Paul and Barley


[The prompt was to write a story including the first sentence there (taken from a terrible period piece novel). I had ten minutes. You may be able to tell but you will enjoy it nonetheless.]

Paul spent the next two days trying to cleanse his body of the grainy odor that permeated his skin, his hands, his hair, and his nose. It was hard having an addiction to wheat. He would go mad with the desire and break into the local brewery, diving, naked, into the hops. Swimming, mouth open, like that one over-enthusiastic kid in the ball pit at Chuck E Cheese’s. Only, that kid was never naked. Well, okay, that one time he was. But security guards in animal costumes had taken him away, their movements nearly as smooth as their animatronic counterparts in the pizza parlor next-door. Paul had wanted to commend the boy for his bravery. It takes balls to put your balls in those balls. Or in wheat. Or in pie, as his friend Martin would attest. Come to think of it, Paul reflected, maybe he wasn’t so strange after all.


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