Survivor XV, Challenge 4: Rewrite

We were given three horribly written stories, tasked with rewriting one of them into a good story, keeping all of the original ideas intact. 150 word limit. Here’s the story I chose to tackle:

I got out of the shower, took a good look in the mirror and thought, this would be the best night ever! I put on the only clothes worthy of the occasion and thought long and hard about the kind of fun I’d be having and the attention I’d get. Perfect! With my preparations in order, I was ready to head to the party!

And here’s the rewrite:

“Morty!” Mom called.

He pulled back the shower curtain. He thought she looked radiant in her lace dress.

“Make sure to wash behind your ears. And when you get dressed, don’t forget our present for the birthday guest!”

Exiting the shower, Mortimer’s reflection smiled back at him. The worst part of the evening was now over. Normally, he’d now be squeezing into a suit and tie (Mom didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of her rich friends), but tonight’s party had a western theme; she’d let him wear his cowboy outfit. As usual, everything was laid out on the vanity.

Donning his Stetson, he thought how cool he’d look to the other kids. Holstering his plastic six-shooter, he dreamed of heroically winning a game of Cowboys and Indians. Pocketing the vial of clear liquid–this time labelled Thurston Ellerbe–he beamed, knowing how proud Mom will be of him.

K: I Googled Thurston Ellerbe, thinking this might be a dark true story of some kind. I have to go back on forth on whether I like this or find it too depraved; but hell, if I can show grudging love to story like Shawn Ashley’s little sister stew, I can appreciate this. Sociopathic children scare me, dudes. Not in movies, because they can never act the part, but in literature they’re terrifying. SILVER

DK: Again, I’m going back and forth a bit on whether this hits the child-perspective thing totally or not. I think the aspects of the costume for this one fit well enough with the original idea in a better way that definitely makes it stronger. SILVER

MG: This is one of those times when I wish the twist ending weren’t so ubiquitous in these challenges. This story feels like it could’ve gone somewhere else, somewhere more interesting. The idea of a guy (can’t quite tell if he’s a boy or just stuck in a boylike mindset) with a rich, doting mother who lets him dress up as a cowboy and go to parties…that could something different. The twist at the end is like punctuation: final and brusque without enough heft to chill me.

I originally was going to write just a pleasant story from a kid’s perspective, but I resorted to the evil twist trope. I like how I weaved everything from the original story into this one, though I am a bit dissatisfied with the twist. At least I threw a couple Arsenic and Old Lace references in.

Liam Neeson’s Walrus again avoided having to eliminate anyone, this time finishing in a comfortable second place. Big Brass Band is now down to five players, and overall there’s just 24 left. The next challenge asks us to write about the last man on earth. And there will be two eliminations. Yikes.


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