The Word


Nick looked over to the new kid. There was something off about him. Why does he look so…? Nick tried to find the words, but couldn’t place what was so off. Nick turned away and went back to work.

[ per-fawrs, -fohrs ]


  1. Out of necessity.

Let’s Write…

** Either a story beginning, a story ending, a piece of flash fiction, a poem–inspired by the word, perforce, where does it take me? Where does it take you?

Nick looked over to the new kid. There was something off about him. Why does he look so…? Nick tried to find the words, but couldn’t place what was so off. He turned away and went back to work.

 Nick, along with another worker, Frell, heaved a sizeable wooden beam upon their shoulders. Then, they carried it across the lumber yard. One foot in front of the other–Nick repeated in his head. Even after years, Nick still found it helpful to think that way. 

 They got to the next stage of the building process and dropped their beam upon a large machine. It would take the rough edges and make them smooth, and splitting the wood into two boards for building. Back to the stack of beams to do it all over again.

 Nick caught sight of the new kid again, and he figured what was wrong with him now. It was his mouth–curved upwards, and his eyes were wide and bright instead of dark and down. It gave him chills. 

At their lunch break, Nick approached him…

…The answers he got, though, didn’t make him feel any better.  

 “Wait, so you want to be here?” Nick said.

 “I do,” said the new guy.

 Nick didn’t know what else to say. It wasn’t right, it didn’t fit. They were all assigned their jobs and worked because they had to–because it was what the country needed. 

 The new guy shrugged his shoulders, stood up, and went back to work. Nick didn’t know how long he’d been standing there, and he didn’t realize he was shaking. It wasn’t anger for this kid, but some other emotion.

 Something wasn’t right.


 A society where we all get work assignments and do our jobs for “the greater good.” What I imagined here in this little story–not sure I quite executed on it today–was that Nick has this awakening. 

 The new guy is an anomaly. Nick sees someone who is doing what they want to do and how it makes that person feel. Naturally, he’s going to want that feeling. Or, dark twist, all the workers are going to want the new guy to share in their misery.

 So, it could be the start of a revolution; or, it could be a very dystopian and dark ending where they force the new guy into a job he doesn’t like. Now, everyone’s unhappily the same. Cringe-worthy! That’s not a story I’d like to read or write, though.

 I’m a happy ending kind of guy. My wife and I watched Little Women last night, and it begins with a quote from Louisa May Alcott that sums it up:

 “I’ve had lots of troubles, so I write jolly tales.”

What do you think of Perforce?

 Do you prefer jolly tales or dark, twisty endings?

Leave your thoughts, your own story beginning/ending, flash-fiction, or whatever in the comments! Where did perforce or my story take you?

If you liked this, check out a similar idea in Nature.

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