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  • HappiWriter

    Member
    October 13, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    <p>I wrote this for the Ami fiction contest. The inspiration actually came from Masterpiece — having the name “Happi”Writer and all… </p><p>It didn’t win the Ami contest. I decided to try getting it published elsewhere. I submitted it to a magazine who drumroll… did not accept it.</p><p>Before I try another magazine, I’m wondering two things:</p><p>1. Does the story make sense? Should I even try submitting it elsewhere? I know it’s a little weird… is that good or bad?</p><p>2. What do you think I should change or fix? Feel free to be heavy handed on the editing…</p><p>thanks!!</p><p><br></p><p>HELLO MY NAME IS… HAPPY</p><p><br></p><p>6:30 AM, NST</p><p>I can’t remember when it became a daily ritual — the captain coming each morning to tighten my chains. </p><p>“Remember, my friend,” she says the same line every day. “This is your destiny — no use fighting it.”</p><p>Today I don’t swallow my response.</p><p>“My destiny is greater than… this,” I say. “You know that more than anyone else.” My voice is low but steady. The words bounce against the soft reddish walls.</p><p> I try meeting the captain’s eyes. She busies herself with the twisted cords. Either she doesn’t hear my comment or she’s ignoring it. I say nothing more.</p><p>The chains clang in the silence. </p><p>“Remember,” the captain says. </p><p>One final tug, and she’s gone. The cold metal squeezes my chest. Is it my imagination, or do the chains feel tighter than usual today?</p><p>The lighting is still dim. Odorous liquid still pools around my thighs, but I can’t help murmuring the words my only friend whispered last night. I repeat it again and again, reveling in the spark of hope that brightens my heart.</p><p>“Big boss is thinking about you,” my friend, forever Ms. Optimistic, said. “A lot…”</p><p><br></p><p>8:45 AM, EST</p><p>There are six of them — six yellow smiley faces plastered on my car’s window. I take a step back to observe my handiwork and add another one for good measure.</p><p>“Hi, guys,” I flash my new little friends a grin then begin working on the steering wheel.</p><p>Avi will take one look at this car and send me to the crazy house… who cares. Today, everything will be different. Today, I’m gonna be happy. </p><p>Happy… Happy! Happy!!</p><p>A new song composes itself as I back out of my driveway.</p><p>Happy!! Happy! Happy… Today — </p><p>My cell phone rings.</p><p>“Hi! Hello!! Good morning dear sister!” My voice is chirpy — like a fluttering bird.</p><p>“Hadassah?” Yehudis’s voice blasts over the car’s bluetooth speakers.</p><p>“Yeah…” I say. “Isn’t this a wonderful morning?”</p><p>Yehudis coughs. “What happened? Something wrong?” </p><p>Wrong? That’s all she has to say? — not yeah this is an awesome morning, not you’re the best sister ever.</p><p>I laugh. “Guess what, today I’m happy, plain and simple — happy.”</p><p>“That’s good.” Yehudis doesn’t sound as excited as I expected. “Listen, you thought about our discussion last night?”</p><p>“Sure did.” I laugh again. “You don’t hear me singing through the line?”</p><p>There’s some static on her end, I don’t know if it’s a gasp or a cough. “You called her?”</p><p>The traffic light turns red. I slam on the break. “Uh, Yehudis, save this discussion for another time. It’s happy day today.”</p><p>Yehudis snorts. “Call her now, okay?”</p><p>The line clicks off. There’s no way I’m going to some dumb job coach just because my sister thinks it’s a good idea. I shake my head — and the steering wheel. The car swerves, but I manage to get Yehudis and her annoying chatter out of my mind.</p><p>My sister thinks I’m a pessimistic grouch. Today, I’m going to prove her wrong. That’s all I care to remember.</p><p><br></p><p>8:50 AM, Nervous System Time</p><p>I lean on a spongy wall and gaze at the stunning view beneath my window. The blood cells scurry about, each in its own direction, each with its own mission. This sight is more thrilling than anything I could have imagined.</p><p>I step out of my office — my office!! — not a stinking dungeon, not someplace far off in the outer extremities. A real furnished office in the main metropolises, the heart. Many heads nod with admiration as I stroll down the corridor.</p><p>I find Captain Self Pity at the edge of a dark neuron. Her cheeks are flaming red, and her faithful sidekicks gather around, conferring in hushed but urgent tones.</p><p>“Nice to meet a friend,” I step forward.</p><p>A charged silence replaces the murmuring. Every head turns. Some personalities immediately look away, some regard me with disinterest, but most stare at my erect form with fierce flashing eyes.</p><p>“Destiny?” I turn to the captain.</p><p>Surrounded by her army of followers, Captain Self Pity looks more like a venerated general than a vanquished personality. Her gaze bores steadily into mine, but a wild spark flickers in her eyes, and her chest rises and falls in rapid rhythm.</p><p>“Listen here.” Her voice is hoarse but still powerful. “Take my advice — always pay attention to those wiser than you.”</p><p>“Ha.” I sneer. “Let’s see who will pay attention to whom?”</p><p>I grab Captain Self Pity’s arms and push her toward the edge. She wriggles in my grasp, but I’m stronger. The Big Boss’s power is in my hands.</p><p>“Never forget who’s in charge.” I give another shove and walk away with my nose in the air. I turn the bend, not looking back to see if the captain fell into the synapse or was caught by her sidekicks.</p><p><br></p><p>9:00 AM, EST</p><p>The receptionist regards me as if I represent every evil involved in getting out of bed in the morning.</p><p>“Happy… Happy! Happy!!” I hum under my breath.</p><p>“Name,” she says.</p><p>“Happy, uh… Hadassah.”</p><p>The receptionist’s lip twitches. This is mortifying.</p><p>I ignore the itch creeping up my cheeks. “Good morning,” I try to make my voice sound as normal as possible. “My name is Hadassah Metzer. I’m here for the job interview.”</p><p>The building smells like coffee — yum. Cool coffee murals are etched into the glass walls. I really hope I get a job here.</p><p>9:15 AM, EST</p><p>“Mrs. — uh… Metzer.” Mr. Friedman, K-Koffee Tech’s HR manager, leans in his seat. “You do realize this is a professional company.”</p><p>He doesn’t have to say that. The company’s professionalism is obvious from the high tech computers to the modern furnishings. </p><p>I squelch my confusion with a giggle. “I- I can tell.” </p><p>“Mmm…” Mr. Friedman’s eyebrows lift. He scans my resume. “I see you were a preschool assistant this past year. Why are you applying here and not going into the teaching field?”</p><p>Oh no, what should I tell him? That I worked in a school because I couldn’t think of anything better to do? That I have no patience for the kids? That their carefree cheerfulness gets under my skin?</p><p>“I want to be happy,” I say then immediately regret it. “I… I mean, I want to work in a happy place.” There are little needles prickling my cheeks. My stomach clenches. I bite my lip and force myself to smile. </p><p>Mr. Friedman smiles too. It’s a forced kind, the type that hovers on people’s lips, and you’re not sure if they’re laughing with you or at you.</p><p>A wad of cotton lunges up my throat. I cough and laugh at the same time. “This place — I mean, K-Koffee Tech, it looks like a very happy company.”</p><p>Mr. Friedman stands up. He’s still smiling. </p><p>“Nice meeting you,” he says. “About the job, we’ll get back to you later today.”</p><p>The hallway smells like coffee. I envision sitting at one of the glass desks, surrounded by the scent of roasting coffee — yum. I really want this job.</p><p>As I head into the sunlight, something lurches in my stomach. I’m not sure if it’s dread or anticipation, but I push both feelings to the side because today, I’m being happy.</p><p><br></p><p>11:00 AM, NST</p><p>Waaaawooooaawuuuueee…</p><p>The crisis alarm.</p><p>In the split second it takes me to internalize what’s happening, Captain Self Pity is already issuing orders.</p><p>“To the veins… blood cells.” The captain pushes Anxiety in the indicated direction.</p><p>“No.” I race down the stairs.</p><p>Nobody seems to notice me.</p><p>“Ms. Cynical,” Captain Self Pity’s face is crimson. “To the brain… now, quick — quit the eye rolling.”</p><p>“No,” I say.</p><p>This time, the captain blinks in my direction.</p><p>I square my shoulders. “Everyone, to the crisis room — hurry.”</p><p>A vein throbs in Captain Self Pity’s neck. “Emotional.” She snaps at a whimpering personality. “Go find Tears. No — take Tears. Run… you know your job already.”</p><p>I grab the captain’s arm. “No. Stop, please…”</p><p>For all that effort, I could have been talking to dead skin cells. The racing personalities and emotions push past, disregarding my passionate pleas for order.</p><p>“EVERYONE, BE QUIET!”</p><p>Emotional pauses for a moment, then shakes her head. Ms. Cynical is already in heated conversation with the head brain cells. Anxiety is racing through the veins, collecting an army of screeching blood cells. </p><p>I try to relax the rapid beating in my chest. </p><p>The nervous system — a deep inhale… It’s out of control — a sputtering exhale…</p><p>I close my eyes. Ms. Cynical shrills. The brain cells’ chanting grows louder. The wild racket of shrieking blood cells ricochets around my head.</p><p>— and I’m supposed to be the leader.</p><p><br></p><p>1:00 PM, EST</p><p>I wake up with my cheek stuck to the couch. Why am I here? It takes a few seconds for my brain to compute the answer.</p><p>I didn’t get the job — that I do remember. And then? A groggy cloud fogs my memory. All I feel is the sinking feeling in my stomach, the exploding force that, although churning inside, had the power to push me down to the couch and keep me there for hours.</p><p>When I try to get up, the wave of anxiety resurfaces and I’m propelled back downward. I scrunch myself into the smallest ball possible and bury my face in the cool leather. </p><p>That’s how Avi finds me when he comes home for lunch.</p><p>“You didn’t get the job,” he says.</p><p>Though the last emotion I feel is happy, a smile tugs at my lips. Avi reads me so well, even though we’re only married two months.</p><p>I tell him this.</p><p>His face scrunches with incomprehension. He shrugs. “You’ll find something better. This job wasn’t bashert, obviously.”</p><p>With Avi, everything is neat — black and white, fair and square. I feel like shaking him until his perfect brain is as muddled as mine.</p><p>“No, you don’t get it,” I say.</p><p>“It’s okay.” Avi sits on the other side of the couch, a lopsided grin on his face. “I think you’re great. That high and mighty hiring guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”</p><p>“So, I’m not giggly and I don’t have ‘an unprofessional manner’?”</p><p>Avi’s eyes widen. “You?”</p><p>I stare at the ceiling. “Whatever, it doesn’t matter. It’s not the most important thing.”</p><p>“Right.” Avi stands up. “Lunch time?”</p><p>OMG, I forgot about lunch. </p><p>I don’t move. “Getting rejected for the job… It’s not the biggest thing — at all.”</p><p>Avi, halfway to the kitchen, stops in his tracks. “You said that already.”</p><p>“I’m a failure, a regular failure…” I push my face into a throw pillow. All the earlier feelings explode again in my chest — panic, anxiety, some cynicism… self pity — most of all, self pity.</p><p>“I’m doomed… doomed! I’ll never… be happy. I want to… be happy. I can’t… be happy.” My words flow choppy and incoherent. “Apparently, unhappiness is… my destiny.”</p><p>Avi turns around with a slow hesitant motion. The look on his face says he’d rather be swallowing an elephant than talking to a wife in this state.</p><p><br></p><p>1:30 PM, EST</p><p>Avi thinks a walk in the park will do the trick. I’m not as sure, but Avi’s so excited about the idea, I can’t convince him out of it.</p><p>“It’s this fight,” I say as we leave the car. “Like, I have a bunch of personalities inside of me, and they all want to be the leader.”</p><p>“Interesting,” Avi says.</p><p>We continue down the path. The July weather is sticky and humid. I’m forced to drag each limb through the thick sweltering air.</p><p>“Worst of all,” I say. “They’re all ganging up against Happy — the personality I really want to have.” </p><p>Avi doesn’t respond. He crunches through the parched leaves, a thoughtful expression on his face.</p><p>“Maybe…” He stops in his tracks. There’s a strange glint in his eyes. “What’s if you think of your emotions — like people?”</p><p>I cough. “People? What on Earth are you talking about?”</p><p>“Yeah, people. Ask any therapist. Everyone needs a little attention from time to time?”</p><p>The scent of rotting berries swirls around my head, gaining steam until it threatens to choke me. </p><p> I lean against a tree. “I don’t get it. You’re trying to tell me that my emotions are people? Like, my happiness is a person, and anxiety is a person? And self pity is actually a person?”</p><p>“Something like that…” Avi grins.</p><p>My head begins to throb. I shake it from side to side. “Either I’m crazy, you’re crazy, or both of us are.”</p><p>The goofy smile vanishes from Avi’s face. “I’m really serious,” he says. “Think about it…”</p><p><br></p><p>1:45 PM, NST</p><p>Coffee is the only thing all personalities agree about. With the main crisis over, most of us head to the left atrium coffee lounge to recharge.</p><p>When I enter, Captain Self Pity is taking leisure sips of her drink. She turns to me, her face contorted in a smug smile. Ms. Pessimistic and Cynical sit on the captain’s two sides. Their eyes emit smoldering embers that cause my insides to churn.</p><p>I fall into an armchair.</p><p>“That’s it,” I say to myself. “I’m quitting…”</p><p>A soft hand touches my shoulder. “Happy? Is that you?” </p><p>I lump forms in my throat. “No,” I say. “That’s not my name — it can’t be…”</p><p>Rebbetzin Righteous squints through her spectacles. She’s a queer personality. Sometimes, her voice is loud and strong — in the thick of things, running the show. Sometimes, she’s barely heard, her voice hidden beneath the boorish babble of negative personalities.</p><p>Now, her tone is soft but proud, like a calming tide frolicking against the shore. “Happy,” she says. “You must continue. There’s no one else who can accomplish what you can.”</p><p>“I don’t know.” I sniffle. “It’s not worth the fight.”</p><p>Rebbetzin Righteous is the only personality who limits her caffeine intake. Now, she hands me a steaming cup.</p><p>“You’re the leader…” Her smile changes from warm to stern. “But the position is not as simple as you think…” </p><p>I take a sip, waiting for her to continue.</p><p>She shakes her head. “They… want something, Happy. You understand, don’t you?”</p><p>My skin prickles — the mug freezes between my fingers. I know what they want. Can I do it?</p><p><br></p><p>2:00 PM, EST</p><p>By the time we get home, there’s an odd calmness in my chest. </p><p>“You know, Avi.” A rush of cold air greets us as we enter our apartment. “Your analysis, it’s the weirdest thing I ever heard in my life, but I keep thinking about it. It does make kind of sense.”</p><p>“Yeah.” Avi nods. “Can’t believe I thought of it myself.”</p><p>My phone pings — a text from Yehudis.</p><p>Made an appointment by Rachel Schwartz. Figured u didn’t do it urself. She’s a gr8 job coach. You’ll luv her!!!</p><p>She ends with a winky emoji followed by six smileys — ugh! </p><p>A disgusting feeling lunges from my chest to my throat. I close my eyes.</p><p><br></p><p>“What right does she have to make appointments at crazy job coaches.” Captain Self Pity pounds her empty coffee mug onto the table.</p><p>There are murmurs of agreement all around.</p><p><br></p><p>I lean against the doorway. The captain is scoring another victory. There’s nothing I can do to stop it, or… can I?</p><p><br></p><p>The captain lunges for the door. “Everyone, quick — you know what to do…”</p><p>Rebbetzin Righteous taps my shoulder. I rush to my feet.</p><p>“Wait,” I say. “Let’s discuss this.”</p><p><br></p><p>A Week Later</p><p>Anxiety keeps coming to check. “Is it ready?”</p><p>Creative and Artistic look up from their perch on the giant red and white name tag.</p><p>“Soon,” they say together.</p><p>Pessimist’s lips curl downward. “Big boss will never like it.”</p><p>I shrug. “We’ll see.”</p><p>A ray of sunshine flashes from the eye-window. I inch closer to the center of the action.</p><p>A big sign is sprawled on the ground. “Hello, my name is…” it reads.</p><p>“Finish quickly,” I say. “We want this ready as soon as possible.”</p><p>The personalities nod and continue working at a feverish pace. Creative grabs a black sharpie. Artistic uncaps the tip. Emotional and tears sit by my side near the eyelids.</p><p>“We’re almost there,” someone says.</p><p>Everyone rushes to the eye-windows. </p><p>“Who cares.” Pessimistic doesn’t move. “We’ll never find a job we like.”</p><p>I consider Pessmistic’s point of view. “Possibly,” I say. “But what will we lose by trying?”</p><p>“What’s if she doesn’t like us?” Anxiety bites her lip. “What’s if she thinks we’re giggly and unprofessional?”</p><p>Some of the other personalities nod their heads.</p><p>I swallow. “I don’t know… but we’ll try our best to make a good impression.”</p><p>Big Boss Hadassah’s pace quickens. The personalities and emotions crowd around the eye-windows, each jostling for a good viewpoint.</p><p>After a couple of tense moments, we stop at a peeling brown door.</p><p>Cynical snorts. “This is the fancy job coach’s office?” </p><p>I say nothing and wait with bated breath as Big Boss Hadassah opens the door.</p><p><br></p><p>There’s a mirror in the front entrance hall. I stop and fix my shaitel. </p><p>“Hello,” I practice a professional smile. “My name is — “ I pause. Something sputters in my heart — a happy personality dancing across my chest. “Just call me… Happy.”</p>

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    October 13, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    <p>Yikes! This posted in a whole big shmush!!</p>

  • Brocha

    Member
    October 13, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    <p>I love it! The concept is awesomesauce! And gosh, you know how to write!</p>

  • Writer123

    Member
    October 13, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    Wow! I have no words! This is actually amazing!!! I love how made the emotions so real! I don’t know why it wasn’t accepted, but if I were a magazine editor, I would DEFINITELY publish it!!

  • Anagrammer

    Member
    October 15, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    <p>Woah, HappiWriter, I’m in a different world. You brought all those emotions so alive… This is incredible and so creative!</p>

  • MH

    Member
    October 16, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    I really like how the emotions were people! Wow! it’s like a whole community inside! Thank you for that perspective! And echoing Anagrammer, it’s so creative! Wow!

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    October 19, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    <p>Hey thanks everyone!</p><p>I’m actually editing this based on critique I received from a wonderful masterpiece member.</p><p>Keep y’all updated…</p>

    • PassionforWriting

      Member
      October 19, 2020 at 3:51 pm

      HappiWriter, I LOVE it!!!! I love your writing — very eloquent, the humor and how emotions are characters! And my question is, why isn’t this piece under humor? Stuck Out Tongue Winking Eye Gosh, I can’t get over at how much I like it! You also write in an intuitive way, know what I mean? I wish I knew how to write like that – seriously!

    • PassionforWriting

      Member
      October 19, 2020 at 3:54 pm

      In answer to your first question – is it too weird? I understand why some people might think so, but I personally feel that it’s humorous, witty and gives some comic relief. It’s light, fun and entertaining. Go for it! 🙂

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