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Funny Contemporary Fiction

Today I will focus on my breathing.

Today I will--

Is that a dog?

I think I hear a dog.

That sounds like a big dog.

Is the dog in distress?

Should I go help the dog?

I miss having a dog.

But, you know, you get a dog, and it’s like having a child.

You have to be home.

When am I ever home?

That’s not fair.

It’s not fair to the dog.

If you’re going to--

I need to breathe.

I need to focus on breathing.

I wonder if Napoleon had a dog?

Focus.

Focus on breathing.

God, breathing is so boring.

Why is meditating all about breathing?

Why can’t you meditate while you do something interesting?

They should do Monopoly meditation.

Monopoly is so interesting.

When was the last time I played Monopoly?

You know who was good at Monopoly?

That guy I dated in college.

He never lost.

Not once

I wonder if he cheated.

Oh, but he was a Mormon.

Mormons don’t cheat at board games.

I should look him up.

He was nice.

I’m divorced now.

I can look up anybody I want.

What was his last name?

I want to say it started with a ‘B.’

Bumpentick?

It was something like that.

Matthew Bumpentick.

I should write that down.

I’ll do it after I’m done meditating.

Okay, now I’m focused.

Is the dog still barking?

No, he’s fine.

Or he’s run away.

I might have to go looking for him later.

Assuming it’s a him.

It might not be.

Dogs can be girls.

Anybody can be anything.

That’s what’s exciting about being alive today.

So much going on.

That’s why you have to meditate.

You have to center yourself.

Glennon Doyle says if you meditate, you’ll lose weight and be able to eat fire.

I think she may have been speaking symbolically about the fire, but you never know.

I wonder what fire tastes like.

Breathe.

One…two…

Did Christine ever give me that Glennon Doyle book back?

I think she gave it to me when we were at Sardoni’s.

Why did she order the chicken piccata if she was going to complain about it the whole time?

She could have sent it back.

It looked fine to me.

She always tries new things and then she hates them and I have to hear about it.

That’s why Mom hated taking her to lunch.

Now Mom’s gone and it’s on me to listen to her complain about chicken.

Next time I’m telling her to get the baked scrod and shut up about it.

I’ll say it nicer than that, but I’ll say it.

It’s--

Wait, where was I on the breathing?

Was it four or six?

I’ll start over.

One…two…inhale…exhale…

You know what’s a good movie?

Waiting to Exhale.

Poor Whitney Houston.

We’ll never see another singer like that.

They don’t make them like that anymore.

Remember when she sang the National Anthem?

I cry every time I hear that.

The rockets, the red air--

Red air?

Red glare?

Glare or air?

Glare or--

Breathing.

One, two…inhale, exhale…

Now it’s like I’m doing lamaze.

I didn’t even do that when I had the kids.

Look at me having two kids with no lamaze.

I’m like a pioneer woman.

I should go off the grid.

But where’s the grid?

I have to know where it is to go off it.

Do I just go into the woods and wait until I don’t see buildings anymore?

There must be buildings in the woods though.

I can’t remember the last time I was somewhere without a building.

You know what buildings are nice?

The ones with columns.

I love columns.

I wanted columns for the house, but Bruce said it would look like we lived at the Lincoln Memorial.

He was no fun.

How could I stay married to a man for thirty-two years who was so--

Oh, we’re doing the body scan.

Uh.

My head feels fine.

My shoulders feel fine.

My arms feel fine.

My left knee is bothering me.

My right foot is asleep.

My toes feel fine.

End of body scan.

One, two--inhale, exhale--

I should get that knee checked out.

But I know what they’re going to say.

They’re going to tell me to get it replaced.

Imagine me laid up in bed recovering from that.

Who’s taking care of me?

Bruce is gone, the kids are gone, my sister can’t even eat chicken piccata without complaining.

I’m on my own.

At least until I reconnect with Matthew Blooperstump.

I should write that name down.

I’m not sure if it’s Matthew or Michael.

God, I don’t want to die alone.

I know we all die alone if you really think about what it means to be ‘alone’ but I want lots of people around me when I die and I want them to be singing a song like something Fleetwood Mac would sing like “Gypsy” or “Silver Spring” even though “Silver Spring” is about a scorned woman, because it sounds so pretty. I’ll probably be so hopped up on morphine I won’t even know what they’re singing, but everybody loves a sing-a-long, and then, when I die, they can take me out to the ocean and just dump me near a coral reef. Is that polluting? Oh God, I don’t want to contribute to pollution. Would a shark eat me? Do sharks eat dead things? I don’t want to wind up inside a shark. I just want to have my body decompose at the bottom of the ocean and be reincarnated as a jellyfish or an octopus. That documentary about the octopus was so good. I had no idea they were so smart. An octopus can open a jar of peanut butter. I could use an octopus around the house, because I have all these jars of--

Breathe.

Breathe.

Should I be taking deeper breaths?

It’s hard because of the cigarettes.

I keep meaning to quit, but as soon as I do that, all the weight is coming back on.

I’m not going to land a Mormon if I put all that extra--

Oh.

Oh, we’re done.

That was--

You know, these meditations go by so fast.

I don’t really see the point if they’re just going to fly by like that.

By the time I get around to centering myself, the whole thing is over.

Maybe I should try the hour-long one.

Oh God, an hour of just sitting around doing nothing?

I’d lose my mind.

And what’s the point of mindfulness if I don’t have a mind?

They need to make it easier for you to focus.

Make it more interesting.

If meditation was like Monopoly, I’d be the Buddha.

I’d be the best meditator in town.

At least I’m getting better at breathing.

That last exhale I took was a good one.

In, out, inhale, ex--

There’s that dog again.

I gotta go find that dog.

Now I know why Napoleon never had one.

May 20, 2022 19:37

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24 comments

Zack Powell
23:53 May 22, 2022

I'm always glad to see a story like this, with this type of formatting/structure. We don't get a lot of these often, which is an absolute shame, because it's a fun and totally valid way to approach storytelling. So, first off, thanks for doing something interesting. The humor, as always, is on point. I appreciate the stream-of-consciousness vibe in this one. Really feels like somebody's overactive brain is trying to sabotage them from meditating, which I found relatable. It's a clever technique to have almost every sentence be its own separ...

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Kevin Broccoli
16:12 May 23, 2022

Thank you, Zack! I wish there was a whole prompt around playing with structure, because it's a great way to free things up a bit.

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Bradon L
02:25 May 21, 2022

I wrote a similar story based on this same prompt. The only difference is that your story is good!🤣🤣. I’m serious though. The humor was spot on. And the whole mind wandering thing hits deep. As usual, awesome story!

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Kevin Broccoli
19:43 May 21, 2022

Thank you! I'm looking forward to reading your story.

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Skylar Wells
05:33 Jun 02, 2022

i literally laughed so hard i cried this is exactly how meditation goes for me

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Kevin Broccoli
16:25 Jun 02, 2022

Thank you, Skylar!

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Crystal Glisson
00:52 May 26, 2022

This is honestly the first time I have read a story in this format. I really enjoyed it, and can see how easy it is to get side tracked, even in our own thoughts.

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Kevin Broccoli
04:20 May 26, 2022

Thank you, Crystal!

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Spruce Popsicle
01:13 May 21, 2022

This was really interesting. I enjoyed listening into the thoughts of this person, and I can easily relate to getting off topic in your own mind. Through a person getting distracted in their mind while meditating, you’ve made a character with backstory, past loves, and conflicts within them. All this within a span of about 30-ish minutes in their time. You’ve captured the thought process perfectly. Amazing job.

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Kevin Broccoli
19:42 May 21, 2022

Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read it.

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Ace Quinnton
21:22 May 31, 2022

Having ADHD, this story is exactly how I'd say my mindset is. Trying to focus but constantly distracted. So invested in everything around me instead of on the thing I'm supposed to be doing. Staying still for that long and staying THAT relaxed, I might as well be asleep. That is, if the insomnia doesn't kick in at the last second. The main character was so restless, I feel like I can relate to her. Good job!

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Riel Rosehill
08:28 May 26, 2022

I feel like I've typed this a few times over the last week but I'm so here for there meditation struggles. Why do minds love to wonder especially when we want them to just sit still, look pretty? PS I don't know if this was your intention or not but I really liked how the formatting maked the text looks like waves as the lines get gradually longer then gradually shorter again and again and it feels like the inhale (lines lengthen) exhale (lines shorten)... might be just my odd take but I thought that suited the meditation theme!

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Kevin Broccoli
16:24 May 26, 2022

Hi Riel! I've been trying to use meditation for about a year and if I manage ten seconds of focus I consider it a victory. Otherwise, it's just my mind running wild the entire time. I'm so glad you noticed the formatting. It's similar to the style I sometimes use for monologues, but I wanted to show her slowly losing the grasp of her concentration over and over again.

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Zak Burchell
08:16 May 26, 2022

This was such a fun read. I often find myself getting distracted when trying to meditate, and you captured that experience perfectly.

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Kevin Broccoli
16:25 May 26, 2022

Thank you so much, Zak!

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Michał Przywara
20:49 May 25, 2022

A fun read :) It captures the wandering mind, but we also get quite a bit of good characterization. I like the struggle of meditating, but then the disappointment that it's already over. Sounds a bit like the narrator's version of chicken piccata :) Also, the body scan lol. Just rush through it and get back to distraction :) Thanks for the laughs.

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Kevin Broccoli
21:02 May 25, 2022

The body scan is the part I, as someone meditating, always have a hard time with as well. No idea what I'm actually supposed to be doing other than visualizing myself going through an MRI machine.

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Michał Przywara
22:16 May 25, 2022

Ah, I see. I have a memory of trying one out myself, but it was a pretty long (~40 minute?) guided meditation. It was very relaxing, and I fell asleep. No judgement though :)

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02:00 May 25, 2022

This one had me laughing out loud! So cute! So me!! I can't empty my mind either.

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Kevin Broccoli
16:00 May 25, 2022

Thank you, Kathryn. I appreciate it. I've been trying out meditation for a year now and it's still a struggle.

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Kelsey H
08:58 May 23, 2022

I love how this started off seeming a fairly random scattering of thoughts and as it went on started to repeat certain themes and reveal more history and family relationships so it feels like you've just gotten to know this person just by being in their head for a while. Also demonstrates how hard it really is to think of nothing! I loved this line; And what’s the point of mindfulness if I don’t have a mind?

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Kevin Broccoli
16:11 May 23, 2022

Thank you, Kelsey! Appreciate you reading it.

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Rebecca Miles
08:57 May 23, 2022

I love a good stream of consciousness and this one worked well with the prompt. I liked the tension of the mind spooling off and the reality behind the "meditation" (I was right that this was some sort of health scan- so presumably not good- too many fags.....). An interesting deaprture from your other stories (for me at least as I'm new and have only read a few of yours!).

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Kevin Broccoli
16:11 May 23, 2022

Thank you, Rebecca. This is actually a bit more in my wheelhouse in terms of what I do as a playwright, so it's always nice to return to it.

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