As he took in the view from the twentieth floor…


Looking to do more personal work and side projects in 2020, I enrolled in a creative writing class at PCAD. For this exercise, we took a prompt from this website, https://writingexercises.co.uk/index.php, and took 20 minutes to write a story around it. The prompt is in bold below.

As he took in the view from the twentieth floor, the lights went out all over the city. He was reminded that it was the 30th anniversary of 9-11. Even after three decades, the memory was fresh, but the thought of something actually happening on this date was behind his comprehension. 

Could it be a terrorist attack or something more mundane like a failing circuit in the country’s aging infrastructure. 

Probably the latter. 

Occam’s Razor and all. 

He shuffled toward the stairs and silently cursed himself for making it “leg day” at the gym yesterday. His 45-year-old hamstrings strained as he headed down the winding flights of stairs.

Once he got to the bottom, the air was warm befitting a late summer day. New Yorkers seemed unbothered with the sudden darkness; although, the bodega across 23rd street was rapidly closing up shop – the owner slamming the steel garage door down with authority lest anyone think to quickly loot a Smart Water or some lottery tickets.

He headed east toward Eately thinking maybe, just maybe, a giant chain like that would have a generator? Maybe? But where would they put it? Was there room for a generator in Chelsea?

He could really use a cup of decaf, it was evening after all, and a chocolate croissant. Eately’s bakery couldn’t be beat. How long would the darkness last?

Why had he forgotten dinner? He was thinking about it all through the meeting when the view from the conference room just caught his eye on the way out. He stopped to enjoy it. Take in the view. Live in the moment. 

The meeting went well albeit late. He thought he nailed this last round of interviews. His dream job. A project management gig for AWS. A job with one of “The Big Four.” 

The pinnacle of a career in tech, he thought.

He was in a fantastic mood. He left like a master of the universe, and then bam, no power. Back to reality. 

Eately was, in fact, closing. No power meant no registers. Everyone paid with their smart phones or watches. No one carried cash. Everything ran on electricity. Without it, the world stopped. “When had he last charged his phone?”, he thought as he headed east. He couldn’t remember.

Good thing he lived on 12th and Broadway. It would be just a short jaunt home as the subway was surely closed as well. The moon was out, and Union Square was alive with people escaping their apartments to play in the moon glow. The latch on the dog park gate snapped as he passed. A woman brought her two Golden Retrievers out to play with the bossy Frenchies that ruled the space. 

Bark bark. 

Howl. 

I’m glad my Air Pods are dead, or I would be missing this joyful noise, he thought. Just a few more blocks to go. 

Should I really go home or linger a while? 

After all, my window unit has hummed to a halt and the place is probably stuffy by now. There will be nothing to do in the darkness anyway.

He stopped and turned back settling in on a bench to watch the action in the dog park. By now, the pack had been joined by a few more hounds who perked up in unison as an ambulance rolled past with sirens blaring.

Howl. Howl. Howl.