Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Can you see?
Can you tell?
What I'm doing,
with my shirt.
I want a mouth
And I'm a vampire.
This man is my writing hero.
He reminds me every day that it can be done.
My copy of The Spontaneous Manifesto arrived a few days ago,
and I've been browsing the stories.
Many of them familiar, but not all.
Each one is like a smooth stone or a seashell found on the sand--
each one is exquisite and unique and solid.
each one was delivered from his skull by way of his fingers on a keyboard,
That astounds me.
Here's the story I did for the writing exercise on What If?,
since I bet at least half of you are as lazy as I am and don't click on links.
because heaven forbid I write something and not shove it in your faces, panting after approval or coddling or whatever.
Oh, I'm not that disgusted with myself, don't worry.
(I would put a smiley here, but they don't work, so just pretend...)
Hey, and while you're at it, have a happy day.
The assignment was to take a news headline and write a story based on it.
There was a news story last night about a 19 year-old man (boy) who had just shot and killed two registered sex offenders, then when he was cornered by police, shot himself. He was only in critical condition, so I look forward to hearing more of this. As the reporter spoke, my mind churned: had either of those men abused him or someone he knew? Or was he just playing vigilante? Ok, this probably gives away any direction I could take with the story, but here goes.
His heart beat like a thousand drums, echoing through his body and filling his ears. His breath hung smokily in the air in front of him, threatening to settle on the pane of glass and give him away. He was ready. It was time. But he couldn’t move just yet. As the grey-haired, flannel shirted man sat heavily in his recliner, the boy stood up. He crossed himself and squeezed his eyes tight briefly, one name going through his mind like a flood, now that he was moving.
Around the side of the house, up four steps, through the back door. He was careful to open it slowly and keep the handle turned until he had placed it back in its closed position. His hands were sure and firm, his mind was blank and he walked as with blinders on: steadily forward, eyes on the prize. Through the kitchen, down a narrow hall and—
There he was. The man. The monster, in the flesh. He looked up from his TV dinner without surprise and met the young man’s gaze.
"Three years? Do you think that was enough for what you did to my sister?" His shaking voice rose as he spoke, so that by the last word he was almost shrieking, his fury threatening to overtake him.
A mirthless smile crawled across the man’s face. He slowly licked his lips.
"That little slut was worth every minute behind bars. Have you ever tasted a 12 year-old? Mmmm---"
The bullet ripped through his pursed lips and spread apart the bones of his face. Jeff saw this in slow motion, feeling his own heart soar at the moment the beast before him was ended. He hadn’t thought about how precise it could be, this removal of life; he had pictured more shots, more twitching, more flailing. This was better. It was clean. And it was magical…for the first time since that day, the day she finally couldn’t take it anymore and risked her life by telling her secret, the hole that was rent in their world began to close up a little.
Jeff stuck the gun under the waistband of his jeans, his jacket hiding it completely, and slipped back out the way he came. As he walked through the crisp night air, his breathing slowly returned to normal, and his thoughts cleared. He had never been so proud of anything in his whole life. A lone tear crossed his cheek and he didn’t bother brushing it away—he just smiled broadly and sighed. It was as he walked home from the former school principal’s house that an idea began to grow inside him. The registry. The one where he had found this vermin’s address. Yes. He remembered how long that list was, how many of those men where in the same category as this one—and that was just in his town. He looked at his watch, and quickened his pace to a jog. If he worked fast, he could get through that list tonight, and be in Canada by noon. They wouldn’t know who to suspect, with so many victims between all his prey. He let out a short laugh and ran faster.