Trifecta: Trouble

He liked to refer to it, in later years, as The Trouble.  It had a pleasing weight to it with capitals added, a dignity entirely at odds with the actual nature of the events.  It sounded like the crucible through which a boy passed to manhood, or a vast national struggle, with a hero emerging from the tumult to lead his battered fellows to victory.

It sounded better that way– noble, inspirational.  On the rare occasions when he removed the capitals, he knew that he wasn’t that hero.  At best, he was the guy who wandered off in the second act, rattled some chains out of curiosity, and got eaten.  In his most honest moments, he was the damn fool in the prelude whose thoughtless, selfish actions set it all in motion.

But those moments were rare.  Self knowledge, never his gift, would do him no good now.  She had never forgiven him, so there was no point in penance.  That became part of the legend, the tragic ending of The Trouble that the hero was left to shoulder bravely as he staggered off into the distance.  It was such a pretty picture that sometimes he even forgot that the burden was his.

This week’s Trifecta prompt calls for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word trou·ble:

1 : the quality or state of being troubled especially mentally
2 : public unrest or disturbance <there’s trouble brewing downtown>
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  1. kgwaite says:

    I loved the dipping of a toe into the pond of honesty and then the sudden withdrawal. A lovely write.

  2. I love the way direction you took the theme, Annabelle. The Trouble is a concept that could inform a greater story, because I already want to know more about what happened.

  3. Diane Turner says:

    Beautifully written. No pun intended, but the entire piece leaves me vaguely troubled, undoubtedly your intent. Great job! I especially like the final line.

  4. Libby says:

    Really great piece! I like the way that he explains, justifies and neatly packages everything for himself!

  5. “It was such a pretty picture that sometimes he even forgot that the burden was his.” He was so interested in packaging it (with initial caps) that he couldn’t own it, could he? Very interesting take on the prompt!

  6. jannatwrites says:

    Well I’m a nosey one – I want to know what The Trouble is 🙂

    This story speaks of human nature and how we twist events to show us in a better light – often without consciously realizing it. The twisted lie becomes the truth. I like how he would catch glimpses of the truth but go right back to believing his fabricated version of it.

  7. barbara says:

    “It sounded like the crucible through which a boy passed to manhood”

    this line struck me because one of the first writing challenges I did (on a small bbs) was using the word crucible. 🙂

    Nice job.

  8. I enjoyed this read, the last line where he thinks of it as a pretty picture, is grand!

  9. “At best, he was the guy who wandered off in the second act, rattled some chains out of curiosity, and got eaten.”

    My favorite sentence. Nice read here.

  10. Paula J says:

    It had a pleasing weight to it. I like that.

  11. Jester Queen says:

    I felt like he could be any one of us at any given time, able to look at a bad situation honestly for only a brief moment, after which we retreat to our safe defensive positions. I liked too that you never specifically named The Trouble but trusted readers to fill in with the understanding of what Trouble it could be. (or trouble, without the capitals – loved that part) That added to his everyman appeal.

  12. There is lot of truth that goes into making this a wonderful story.

  13. Debbie says:

    Love the second sentence. It really speaks volumes of the possibility of what happened. Then the second sentence of the second paragraph add some more. Very good piece. I really like!

  14. Trifecta says:

    Thanks for linking up this week. I know this guy. I think we all know this guy. I love how you give him to us–letting the reader decide how to feel about him. This is a really clever take on the prompt.

  15. This is spectacular–so fitting for the prompt.

  16. sandra tyler says:

    congratulations. Well done.

  17. Basinah says:

    Good writing leaves things open enough that we can all find our own meaning in the words – and this piece is excellent. It evoked so many emotions, memories, and thoughts for me. Very powerful. Thank you.

  18. Annabelle says:

    Holy crap! Thanks so much for reading, all! The unexpected win is quite an honor.

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