Contest #174 shortlist ⭐️

Everyone has a small business nowadays

Submitted into Contest #174 in response to: Write about someone whose desire to constantly improve something borders on obsessive.... view prompt


Fiction Funny

This story contains sensitive content

(contains swearing)

A piece of advice: Keep your passion as a hobby. 


What time?….. opens 9:00am…




A nudge pulls me up out of my dream.

“You were talking again.” 

Quick check of phone. Painfully bright screen reads 5:42am

“Sorry. I’ll get up.”

“It’s too early, Jess.”

I get up anyway. More time to work. 

It’s raining outside. I love when it rains because it makes me feel less guilty about staying home all day. Even though I’m technically at work. 

Check outside front door. No package. 

The boiling kettle competes with the rain outside; water bubbling and splashing and pelting, on the brink of eruption, surely it can’t get any louder-


Two coffees + one mini snickers bar = breakfast. 

Lamp on. Second lamp on. No, too bright- one lamp. 

I sit down at my desk that’s positioned in the corner of our living room. It makes the room look quite silly but there was nowhere else to put it. To be fair this was where I built it and I wasn’t bothered to move it anywhere else. So, here it stays. 

I try to gather the scrambled thoughts that scattered into my dreams last night. Occasionally, a nugget of information is given to me by my subconscious. A lot of the time it’s irrelevant, but sometimes-


There’s a sale on pliers today at the craft store. I’ll leave at 9:00am. The ones I have are too cheap and crappy. I bought them back when I only made jewellery for fun. I mean, it’s still fun, but now I make it for money. 

It started with beaded things; bracelets, necklaces, rings. Then pearl-beaded things; bracelets, necklaces. Then I realised I had the life of a 12 year old girl making friendship bracelets for strangers and I got embarrassed. 

I was ready to quit, but my boyfriend Tom convinced me to keep going. I think mainly because I’d just gotten fired from my real job and was spreading depression all over our flat. Also to help out with rent. 


Another coffee. Another mini snicker’s bar. 

I’m pushing my sugar limit today but I can’t help it. The stress is getting to me. I have a new launch in 4 days; a series of five 925 silver jewellery designs, all handcrafted by me and me alone. They’re my hardest pieces yet, and I’ve only made one of them. 

Quick (it’s never quick) scan of my Instagram account. Check messages; three DM’s for old design earrings, one DM for old design bracelet, one message from Kelsey-

“Hey! Love how your upcoming launch looks! :) Cool to see you’re also getting into making silver pieces! Happy to offer guidance on casting metal/anything metalsmith related if you need! <3”


I don’t need any guidance thank you very much. Yes, you also make jewellery. Yes, you also run a small business on Instagram. No, I am not copying you. You’re just self-absorbed. 

I’ve known Kelsey since high school. We weren’t really friends but she likes to pretend we were so she has an excuse to message me now. 

Another mini snicker’s bar. 

Check outside front door. No package. 

Back to desk. Write a list, it makes me feel like I’m doing something. Currently, I have four things to make today. Good. 

Truth is I was a little inspired by Kelsey’s jewellery business. I said a little. Back when I was ready to give up on making friendship bracelets, Tom saw on Facebook that Kelsey was hosting an event at an art gallery. A beginners guide to jewellery making; beading, polymer clay, and casting silver metals into various accessories. 

I didn’t want to go, so Tom bought me a ticket. Thank god he did. 

That event felt like I went back to high school. The turnout was enough to feel like a class. I was a student again; eager to be the sharpest in class, the first to finish, the teachers pet. Even if it was Kelsey. She gave her intro, then set us the task of completing two finished pieces out of our chosen material. 

Suddenly there was a point to my life. A fire burned in me as I worked my magic, watching the other students struggle to light a spark. I knew mine would look better, be prettier. No one took it as seriously as I did. They laughed off their ignorance, so nonthreatening. Fumbled around with clay like kids using play dough. 

Couldn’t be me. 

My fingers were strong yet delicate as I worked, my mind focused, my breathing slowed. As people paused for tea and biscuits, I pushed on. I silently scoffed at them huddled around bean bag chairs, chatting about nothing. Clearly just there to mingle.  Amateurs. 

When everyone finished, Kelsey walked around and reviewed everyone’s work. I made sure not to mention to anyone I knew her from school, so it didn’t seem biased when I won. Or I mean, when she praised my jewellery pieces, which she did. 

She asked if I had a business, I said yes. And here we are. 

Hundred’s of dollars in supplies, metals, clasps and chains, stones and crystals, crappy pliers, scissors, cutting boards, band aids and the desk I’m leaning on. I don’t even wear jewellery. 

Tom teases me about it, says I became obsessed overnight. He jokes that I’m only doing this to finally out-do Kelsey in something after watching her win at everything in high school. Obviously that’s ridiculous…

Check outside front door. No package. Was I even waiting for one?


Tom’s up. 

I hadn’t planned to get this intense with the business. Initially I saw it as a placeholder while I looked for a real job. But then I stopped looking for a real job. I stopped doing anything else really. I stopped brushing my hair too. 


Tom’s gone. 

My projects got more advanced once I started paying attention to other jewelers (yes- including Kelsey) and realised I wasn’t as good as everyone else. Sure, compared to an amateur I’m good, but I’d distanced myself from that level once I bought my own mallet. 

As I’d scrolled through other jewelers work, my gut instinct was to delete my account before anyone noticed I was trying. All previous work was now laughable compared to others. If I wanted to continue I needed to hunker down and actually make an effort.

In hindsight, my old designs aren’t so bad. My brain just loves to rip into my ego. You know the saying, “Everything I touch turns to gold”? Replace gold with shit and you have my daily mantra.

Me and my brain are the best of friends. 

Enough rambling, I need to work. Phone down. Work. 


First one…slow breathing….delicate hands…


Shit. throw that away. Do it again…

God, why do this look so bad?

Alarm rings in my ears. It’s 9:00am. 

I grab a shirt sitting on the very top of the laundry pile, pull on some sweatpants, slide into slippers, sunglasses on (daylight hurts my eyes), stuff a tote bag, and head out the door. 


“Hi, just these pliers thanks.”

“What are you making?”

The craft store employee doesn’t look up as she asks. She clearly couldn’t care less and I don’t blame her. 

“Oh, just doing some crafting. For fun.” 

I never tell anyone what I do. It feels too embarrassing.

She scans the pliers.



“Oh, are these not on sale? I have a coupon on my phone.”

“That starts tomorrow.”

Great. Stupid subconscious, you can’t even get the date right-

“Do you still want them or you gonna come back?”Any politeness is now gone from her tone. 

Damn, I need them now. I can’t wait till tomorrow. I can’t work without these, everything I make will be terrible and cheap looking if I don’t have these right now. I’m running out of time-

“I’ll take them now, thanks.”


Back home. Crack knuckles, massage forehead, stretch back.


These pliers make life so much easier…

This isn’t looking so bad…

Pang in stomach. It’s growling at me. Okay fine.

Cheese toasty + glass of water = lunch

As I eat over the sink I stare out the window. It’s stopped raining, and is now that weird in-between weather where the sun glares through the grey sky. All comfort from the rain is evaporated.

At this rate I can get one piece done today. Pretty pathetic attempt, but clearly I’m pushing my abilities with this new launch. I probably could do with some advice. 

Quick (It’s never quick) check on Instagram. Without thinking I type in Kelsey’s business account and scroll mindlessly. Jealously warms my face. 

How the hell does she make that? Would it kill me if I messaged her? She did offer to help. God, I can see the smug look on her face when her phone dings and she sees my desperate plea for help. A heroic tale - woman saves poor helpless girl drowning in her own uselessness. I can’t message her. 

Okay, scrap everything I’ve done. Re-do. 

Money down the drain. That was a waste, you are a waste. 



Tom’s back. 

“Have you eaten?”

“Not yet. Just gonna finish this off.”

I look down at my hands. They're covered in little scratches from hours of sanding and cutting and casting. A couple fingers are wrapped up in band aids. I barely remember what happened. My desk is scattered with shards of silver, tools and mini snickers bar wrappers. 

Tom opens the fridge and pulls out a beer.

“Did you get much done today?”

I search for a finished piece - something to show for my hard work. There’s only scraps. I look up at Tom. 


December 03, 2022 03:08

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Philip Ebuluofor
07:46 Dec 12, 2022

Congrats Sophie. Hooking one here. Two submissions and one shortlist. Welcome fully to the show.


Sophie Maree
03:44 Dec 18, 2022



Philip Ebuluofor
19:12 Dec 20, 2022



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Edward Latham
10:58 Dec 10, 2022

This is great Sophie! I like how the style of writing mirrors her obsession. Face paced and like she barely has enough time to register her thoughts: 'Cheese toasty + glass of water = lunch' Nice work!


Sophie Maree
23:38 Dec 10, 2022

Thank you! That was indeed the intention in my writing!


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Tommy Goround
08:04 Dec 10, 2022

1) I learned 2) I felt Good story.


Sophie Maree
09:26 Dec 10, 2022



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Sarah Goodner
17:58 Dec 09, 2022

Sophie, you just told the story of my typical day writing! Love it - thanks for being in the trenches with me! The only reason my desk isn't littered with Snickers wrappers is because I can't keep them in my house. ;) And because my desk is too messy to use.


Sophie Maree
00:57 Dec 10, 2022

Haha thank you! A little treat to stay motivated never hurts :)


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Starry Skies
16:00 Dec 08, 2022

This line is so funny: "It’s raining outside. I love when it rains because it makes me feel less guilty about staying home all day. Even though I’m technically at work. " It really helps set the character and how they feel inadequate, a theme which carries through the whole story. I love your attention to detail-- "My desk is scattered with shards of silver, tools and mini snickers bar wrappers." The cuts on the character's hands also seem to be a metaphor for emotional cuts and bruises, and it's very creative. I really enjoyed reading t...


Sophie Maree
01:55 Dec 09, 2022

Thanks for the kind words! Glad the message really came through for you and you enjoyed the read! I’ll be sure to check out your writing 😊


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