Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mistaken Idenity

Our exercise for the week was this:

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS. Write a fragment of a story using mostly rhetorical questions. You can write a plain, vanilla sentence that is not a rhetorical question every five sentences, though you don't have to be strict about this. You could do it every six sentences sometimes. 500 words.

How do y'all think I did?

“What did you think you were doing? Did you think at all? How could you be so stupid? How can you call yourself my son? How can you even show your face at the dinner table?”

Patrick hung his head in shame. 

“How did you botch the job so badly? Why was such a simple task so hard for you? Why can’t just follow orders? Why do you have to go off on your own, thinking your way is better? Why?”

Patrick had no answer that would satisfy his father.

“You have no idea? Do you ever think? Or do you just go off half-cocked all the time? Do you know what the worst part is? What really pisses me off?”

When Patrick didn’t answer, his father yelled, “Your sister saw you!”

“How come you stayed around the house so long? Why didn’t you leave as soon as I told you what to do? How many times have I told you to make sure your sister doesn’t follow you? How could you miss a girl with bright orange hair? How could you be so stupid?”

Patrick didn’t bother to tell his father he’d already asked the last question.

“Why are you sitting there with that stupid look on your face? Don’t you have anything to say for yourself? Are you hearing me? What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m sorry, Pop,” Patrick started, “I didn’t see Patsy, I swear.”

“You didn’t see her? She’s six feet tall and you missed her? How can you not see a woman the size of a small truck? You didn’t see her? Well I guess that makes it all ok, right? 

Patrick wasn’t sure if his father wanted him to answer or not. 

“Well? Aren’t you going to answer me? If you can’t tell me how you missed your sister following you, can you tell me how you offed the wrong guy? How the hell did you mistake Joey Snub Nose for the guy you killed? Did you even look at him? His nose was a foot long!”

“How am I going to explain this to your mother? How do I tell her you not only didn’t get rid of Joey Snub Nose, but you killed a lawyer by mistake? Do you know the shit that’s going to come raining down on the family? How am I supposed to fix this? What am I supposed?”

“I’ll fix it, Pop,” Patrick promised.

“You’ll fix it? And just how will you do that? Can you bring back the dead now? Give that man’s wife back her husband? His children back their father?”

“I didn’t think so,” he said when Patrick failed to reply.

“There really isn’t a way to fix it is there? You can’t unring a bell can you, Patrick? Do you know what you can do? How you can make this up to me? Do you want me to tell you?

When Patrick shook his head, his father said, “You can tell your mother about it.”

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