Everyone’s heard the idiom: “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” Most of us think it’s true. I think it’s bullshit.

I have a former professor to thank for that. He called the wisdom of this little gem into question, pointing out that there are plenty of things we have to do that simply aren’t worth pouring your best effort into. Just because you’re obligated (ie, the thing is ‘worth doing’) doesn’t mean you should give it your best effort. After all, you only have some much effort to go around. You don’t have a limitless supply.

And sometimes you just need a break.

I refuse to miss my weekly fiction post. In more than three years (or is it four, now?) I haven’t missed one. Not one, and I’m not starting this week. But this is a holiday weekend and, honestly, I’m kind of already in that holiday frame of mind. I could have labored over the story below for a lot longer than I did, but I took the first idea I had and ran with it.

There’s plenty about it that could be better. At its heart, it’s fan fiction, and that doesn’t tend to be my favorite variety. (Though I challenge any reader to catch the two, not one, horror references being made. I’m betting no one gets the one I didn’t call out directly.) I mean, it’s not a bad story. It’s a little chilling. (What is it about the word ‘marionette’ that strikes me as creepy?) But I’ve done better. Hell, I did better last week.

Eh, that’s okay. My weekly posts are worth doing. I want to do them. But that doesn’t mean every single one has to be a masterpiece. I can’t abide that kind of pressure, and I’m totally okay with the idea that sometimes I write stories that aren’t as good as others.

“What’s the point of this rambling soliloquy?” you ask.

None, really. I just know this isn’t my greatest work, and I’m okay with that. If you’re a writer, sometimes it’s not a bad thing to just get words on the page. Some days, that’s a win, in and of itself.

The prompt for this story is, once again, from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘hawk’,  ‘tape’ and ‘legacy’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.


She’s frantic.

“Did you watch the tape?” she asks her brother.

“It’s digital,” he says. “There is no tape. And, no. I just hawked the camera. Why?”

How could she tell him? He’d think her crazy. It’s like The Ring, she imagined herself saying. Only worse.

But she saved him. He would not be her legacy. No, she would slip quietly away, like Frank.

Frank watched it, before he gave her the camera. She knows because she saw him–in the video, dancing on shredded legs, his pain preserved in perfect HD. A grisly marionette.

Soon she’ll be dancing, too.