Writing Exercise

D. J. Cools

7/24/20192 min read

A semi autobiographical, timed, 15–minute exercise.


Eddie woke as the sickly grey of dawn slipped past the heavy drapes of the living room on the second floor of the farmhouse. Downstairs the sound of the portable color TV perched in the alcove near the huge kitchen table drifted up the stairs—turned down because of the sleepers that dotted the upstairs room.

Grandpa’s house was three stories in all: a daylight basement that contained the kitchen, dining room, a bathroom, and a den of sorts. The second floor (which could be called the first since it opened on ground level at the back of the house—though everyone thought of the front door as the one that entered the daylight basement and opened onto the downstairs kitchen), contained the living room, another bathroom, and the master bedroom. And the upper floor, consisting of two bedrooms and the unfinished bathroom filled with lumber and drywall fragments.

Whenever Eddie and his family came to visit, they all crashed on the carpet in sleeping bags—mom and dad included—across the living room on the second floor, sprawled in front of the massive console TV with the carved wood and the VHS drawers on top that emanated that peculiar odor Eddie could never describe. The smell brought back the exhilaration of watching movies (forbidden at home after dad threw a bowling ball through the TV) whenever the adults weren’t paying attention.

Eddie held a finger against the zipper of his sleeping bag to mute the zzzzzck! sound as he tugged it down. No one else needed to know he was getting up at this hour. He struggled into his clothes hoping his parents and siblings wouldn’t stir and snuck downstairs. He wanted Grandma and Grandpa to himself.

At the bottom of the staircase his nose filled with the scent of fresh coffee and bacon. Grandpa had bacon every morning. And cup after cup of coffee.

“Hey kid,” Grandma grinned as she hobbled by, her one good eye full of warmth and indulgence. “You know where it is.”

Bacon was not for the grandkids. But Eddie didn’t care. There was something better. Next to the wood stove that heated all three stories of the house was a glass door leading to an enclosed porch full of windows. Eddie leapt through the door and turned right. Before him loomed a vision only found in dreams and Grandma’s house—the wall of cereal. Floor to ceiling of Honey Combs, Cheerios, Kix, and Pops. Eddie’s knees went soft. It would not be an easy decision. But easier than if his siblings were surging around his legs and begging for all the boxes they couldn’t reach. He was blessedly alone. He had all the time in the world.