Half-Finished Short Story

The phone rings and for a moment I wonder why the story always begins with something happening to me, and is never instigated by my own actions.  I stop wondering about this when I pick up the phone because it requires my full attention.  The line is crackly, as though the telephone is part-phone and part pepper-grinder and someone wants black pepper on their call, please.  Hello, I say and that is that.  The person on the other end of the line, the instigator of this story, turns out to be the artistic director of a gastronomic theme park and he says that he is delighted to tell me that they would like to make a rollercoaster version of a short story I have written.  Wow, I say.  Yes, he tells me, this is what they have decided.  This all seems very regular except for one thing, which is causing me some confusion.  The story they have chosen to adapt is one called ‘Post-Food’ which I have never finished writing and have not  shown to anyone at any point in time (in ‘Post-Food’ a man inhabits a future world in which the procurement of restaurant food is a competition and he must fight another ‘eater’ for any food he wishes to eat, with the fighting to be done in the style of whichever type of food is on offer).  I give my permission to build the ‘Post-Food’ rollercoaster and the artistic director thanks me and we end the conversation.  In the days following the conversation I consider finally finishing ‘Post-Food,’ but when I find the scrawled beginning to the story in an old and forgotten notebook I read it again and find it to be an uninspiring and badly thought-out idea.  I decide against finishing it and wait to see what happens with this theme park adaptation.  Predictably, I never hear back from the artistic director.  Perhaps if this story had instead described what happened next to him, we may have found out whatever happened to the idea for a rollercoaster based on ‘Post-Food.’  As it is, I am left with nothing more than the nagging feeling that it was all some gross imagining and little more than an excuse for another half-finished short story.

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