Brief Interview With A Cannibal

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.

His editor had congratulated him for avoiding clichés in his pieces, and Aubry decided that this was an excellent talking point. Upon graduation, he’d do a few years at The Boston Globe before moving on – oh, with a heavy heart – to The New York Times. His impressive, steady climb up the ladder would be due to his innovative approaches to arguably tired material. In a few years, he’d call his Times’ column ‘Fresh Eyes.’

This arrangement required that he avoid describing the man across the table as “quiet,” “nondescript” or “shy.” Those were time bombs of banality that might potentially bore future employers.

He turned on the tape recorder.

As usual, he’d lead with a tough jab, like his trainer had taught.

“How many people did you kill?” he asked with his trademark straightforward, clinical approach.

“Counting you?” the man asked in a very different tone of voice.

The next day, they reattached the guard’s ear. Aubry changed his major to finance.

The Attack Of Zombie Ron Ziegler.

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.

“I think there’s going to be trouble.”

Paul clasped his hands behind his back and stared at his shoes; this was, traditionally, the posture he assumed when expecting someone to yell at him.

“What?” asked Mr. Pearson.

Paul shuffled his sneakers, gently. The waiting game.

What?” asked a now-irritated Mr. Pearson. The simple process of having to ask a question twice was enough to spike his blood pressure.

“I opened Ron Ziegler’s coffin, and it turns out he was a zombie, so he jumped out and escaped.”

Mr. Pearson’s jaw hung slack for just a split second.

He asked, “Who did this?”

“I did,” answered Paul.

“No! I mean who jumped out of the coffin…”

”Oh, Ron Ziegler.”

Mr. Pearson pointed towards the mausoleum, “Ron Ziegler, the former press secretary for the Nixon White House, is a zombie?”

Paul raised his eyebrows, “I didn’t know he was involved in politics.”

”Of course not,” Mr. Pearson spat! “You studied history at Brown University! Why the fuck would you know anything about the Nixon administration? Bet you can tell me a lot about important women authors of Palestine, though.”

“I don’t think you’re being helpful,” offered Paul over the sound of shoe shuffling.

“Why did you open the coffin in the first place?”

”I heard scratching from inside.”

”You heard scratching from the inside of a coffin, so you opened it to double check that there wasn’t a zombie inside?”

“Maybe he’d been buried alive?”

”He died in 2003. If he’d been buried alive, however fucking unlikely that is, he’d be dead by now. If you had gone to a real school, you’d know that.”

”There are a lot of smart kids at Brown. Brilliant kids,” muttered Paul.

“All of them are in the sciences! The liberal arts program at Brown is absolute shit. You’re living proof – letting Ron Ziegler out of his coffin to maraud in the night.”

A silence fell over the room like a pall. The only sound was former White House press secretary Ron Ziegler’s maniacal cackling, which swirled about in the night air like insects.

Mr. Pearson produced his Zombie Gun.

“I’m going to find Ron Zielger. When I get back, it’s dodgeball for you!  See how hip being a dork is then!”

Paul shrieked like Fay Wray, “Not!”

Free Throw!

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.

Cyril stood at the free throw line. His cheek still smarted from the elbow to the face that earned Lincoln High a foul. The score was tied 51-51.

Cyril looked at the floor. Then he looked up the backboard.

The crowded chanted “Cy-ril! Cy-ril!” They stomped their feet on the wooden bleachers. The noise was deafening.

He thought of all the times the older kids had made fun of his complicated orthodonture and his corrective shoes. The teased him relentlessly about his stainless steel buttock brace. They never understood his insistence on wearing faux-medieval tights and knee-high suede boots to class. His repeated attempts to legally change his name to “Robert Heinlein” alienated him from his peers. His public espousal of fascism, complete with homemade armbands and impenetrable pamphlets, attracted few friends; those it did attract tended to be older, angrier men who still lived with their parents.

Now, at the free throw line, it was all up to him.

Cyril dribbled the ball, once.

Twice.

He lobbed the orange sphere towards the rim.

It missed completely, flying over the backboard and lodging in the steel reinforcement that held the heating system in place.

”Godammit, Cyril,” someone in the crowd shouted with undisguised hatred!

The fans stampeded off the bleachers and chased Cyril out of the gymnasium.

He arrived home, 15 minutes later, bloody and out of breath, his glasses shattered and his ribs broken.

His father stood in the living room next to a dry erase board; he held a long wooden pointer. The Objectivist Discussion Group was still underway.

“Cyril,” his father piped, “did you win?”

Independent Film.

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.

”Ready?”

”Yep.”

“Great. OK. Action.”

“You’re a no-talent fucking idiot and this script is awful.”

Cut!”

“What’s the matter, now?”

”That’s not what’s written in the script. Those aren’t you lines.”

”You said you wanted me to be honest.”

“I said I wanted your performance to be honest.”

“So, you want me to lie but you want my performance to be honest?”

”Oh, c’mon. We talked about this for, like, two hours, yesterday.”

”Yes?”

”Is there any way you can stick to the lines and let the honesty come through?”

”You want me to be honest, but using other people’s words?”

“Yes. Exactly.”

”I’ll try.”

”Great! OK. Everybody settle down. Sound.”

”Speed.”

”Camera?”

”Good to go.”

”Great. Ready? Action!”

”This is the worst fucking thing I have ever read and you’re an idiot. Hell, judging from this, everyone in your family…”

”Cut!”

”Nope. Nope. I guess I can’t use other people’s words.”

“We weren’t having this problem during rehearsal.”

”You had more talent at rehearsal.”

”Well, let’s pretend I have just as much talent, now.”

“I thought you wanted me to be honest.”

”OK. We’re going to take a break. When we get back, we’ll do the scene with the belly dancer.”

”You better go talk to her.”

”Why?”

”She’s still pissed off that she had to change up in her car.”

It’s Not Too Sweet!

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.

“Ma’am, that’s a reserved parking space.”

”Something happened to my daughter!”

She pulled into the first space she could find, which, conveniently, was right near the principal’s office. Not ‘conveniently.’ ‘Conveniently’ indicated something trivial. A elevator that was out of order. Some wet paint.

The secretary had called the firm. Could she come to the school immediately? Something to do with Cadence. The first thing that bounced into her mind, like an ugly angry red rubber ball, was that Cadence had some kind of reaction to her medication.

In 9th grade, Cadence was concerned that other kids might find out about her meds. Embarrass her. Call her names. One day, her homeroom teacher called the firm to mention just how proud she was; Cadence had given a speech in front her class about her meds. She explained how important they were and how it wasn’t any different than having something like diabetes or a heart condition. As the homeroom teacher explained it to her over the phone, they both cried. The young girl would grow up to be a strong woman. Maybe another lawyer.

“Wet floor, miss!”

The janitor was a kid, probably a recent graduate of this very school. How could look the students in the face as he mopped up their piss?

“Where is my daughter?”

”Eh?”

”Where is the principal’s office?”

”Straight ahead, ma’am.”

She turned off her Blackberry and her iPhone.

The principal’s office, needless to say, had a brown oak door with a faux-brass plaque mounted at eye-level.

The old principal was gone. This new guy had been there for two years. He looked like the magician judge from Night Court.

Cadence sat in a purple leather chair away from the surprising modest desk. Her eyes were red and swollen. Her chin was tucked down towards her chest.

She wrapped her arms around Cadence’s neck and pulled the young girl toward her. Cadence was stiff and reluctant.

“What happened,” she asked Cadence, her voice thin and choked.

Silence.

The principal tented his fingers.

“Cadence,” he asked softly.

“Yes?”

”What is the name of the game you invented?”

”Kick Her In The Blank.”

”How long have you been playing Kick Her In The Blank?”

”Since seventh grade.”

”Who have you been Kicking In The Blank?”

”Julie.”

Land Of 1,000 Gnomes!

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.

The Landlord kicked the apartment door open!

”What the hell is this?”

Alec K Redfearn dashed around the apartment, swatting tiny bearded men with a rolled-up newspaper as they scattered across the rug.

“Blast it,” exclaimed Alec K Redfearn, “I was working on my esoteric systems and I accidentally invoked all these damned gnomes!”

“Gnomes,” repeated The Landlord with incredulity.

“Yeah. These little guys with the red hats and the beards. They’ve been tear-assing around the place for 15 minutes.”

“A veritable infestation!”

”Yeah!”

“Hey, Big Guy,” asked a gnome. “Can we borrow your ID?”

With the reflexes of a striking cobra, Alec did smite the tiny abomination with the periodical. The wee beastie erupted like a blood blister.

“I’ve got to corral these chumps fore’n my old lady returns from tap class.”

“I’ve an idea,” declared The Landlord, gesticulating like a madman. “We’ll leave a great stein of beer in the center of the room. When the thirsty gnomes gather ‘round, we’ll perforate them with my shotgun, ruining the carpet!”

”Capital!”

“Now,” instructed The Landlord. “Remove that elaborate ceremonial headpiece and swing by the packy.”

The Landlord handed Alec K Redfean a bag of silver.

“Did you lose this,” The Landlord asked.

“My bag of silver!  Great!  Hey, gimmie some money from the liquor store.”

At that very moment, deceased German silent film actress Brigitte Helm emerged from within a swirling cone of gray mist.

“I might not be able to drive, so good,” she shouted, “but I know that Guy Benoit is a national treasure!”

Record Store Day!

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.

“I would have to give the edge to Refused’s The Shape Of Punk To Come over The Stooges’ Fun House. I’ll grant you…”

Before Punk Rock Aubry could finish his sentence, Rollie pulled out a pistol and shot him in the crotch!

Pistols are A Lot louder in real life than what they depict in the movies. I mean, I imagine they’d be loud, anyway, if you had a gunfight outside, but indoors, at the record store, it hurt like hell.

There’s the flash of the gun. Then, surprisingly late, there’s the sound.

The pop.

Imagine if your skull was a hollow tin sculpture. Like a giant skull-shaped whistle the size of, say, a pineapple. Imagine that you took a balloon and filled it with air and then tried to cram the inflated balloon into the hollow tin skull. After a few seconds, the balloon would pop inside the skull.

That’s what having a gun going off five feet away from you feels like.

Anyway…

I have to assume that Punk Rock Aubry was screaming in fear and agony, but I couldn’t hear a thing. It was like my head was stuck in a clothes dryer. His tight black jeans were slick with what I assume was blood – lots of it. Part of DropDead shirt was singed, which I didn’t expect.

Aubry’s writhing – and I hate to even think this… Aubry’s writhing evoked when Curly from The Three Stooges used to lie on the ground and ‘bicycle’ in a big circle. The weirdest part is that Punk Rock Aubry was probably emitting some ghastly “woowoowoowoowoo” sound at the time.

Scooter, the manager, had been standing behind me the whole time. Like I said, I couldn’t hear anything. He waved his arms and kept dropping the phone.

The mall security – these ex-Wackenhut guys – ran in and, without exaggeration, ran back out. Screaming. The sight of blood and all.

That’s how I discovered I didn’t mind the presence of gore and violence. With the payout from corporate, I went to school and became an emergency room nurse. Great fucking gig.

When we gave our statements to the police, we made sure to tell them The Shape Of Punk To Come was bullshit, and that Fun House was dope.