Writing Prompt: In 500 words, imagine what happens when a little too much rides on the outcome of a board game.
Inner Ring: The dart hit its mark with a powerful ‘thunk’.
This was after Ian eyed his target, made three arm extensions and retractions, then let his dart fly with a purposeful aim. “Viv broke up with me,” he stated as his eyes moved from the board to Greg’s face.
Nodding, “I thought so,” Greg replied. With a lackadaisical interest in the game, Greg took his turn. His dart landed on the number 19, at the outer-most section of the board.
“That’s become such a regular occurrence that I can schedule it on my calendar. What caused it this time?” Greg asked.
“She says that I’m a selfish bastard─ I’m tired when I get off work, you know? All I want is some alone time with my Xbox. She thinks we should ‘talk’.”
Outer Bull: ‘Thunk’.
Picking up a dart, Greg threw it, hitting the number 20 this time. “Talking is not an unreasonable request.”
Ian repeated his aiming procedure, threw and hit the bullseye. He punched a fist in the air, smiling. They picked up their beer bottles, clanked them in a toast and downed swallows of ale.
“What have you been up to, Greg?”
A chuffing half-laugh escaped before he spoke. If he called more often he might know. “I was out on a date when I got your text.”
“Dude! You didn’t leave her to come here did you?” Ian asked with incredulity. He wore a lopsided grin.
Mirroring the expression, Greg took another sip. “Sadly, coming here was an infinitely more interesting option than the conversation that was attempting to happen there.” What he didn’t say was that Ian always had the power to bring him running at the drop of a hat.
Greg watched as Ian’s next three points repeated the previous pattern; inner ring, outer bull and bullseye. He finished off his beer and ordered another round. Being more than a little buzzed, he made a deal with himself: If Ian’s next darts hit the same marks, he would – finally – after a lifetime of keeping it stuffed inside – take out his heart and place it warm, vulnerable and hopeful into the hands of his closest friend. It would be such a relief to expose it to the open air…and then just see what would happen next.
The truth shall set you free, right? Greg thought.
Inner Ring: ‘Thunk’.
But it can also tear parents, siblings, life-long friendships and church communities apart. He began to sweat.
Outer Bull: ‘Thunk’.
It could decimate my social position…and maybe even my job. Beads of moisture skirted his hairline.