Random Scribbles · Speakeasy · writing

The Clarity of Retrospect

Whirr, whack, whack, whack, whack. The 16mm film had run completely through the projector. Our Sociology teacher, Mr. Lincoln, turned it off and asked Amy to get the lights. Then he walked to the front of the class. He must have decided to pick on Jeff today. Jeff had come to class stoned but, that wasn’t really a surprise. Jeff always came to class stoned. It was the first class after lunch after all. “Tell me about the film, Jeff.”

“Wha? Who? Me? You mean me Mr. Lincoln?” He pointed to his own chest. Everyone turned to look at Jeff expectantly. This might be entertaining.

Mr. Lincoln nodded.

“Well, shit, it was a pretty cool movie, I guess.” He began.

Mr. Lincoln pressed, “Try to refrain from the use of profanity Jeff. What was it about?”

“Uhm OK… There was this chick, kinda cute, with like, really nice hair. And, she like, gets off a bus, and then later some little dude snatches her purse.” Jeff was getting into it now. Enjoying the retelling, “But she’s like, having none of it, ya know, and she takes off after the little dude. She’s all like, ‘Hey, little dude, that’s my bag. Give it back’ but, the little guy keeps motorin’. Up some stairs and through some alleyways. I couldn’t tell where they were, fer shure, but it wasn’t Santa Monica!” Jeff snorted and laughed. “Then she like, finds her purse man. It’s just dumped on a step. But the funny part is, her stuff is still there. Like her money and her hand lotion is all still there but, it’s like somethin’ is missin’. You can kinda tell by the way she is lookin’. I just didn’t know what. I don’t know what’s missin’.”

“So she packs her shit up and starts to leave but then she spots the little dude down another alley, writin’ in a notebook… Whoa, I’ll bet it was her notebook, huh Mr. Lincoln? Or maybe it was her pen? Wait, wait, I’ll bet it was her pen and her notebook.”

Jeff gets a contemplative look on his face and looks earnestly at his teacher, “Then, she just leaves, dude. She totally lets him get away with it. I guess she was cool with the little dude needin’ a pen and some paper. Huh?”

Mr. Lincoln smiles and nods his head, “Pretty good Jeff. Would you say that through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion would be that things don’t always turn out as planned?

“Yeah, Mr. Lincoln, dude. That’s exactly what I was gonna say. I was gonna say exactly that.”

“Well then?” Mr. Lincoln asked.

Jeff looked solemnly around the class blinked his eyes twice, swallowed, and said, “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.”


Here are the rules:

• Your post must be dated March 23, 2013, or later.
• Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
• Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
• You must include the following sentence as the LAST line of your submission: “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.”
• You must also include a reference to the media prompt.
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35 thoughts on “The Clarity of Retrospect

    1. Thanks – the final line was ‘kinda’ given but I had to work it in somehow.. I’m pleased that what I did worked for you.


  1. I love the way you approached this,asking the stoned guy about the film was a neat idea, you wanted to see if he was paying attention.But he didn’t disappoint you. as a teacher I’d be scared to ask Jeff any questions,especially if the supervisor was watching me, you are brave.I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story.Thank you.


  2. You had me at ‘whirr, whack, whack, whack, whack’ – That is exactly what it sounds like… and it’s a sound my kids probably won’t hear!

    The speech in Jeff’s retelling fits what I would imagine. The teacher kind of fed him the retrospect line, but Jeff recited it well 🙂


  3. I guess, I am dating myself that I know that sound but it helped to set the period of the story. Thanks go out to you for the original retrospect line. I was just trying to use it believably and work it into dialogue. I don’t think Jeff could of done it on his own! Thanks for reading.


  4. I thought this was a really clever way to use the prompt. I don’t know if there’s anyone who hasn’t had a Jeff in their class, and this is EXACTLY how he talks.


  5. This was so realistic! I could picture Jeff in my mind and just see him stumbling all over his words to try to explain…because he is on the spot and didn’t expect to be. This was really good! Loved it! ♥


  6. Hilarious! You, like, totally nailed Jeff’s dialogue, ya know? It was funny watching him work out what happened and you developed him so well and so subtly that, even though it was a limited amount of words, I found myself encouraging him along the way.


    1. I’m glad you liked it. I kept rewriting and editing that dialogue. Finally, I just had to stop and hope it was good enough.


  7. Ha!ha!This was so funny and I thoroughly enjoyed Jeff’s “stoned” pov and his lingo-perfect!A fabulous take on the prompt-this week it will be difficult to vote-just reading the 3rd entry and already liked all of them 😀


  8. Good job with the prompts. I liked Jeff a lot. There was something endearing about him, despite his being stoned at the time.



    1. He was meant to be a harmless stoner. What’s not to love, as long as he isn’t part of your immediate family! LOL


  9. *hahaha* This was fantastic! I loved Jeff’s voice! You did a great job with the vernacular. I won’t know how you learned it. 😉 And the ending had me in stitches. Really fun way to use the prompt!


    1. Dialogue – I’m working on dialogue. I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to the way people talk for the last year or so. Sometimes it gets me in trouble when I should be listening to what they are saying – not how they are saying it. I appreciate the kind words.


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