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It Could Probably Get Worse · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
Freezer Burn
Cole rubbed his hands together and blew into it. He was thankful that he was wearing gloves. Whatever body heat he had left, he was going to need it. However, he knew all too well that the gloves wouldn't serve their use for much longer. Oft times, he would work quickly to get in and get out as his hands started to feel the bite of Jack Frost.

He glanced at his watch, fresh ice forming on its face. Thirty minutes since the trouble began.

His fingers started to throb underneath the thick leather. He lifted a glove up to his mouth. His breath lent a little grace as hot air circulated his glove for a second or two before it too turned and froze over.

His breaths, clumps of clouds that floated above then fell as they sublimated almost instantly. He looked around at the grated shelves of frozen food stacked around him and way overhead. He brushed the frost away from one label, and read ‘32 ounce Ahi: Keep Frozen’.

There was something wrong with the freezer. He only spent 2 minutes grabbing boxes, but upon trying to open the door, fate deemed him as the lucky guy to find the knob on his side frozen shut.

His boss had no problem with him leaving the door open. It was his parents that condoned that habit, telling to shut the refrigerator, freezer, garage, back door. Who knew that would be the end of him?

He shriveled up in the corner of the freezer, rocking himself in fetal position, trying to keep warm.

His eyelashes fluttered open. The tips had gathered a thin sheet of speckled dust, the corners of his eyes were welded shut by the freezer’s work.

He remembered something. In an airtight bag in the meats, there were oxidizing packets.

Whenever he would cut a bag open, he would toss those tiny packets and put the bag in recycling. When he was taking out the trash, he recalled that those packets heated up. Not all of them, but some of them.

He searched the shelves, trying to recognize the boxes underneath the frost. HIs hands were aching, but he didn’t care. At this point, he needed to take any chance he had.

On top of the third shelf, about 3 meters above him, he spotted the stacked boxes.

He glanced around, trying to find any ladder. Alas, as luck had it, the ladders were left outside the freezer. The boss had problems keeping ladders in the freezer since ice formed on the steps and presented a hazard.

He gritted his teeth and pulled a hand onto the rung of the first shelf. He mustered any grip he could with his fingers that felt like they’d been restrained by a million cold rubber bands.

One shelf, after another, he pulled himself up. For the first moment in his life, he finally respected why his gym teachers insisted on pull-ups. He screamed, reaching for the third and final shelf, when he finally got up, He heard a sound of thunder.

He looked to his right, panting and catching his breath while he lay on top of the shelf. The door shook. Chunks of frost fell off the sides. After another pull, the door swung open.

“...And this is why you never leave a cart in front of the door, Mike.” His boss barked at his co-worker.

Cole felt a burn of anger inside of him. Was that the reason why the door was so hard to open? Somebody blocked it?

His boss clicked his tongue. “Cole, why are you up there?”

“Trying to get… the… heat packets… sir.” Cole panted.

“Those don’t have heat packets… they are only for the twenty degree rooms.” his boss explained. “Also, why didn’t you use the Bard Inc. Scanner? It has wifi and connects to the system’s chat!”

“I didn’t know… they... had that.” Cole finally caught his breath.

“You rookies really need to pay attention to meetings.” Mike said.

“Mike’s right.” His boss added. He turned to his coworker. “Ugh.. Mike go get the ladder, we need to get him to medical staff.”

Cole breathed a breath of frustration.

“Looks like we have to reset the counter for days without an accident.” His boss growled again. “But it’s good we found you in time. I don’t think a Cole Popsicle is very appetising.”

Cole chuckled.

“Next time, don’t close the door, kid.” his boss chuckled back.
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#1 · 3
· · >>PinoyPony
I really like the idea of this one, how it spins what could be a life-and-death scenario out of mundane circumstances. You do a nice job of presenting a problem, and then having the main character work out an interesting and plausible solution, and for the most part your pacing feels good.

I think I'm having a little bit of trouble with the ultimate resolution, though. While I like that flash of anger at realizing that his coworker negligently endangered him, I'm not really sure what to take from the fact that the boss kind of laughs the whole thing off and berates Cole. It kind of makes the whole life=threatening business feel like an anti-climax. Personally, what I found interesting about the peril was that it arose out of a series of seemingly innocent missteps, but when the story goes out of its way to deconstruct the premise like this, it really does feel like you're popping your own balloon to a degree.

I guess the question I'm asking myself is, what is the ultimate goal of this story? The way it self-deflates its tension is almost like a comedy, but there aren't really any jokes here. And as a thriller piece (which I originally thought it was), it feels anticlimactic in the way it handles its resolution.

So my biggest suggestion would be to refine the ending, keeping in mind what you want your audience's payoff to be. If you want the reader to feel kind of silly and with a vague sense of pointlessness, then while this story succeeds in doing that, it doesn't do so entertainingly, at least to me. If you were hoping for your reader to have a different takeaway from this one, then it might take a little more tweaking before it's clear.

Thank you for writing!
#2 · 2
· · >>PinoyPony

Something I liked:

The first scene of this entry sets up the tension really well. It's kind of fucked up how fast we're introduced to Cole and how quickly he finds himself in a really bad situation. I think what makes this work is that people have actually died this way, because of very simple mistakes. I think the best thrillers are ones where the events seem like they can happen to you; really fuels one's sense of paranoia. This entry effortlessly caused my heart to speed up a bit, and that's something.

Something I didn't like:

However, as effective as the first scene is, the rest of the story does everything it can to undermine what the first scene had achieved. If this was meant to be a serious story, then the massive de-escalation for the majority of its word count feels like a sizable misfire. Conversely, if this was meant to be more like a comedic situation, then it didn't get a laugh out of me. Not even a chuckle, or one of those nose exhalations. From a tonal standpoint, this entry feels very disjointed, like two halves fighting against each other, and it's a huge disappointment to witness such a lack of cohesion.

Verdict: Unfortunately, the scene I don't like overpowers the scene I like, so I can't recommend it.
#3 · 2
· · >>PinoyPony
Commenting as I go.
Cole rubbed his hands together and blew into it

It? Curious now if there's a hidden object to be revealed later.
he would work quickly to get in and get out as his hands started to feel the bite of Jack Frost

Checked if I was in the R-rated group so I'd know which way this is going.
Thirty minutes since the trouble began.

Wondering if "The Trouble" should be capitalized. Hope to find out soon!
throb underneath the thick leather

Checking again.
His breath lent a little grace as hot air circulated his glove for a second or two before it too turned and froze over.

This is just confusing. Through his glove? Over/around his glove? How is it circulating? Is the wind blowing it back? I guess it's gotta be blowing inside his glove on one side and coming out the other. There's a better way to say this.

And what turned and froze over? His breath? His glove? How is it lending grace? What kind of grace are we talking about? The grace of a dancer or the grace of God? Neither really makes sense to me yet.
sublimated almost instantly

Sublimation is the change from solid to gas. I assume you mean deposition, but that word just doesn't work well for a variety of reasons.
He brushed the frost away from one label, and read ‘32 ounce Ahi: Keep Frozen’.

Remove the comma here. You've got a dependent clause.
It was his parents that condoned that habit

This means the exact opposite of what you say next. I'm half wondering now if you're setting me up for some kind of comical subversion using the odd word choices.
The boss had problems keeping ladders in the freezer since ice formed on the steps and presented a hazard.

Nice detail.
restrained by a million cold rubber bands.

Not really sure what this means, but it sounds neat!
One shelf, after another, he pulled himself up

Ditch the first comma here.
He screamed, reaching for the third and final shelf, when he finally got up

The comma before "when" should be a period.
when he finally got up, He heard

Lowercase that "he." The "finally" is repetitive here; the previous line also uses this word.
“You rookies really need to pay attention to meetings.” Mike said.

The period after meetings should be a comma. Similarly in the next sentence (boss added)
his boss chuckled back.

Capitalize "his" and consider moving this sentence to the front of the paragraph.

Despite the numerous little problems, I was able to enjoy the story. I feel like this story is a parable with a message waiting to come to the surface with further editing. Maybe additional emphasis on the workplace safety and paying attention in meetings message? The message you end on has more emphasis than the rest, and ending on "he chuckled back" seems an odd choice. Even rearranging the paragraph to end on "don’t close the door" seems weak. For short pieces especially, ending on a clever, thoughtful, or impactful message can elevate an otherwise mediocre piece, but alas, this story doesn't stand out for me.
#4 · 2
· · >>PinoyPony
So... another tough one. I'll have to piggy-back off of what the others said.

I agree with Bachavellian and Raisin that the piece deflates itself. I like the beginning for what it's worth. Unfortunately, the ending undoes whatever good had been there. I don't know what you are going for.

Maybe it would help to edit the ending where Cole finds a way out, but through the skin of his teeth. It would allow the tension to thrive whilst giving the reader a takeaway. Again, It's a suggestion. I'm not exactly good at reviewing.

Thanks for writing!
#5 · 1
· · >>PinoyPony
I really enjoy the prose when Cole is looking at this as a life or death situation, but I have to agree that his attempt for survival getting cut short does deflate the tension a bit more than should be needed. Also, not sure if it's just me, but the boss's dialogue in the ending makes it sound like he put a cart there on purpose?
#6 ·
I like Minifics for the simple fact that commenting can be more direct and errors are more likely to be pointed out. Plus, makes for a quick Retrospective too.


It shows I've fallen for the same blunder twice now. I ruined my own writing by adding unnecessary additions. Partially finished was actually better untouched, turns out. What would you call a whole finished piece? Whole-ly piece. Eh, nevermind.

I guess all that is to be learned mainly is that some stuff is best left as-is sometimes, no need to complicate it with resolution (if I'm reading your reviews correctly, I should've tossed out the resolve. Although I think it would've been a jerk move to leave Cole to freeze to death. But, the fact of the matter is, that I had peril well-established and I ruined it.

I guess you live and you learn (pls don't hurt me!)

Thanks for your reviews!


In all honesty, I've enjoyed your comment the most. The problem with anonymity sometimes is that some writers enjoy nitpicks (I know I do) and some don't. I still struggle with bad habit of dialogue punctuation mistakes, but I'm learning. The rest are simple errors (like mixing up sublimation and deposition) which could've been avoided if I did my research.

Thanks for your review!


*first faux-review. I was sweating bullets when I did it, but it payed off (I think).


Good viewpoint. Turning the boss into a jerk could be a way to fix the piece. As I said to Bach and Raisin, the same still stands. I messed up on this one and should've left it alone.

Thank you for your review!


Going to put this one in deep-freeze. Not much after that.