Writercise: Janice

So for a couple of months in late 2001 I joined an online creative writing group in an effort to expand my writing chops. I wasn’t really looking to become a writer per say, but I thought it might be helpful to try my hand at stuff that I wasn’t necessarily invested in. The idea behind the group was that once a week they would present a new exercise, be it a particular scenario, or a set of story points, that the members of the group would then try and craft a story from scratch from. Then we’d (politely) critique each other’s work. Rinse and repeat. I completed three such assignments and then the group folded. My timing, as always, is awesome.

This is the third and final exercise I participated in and I have absolutely ZERO clue what the set-up was. Nothing in reading it back has a jogged a single memory, so here it is anyway, uncluttered by a need to justify its existence.

* * * * *


Here he comes again. That’s got to be, what, the fourth time in the last two hours that he’s strolled by my desk? Where is he going anyway? I mean his desk is up on the third floor and I’m tucked over here in the corner. There is no *conceivable* reason for him to come by this way once, let alone four times in two hours. I wonder if he’s checking me ou–

NO! Janice, put that thought out of your head. That guy is most definitely NOT checking you out. There is some logical reason why he’s been walking by, but it has absolutely *nothing* to do with you. Don’t torture yourself. You do it every time you see a remotely cute guy looking your way. Heck, this guy wasn’t even looking your way. So stop it. Right now.

So where is he going then? If he was visiting with Drew or Kathy or anybody over in I.S. then he’d just take the back stairwell. It’s much closer to his desk than the main stairs and it empties out right down the hall from here. So what’s up? Why take the long route? *Four* times? The only reason to come this way would be to talk to somebody over in this corner and besides me there’s just Kelly and Dan. I can see Dan’s office from here and this guy hasn’t bothered to so much as poke his head into Dan’s office, and Kelly’s out today so he’d have no reason to keep swinging by to see her. So why? It stands to reason that he’s trying to get a look–

CUT IT OUT! I’m serious, girl, you have got to knock this off. It’s a coincidence, nothing more. You have *got* to stop hammering away at these silly notions that every guy you see is after you. You’re daydreaming and it’s unhealthy. You’ve got work to do. Get to it.

Yeah, but…



Oh, for crying out loud… HE’S NOT EVEN THAT CUTE! His face is kinda fat, he has bad skin, and what is UP with that moustache? That boy needs a trim and FAST. Don’t even tell me you can fantasize about kissing a guy with that rug on his lip. You know you hate moustaches. Even if he IS checking you out you wouldn’t date him anyway. So let it go.

I suppose, but I still want to know why he’s coming by this way so often today. He *was* sort of looking my way in the cafeteria the other day…

No he wasn’t!

He most certainly was!


I had on that blue top and my wonder bra and I know for a fact that a LOT of the guys around the office were checking me out. And HE was one of them. He kept peering at me every time he tipped back his bottle of soda for a swig.

You have GOT to be kidding me. Janice, take a step into reality, would you please. That blue top is hideous on you and you know it. And you were having a mega-bad hair day yesterday. If he *was* looking at you it was just to gawk at that unseemly rat’s nest on your head.

What about the wonder bra?

What about it? So maybe, *maybe* he was staring at your boobs. Is that what you want? A guy who’s only interest in you is your chest? Besides, that wouldn’t explain why he’s been by so often today because you’re sagging today, sister.

You’re right. I know you’re right.

So then quit thinking about him. You can do better than him anyway.

I know. But I just can’t seem to shake this notion that he’s coming by to check me out. It’s the only way to explain his coming down this way. OOH! Here he comes! HERE HE COMES!

Well don’t just sit there… SAY SOMETHING TO HIM!


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