The start of a story

I wrote the following passage on July 22, 2015. Which would have been right around one week before the bar exam. Procrastination is the mother of creativity, I think. I find this bit of writing interesting because, although I wrote it, I genuinely have no idea what is happening in this character’s life. More interestingly, I’m absolutely dying to know. Probably I need to write it to find out. Is this how novels are born?


Her feet pounded the pavement in time to “Roar.” If anyone had asked, she would have told them that she was listening to Metallica. She ran to clear her head. And she ran because sometimes she really, really needed to run.

She rounded the corner at 5th and Seneca, heading toward the water. The russet curls that had escaped her ponytail clung to her temples. It was not yet 6 am and the air already had weight. The Olympic mountains were obscured by a dirty haze, and she wondered when it would rain again. When he stepped out from between the buildings she stopped short, tearing out her earbuds.

“Christ,” she said. “What do you want?”

He looked at her a second or two too long without blinking, and she can’t help but feel disconcerted. “We have a job,” he told her.

Her stomach sank. She should be used to it by now. His tendency to show up when she’s least prepared, and to always, always bring bad news. She followed him down the alley where a black SUV was waiting. Such a cliché, she thought bitterly. He held the door for her and she climbed into the back seat.

This was supposed to be a side job, to help pay off her student loans. But it’s been three years and the loans are long gone. In fact, it turned out she just needed the one job to pay off those massive loans. That should have been her first clue.


The SUV pulled up the ramp to the departures at Sea Tac airport. She always flew commercial, but never less than first class. He handed her an envelope with her boarding pass, and a second that was thick with cash. There would be at least $5,000 in the envelope, a mix of denominations. She wouldn’t have to account for this money. It was expected that she spend it. She never did though, at least not all of it. She was never in the mood for fancy meals when she traveled for business. The driver opened the door and passed the handle of a rolling bag to her. It was brand new and expensive. She never used the same bag twice. She knew it would be full of designer clothes that would fit her perfectly. Which, frankly, was no small feat given her taller-than-average stature, and broader-than-average shoulders. Perhaps it was all custom made. She wouldn’t put it past them.

Without another word he got back in the SUV and it pulled away from the curb. She stood there in her running shoes, shorts, and ancient Seattle Seahawks t-shirt wondering where they were sending her today.

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