MAGNUM OPUS: A Short Story

A man walked into a bar. Not just any kind of a man: a writer.

A short story about the modern-day trials and tribulations of writing a magnum opus.


The following is an excerpt from “Magnum Opus: A Short Story.” Copyright © 2017 by Sandra Cunha. All rights reserved.


Harry walked into a bar. A bar he knew well. A bar with the perfect counter-to-stool ratio.

He took his usual seat at the end of the counter, and he ordered his usual beer, an on-tap, pale ale.

“How's the book coming?” Frank, the bartender, asked as he placed Harry’s beer in front of him.

Harry eyed the glass. It was a quarter-of-an-inch short. He made a mental note, but he decided to let it pass.

“Not good, Frank. Someone was sitting at my spot.”

“Your spot?”

“At the coffee shop. I always sit at the same table. It has the best lighting and a power outlet so I can stay for hours without worrying about my battery dying. But today, I was running late, and when I got there, this guy was sitting at my spot, like he owned the place.”

“What did you do?”

“Well, I left. I had to,” Harry spat. “I don't like any of the other tables there. Besides, I wouldn't be able to concentrate with that guy lurking around.”

“Why don’t you just write at home?”

“Too many distractions. The TV and refrigerator are right there, tempting me.”

Frank nodded in understanding as he wiped the counter.

“But I had to get my word count in,” Harry continued, “so I went around the corner to another coffee shop I read about online.”

“How were the tables there?”

“The tables were fine, but the place itself had a bad vibe. It was too dark or something. I couldn't let that seep into my writing, so I surfed the web for a couple of hours, and then I came here.”

“Maybe you should try the library?”

“I have, a few times. There were too many giggly school girls. They're not as strict on enforcing that 'no talking' rule these days. Another time, I had to deal with a smelly, homeless guy, snoring in the study carrel next to me. I couldn’t get anything done. I can only write in coffee shops.”

“So, no writing for today, Harry?”

“No writing for today, Frank.”

Find out how the rest of the week goes for Harry!