Darkness On The Edge Of Town

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.

Skippy’s “All Bruce Springsteen All The Time” radio show somehow ran afoul of the college’s charter. Richie The Program Director asked him to spice things up a bit, so Skippy played 75% Bruce Springsteen, and peppered his sets with Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes and John Mellencamp, whom he would unfavorably compare to Bruce Springsteen.

Skippy entered his “The Boss” phase; that is, he began referring to Bruce Springsteen as “The Boss” or “Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen.” This wouldn’t have been so bad were it not for his insistence that the other members of the WPRQ family do so as well.

Metal Mike and Paul Puke began referring to Bruce Springsteen, on air, as ‘The Man With The Whistling Anus,’ which made Skippy very angry. Skippy called an emergency meeting. He blasted Mike and Paul for their heretical insensitivity and explained — vaguely, but tirelessly — how important Bruce Springsteen was to the people of New Jersey, in general, and to Philadelphia Eagles fans, in particular.

Skippy, a lifelong Democrat, railed against those who had misunderstood the acidic irony of “Born In The USA.” When Sherry asked where the irony was in “Glory Days,” Skippy got angry all over again.

The meeting lasted about half an hour. At the end, Skippy handed cassettes out to the other deejays and to the engineers and program directors. Each cassette was decorated with a label bearing the words, “The Gospel,” and contained several obscure Bruce Springsteen songs that might be unknown to casual listeners. Skippy had evidently created “The Gospel Tapes” in high school, when he discovered that there were people who didn’t like Bruce Springsteen as much as they should.

The following week, Metal Mark played selections of The Gospel on his show. He interspersed The Boss’ earnest meditations on blue collar America with audio clips taken from Al Parker’s gay porn films. The phones lit up.

Skippy had to leave school after developing a serious infection from his habit of chewing on the insides of his own cheeks. He later joined a Hare Krishna group in California.

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