Thursday, 2 July 2009

MULTIPLY United Friends Challenge #158: The Dark Side of Jan Smit

This Challenge has been yoinked from a Worth1000 contest.

Sumax's Challenge

Great stories have great characters. A well-written and interesting character lives forever. Characters populate the story, motivate the action, and keep us interested.

Some memorable literary examples are:
Ahab, Elizabeth Bennett, Sherlock Holmes, Jay Gatsby, Hannibal Lecter, Scrooge.
You'll all have your own favourites.

In this Challenge you’re to write a very short story, introducing a character in a creative way. In a few paragraphs, of 300 words or less, give your readers a good taste of your character. Use setting, dialogue and actions, etc. instead of blatant description as your primary method.

Word Limit: 300 words. This limit will be enforced!

Jan Smit was an impressive person; Tall but with width. Dressed in his everyday black suit, with his black tie knotted at his bull like neck, he left an everlasting impression on everyone. This may have something to do with his profession. He was the owner of the largest, most well-known funeral parlour in town. All citizens had contact with him at one time in their life, but it was generally a contact they wanted to avoid. Jan knew that he had this effect on people and so he preferred to say little and leave the small print and details to the people who worked for him.

He was present at the demise of all the citizens; but Jan did not just bury them, have them put away in their shiny wooden coffins and covered with earth. He had other interests. Living for himself and not really expecting contact with fellow members of the human race, he squeezed every interesting feature out of a death that he could. It might seem strange, but his world only existed amongst the dead. There was no citizen in the town that would invite him to his daughter’s wedding, or to a family feast meaning that he led a somewhat solitary life, but he had his departed to keep him company.

Women? Oh yes, he knew a few women; mostly distraught widows that would cry for their departed husbands. Of course, there were those that were glad to see the back of an older frail partner, inheriting the wealth after the funeral. These were the companions that Jan Smit would choose. He would observe their day to day movements, note their characteristics and call on them a few days after the funeral to ask if they were satisfied and everything was to their satisfaction.

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