Sunday, Feb. 23rd, 2020
During my monthly Philadelphia writer’s Meetup group, I wrote a short story about a young man born with a birth defect who meets his higher self and discovers that he has a special power the world needs…
Writing Prompt: Explore a story about getting a second chance in life at something you desire or a second meeting with a person that catches your interest. Or, your character could be having a deja vu moment.
Parameters: Given approximately 30-40 mins to write a story based off the prompt.
Result: I wrote a short story about a young man born with a birth defect who meets his higher self and discovers that he has a special power the world needs…
A Man Meets His Second Chance
Born with a condition that left part of his face deformed, the parents decided to name their son “Chance” because the doctor who delivered him pronounced him a stillborn at first glance because Chance didn’t breathe or give any sign of life for ten seconds. Then, on the eleventh second, Chance drew a deep breath and screamed that ugly baby cry that all babies give when they arrive in our horrible and imperfect world.
Speaking of which of our horrible and imperfect world, society wasn’t very kind to Chance. Kids teased him in school, often twisting their faces to mock how Chance’s right lip drooped. Because of this, Chance grew to make imaginary friends; in particular, one was named Daisy who he imagined to be his girlfriend. His parents over compensated him with love to make up for the entire world, which worked just fine until he was thirteen years old. Driving to pick up Chance from a therapy session one evening, a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and plowed through the median on a bridge and ran head on into Chance’s parents and killed them instantly. Whatever hope Chance believed existed in the world disappeared on that grave night, and Chance didn’t see the point in living, thinking the world would be better off without him and his hideous face. But a little voice inside his head kept him from thinking that way.
Chance went to live with his grandma who was old and sick and took a job as a janitor at his high school, working everyday after class for a few hours. Any free time he had was spent living his life in television and movies, often picturing himself as the good looking movie action star, like Bruce Willis, who kicked ass and got the beautiful woman. Chance, through all his challenges, was accepted to Harvard University where he decided to pursue a computer programming degree. He hid his depression by keeping himself busy enough to not allow the thought to slip into his mind, and having finished finals for the semester, Chance decided to head to downtown Boston to go to a bar. He didn’t drink but he just needed to relax, to get away from school—and a little voice inside his head told him to go there.
At a bar called Callahan’s, Chance found a seat at the end of the bar and leaned his hand on his face to help hide his cleft lip. He was growing his hair out to cover his condition but it wasn’t long enough yet. Taking a quick glance around, Chance noticed college-aged students everywhere: alpha males and alpha females being obnoxious, all laughing and flirting for as much attention as possible. Otherwise, Chance found the place to be boring as he sipped his Bud Light, then heard the double doors swing wide open—WHAM! This grabbed everyone’s attention for a moment and in walked a man wearing sunglasses and a faux trench coat, looking like he came from the Matrix or some type of underground rave. The man closed the doors, whipped his sunglasses off, and frantically looked around. The man’s face surprised Chance because he looked like him, but without the cleft lip and much older.
“Ah! Chance! There ya are.” The man ran over to the bar and slapped a heavy hand on Chance’s shoulder which caused him to hit the bar and dust to shoot off his shirt.
“Yo-ho! Bartender!” The man called out, snapping his fingers. “Double-shot of Patron. It’s been a long journey.” Confused, and scared, Chance quitely asked, “Um…do I know you?”
“Ehhhh—” the man said as he tilted his hand from side to side. “Yes and no. Let’s see, kid, how do I explain this…?” The man exhaled and ran a hand over his face. “Okay, look, this is going to sound weird but I’m basically you…from the future—well not the future! Just think of me as your higher self.” The bartender had arrived with the shots and the ‘higher self Chance’ quickly swished the shots down and pounded the table.
“My what?” asked Chance, which was interrupted by older Chance pounding the table and letting out a holler. “Listen, I don’t have much time before I disappear, but basically, I’m from an alternative reality, one where you’re not born with this—” The man circled his hand around his face indicated Chance’s condition. “And in that reality there’s a horrible event that happens that affects a lot of people. Wish I could tell you the details but I can’t; but you end up saving a lot of people from an evil force based on the power you have–we have. I eradicated that force but it found a way to come here, and I can’t eradicate it because I don’t belong here, my powers won’t work as I discovered, but you can!”
“Wait, wait, wait, what?” Chance’s head was swirling, but older Chance grabbed him by the collar and shook him. “Shut up and listen. You have a natural, amazing ability—that’s why you didn’t die when you were born. You were born with a purpose.” The man said intentionally as if his life depended on it, then the doors swung open a strong wind swept through the bar, causing everyone to scream and take cover.
“Ah, shit. That’s my cue to go.” The man released Chance as he put on his sunglasses. “Listen, it’s my honor to have met you. I don’t know if we’ll ever meet again.” Then the man turned around and opened his arms out to the wind and the lights went off across the bar for a moment and when they returned the man was gone and the wind came to a cease as everyone tried to collect themselves. But no one was more bewildered than Chance on what just happened.
To possibly be continued…