Staples

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.

Usually, Johnny and I would play checkers. He didn’t have any regular board games in his house, like Clue or Operation. Johnny’s Dad was an odd guy; he refused to speak to kids. He wafted through the house like cigarette smoke. Wire thin with patterned long-sleeved shirts, white slacks and Beatle boots. He didn’t dig board games, evidently.

Johnny’s dad, however, had closets full of those TSR roleplaying and strategy games – Dungeons & Dragons, Tricolor, Warriors Of Mars, Cavaliers & Roundheads. The whole house had a ‘roleplaying’ vibe. Decorative suits of armor; deep shag rugs; two bars (one upstairs, one downstairs;) massive color TV; a Pong game. Johnny’s Dad was visibly uncomfortable  around people, which was a fucking drag because he had so much cool shit in his house.

Johnny said his dad had a bunch of guy friends who would play these games with him. They’d drink beer and do all kinds of tally-ho stuff. Sometimes, Johnny’s Dad would head off to some renaissance faire, dressed as a warlock, and extol the virtues of Dungeons & Dragons, giving seminars and setting up demonstrations.

One day, after Johnny sulked through another round of crushing me at checkers (he was in the Mensa society; so was his dad. They had certificates on the wall,) he decided to show me his dad’s porn.

Obviously Playboy and Penthouse were too déclassé for Johnny’s Dad, and Hustler was too blue collar. Johnny’s Dad went for the confrontational Screw and – far more frightening – private press stuff: mimeographed fanzines stapled in the corners and smeared with obscene fantasies about TV actresses. Lots of autographed pictures of adult film actresses.

Johnny’s Dad had records and tapes and eight tracks. Recordings of people ‘fucking’ available on labels like BeaverSound and Hottt Traxxx. Johnny had heard all the stuff. His favorite was a story about a woman who works herself into a sexual frenzy on the stick shift of her boyfriend’s Porsche.

Johnny and I drifted apart. I got into basketball, and he got into computers.

His dad eventually went to jail for counterfeiting.

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