Matt Alexander

[FICTION] No Repeating Words (Man vs. Minotaur)

My English teacher, Mrs. Martinet, says good writers try and not repeat words on the same page. I disagree.  She thinks generating effective prose is about concocting new ways of conveying old ideas.  But many important lexical units are actually fundamental, almost axiomatic, [additive conjunction] don’t have any viable alternatives.  [First person pronoun] am unsure what approach [ibid.] could take that would satisfy her.  This [equals] impossible!


Maybe penning [demonstrative uttered while pointing at nearby object] borderline unreadable document will convince [author’s] language instructor to more carefully specify instructions, lest [double-X chromosome human referent] confuses literally-minded aspiring [letter stringers-together] into ever-maddening [alphabet-related] contortions. Yours truly can barely get through a single paragraph, let alone [common article beginning story titles] whole [squire synonym].


Still learning, [capital third vowel] guess.  Check work, though.  No mistakes.  Promise.


Metaphor time:  continuously novel [beeper receives] [schwa] mysterious horned creature lurking beyond shadows.  [Narrator] might become great scribe, [simple number] day, if conquering monster conceivable. Victory possible?  Sadly, far from [Stephen King scary clown book].  Seems Quixotic.


Freaking out.  Flat-lining.  All sentence connective tissue drying up.  Feeling enshrouded by darkness, descending towards haiku.  Confused [also] disoriented.  When [Matt Damon Oscar-winning role opposite Robin Williams] it end?  Deepest apologies re: present composition’s failure.  Self-hatred abounds.  Experiencing nothing [rejection message tip-off] shame.  Wishing for [free thing, Descartes hopes] power, as none left.  Must go [electronic device, activated], alas, cannot (combining two already used: okay or considered cheating?) …


Wait!  Light yonder.  Clouds receding.  Gathering strength.  Bursting with energy, bestowed whence?  Divine grace, most likely.  Claymore appears ahead, wedged inside rock.  Pulls [surfer’s wipe].  Heavy [hedge] manageable.  Fear fades away.


Lo, behold, beast approaches, carrying axe.  Battle ensues.  Guitar music plays!  Hack, slash, howls, grunts. Horrible sounds, bloody violence.  Yikes!


Deafening silence follows.  Dust slowly settles.  Motionless body lies supine.  Hushed gasps.


Then, another figure atop!  Warrior lives!  Minotaur slayed!  Rejoice!  Cheers!  Applause!


Viewpoint shift [plus] protagonist metamorphosis now complete, our hero exits labyrinth transformed, exhausted.  He falls [sexual quorum homophone] his knees.  Triumphantly looks over shoulder, eyes ominous maze, having (against [indoor shopping behemoth minus “m”] odds) re-entered sacred space after escaping chaos.


Yet [skirmish survivor] remains wistful.  Never quite reached bottom, achieved dream, filled entire paper. Oh, well.  Ninety-five percent pretty [Plato’s moral goal].


Matt Alexander is a scientist and writer in Philadelphia. When struck by insight, he shouts “Bazinga!”, not “Eureka!”, although he has nothing against Archimedes and is in fact himself an avid bath-taker. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in theEEEL, Zetetic, and After the Pause. Follow him on Twitter at @thenamesmatta.

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