Editor’s note: Craig Champlin submitted a number of shorts for our annual Pure Fiction issue, writing “Pick any of them. What I’d really like is to run ‘The Ernie Bedlam Stories’ weekly. I have a lot of them and people seem to really like them.” We’ll run five of the Ernie stories here on the Bleader this week. Here’s the first.

Primal Ernie

Ernie lay on the couch feeling adventurous. He was flipping through the pages of National Geographic, looking for pictures of naked women. It was the middle of the night and his family was asleep.

Outside a howling wind shook the windowpanes. Ernie was peaceful. He popped a can of beer and hoped he wouldn’t pass out before the early morning exercise shows came on. His priorities were in order: beer, wife, children, and education—both mental and physical.