Spoiled – A Short Story

“As for a spoiled life, no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested.” – Oscar Wilde

“Spoiled” is a short story that was an idea I had for a novel back in middle school. The flashback episodes were supposed to be more numerous and developed. I changed my mind and wrote it as a short story the summer after high school. I actually like it better as a short story.

The first draft is written on the backs of sale flyers from the store where I worked that summer. I had an epiphany about the way the story should start while I was ringing up customers and grabbed a flyer to write it down on when I got back to my car after my shift ended.

When I decided to include it in my thesis collection, I made up little book cover style images to go with each of them (I’ll go back and edit the post and page for “A Mother’s Love” to include that image too). The image for “Spoiled” is perhaps my favorite of the group.

Excerpt from “Spoiled”:

A buzzer sounded and echoed off of the concrete, steel, and razor wire that held the prison together. It was visiting day and the guards were in the process of reading off the numbers of those prisoners with people waiting to see them (there were more on the list than one might expect). Joe Wilson heard his number rattled off with the others and sighed.

He knew who it would be the same way he always knew who it would be. As much as she wanted to see him, he didn’t want to see her. There had been other times when he’d hoped to see Elizabeth or their son, Danny, sitting in the folding chairs on the other side of the bulletproof glass holding the telephone’s receiver up between them so they would both be able to hear him, eager to talk with him, see him with their own eyes, hear his son call him “Daddy” just once more. But he’d long since given up hope of ever seeing anyone other than his mother, or on the rare occasion his father, waiting for him on the other side of the glass.

At that same moment, Kim Wilson sat impatiently fiddling with the cuff of her shirtsleeve. She pulled on a thread making the cloth fray further. She would need to mend it when she got home later. Right now she was poking her fingers through the hole, slowly making it larger. As usual, she was feeling nervous about seeing her son. Each time she came to this place she hoped that when he was escorted into the room by the guard he would be happy to see her.

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