A writing exercise on the theme Oh God, why me?
First, Phil fell out of bed, the impact awakening him from a tumultuous nightmare involving sex and chainsaws. He lay on the floor like the woman on TV who has fallen and can’t get up, except that he had no button to push to call for help. The night before, his girlfriend Gail had boarded a flight to Tokyo to play house with a Sumo wrestler. So Phil remained prone and alone, with an egg growing just above his right temple. In pain, he could think of only three words: Ty-Le-Nol.
Eventually he got to his feet, performed his usual ablutions, ate his usual bowl of Froot Loops, donned his usual clothes, and headed as usual to his proofreading job. Unusually, a pizza delivery car raced down the street, splashing mud on him “from head to toe,” as he observed, though he disliked the cliché. There was no time to turn back and change, so he boarded his usual trolley and found the last empty seat.
At the next stop, a sixty-something lady got on. A gentleman as usual, Phil offered her his seat. “No thank you,” she said. “You look like you need it.”
The trolley wobbled along, and Phil observed a young man speak to her. While she was distracted, another young man reached into her purse and lifted her billfold.
“Hey, you!” Phil said. “Ma’am, the guy stole your wallet!” He looked around to other riders, but as usual, no one wanted to get involved. Then the thief brandished a switchblade, so Phil said no more. He left the trolley before his usual stop, then reached for his cell phone to call 911, but it was gone. He checked for his wallet: it was gone as well. He’d have no cash for lunch, never mind trolley fare home.
For three long blocks, a bitter wind stung his face; he was ill-prepared for the weather, as his usual stop dropped him off in front of work. Passers-by ignored him.
Finally, he arrived to find all of his co-workers standing on the sidewalk. “What’s going on?” he asked the receptionist.
“Fire drill. God, what happened to you?”
Grateful for sympathy, he began his tale of woe. A minute into his story, she said “Whatever,” and turned away.
A half hour later, his boss called Phil into her office. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but we’re letting you go.”