Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.
(For Leonard Nimoy — 1931-2015. You were the best, man.)
He recalled a group of girls a few grades ahead of him who were powerfully attracted to Leonard Nimoy, specifically his portrayal of Mr. Spock, half-human/half-Vulcan science officer on Star Trek. They were not the goofy, nerdy gals who generally dug Dark Shadows and The Carpenters. These were witchy, dark hippy chicks who wore swirling-patterned skirts over tight black leotards. Lots of Zodiac type pewter jewelry. Suede boots. Shades that covered their faces. Unsmiling, hex women.
Man, they loved Mr. Spock.
They’d arrange a semi circle of plastic chairs in the art room, around the Zenith television. They’d smoke Newports and watch reruns of Star Trek in stoic silence. Occasionally, there’d be a smirk or a biting comment when Captain James T. Kirk, sucking in his paunch, seduced a green-skinned Orion Slave Girl with all the subtlety of a water buffalo scratching its haunches against a tree.
When Mr. Spock came onscreen, he would observe those witchy women, and he understood how Charles Manson could work the room. During extended scenes, the women would sit like men: they’d spread their legs and lean forward and rest their elbows on their knees. They looked like soldiers examining a map of Korea.
He would watch them watch TV. Ordinarily, there would be no easy way to explain this practice. He didn’t like Star Trek; he found it dour. He wondered when they’d run out of crew members, what with all Kirk’s underlings getting devoured or vaporized on a weekly basis. He grooved on Gilligan’s Island, The Monkees and Batman. Those shows were fun.
He could watch those women, all day, though. He didn’t know their names, but he could tell something about them. Something intuitive. A code. A shibboleth. He knew not to bug them when they were watching Star Trek, though.
One weekend, he visited his brother up at MIT. They were having a Three Stooges film festival at one of the halls, and it sounded like a blast. Sixteen-millimeter projectors and a smartass comedian who served as emcee. The cat did impressions and gave away kitschy records by Myron Floren and The 101 Strings. It was great. All these brilliant kids laughing it up at Moe, Larry and Curly. When the sexy lady did the tap dance in Disorder In The Court, somebody yelled ‘More.’
On the way out, 4AM, he saw some tables set up in the lobby. A couple of real freak types were selling ‘magazines’ that they had made themselves. They had written all the articles, with some help from like-minded friends; photocopied them; stapled them. Selling for 25 cents each. There was a ‘magazine’ about weird music; one about horror movies; one about Star Trek.
Aw, what the hell.
On Monday, during a commercial break, he approached the witchy women in their TV coven. He held out the Star Trek booklet and attempted an explanation. One of the women – she wore a huge Scorpion medallion – took it from him and raised an eyebrow. He wondered if this was an affectation.
The next day, at his desk, was a paperback copy of ‘The Left hand Of Darkness’ by Ursula K Le Guin. Inside, an inscription: “Thanks!” accompanied by a smiley face.