The prompt was was “Imaginary Friends.” I didn’t have any. I wrote about my grade school fantasy girl, who was blonde and was picked up by limousine from school every afternoon. She was offered a bowl of Jolly Rancher candies. She only ate Apple and she only ever ate one.
“Imaginary Friends” went nowhere. I never sent it out.
I let it sit. I changed the race of the girl in the limo. I changed who she went home to. Zzzzzzzzzzz. I changed the culture. I stepped back from the first person. Ba-booom, little did I know, but I was a within a week of what I call “having a draft.”
I added the ritual. I needed then a reason for her to die, so I added the tsunami. I cut the story in half so that it started where it needed to start. Therefore, the story left out the Jolly Rancher but still ended with the Jelly Belly factory tour. I did not like the lack of symmetry. On the other hand, I liked the lack of symmetry.
Before I sent it out, I made a final change. I changed the flavor of the Jelly Belly. It was Green Apple. I tried it, just to see how it read with Popcorn flavor, which tasted like vomit.The effect was dour and flat, whereas the Green Apple had some humor about it. I liked dour and flat. But did I like humor better? I let it sit.
I made the momentous choice of Green Apple – which, unknown to anyone but you, now, brings with it a seed of the story that was.