Prompt: Write a short story, of 750 words or fewer, based on this prompt: You come home from a relaxing vacation and realize you have the wrong suitcase.
Once again, you’ve made the Your Story competition a success! Thanks to everyone who participated in competition #58 (either by entering, reading or voting).
Out of more than 400 entries, readers helped us pick “Commit This to Memory” by Mat Hritz as the winner. For winning, Hritz's story will appear in an upcoming issue of Writer’s Digest.
Commit This to Memory
by Mat Hritz
This is really important. I have to tell you before I forget; my life depends on it. I have this condition. I can’t remember what it’s called, but I have a hard time remembering things. The doctor says it’s incurable so I figured I better live it up. I’ve been all around the world—at least that’s what my assistant Cucumber tells me. Cucumber is what I call him. I don’t remember why, but I can’t remember his real name. He’s a nice fellow and very helpful, but I don’t like being taken care of. You don’t get on the Forbes list by letting other people take care of you—you do the damn work yourself.
That’s why I leave myself little notes. Those little yellow guys are my lifelines. I’ll leave notes everywhere just to remind myself of the simplest things. Even vacationing can be hard because I sometimes mix up my memories and I need Cucumber to help me straighten things out. He remembers when I write myself a note, but I never do.
So when I saw one of my notes on the suitcase next to me on the bed, I was intrigued. I don’t know if I told you this but I have this condition where I don’t remember things and I didn’t remember writing any notes. So I slid the suitcase across the bed toward me and read the note. It said, Get rid of this. This wasn’t even my suitcase, so I couldn’t keep it. Maybe that’s what I meant by get rid of it. I wasn’t sure.
“Hey Cucumber! What is this?” He didn’t respond.
I carefully lifted the jaws of the strange suitcase to reveal a heap of bloody clothes and a wallet. The driver’s license inside was Cucumber’s. Confused, I started to panic and wished I hadn’t opened it.
“Cucumber, where the hell are you?” I couldn’t wait for him anymore. I stood up but I could hardly walk as my head throbbed in pain and my balance was thrown off by a sudden dizziness. “Cucumber!” I kept yelling. I slowly made my way to the bedroom door and opened it. “Cucumber, where are you? Something’s wrong!”
On the living room floor was Cucumber’s body covered in blood, his face twisted in a horrific expression that I couldn’t even bear to look at.
“Oh, God!” I cried. I scrambled for the phone on the end table but I had a hard time gripping it as if my fingers were buttered, and my heart, humming bird wings. I struggled to dial 9-1-1 as my head throbbed and my vision blurred.
“9-1-1, what’s the emergency?” The voice on the other end sounded like it was in a tunnel. I was on the verge of losing consciousness.
“Hurry, please help! I think someone has broken into my house. I’m bleeding! My assistant is on the floor. I think he’s dead! Please help!”
“OK, try to remain calm, sir. Where are you? What’s the address?”
I couldn’t remember. You see I have this condition where I don’t really remember things. “I … I’m not sure. I’m at home. My name’s Jonathan Sweeney. Please just hurry!” As gravity and exhaustion pulled me down, I blacked out on the floor next to Cucumber. That was the last thing I remembered before waking up in the hospital handcuffed to the bed.
“Mr. Sweeney, it’s very important you tell me everything you remember,” my lawyer said.
“I already did. Now get me the hell out of here!” I tried to break my left hand free from the handcuff.
“Soon enough. Our case is in good shape. The fact is that your assistant, Anthony ‘Cucumber’ McCumber, had embezzled both your personal and business funds and changed the beneficiary on your life insurance before trying to kill you. Thankfully you managed to overpower him in self defense.”
“What?” I asked. “That’s not what happened. There must have been a break-in. Cucumber would never do that!”
“John, you killed him in self defense. That, coupled with your Alzheimer’s, you’ll be off the hook.” He stood up and smiled before leaving. “I’ll be back tomorrow. Everything’s going to be all right.”
I asked a nurse for some paper and a pen and started writing it all down. I’m no killer, he’s wrong. That’s why I had to write the truth down. Commit it to memory before I forget. You see I have this condition …