I walked into the slaughterhouse just as Jeremy shoved a sharp rod into a screaming cow’s neck. I slipped on blood and grease. Grabbed the nearest table to catch myself.
I’m a vegetarian. But Jeremy was in trouble and I was here to meet him. But shit, man.
“Hey, Bret. Thanks for coming so fast.”
Then I threw up on the floor.
Sitting in the break room, I had a cold, wet cloth on my forehead that Jeremy had brought me.
“Shit, Jeremy. How do you stand working here?” I heard cow screams from the kill floor.
This is an example of how I start a story sometimes. I am not sure it is the best way to do it (seeing as how I really have no idea what I am doing). My idea is to start with conflict, somewhere in the middle of the action. This is a story about Jeremy and Bret, two old friends. Bret is a vegetarian – in a superior, “I’m better than you because I don’t eat things with faces” sort of way. You know the type. Jeremy is a mess. Working in a slaughterhouse. Probably drinks too much. He disgusts Brett. The obvious metaphor is Bret the vegetarian walking into Jeremy’s messed up slaughterhouse of a life. Bret will come across as an asshole and Jeremy will come across as someone trying to get by the best he can. By the time we’re done, Bret will become a sympathetic guy who realizes that when he berates Jeremy for his life choices, he is really attacking his own fears and regrets. He is disgusted alright. But he is disgusted with himself.
I had the whole idea for the story before I started writing. Then I sort of became bogged down in trying to make it as interesting and conflict-filled as possible. So, I didn’t get very far.
Maybe I’ll take another stab (pardon the pun) at it and write faster. And maybe I’ll stop trying so hard to be shocking.