Writing 101, Day Eight: Death to Adverbs


Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.


It’s novel to find someone who has never used an inhaler before, and even more so, rare, for someone to not have seen the basic instructions of it’s use on some sort of television special or sassy teen drama. Yet, here, in the flesh is proof that it was in fact not “impossible” and more so rare. She’s sitting in the bus in front of us, probably 60, inspecting the inhaler with her thick lenses pressed, even so, against the labeling.  Then the shaking. She shook the inhaler as if some sort of frothing would be the indicator that she should inhale already. She didn’t like she was having any sort of episode. She breathed and sat as uncomfortably as any 60+ year old would, using public transit. And she shook it. And inspected. And shook it. And inspected.

Maybe she was nervous. I certainly was nervous. Not because i was squished into the lovably hard and metal interior of the bus by a complete stranger, their elbow securely lodged into my side. I was unnerved by the man who sat across from the older lady with the inhaler. Bloodshot eyes, dead and half open in what i’d like to think was a leer. He’d settled those eyes on the inhaler woman, his arms and legs sprawled out on the two seats, one more than he needed for his average size. His shirt, white polo, hung over his shoulder, and his black wife beater clung to his sweating frame. I didn’t like to imagine what i thought he might have been doing before then. He wasn’t breathing hard or anything like that. But he looked tired. Really tired.

She was still shaking the inhaler, standing up for I’d imagined was her stop, when the bus driver stamped his breaks. She was flung forward into the man. Had i looked away a moment earlier i would have missed it. I might have blinked and missed it too. The knife glinted for a moment, right into my eyes, before sinking quietly into the woman. It might have been a skewer because it looked round all the way around, but it was much too thick. and it looked like it have been sharpened at the tip and rubbed down all around.

What i  imagined was soon to be a murder scene and rushing and chaos, wasn’t. The woman, laughed, clapping a hand on the man’s shoulder.

“Thank you, son.” She said.

The bus was normal, and bustling. She then took a few steps outside of the bus, and walked away as the drove in the opposite direction. I watched as she got smaller, and then i saw her fall to her knees. When i turned back, his bloodshot eyes were on mine.



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