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September Story Chat: “A Daily Regret” by Gary A. Wilson

If you love to read short stories, you will enjoy Story Chat. For links to all of the stories bookmark the Story Chat Y2 Page. Comments are closed after 30 days because of scammers. If you have comments on other stories, you can make them on this current post.

Something to Think About

  • What theme or themes did “A Daily Regret” have?
  • Does the story remind you of any memorable one you’ve read?
  • Why do you think Reggie chose this venue to tell his story?
Reggie Mattox

“A Daily Regret” by Gary A. Wilson

“Let me start the recording.”

CLICK

“This is Tom Deerling and today I’m interviewing, Reggie Mattox, the renowned creator, and CEO of Cynosure Artisans.

“Thanks for speaking with me Mr. Mattox. I can promise you that all my followers know your name and how you created the wildly successful, privately held, Cynosure Artisans. You’ve launched the careers of thousands of artists and raised the bar for other media houses. The story of how you created and grew CA to its present state is now very well known, so, as agreed, let’s explore something different. You’ve been very successful, but no one is exempt from real life.  I think my followers would like to know if you have any regrets – anything you would do differently if you could go back and change something.”

“Thanks, Tom. To make sure we’re clear with your audience, we agreed to this question in advance, giving me time to think it through and you’ve agreed to publish the interview, as delivered, with no edits, thus the recording.”

“All correct. We did and I look forward to hearing what you’re willing to share.”

“Very well.” [deep breath] “I admit, I struggled with this but came to a perspective that I’m willing to detail. Okay, let’s do this.  I do have one big regret.

“I’m older now and these days I live a quiet and reasonable lifestyle, but that was not always the case. I was out of control when I was younger.”

“Ah – yes.  There have been, shall we say, more than a few tabloid stories and. . .”

“Ugh – let’s not discuss those – they are humiliating now because I know I deserve most of what was written. Let’s just say that I was a heavy partier, abused alcohol, and recreational drugs, and had inappropriate relations with too many women. It’s all true and I own it. But Tom, I want your followers to know if they care, that I’m not that man any longer and I regret my previous life.”

“Wow – um, Mr. Mattox. I did not see this coming. Your reputation has always been defensive if asked about these things.”

“Well, I had to talk myself into sharing it, but it was the first thing that came to mind when you offered this interview. I wanted to find something less embarrassing, but my biggest regret is the emotional damage I left in my wake and the price I’m now paying.

“You see, I have a brother. . .”

“Ethan – yes. He works near San Francisco doing IT something, correct?”

“Correct. He has a wonderful family who are so special to me, partially because he did life right and has the rewards to show for it. My nephew and nieces are priceless joys – every time I’m with them.

In my life; that is, my previous life, there was one woman and relationship that was worth anything and I walked away from it – from her. You might have read about Amelia. She and I were briefly together in Denver when I was starting Cynosure Artisans. She was an amazing singer with one of the bands. She was also smart and kind and – and I never should have let her go. Instead, I went on to make myself sick.”

“Sick? I don’t think we’ve heard about. . .”

“You would not have. It was so embarrassing; I kept it quiet. [deep breath] Tom, I caught a nasty venereal disease and it left me sterile. I can’t have children of my own. What I caught was treatable, but I hid the fact for too long and by the time I took it seriously, the damage was permanent.”

“Mr. Mattox – I’m sorry to learn of this but my followers – they’ll want to know – what did you catch?”

“I hate that I know this name by heart, but it was Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a nasty bacteria, better known as gonorrhea.  Even if there were a cure for me now, I’m too old to have and raise children, so I focus on my business and try to live a quieter life.”

“And Amelia? What became of her?”

“As I recall, she was devastated when I told her I was moving on without her. I had parties to see to, other women to bed, other heights to reach.  I know she would still hate me, so I don’t know where she is, but now, barely a day goes by that I don’t think of her.”

“Mr. Mattox – I don’t know how to proceed. You’ve completely blown me off course with this regret.”

“Please, Tom, I’ve been presuming on your willingness to be referred to by your first name all along. I apologize. It’s something of an artifact of my position – a bad habit I’m still trying to unwind.  Please call me, Reggie.”

“Um – well – let me think.  Ugh, no, I don’t think I can call you by your first name.  I had an ulterior motive for asking for this interview and think it would be wrong for me to address you so.”

“Why’s that? I’ve been honest with you, and I think. . .”

“That’s just it. I believe you have been honest with me and my followers. I wasn’t expecting anything like this and need to rethink how. . . . I need to step up to your honesty and match it with my own.

“You see my father left my mom in the same way that you left Amelia. She was devastated, found that she was pregnant with me, never married but focused on raising me and carving out the best life she could for us. She was honest with me about my father and was, and she still is an amazing mother.”

“I’m sorry to hear this but. . .”

“So – I can’t call you, Reggie, sir, I should not even be calling you Mr. Mattox.  I need to both, address you by your proper title of – of Dad and tell you that Mom would love to hear from you.”


GW bio card 4

Now It’s Your Turn

This is your chance to ask the author questions, discuss writing techniques, and chat with other readers and writers about “A Daily Regret.”

151 replies »

  1. This was a delightful read that flowed through nicely. The ending was a surprise for me, but I loved how Gary finished off the story. I had no idea how the story would end until I reached the final few lines.

    I have always been told stories containing nothing but dialogue are hard to write, but Gary did a great job with it. The conversation was good and full of emotion which I think many writers have problems getting over to the reader.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Gary
    That was such a delightful ending that earned the heart! Reggie’s maturity and openness felt so realistic and I could imagine his eyes gettin wet right after the big reveal if being a dad (esp after thinking that was not ever an option for him)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Yvette,
      Thanks for giving it a read and I’m glad you enjoyed it so.
      You may have seen from the comments above that I wanted to see if I could pull off having both men not know fully how this interview would go and then get them credibly to the the surprise ending. Having both grow was also important as was the whole notion of grace and that there is frequently a place for both forgiveness and hope.
      It sounds like the dialog-only feature also worked for you.
      If yes, then I’m a happy author.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I just checked it out (even tho as I said before – I think the time for reading is SO VARIED among people and even fast readers have slower or faster days so it can be varied even more —
        And a nine-minute read for who? I am just curious as to how folks come
        Up with the reading time for a story – is it an average ?

        I have seen it on other articles here and there so just curious

        Oh and I enjoyed the action and details in the story and left a comment on the post

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Yvette,
          Way back when I was getting started I wanted the essays in my first collection to not exceed about 10 minutes for an average reader. My own time is all over the map so I went looking for some kind of average. 300 – 400 wpm was what came up most often so I used 300 and went back to writing. Some of my readers like having an estimate to plan when they read and have thanked me for providing it but others, not so much because it doesn’t work for them.
          Part of the beauty of being us is that we’re all different.
          Thanks 😊

          Liked by 2 people

  3. We all have regrets. Most of ours don’t turn out to have such visual consequences, I think. Can you imagine the regrets of the people responsible for weapons of mass destruction or someone who had run over a child? There are worse things in the world of regret, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brilliant story, Gary. I like the dialogue and interview style of the structure, I think it makes it very easy for the reader to picture it but also adds to the pressure of the reveals. I have recently read a book that uses this style called “Daisy Jones and the Six” which you may enjoy.

    I think the father reveal was handled really well, the interviewer was clearly expecting the interviewee to be as per the tabloids and wanted a confrontation but when presented with a softer side to him, it changed his perception and I think that reflects real-life well, we can’t trust all we read in the tabloids and even if it is the truth at the time people do learn, grow and reflect. You’ve captured that well here.

    Overall a delightful story that leaves an open ending to how their relationship might develop which is terrific. Everyone has a past, maybe they can build a better future (or perhaps I’m a big softie for the possibility of a happy ending – haha).

    Well done (and thanks as ever to Marsha, our gracious host).
    KL ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well – instead of replying to your comment KL, I managed to create a new one instead. Most likely that means you won’t get a notification unless I repeat it as a proper reply so here goes.

      Hi KL,

      I’m so glad you stopped by – partially because you are always so encouraging but mostly because your analysis is sure to be useful and instructive.

      I’ll try and track down the book you mentioned because I know I’ve gotten a tad extreme with my affection for this ‘all dialog’ technique and can’t think of anywhere else it’s been done like I did here.

      I did try to put both men at a disadvantage by having the interview NOT go as they expected, but I also wanted their reality to lift them both rather than humiliate or unhinge either of them.

      These days, almost all media is equivalent to what we used to call tabloid-quality so, I day dream some of what decent, useful and uplifting media might sound or feel like. I doubt I’ll cause a new fad with this, but wouldn’t it be nice to at least trust our media again someday?

      We have one national host here in the US who is very outspoken about allowing people, even those he disagrees with to misspeak in public, apologize and be forgiven so we can all move on. But he’s the only example I can think of where any room is left for grace in this respect, so I never expect to see it in real life – but here – in my story, Tom had an agenda where he did not expect to need to show any grace or forgiveness, but I wanted both men to do the right thing in the end. I hoped it would not land as flat or simply unbelievable. Reggie was not likely expectig any grace and had this happened to me, I’d be mentally scrambled with two huge shocks – realizing that I have a son, a blessing I thought has passed me by and the unexpected notion that Amelia might ever forgive or be interested in seeing me ever again.

      For me, his challenge as the story closes is a wonderfully messed up mind facing too much joy for him to have any final words.

      Finally, as long as it’s credible, what could ever be wrong with a happy ending that leaves everyone sensing a possible bit of hope or grace for wherever life has left them?

      Thanks KL for stopping by and engaging the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Gary, yes that was what I understood from your story. You did a great job of transitioning both characters pov in such a short piece. It’s quite easy for the reader to picture themselves fall into that situation and becoming rather tongue-tied.

        I liked the dialogue writing structure, I find it very refreshing. One of my favourite lecturers once said; “If you can write dialogue, you can write.” Meaning, that it’s very hard to capture authentic dialogue it can sound too much like an extract from a textbook, (his example was – would you fall off a cliff and shout….excrement – no you’d probably use a rather more foul form of the word! Lol). Or it can go the other way and sound too fake making you think that; no-one talks like that. I think you capture dialogue very well.

        KL ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I thought this was a very good story. It is quite odd that I should read it this week as on Wednesday I had a conversation with my 83-year old mother about regrets. She said that as you get older you have regrets about things you did in your life that hurt other people, or failed to support them. I do think that if you have something big in your past, like the event detailed in this story, you would feel regret. Especially, if you ended up all alone with no-one who cared about you. I have not read a fictional story of a public confession like this, but I recently read The Second Mrs. Astor and when I read up what happened to the Astor children, they all seem to have ended up making a real mess of their romantic lives. I enjoyed the story.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow, I first mused the interviewee agreed to be interviewed in an effort to “get her back.” And then the hidden intention of the interviewer was revealed! Never read anything like it. Yes, I, too, have known many Reggies, and many, men & women, who have lived with relationship regrets for most of their lives. The carelessness with which we can treat each other is sad, really. Thanks for sharing, Marsha & Gary, and enjoy the weekend! 🌞

    Liked by 2 people

  7. fun interview and read Marsha and Gary. lot’s of painful truth as well. There are a lot Reggie’s in life. My dad still lives with lots of regrets similar to this story and has been married twice and never married the 3rd time and has been with his SO for almost 30 years.. so i guess he’s learned something. He’s lucky he had me and I’m forgiving 💖😇
    Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Cindy.

      Thanks for stopping by and giving my story a read, but wow, I did not think I’d have a reader with such similar experience. I’m at that age where it’s tempting to think about my life and where I could have stepped up better – but I did not lead anything like Reggie’s fictional mess of a life.

      I’m a lousy celebrity fan, so I don’t even know many actual stories of how these people do what they do. I only know that they are often found at the southern end of the moral compass from where they seem to lead our culture ever lower.

      I thought a story about one of them going the opposite direction might be welcome because there is still be plenty of grace for those who honestly step up, own their failures and try to turn their lives around.

      Thanks so much for engaging this story with us. I hope to hear from you again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • He is lucky. My dad divorced Mom and I had a hard time forgiving him. I never met his second SO and he was with her and her son for years. I met his third SO and liked her very much. She left him but returned to help care for him before he died even though she had moved on and had another SO. Mom never remarried.

      Liked by 1 person

        • She did. He lived in San Diego and wanted neither my brother nor I to step in. He didn’t want us to see him, and in a way, I agree with his thinking. I nursed my mother to the very end, and it was a special time and created a special bond, but also a lot of regrets of things I wished I’d done better and a lot of mortifying situations for her as well. I don’t have either the regrets nor he the mortifying experiences in my final relationship with him.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Marsha,
    It has to be a version of an older bit of wisdom: if you want to a good writer, hang out with those who are. Story chat made this happen for me and did so in the context of either them reviewing my work or me reviewing theirs – which was often a tad daunting. This group has made me more aware of the subtle complexities that change a decent story into a wonderful one. I did not want to show up at a story chat with armature-grade typos or grammar errors. I wanted my fingerprints on each story I wrote, but I wanted to know how to make that story great without it being a formula.
    This group is so diverse and willing to engage to help peel away at a story’s layers that pressing the submit button to send you a master was something I took pretty seriously.
    Hopefully some of the talent that I’ve shared your virtual chat rooms with has rubbed off because I want to write like some of the talent that were in that room with us.
    I could have written, A Daily Regret, two years ago, before there was a Story Chat project, but it would not have been nearly as good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have become much more aware, too. There is a lot of thinking that goes into these comments that I think the authors can apply. Not only that I can see that you have made friends by the comments and the posts for Charli’s flash fiction and their comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hiya Geoff,
    Lots of great items to chew on with your comments. I tried to put both men at a disadvantage by not having them know the full truth of what was happening with this interview. Tom clearly knew some that he was interviewing his absent father but was not expected such a contrite fessing up from Reggie. Reggie on the other hand thought he had sufficient control of the interview to allow his to proceed with his great regret, but I did not view him has having any hidden motives – just open confession and ownership of the mess he’d made of his life. There are multiple programs out there and even church counseling that would lead him to public confession of this nature. He’s a well-know public figure – so this is costing him regardless of whatever comes from the publicity.
    I did want to close on a surprise – well, just because that’s more fun which is how Tom found himself out done by Reggie’s honesty and whatever he had planned to do to his dad – no longer seemed to be the best path to take.
    I tried to leave lots of room for this type of wondering and what-if-ing.
    Thanks so much for taking it on and chewing on it with me.
    Great findings and feedback!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. hi Gary
    That’s an unusual and clever vehicle for your piece; it lends itself to telling some details in a way that trying to show them in another context would be both difficult and extend the story.
    I did find Reggie’s motivations difficult to discern; why did someone who has nurtured his privacy want to reveal this part of his backstory? Why now? And why link that to Amelia? Maybe, Reggie didn’t want to do this but his publicity machine needed him to be seen as more ‘real’, no so private and this was his way. Indeed following that line, maybe the reason Tom got the interview is Reggie’s management knew about the story and felt that would be exactly what Reggie’s image needed. Like when Miley Cyrus dropped the girl next door image for a twerk and a wrecking ball! Could be a total set up!
    I suppose this felt a little contrived by Tom, to enable him to link his revelation onto the Reggie’s. In fact, given Tom knew the truth as he started the interview and, one assumes, had some sort of plan to spring it on Reggie, the fact of Reggie’s revelations, whatever they were, wouldn’t really matter, would they? It was getting Reggie in the situation that gave Tom his opportunity.
    As I read Tom’s expose, I wondered at his motivations; embarrass his father? Make him squirm? By doing it in an interview context he would probably do that by making it public which might well be more than Reggie wanted.
    And then my whole line of thinking goes to pot, as you reveal Tom is really there on behalf of his mum, to get Reggie to get back in touch, which suddenly doesn’t seem to hard after Reggie’s regrets.
    It’s always interesting how a reader can run with an idea that probably has no link to the author’s intentions. That’s what makes for a good story.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I think Reggie choose this venue to tell his story in the hope that Amelia would hear it and contact him. It’s a story of hope, regret, shame, honesty.
    The story reminds me of a chat show we have here in Ireland. Tommy Tiernan is the host, and he chats with his ‘surprise’ guest in a relaxed manner. The questions aren’t rehearsed and quite often the interview goes fairly deep and unexpected. They say (admit) things unintentionally.
    Reggie honestly regrets the lifestyle and regrets more that he let Amelia go. Happens a lot, I’m sure.
    Tom’s ulterior motive for the interview was to confront Reggie about Amelia and to reveal that he’s his son. Or did he want to interview him only because he’s his son, but only decided to reveal that information after Reggie’s honest admissions?
    As it’s a recording, it’s not like a live interview so Reggie wouldn’t have to agree to it being published.
    Another thought I had; both men knew the truth about the parentage before the interview and went public with the information as a publicity stunt.?
    I wouldn’t be a fan of Reggie’s lifestyle, but I had a little ‘aww’ moment when Tom said that Amelia would like to meet him. Everyone deserves a wee bit of happiness, especially when they show remorse for their wrongdoings.
    I enjoyed this story, Gary. Getting so many details to us in the form of an interview was a clever idea.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Beautifully encouraging words, Gloria. I hadn’t thought about a publicity stunt. It seems like too raw emotional moment to use as a stunt. But it could happen, for sure. Interesting that you have a similar show in Ireland lending a lot of credibility to Gary’s genre.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh – I sorry Gloria but for my part in this discussion I managed to mangle my replies to many comments including yours by not actually replying but starting a new comment thread which, of course, would not notify the person who posted the comment I was trying to reply to. I must look rude to many of them, but am trying now to correct this. Here’s my reply from when it would have been both timely and relevant.
      ………………………………..
      Hi Gloria,
      I do love a good dialog story and am glad this one worked for you.
      In my mind, I did not see that either man knew how this interview would play out.
      I may just have to let that dust settle with each reader to see how it landed.
      But you do raise some great points. Because this is all dialog, each character could be playing a bluff of some kind where if a narrator said any of this, the reader would be expected to accept it as truth. Having characters say things opens up the possibility that they’re lying, mistaken, spinning an agenda or any of several other angles that, as the author, I could use to unfold a more complex story where both of them grow or – well, the imagination runs wild at this point.
      Thanks for engaging the story and for such a great comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love the idea of a narrator – again all you need is dialogue, but the narrator would act as the stimulator revealing the inner thoughts. I mentioned the Netflix series Jane the Virgin – great story made superior by the narrator who told what was going on in the speaker’s mind. Modern Family does a similar thing with the characters narrating their own inner thoughts. It adds a lot of humor because the characters can say the exact opposite of what they are thinking and the reader is let in on the big secret.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. A bit public for such a revelation. I think perhaps I’d have would up the interview first… The arena rather constrains the interviewees response (although I suppose it is a recording and can be edited).
    But as a tale, the revelation is nicely led up to bring that ‘Ahh’ moment.
    But think of all the women who will be suing him for their old STDs now he’s made a public confession…
    And which celebrity do we think might have inspired this story?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Cathy.
      Maybe I’ a tad cynical but I could see any number of cenobites doing something like this.
      I had not thought of the surge of potential law suits that might arise from such a thing. Perhaps a chapter 2 would describe how his attorney asks him, “What were you thinking?”

      Liked by 2 people

    • Cathy you always bring up the out of the box thoughts. Let’s hope he can avoid the suits since he’s trying to come clean rather than to ruin his life. I think many celebrities could be the models for a story like this. Maybe they didn’t birth a child, but those are common themes in stories these days.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Phil. I somehow lost my knowledge of adding comments and instead of replying you yours above, managed to start a new comment thread which would not have notified you. ugh. sorry about that. I must look rude. Here’s what I wrote back when it was timely and relevant
      …………………….
      Hi Phil (and I hope I’ve discerned your name correctly. Thanks for giving it a read and for your kind response. I do hope you’ve not been through anything like this. Old Reggie had a rough ride it seems

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Jacqui.

    Thanks for giving this story some of your time and I’m very pleased that you enjoyed it.

    I’m a bit confused though. What backstory did you read – because my history is not that of poor Reggie? I made more than my share of mistakes, but I did not dig the kind of hole that he did. Perhaps you read some of my bio or some stories from my ‘I Recall’ collection which are all true stories about my life.

    Thanks so much for engaging this story with us.

    Liked by 3 people

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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