Many years ago, I thought Twitter was a waste of time. In fact, I thought all social media was stupid. Now, of course, I’ve changed my tune, at least in terms of Twitter, which I use all the time. Facebook I don’t care much about, but I sometimes leave updates (usually something that I’ll copy and paste from Twitter). Google +, while I still have an account, is something I haven’t checked in months.
Anyway, when I first started Twitter, I knew it would be pointless to just start tweeting as I had no followers, so I decided to begin my Twitter adventure by telling a story. I started it on April 13, 2009 (this was right around the time Hint Fiction was “born”). As you can see if you click that link (I tried to embed it but for some reason WordPress wouldn’t allow it), it was the first line of a story — a story that, to this day, remains titleless. I ended the story fourteen days later. Overall, it took 88 tweets. And thanks to the wonderful feature of Twitter Archives, that story has now been found. I’ve added it below and haven’t touched a thing. Each paragraph represents its own tweet. Enjoy.
Hard to believe just two days he was a larva, but now here he is, a fully grown housefly, buzzing through a suburban neighborhood.
The smells here are incredible — freshly mowed grass, chicken grilling on a barbeque, flowers, and, the most perfect smell of all, trash.
A breeze picks up, volleying him into the air just as a car comes speeding his way, its music blaring and smoke chugging from its exhaust.
He hovers in the air for a moment, just hanging there as if by a thread as he watches the car, when a sweet scent catches his attention.
It’s coming from the house to his left, a large two-story with blue trim, and with that sweet scent calling to him, he hurries that way.
Across the lawn, skimming over the grass, zigzagging through daffodils, and then up, up, up to the opened kitchen window.
A tray of freshly-baked brownies sits on the counter just behind the screen, the brown surface stretched and cracked like a desert.
Suddenly he hears a voice inside saying, “Uh-huh, yeah, I mean, like I know,” and a teenage girl appears, a cell phone to her ear.
She grabs a set of keys off a hook on the wall, saying, “See, that’s exactly what I told him,” and disappears from view, her voice fading.
It’s just the empty kitchen again, the freshly-baked brownies, and no hole big enough in the screen for him to squeeze through.
Rusty hinges cry out as a door opens somewhere, and then he can hear the girl’s voice again, coming from around the house.
“I don’t know, like five or five-thirty, okay?” She snaps the phone shut as she walks toward a yellow car … but then stops.
Her shoulders fall, her head drops, and she mutters, “Shit.” Then she’s turning, heading back toward the house, and at once he’s flying.
His translucent wings buzzing, hearing those rusty hinges crying out again, he flies, pushing himself harder, making himself go faster.
Around the corner, the screen door already on its downward arc, he pushes himself as hard as he can … and slips inside just in time.
Now in the kitchen, more scents invade his senses — both sweet and acrid — but he focuses only on the brownies on the counter.
He almost reaches them — the cracked brown desert so very close — when that familiar voice shouts: “Ew, gross!” Then: “Da-aaad!”
He lands on the counter just inches away from the brownies, turned toward the girl standing only a few feet away, watching him.
A man hurries into the kitchen. “What — what it is?”
“A disgusting fly, right there,” she says, the tip of a pink fingernail pointed at him.
The man sighs. “I wonder how that got in here. Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with you coming and going through the door so much.”
“I forgot my lip gloss, so sue me. Would you just kill it? I’m in a hurry.” Before the man can respond, she says, “Thanks!” and leaves.
The brownies are close to him now — so very close — it is almost as if he can taste them.
Twelve inches away, eight inches, six, moving closer and closer –
– until he senses movement behind him and lifts off into the air an instant before the TWACK! of the rolled-up newspaper hits the counter.
He flies to the refrigerator and lands on the cool surface, crouched right between the magnets of an apple and a banana.
The man with the rolled-up newspaper stands motionless, slowly moving his head around on his neck.
He stops then, waits a moment, and begins to take one slow step after another toward the refrigerator.
The man comes closer, raising the rolled-up newspaper almost imperceptibly above his head, seven steps away, six steps, five …
He waits an instant before the newspaper strikes the fridge before lifting off into the air, buzzing to the left, then to the right.
Cursing, the man swings at him, again and again, but he is able to dodge each blow — until, suddenly, he’s knocked out of the air.
He hits the floor hard, lays there stunned. Above him, the man says, “Goddamn pain in my ass. That girl and her mother both.”
His one wing buzzes, but he can’t move the other. He tries to crawl but can’t seem to do that either.
“I provide and provide, and what do I get?” The man shakes his head. “I get walked all over.” He steps forward, raises the paper high.
The other wing, it starts buzzing again, and then he’s up in the air, shooting between the man’s legs.
“Son of a bitch,” the man mutters, turning and taking a swipe at him with the newspaper, but he dodges it and keeps going.
Out of the kitchen, through the dining room and into the living room, never pausing to look back.
The TV is on and there is an opened bag of potato chips on an end table. Tempting, yes, but he can hear the man’s footsteps behind him.
A staircase is off to his left, and immediately he shoots for it, following the steps all the way to the second floor.
He pauses at the top, waiting for the man to give chase. The man doesn’t. He just mumbles something and sits down in his chair.
He doesn’t move from the top of the stairs for a long time. Behind him, down the hallway, is the sound of running water. He flies toward it.
The sound is coming from behind a door. Along with the running water he can hear a woman humming.
Curious, he buzzes along the edges of the door, trying to find an entrance. There’s an opening near the floor, very tight.
He slips underneath the door and into a steamy bathroom. The humming is coming from a woman in the shower.
He flies up and lands on the towel rack. The woman’s humming, it’s a pleasant sound, one he’s never heard before but likes very much.
Suddenly the humming stops. So does the water.
There’s a moment when nothing happens — complete stillness — and then the curtain is yanked open and there the woman stands, naked.
She wipes the water off her body, then starts to step out of the shower, reaching for her towel … which he’s crouched on.
He doesn’t want to move but knows he has to and lifts off at the last moment, and the woman, seeing him, let’s out a quick yelp.
Her foot slips on the tiled floor and her arms fly out and then she’s falling to the floor, her head striking the side of the tub.
Again, stillness. And coming from under her head, a growing line of blood.
At once he flies down toward the floor, lands on her nose. He can’t tell whether she’s still breathing. That line of blood grows longer.
A moment passes before he lifts off into the air, heads back toward that tight space at the bottom of the door.
He slips through, then immediately buzzes back down the steps to the first floor. The man still sits in his chair, laughing at the TV.
The TV is very loud. He flies directly at the man’s face. “Son of a bitch,” the man says, trying to wave him away.
The man reaches for the rolled-up newspaper beside him, takes a wild swing. He manages to dodge it, then dodge another swing.
“Come here,” the man says, swinging and swinging. At one point the man almost hits him but he ducks under the blow, staying in the air.
“Goddamn nuisance,” the man says, almost spits. His face is red, he’s having trouble breathing. “Filthy, disgusting piece of shit.”
He leads the man toward the stairs, pausing on a lamp shade, pausing on the banister, then buzzing back and forth on the walls.
The man chases him, his teeth clenched, mumbling curses under his breath.
Up the steps to the second floor, down the hallway to the bathroom, he pauses on the door to make sure the man sees him. The man does.
The man steps forward, raising the rolled-up newspaper, and he shoots off the door to the space near the floor, squeezes through.
The woman is still unconscious on the floor. The line of blood has grown into a pool. Beyond the door, the man mumbles another loud curse.
“Honey,” he calls, “do you see that dirty son of a bitch?”
The pool of blood continues to grow.
“Honey?” the man says, sounding quizzical now. He knocks. “Can you hear me?”
Another moment of silence and then the man opens the door, steps inside, and at once the rolled-up newspaper falls from his clenched hand.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” he says quickly, falling to his knees, taking the woman’s head in his hands.
He looks around frantic, then suddenly stands, runs out of the bathroom. He follows the man down the hallway into the bedroom.
The man already has the phone in his hand, is dialing some numbers, saying, “Ambulance, please, I need an ambulance.”
He leaves the man to the phone and returns to the bathroom. Lands on the woman’s nose again. Senses that she’s still alive, but barely.
The man returns. Tears are in his eyes. The man notices him on the woman’s nose and reaches down shouting, “Get away!”
He flies up into the air, out of the man’s reach. It doesn’t matter anyway. The man ignores him, dropping to his knees again.
He cradles his wife’s head, kisses her on the forehead. “They’ll be here soon,” he murmurs. “They’ll be here soon.”
He watches this from his place on the wall, right beside the mirror. The man, as if sensing his presence, looks up.
“What are you looking at?” he says, then wipes his nose with the back of his hand. “Get out of here! Get!”
He waits a moment, just a moment, then flies out of the bathroom. Back down the hallway, down the stairs, toward the kitchen.
The brownies are still there. He lands on the very edge of the pan, rubs his legs together. Starts forward when that screen door opens.
“I know,” the girl says, talking on her cell phone again, “I can’t believe I forgot my ID either, but, I mean, shit, I need it.”
He freezes as she rummages in a drawer, her shoulder raised keeping the phone to her ear. Upstairs, the man calls: “Dana, is that you?”
“Shit, my dad’s calling me,” she says into the phone, then yells: “What do you want?”
The man’s voice, strained: “Come up here. Quickly.”
“I’m in a hurry, sorry!” the girl says, and the man yells, “Your mother is hurt!” The girl pauses, then says, “I’ll call you back.”
She hurries upstairs right away, leaving him with the brownies … and the sound of the screen door whining shut.
He pauses, looking at the brownies, at the door, at the brownies again. He rubs his legs together once more and then lifts off into the air.
He flies, as fast as he can, and manages to slip through the crack between the door and the frame just before it closes.
Outside now, the wind picks up and he can smell even more scents, all of them wonderful and tempting.
He hovers for a moment, hanging in the air as if by a thread, warming in the sun, and then he moves off toward the sweetest one.