The Best News Ever

Author’s Note: this 500-word piece is the result of a writing prompt, thanks to a terrific prompt recommended by The Parking Lot Confessional, as part of their 500 Club series.

Click. Click…click…click.

“Delete. Damned Spam,” he muttered to no one. His inbox was littered with the usual: hook up with single ladies in your area…discount affordable health insurance…access your credit report instantly! More garbage he couldn’t be bothered with.

He continued weeding through the junk e-mails, a ritual he’d gotten used to over the past several weeks. Filter through the junk messages first, looking for some good news, although it became pointless to bother with this sorting process. All the e-mails were junk. He opened up an e-mail that didn’t seem like an invitation to refinance your mortgage. The e-mail he opened started with the following:

“Thank you for applying for the ——— position with ———-. While your qualifications are certainly…”

He stopped right there, he didn’t need to finish reading the rest of the message. Another rejection letter, for sure.

Some more e-mails. Unsolicited e-mails from executive search firms – he called them “headhunters.”  He ignored those e-mails as well; he wasn’t interested in jobs requiring relocating his family, cross-country, regardless of the pay or the location. Regardless of the fact that he was now six weeks’ unemployed.

His inbox was now clear of unread messages. It was also clear of any good news.

He was about to log out of his e-mail when a new message appeared. The subject line read, “CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve Won Our Book Giveaway!”

Probably some more junk mail, he thought, but he opened it anyway. It wasn’t junk mail. The message was addressed from a book publisher. The book, yes! He entered the giveaway a few months ago, and had all but forgotten. He’d won an advanced copy of the new novel from the author of his favorite detective series. He burst out laughing, and began pounding the kitchen table with glee.

“I won! I won! Woohoo! I won!”

His wife entered the kitchen, seeing her husband do some sort of happy dance. She stood at the doorway, her arms across her chest. “Did you land an interview?” she asked.

His dancing came to a halt. “Huh? Oh…no. I won something! I won a book giveaway!”

She entered the kitchen, shaking her head. He commenced his happy dance. Happy over a book? She wished he’d show her the same joy. “You’d think this was the best news ever,” she sighed, shuffling past him and reaching for a mug to pour some coffee into.

“Well, sweetheart, I’m glad you won your little book there. And now you’ll have all this time to read your little book.” She poured herself some coffee and spooned a cube of sugar, and left him with his joy in the kitchen.

“Sarcasm duly noted,” he huffed, slowing down his happy dance. In his inbox came another e-mail. Another rejection letter he skimmed past.

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3 thoughts on “The Best News Ever

  1. I like this one. Shows the up’s and down’s of man in flux. His muted despair and exaggerated pleasure. The wife muttering under her breath could be just thoughts in her head, the attribution of speech is a little unclear at that point. Also the last paragraph doesn’t do anything to actually slow down the reader. long sentences with descriptors don’t inflect the feeling I think the words are trying to convey. What about

    “Sarcasm duly noted,” he huffed, slowing down his dance. In his inbox came another e-mail. Yet another rejection letter he skimmed past.

    I unno, not that much of a change but I don’t want to miss with your form. Tried aligning the double D to make for a thud and emphasise the drudgery. The Yet just implicates tiredness and a sense of abjectness. Might not be in keeping with your style though, you have a beautifully minimalist prose!

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