning, after he tripped over an area rug in his relatively-safe hotel room, he lost his balance and rammed his groin into the corner of a dresser which resulted in.... well, Rivers decided not to go into the indelicate details of his injury. However, he related some of his life’s story.
When Rivers was a young man getting his feet wet in journalism, he was expected to cover the bull run with a first-hand account. After being injured, he tossed in the towel. Without a story, he was fired.
Art didn’t whine about his injury. He sued. After years of scraping by as a freelance writer while the court case dragged on, he used his settlement from the international hotel chain to start his own weekly, specializing in true crime.
He loved running his own company but Rivers sometimes felt like he had been sentenced to years of hard labor. With only a few employees, he worked eighteen hour days, seven days a week. Soon, his burgeoning business was earning money. Before long, he was a wealthy man.
After ten years of long days and little sleep, his wife Julie pleaded with him to take time off from work. She said he was like a crazed bull dog. When he got his teeth in something, he wouldn’t let go, even if it was to his own detriment. When he continued working long hours, she left him.
Six months later, depressed, lonely, overworked, and drinking too much, Art had reached his own saturation point. His doctor prescribed less work. The quick fix was to turn over the running of his business to his assistant. After ten months of sobriety and a lonely-but-enlightening round-the-world cruise, Rivers was ready for his next move.
He had spent years writing and editing articles about true crime. On his cruise, Art turned to writing lurid crime fiction. On the ship, he worked only six hours each day, five days a week, to complete his first novel “Sexual Relations.” The plot revolved around a hormone-crazed teen who sexually assaulted and murdered his aunt. Art had taken the details of a half dozen true crime stories and woven them together into a page turner that reached number three on the best seller list. Rivers was trumpeted as the next Raymond Chandler.
By the time agreements were signed for foreign distribution, paper back editions, and film rights, his second novel, “Gun Shy,” was in its final stages. He was already a millionaire from his publishing company. Now he had earned millions more from his first novel and had won an Edgar Award for his work. But he was a lonely man.
Art called Julie. He offered to hire her to administrate his philanthropic projects, something he knew she would find rewarding. To his relief, she accepted.
The following summer, Rivers invited Julie to join him for a cruise to Spain. This time he had no intention of running with the bulls. He wanted to soak up the atmosphere for his third novel, “A Line of Bull,” about a private detective who had lost a leg during the bull run.
Aboard ship, Art planned to ask Julie to marry him again.

I will be at the Twain conference next weekend, so I will be skipping Wordzzle on August 8th. I'll be back in two weeks.
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)


Fandango said...

We dragons are impressed. That was one great story. Too bad you cluttered it up with that human romantic stuff at the end.

SouthLakesMom said...

CJ, nice working of all of the words into a complete story. I didn't see where he and Julie split, but I guess they worked it out in the end. There's something sexy about a man who finally gets his priorities straight! Enjoy the conference!

Dr.John said...

He needed to go through all that just to become a great writer.
It's wonderful he still love Julie.
I do hope she says yes.
I very much enjoyed this.

Raven said...

Nicely done... I'm glad he ended up rich, generous, happy and in love. Ah... Have fun at the Twain Conference.

Raven said...

One of the most romantic phrases ever written (in my opinion) was by Mark Twain. As I remember it, it goes: "Adam at Eve's grave: 'Wheresoever she was, there was Eden.'" Isn't that just beautiful?

Argent said...

What a great story - and I loved how some previous weeks' words popped up too. Most of us can just about manage to get one week's worth in, let alone more!

Heather said...

Poor Art, hope he didn't need a prothetic limb as a result of his groin injury.

Jenners said...

First of all, I love that you are going to a Twain conference. Fascinating.

Second, I am continually amazed at what unique and fascinating stories you are able to come up with for these challenges. The whole RBA thing cracked me up.

Stephen said...

I liked the story, and can identify with some of it (though not the money part or the part about running with the bulls). I'm glad that everything worked out well in the end. It shows that hard work can pay off, but there are limits to everything. If you concentrate too much on one thing, you miss out on everything else.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA