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.
Ian was in the witness stand! He rubbed his palms against the old wooden chair. Judging from the looks of the worn antique, he hadn’t been the first to work out his nerves while sitting there.
He wore his gray ‘tonic suit,’ some Doc Martens and a mod necktie. On the way to the trial, he had listened to The Stooges’ debut album, which Henry Rollins had recently declared in MOJO to be ‘the truest record I own.”
Roswell Dickie, his demeanor as ruthless and angular as the first three Wire records, hovered around the stand. He rarely met Ian’s gaze, which the witness attributed to his having been the front man of several uncompromising bands.
No, few people could match Ian for intensity.
“Mr. Mathers,” intoned Roswell Dickie, “is it true that you first met Miss Ellroy in late November of 1991?”
Ian wasn’t used to hearing his birth name; for years, he had been Ian 9-Volt.
He answered: “That’s correct.”
“Can you remember your conversation, that evening?”
“We talked about music,” replied Ian. So far, so good.
“Any music in particular?”
“I don’t recall.”
Roswell Dickie moved a few note cards around.
“You talked about Bikini Kill and The Nation Of Ulysses,” Roswell Dickie stated firmly.
“Yes, Mr. Mathers. You discussed their then-recent show at the AS220. The bill, which I freely admit was impressive, featured The Nation Of Ulysses, Bikini Kill, Drop Dead and Born Against. There are vague swirls of information that Skinned Alive may have performed, but that is difficult to confirm, it seems. Can you tell me anything about that show, Mr. Mathers?”
“Yeah. It was amazing. The guys in The Nation Of Ulysses wore these suits and jumped off their amps and the drummer was going crazy.”
Roswell Dickie examined a few more note cards.
“That show was on November 10th, 1991,” he said. Fact.
“I’ll take your word for it.”
Like a magician, Roswell Dickie produced a familiar-looking periodical.
“Do you recognize this, Mr. Mathers?”
He did. A Jah Wobbly rumble began to simmer beneath his stomach, just above his groin.
It was his old college newspaper.
“Mr. Mathers, this is a copy of the Roger Williams College Scimitar, a publication for which you were music editor.”
“That was a long time ago. I was in my early twenties.”
Roswell Dickie snapped the paper open! “You were 25, and a second-semester sophomore! According to this, based on a review you wrote, on November 10th, 1991, you were nowhere near the AS220, where you purported to observe the Mao meets The Germs ritualism of The Nation Of Ulysses. Instead, you were at Hornbag’s Hideaway, in Woonsocket, reviewing two sets by The Most Blues Wailin’ Rattlesnakes, your cousins’ r&b outfit.”
Ian vomited immediately!
“Fucking hell,” exclaimed Judge Livermore!
“You claimed then, and, indeed, have subsequently claimed, to have been at an extremely hip show. In fact, you were watching a half-assed white boy blues klatch play Johnny Winter covers. In your review, you mention that The Most Blues Wailin’ Rattlesnakes were ‘Springsteenian’ in their honesty, and would eclipse such trendy bands as Nirvana.”
Ian writhed in pain! “Yes! Yes!”
Roswell Dickie pointed at the ceiling!
“Are you aware that The Most Blues Wailin’ Rattlesnakes were dropped from their development deal with Epic Records after their guitar player was arrested for stalking Jerry Wexler?”
Ian gnawed the witness box like a gnu.
“Did you not name ‘Wall Of Pride,’ by Omar And The Howlers, the best record of 1988?”
Ian leapt to his feet as if Dinosaur Jr., themselves, had taked the stage!
“Yes! Yes! Yes! It was a lie! All those years of buying unlistenable Archie Shepp records for naught!”
Roswell Dickie whirled and faced the assembled courtroom!
“If everyone who claims to have been at the Nation Of Ulysses show at AS220 on November 10th, 1991, had actually been there, there would have been 8,000 people in the room!”