Ten-minute short story: Space Mustard
The following is a writing exercise from the book “Take Ten for Writers” by Bonnie Neubauer. It’s a collection of writing prompts meant to be completed inside 10 minutes to get you around writer’s block. I thought I’d try a few.
The prompt: The date is October 10, 3010 and you have just arrived at the first location in your multi-year space mission. Write a journal entry with your true feelings about the mission.
Extra: you must use the words “Frighteningly fast.”
The fucking mustard boy. You want me to be the fucking mustard boy. I feel like an intergalactic waiter serving a really fussy customer. Who the fuck puts mustard on toast anyways? I could give two shits that the Earl of Juniper is visiting. Sure, try to impress him with that fancy space mustard you’re always talking about. That’s not a big deal. I just have to travel for seven or eight years, if I’m lucky, to the other edge of the universe. I just have to kill the entire space worm colony to get it. Yeah, no biggie. It’s all worth it, right? Do you even know that the Earl likes mustard on his toast? Who the fuck gives toast to his distinguished guests, anyway?
More and more everyday, I start believing that the whole reason for this mission is to get me out of the way. You saw how your wife was looking at me and no wonder, you dumb shit. Everytime she walks by, she stares between my legs like I’m a sausage with feet. I wonder who really wants that mustard, is it you or her? But, guess what: your girl isn’t worth the trouble. I’ve got a mission — to take your place as the commander of the Arguan fleet — and I already know how I’m going to do it.
I’ll get the mustard alright, but it won’t take nearly as long as you think. And when the Earl finally comes along with all the other fancy guests, I’ll switch it for some Space-Lax. I bet the Earl will really like that. It’ll be two, three minutes before the first growl escapes his stomach: after that, the reaction is frighteningly fast, and it’s always the same. He’ll get red in the face, perhaps have a few seconds to ask f0r directions to the bathroom, but by then it’ll be too late. He’ll shit himself right in front of you and all the others.
This is when I’ll emerge from the kitchen (for am I not your space waiter?) and innocently say: sir, what did you do? You replaced the mustard with a powerful laxative? Why do that to the Earl, sir?
I know how the Earl thinks. With a fit of rage, he’ll want to humiliate you on the spot, the same way he thinks you have. It won’t matter what you try to mumble at this point: you can point your finger all you want, it won’t make a bit of difference. He’s already shouting at you and, in a fit of rage, appointed me as the Supreme Commander of the Fleet to “teach you a lesson.”
So have you learned your lesson, buddy? You don’t fuck with Darius Westler.