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.
My stepbrother’s bail was set at $2500.00. It could have been a lot higher. It should have been a lot higher.
His ex-girlfriend had gotten married a few weeks earlier. As predicted, this set John Paul off like a highway flare. He didn’t fall off the wagon – no drinking or drugging. That would have been too predictable.
John Paul went to the Capezio outlet and bought a foam green children’s unitard. He spent an afternoon applying angry question marks all over the stretchy garment with black paint. The acrylics were a holdover from his first attempt at art school.
Add a black Lone Ranger mask – you’ve got a half-assed Riddler costume.
John Paul drove downtown to the Comic-Con. He parked in dad’s spot at the firm and walked to the convention center, hissing and cackling and wringing his hands all the way.
The police told us they hadn’t let him through the convention center’s front door. Their story seemed to change every half-hour or so, but everyone could agree that the green unitard John Paul had acquired was likely designed for a 14-year-old girl studying modern dance, not an angry 34-year old man.
His genitalia were plainly visible through the unitard’s overtaxed material. The tights would tear every time he moved.
When we showed up at the police station, John Paul practically demanded that dad congratulate him for not falling back into his drinking and drugging ways. The underlying tactic, here, it seemed, was getting his sisters and mother to admit that forcing him to stop drinking wine and snorting cocaine had resulted in him being added to a sex offender’s list. (Some youthful Harry Potter enthusiasts got a long look at John Paul while he was writhing around.)
Over the past few years, John Paul had taken to interchangeably calling Charlotte and Andi, “Sister,” and Lauren, “Mother.”
“But, Mother, I thought you’d be so happy that I stopped drinking and doing all that great toot.”
Lauren and her daughters would cry for hours, and then wind up hugging John Paul after he told them how much he ached.
Now, years later, my dad hired a detective, and the detective killed John Paul. We didn’t find that out until after my dad had died. He left a 250-page explanation in a safe-deposit box, only to be opened a year after his death. He mentioned that his only regret was that he “couldn’t watch” the assassination as it occurred.
That made things really weird: I had been getting along great with my stepmom and my stepsisters since John Paul had vanished. What the hell were we going to talk about, now?