Good Luck: Episode Thirty-Six
Before I called it the first draft, I changed it.
The screen door slashed open, a woman stabbed the man through his belly with a katana. She let go of the handle, he fell sideways on the kitchen floor, sword stuck in. He groaned. She stepped forward, yanked out the sword, his guts spilled across the tiles. She started a fire in the bedroom. This was my final draft of the first draft.
In the second draft, the story went on, all the way to ‘the end.’ The man crawled out of the house as it was burning down, ending up in a glass atrium, where he listened to rain slap on the roof. The last of his blood oozed out. Black smoke filled the atrium. As he was about to die, he thought of how squids hide themselves on the ocean floor, how they make a dark plume and disappear.
Later, in draft twelve, the squid ink thought was edited out, and I was satisfied. The story was stronger when it ended abruptly. Now I had the penultimate ending, and it stayed that way until the actual final draft.
I called the story “The Squid.”
Then I called it “Whatever Forever.”
Then I called it “Young Turks.”
Then I called it “No Cats.”
Then I called it “Love Birds.”
Then I called it “Beauty and the Beast II.”
Then I called it “The Raft of the Medusa.”
When it was published the editor didn’t like the title “The Raft of Medusa.” They asked what else I had, I said I didn’t have any other ideas for titles, so it ran that way.
My back hurt. I stood up from the chair and stretched. I’d thrown it out so bad. I’d thrown it out exercising. So I’d stopped exercising. But then my back hurt worse because I’d stopped exercising. I needed to exercise to get my back stronger so it didn’t hurt but I’d hurt it exercising. I sat back down in my chair.