Daniel Patterson was an inventor. He invented things--Or at least, he thought of himself as an inventor. You know, someone who invents things.
He didn’t listen to the people who told him that he would never amount to anything. Those that said things like, “Don’t quit your day job.” and “Why do you waste your time with these stupid inventions?” or Like, “That will never work?” and “I bet You’re really bad at sex.”
However, Daniel was determined to show them all, to prove them wrong--Not necessarily the sex one, but you get the point.
Daniel locked himself in his work station and got to work on his latest invention. He was determined to succeed this time if it was the last thing he did, he would create something of importance from scratch from the blueprints of his mind.
Minutes passed while Daniel brainstormed. Hours passed and Daniel added scrapped paper to an increasingly large pile of balled up failures. Days passed and Daniel saw the empty bottles that lay scattered amongst the items that cluttered the floor fill up with his own urine. He couldn’t even bother wasting time leaving the confinement of his workspace. Not when he was this close--and he felt very close indeed, to a breakthrough. He was standing on the verge of something great, he just knew it...
Days stacked upon days, until Daniel had home a few months without ceasing his search for his breakout project. And when he found it. It was nothing short of glorious.
When Daniel took his polished plans to the nearest patenting office, they informed him that his idea was in fact not patented yet and that if he were to succeed in creating his invention (which, they made sure to add, did not seem to be of any great importance or usefulness to humanity) he would be able to patent the device and conclude that he was truly a bonafide, certified, and successful inventor. The days ahead were going to be grueling, and Daniel knew it.
“Bring it on,” he said, as his car idled in the McDonald’s drive-thru.
“I’m sorry can you repeat that?” a static riddled voice responded from the speaker box.
“Just a large fry,” Daniel responded, then returned to his daydreams. “I can see it n--”
“Alright,” The speaker's voice boomed. “So that’ll be 2 Big Macs, 3; 8 piece chicken nuggets, 2 filet o’ fish sandwiches, one add pickles, one double cheese,” A brief pause.
Daniel waited for the speaker box to finish repeating his order back. He tapped his foot on the floorboards of the car. Opened his mouth to say something, “Uhhh. . .”
“One large Coke, 2 small Sprites, an oreo McFlurry, and 7 apple pies. Will that complete the order?”
“Diet coke,” Daniel said. “Now, repeat it back.”
The man in the speaker box did, this time mentioning the diet coke rather than Coke and Daniel pulled his car through the drive-thru lane, grabbed his wide assortment of foods and drinks, and headed home for what was going to be the breakthrough of a lifetime, he just knew it.
They forgot the large fries.
< << <<< SEVEN YEARS LATER >>> >> >
Daniel sat behind the panel table on a spotlighted stage. A large audience just beyond the glare of the lights could be heard, but not seen.
Daniel shared the stage with some other famous inventors who have contributed to the advancement of civilization. ‘None to the extent that l did,’ Daniel thought to himself.
He glanced around at the other participants at this question panel. His eyes landed on the inventor at the far end to his right and stuck there.
The man sitting in the last chair held a smug, pompous expression on his face. Rage built up inside of Daniel, and he did everything he could to contain himself--even though he wanted nothing more than to burst from his seat, charge over at Vladamir Cryma, stabbing him repeatedly with his novel invention that laid on the table in front of him.
Daniel didn’t know that you could hate a man with such passion. With a furry stronger than any creative inclinations that had burrowed itself into his consciousness.
The host of the event came onto the stage and a cheer erupted out in the crowd. The Q and A was just about to begin.
The host, who looked a lot like Ryan Seacrest--but wasn’t--, introduced the panel. Each member waved and said a quick ‘thank you’ or ‘nice to be here’. A few just nodded.
Daniel stood and took a bow, to the loud applause and approval of the crowd.
‘Top that,’ Daniel said in his head to Vladimir.
Vladimir, feigned humility and dismissed the applause when he was introduced to the crowd. Daniel imagined a faulty stage light, falling out of place, swinging onto the stage, and smashing Vladamir with a burst of exploding electricity. His mouth curled into a half-smile at the thought.
After a few moments of the host setting up the rules and procedures for the Q and A session, it had officially begun. Daniel sat up in his chair, took a sip of water from his complimentary water bottle, and folded his hands on the table.
The first few questions were directed at a couple of the other panelists. Daniel eagerly waited for a question to address him.
It happened roughly 7 minutes into the session and Daniel perked up, ready to answer the questions and soak up the flattering.
“Ah yes, this one’s for Dr. Daniel Patterson,” a young man from the audience said, holding his phone out in front of him. “Dr. Patterson, as a man who has done so much for the advancement of humankind and all of civilization through your groundbreaking work in so many of the fields that scientists and historians alike now call you ‘the father of’, with such amazing and seemingly impossible feats and accomplishments as curing cancer, discovering evidence of an afterlife, figuring out that the chicken did, in fact, come before the egg and the invention of time travel and the first time machine--”
“Daniel held the microphone to his mouth, “don’t forget the discovery of why and how Stonehenge was built.” His comment was met with a collective chuckle from the audience--he ate it up.
“Right, that and countless other achievements,” the man continued. “I’m--”
“You mean like, the development of hovercrafts? Complete city electricity grids reliant only on solar power, the harnessing of cow’s farts to fuel watercrafts that happen to seek out and remove all contaminants in all the world’s oceans, and being voted the world’s sexiest scientist in Science USA 4 years in a row?” Again the audience pooled together a respectable laugh at Daniel’s demonstration of feats, he finished with, “and who is really, really good at sex.”
‘They must have not heard,’ Daniel told himself, and repeated, “and who is really, I’m talking, really good at sex now.”
The man who stood at the mic, huffed a short laugh, and continued his line of question, “ I’m curious Doctor, how does it feel to sit just a few chairs away from the man who was able to successfully create a prototype of your first invention at the mere age of 15 years? The only one you were never able to successfully create?”
Daniel’s smile faded.
A hush fell over the audience.
“Vladamir Cryma, who took your failed attempts at creating a--”
“Mmm, yes. Well of course I’m well aware of what his invention is.”
“Right,” The man looked back down at his phone, and read “My question to you is, how do you explain his ability to do the only thing that you’ve seemed unable to do in your accomplished and successful life?”
Daniel thought about his answer for a moment. CHewed on it. Mulled it over, fought every instinct in his body to look over at Vladimir and see what kind of smug look was on his lying, no good, cheating thief's face.
“Well,” Daniel started. “Beginner’s luck.”
At which point Daniel jumped from his seat and ran full sprint towards Vladimir, yelling “I’ll kill you, you son of a b!+(4!!!” Only to be tackled by the event security, throwing him sideways into the table, knocking it over, and spilling the panelist's belongings and microphones all over the stage.
Daniel suffered three broken ribs, two sprained wrists, a mild concussion, and a gut-wrenching low blow at that year’s Q and A panel for Leading Scientists of the World.
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Loved your story!! I loved how you captured the characters. Well done!! By the way, thanks for the follow. I followed you back :-)
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Your story reminds me of Trump. Ego-driven, isolated, delusional, blames others for his shortcomings, and dysfunctional. Loved your description of what sounded like a hoarder's abode, complete with urine bottles because he was so obsessed, he couldn't even bother to go to the toilet. I thought he ordered a ton of food at McDonald's and realized he was probably ordering for the whole week (ewww). Nice touch! You really captured his obsession.
An interesting story about ego. Scientists, artists and artisan are well known for having ego and pride issues, and you portrayed that nicely. The story took a turn I didn't expect but was well executed.
Discussion question #3 (all answers will be upvoted): What do you think the invention was that Daniel set out to create and was was ultimately unsuccessful at achieving?
Discussion question #2 (all answers will be upvoted): Which of Daniel’s breakthrough discoveries is his best? Why?
Discussion question #1 (all answers will be upvoted): What is the moral of the story?
People don't care about your successes, only your failures :')
I really enjoyed this one and i think it was pretty interesting, I really have nothing else to say besides you should keep writing and this gets a 10/10 :)
I enjoyed the story which I thought was imaginative, fun and well structured. I'm curious as to why you haven't taken one or two things a little further (when you're on a winning streak why pull back?) For example: In the paragraph beginning 'minutes passed' you create a timeline which expands from minutes to hours to days. But you confine this to just the one paragraph. You could stretch this out a little - it is funny - by adding more detail? There are one or two places where the writing is ambiguous - the meaning becomes apparent only a...
Great job with the story!
Love this story! I loved the McDonald's order and how they forgot the fries. One thing I would like to point out is that you wrote 'furry' instead of 'fury'. Unless I read it wrong... Awesome work Jessy! :)