Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Creep in the Library

This is the story I came up with for the Three-Minute Fiction contest. I'm not totally happy with the title, so feel free to offer any input. (Brynn, I'd especially like to know what you think.)

She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door. Civility had been defeated by sheer annoyance; Sabrina had to get away from this creep. Unfortunately for her, he was persistent as well as thick. He rose from his chair across the table and followed her out into the hall.
“I’d like to hear more about that book you were reading,” Creep said quietly, obviously using the library’s noise rules as an excuse to lean in far closer than necessary. “You made it sound really interesting.”
Sabrina quickened her strides and thought of the pepper spray canister on her keychain. No, that might be a bit excessive. At this point.
“The library has more than one copy,” she replied with what she hoped was noticeable exasperation. “You can check it out anytime.”
“Well, I’d like to check it out with you,” Creep whispered coyly. “How about a study date? If you give me your number…”
“I’m very busy right now, so I don’t think I’ll have time for that.”
“But if it’s for your class, you have to study for that, right? Come on, I’ll help you with your stuff, and you can give me a hand with mine.”
Creep clearly thought this was all just a game of hard-to-get. Sabrina gritted her teeth. The pepper spray no longer seemed quite so excessive. “I study better when I’m alone,” she told him.
“But it’s always more fun when you do it with a partner.”
Sabrina rolled her eyes at that last innuendo. They were entering the library’s lobby now, and she took note of all the other people coming and going around them. A desperate plan took root in her mind. Humiliating though it would likely be for her, making a scene might be the only way to get this guy off her back. She turned and looked Creep in the face.
“No offense, but would you just leave me alone?” Her sudden directness caught him off-guard. He tried to cover his confusion with a smirk.
“What? What did I do?”
“Well, aside from the fact you can’t take a hint, that pickup line you opened with was one of the dumbest ones I’ve ever heard. You won’t get anywhere sounding like a creep and an idiot.”
Creep’s smirk fell into a frown. He shifted uncomfortably and started blushing. The message had finally gotten through. Sabrina was about to make her long-awaited escape when Creep scowled at her and indignantly fired off one last volley.
“You know, if you don’t want guys checking you out, maybe you shouldn’t sit around reading the Kama Sutra!” he hissed. Sabrina flushed and wheeled on him.
“For the last time, you perv, it was the Bhagavad Gita!”
Sabrina’s bellow echoed off the smooth walls of the lobby. Every other person nearby froze in
astonishment. Creep glanced around nervously and realized they were all staring at him. He gave Sabrina a parting glare and stormed off in a humiliated huff.
Mortified though Sabrina was at her outburst, she still had to breathe a deep sigh of relief. Now to make her own escape with whatever dignity she could salvage. She turned to finally leave the library but stopped at the sight of a middle-aged librarian with a stern expression approaching.
“Is there a problem?” the librarian asked.
“Not anymore,” Sabrina sighed. “That guy just really didn’t know his Indian literature.”


  1. Lolololol. Gosh, that reminds me of something....

    In fact, it reminds me of several situations in my life. And, if you want to make it even more realistic, you could include some very vulgar language from the man. Sometimes I am not always so direct as Sabrina, although I have called men creeps before. Once when I was trying to make it clear that the man should leave, I said, "Go to love and serve the Lord," and he replied, "Want me to lick your-" I'llleavethatuptoyourimagination.

    Making a scene around others is good- public places are more safe- I've ducked into businesses before (the other day, a wine bar that wasn't even open yet) to get away from men on the street. Getting others involved is good- other people are on my mind in situations like this. And getting them involved in a way that they aren't bystanders suffering from the syndrome of not wanting to help because they think someone else will- gotta be proactive.

    I like how she goes all intellectual in the last line, like that was the most important thing! Hah.

    I wish you luck in the contest!

  2. I'm glad you approve, Brynn. I agree that some extra vulgar language would sound more realistic, but I do have to play it safe in case they decide to read the story on-air. Does the title sound okay or should I rename it?

    1. Ohh, you're one of those! I didn't realize. Me, I put a restriction on my play that it is 17 and up for ticket purchases... I watched a children's play last night and wondered if I could ever, ever, ever write for them!

  3. This may go against the point you were trying to establish in the story, but my favorite part was the ambiguity at the beginning. Was Creep so named because of what he is or how he's perceived? Is he a shy lover failing to take his relationship to the next level, or just a jerk? Even the 'innuendo' that the narrator claims occurred arrives naturally enough that perhaps Creep didn't even KNOW he made an innuendo.
    Of course, the previous questions did get answered at the very end, which admittedly disappointed me. WIthout the ambiguity (though you can still have a resolution), the story becomes a simple one backed up by simple characters. I liked the flow and the story overall, though, so best of luck in the contest!
    (also, the title's good)

  4. Thanks for your input. I made a few tweaks to clarify the setup and altered the ending before finally submitting the story (fifteen minutes before the deadline). Instead of leaving the book on the table, Creep picks it up as follows Sabrina and then forgets he still has it when he storms out, which sets off the door alarms and earns him one last bit of comeuppance. I should know in the next few weeks whether the story got selected for anything; NPR posts the top ten on their website, and I'd be happy just making it there.