About "The Yogurt Incident"

This story came about when my friend Mardi suggested writing a one page story that contained five specific sentences. I wrote the story in one quick burst one evening. What follows is my comments to her after the story was done.

Wow, writing that was great!

When I first read the five lines

I thought I heard licking.
Where's my yogurt?
Oh, for fuck's sake!
Oh balls! / Oh Holy Balls!
Cram it up your ass sideways!

about the only scenario that came to mind was a couple arguing about a missing yogurt. Bleah, that's not fun to write about! Plus, the setting that came to mind was your kitchen. So I was going to write about a couple getting into a big argument because the girlfriend has snuck some yogurt to the guy's cat, and he caught her.

But when I started actually writing, it kept getting more interesting. At the beginning, I suddenly pictured him much more fully as a guy who sees himself as being easy to get along with, but he doesn't realize how quick he is to accuse other people of doing stupid things. He says he gets along with his cat, but he really doesn't show how much he likes it.

By this point, it was getting good. I liked how he immediately judged his (nameless) girlfriend guilty without evidence ("But the way she says it doesn't sound like no"). He doesn't see that he isn't easy to get along with. The argument then starts, and yes, she did give Buster the yogurt. From here it was all going to be acid name-calling etc. Not much fun to write.

Then I checked the document statistics and found that it was about 350 words long already. Yow, have to wrap it up.

The next part I wrote was the ending:

Buster's under the bed now. The damn cat. Why do he cause so much trouble?

i.e., the argument was going to be a full-blown door-slamming rouster, guy mad, girlfriend left, cat under the bed.

But then I got to the part where she says "It's just a thing of yogurt!", and it hit me that I don't know of a better word for a container of yogurt. And that was funny, so he started laughing, which just made her more mad. That let me work in "cram it up your ass sideways!" in a humorous way, and the whole thing resolved well! I wasn't expecting this at all!

So the line about Buster under the bed was happily cut, and I'm glad to pull a happy ending out of it.

Of course, the next step would be to re-write it with the exact opposite ending. Maybe I'll try that.

The thing that hits me upon re-reading it is that I can see other tensions in the relationship. He's quick to accuse her, and also is patronizing ("The yogurt's for me. It's people food."). She's got a pretty strong reply ("Oh, for fuck's sake!"). They've obviously had this argument before, and will have it again. I don't think the relationship will last. He is a patronizing guy. ("She is not getting it.")

The setting is still your kitchen and living room.

Hey, I wonder if this guy knows too much.

p.s. For the crossword puzzle hint, I was thinking "ancient".

Last updated 3 December 1999
All contents ©1997-2002 Mark L. Irons