Tag Archives: gun

Coffee and Writing and Muggings

Last Monday, I wrote a story that only had verbs and adjectives, called Read Run Inspired. People speculated what was happening in the comments and some got pretty close to what I had intended. Here is the full story, with nouns and prepositions and everything.

Sources 1 2 3

Sources 1 2 3

It was my New Year’s resolution this year to never have a full-time job again. That might seem risky but it wasn’t total suicide. The November before, an agent had gotten back to me about a novella I’d written. “Great,” he’d said. “Make it into a full-length novel and I think we’ll be in business.”

So I quit my job. I sold most of my furniture and moved into the back room of my friend Crazy Bob’s coffee shop, eating the bagels and baked good he couldn’t sell during the day. And I sat and drank free coffee and typed as fast as my jittery fingers could.

At least that was the plan. Maybe it was malnutrition or the pressure of having to produce a masterpiece, but everything I wrote sounded stupid. Crazy Bob was sympathetic but I could tell he thought I was stupid, and that’s something, coming from Crazy Bob. I wasn’t stupid, although I was afraid I might get scurvy by the end of the year if people didn’t stop buying all the lemon muffins.

I usually worked in the back where I wouldn’t take up table space, but one day I just kept writing and rewriting the same paragraph and went out front to get some sunlight and coffee. I sat there in an overstuffed chair and sipped my coffee, feeling my brain activity spark back into life.

I was feeling very cozy when a woman came in and walked straight at me. She was dressed like a mugger, or at least what one might be dressed like in a movie. She had a hand stuck in her pocket and it looked like she had a gun.

“Can I help you?” I asked, desperately hoping that I couldn’t.

“Give me all your gold dust,” she said. I didn’t know if this was a euphemism for money or a new kind of drug, but I just froze. She repeated it and moved a step closer.

I’m not a good one for crises. My body flips a fight-or-flight coin and I have no say in the matter. I yelled and threw my cup of coffee in her face. She screamed and fell down and I ran towards the door, leaving my laptop on the table.

“Wait, come back!” she shouted after me. I wasn’t going to fall for that trick. I kept sprinting. She stumbled out of the shop, still wiping coffee off her face, and promptly ran into a light pole. I heard the scream and looked back, still running. It was so comical that I laughed. I turned back around just in time for my nose to collide with the “S” on a stop sign. I shouted something that started with “S” but it wasn’t stop.

I kept running, limping even though it was my nose that was bleeding and apparently broken. The woman kept coming, cursing and shouting for me to stop. I was considering slowing down when I heard a gunshot, which convinced me not to. I was getting tired when I turned down an alley that was blocked by a truck at the far end. I stopped, trapped.

She came into view, scalded, bleeding, and holding a gun. I screamed like a little girl because no one gives out medals to the corpses that died with dignity. She stopped, caught her breath, then gave a little laugh.

“Are you done yet?” she asked.

“Uh, I guess.”

“You run really fast for an unemployed writer,” she said. I waited, not sure how to take that. “I’m Crazy Bob’s cousin,” she said.

I was confused so I just nodded. “He was worried about you,” she continued, “so he asked me to pretend to stick you up and ask for something bizarre, then just leave. He thought it would inspire you in your writing to have a real experience to write about. The gun’s not even real.” She put her hand over the muzzle and pulled the trigger. Sure enough, there was no hole in her hand.

“Are you crazy?” I was just about to begin an epic rant when I remembered whose cousin she was and thought it might not be a rhetorical question after all. I stood for a moment, trying to adjust my mind to not being mugged and murdered and then I started to laugh.

“Sorry about throwing coffee at you,” I said.

“Sorry about your nose.” We both laughed, then waved and limped our separate ways.

I went back and bandaged up my nose. It didn’t seem to be broken, just very sore. I got another cup of coffee and sat down again. The caffeine flowed through my brain and suddenly I started to write.

Thank you, Crazy Bob.

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The Best Mother’s Day Ever

Happy Mother’s Day everyone. This is my bizarre tribute to mothers everywhere. For those of you who don’t know, this is part of a weekly photo prompt, where the challenge is to write a 200-word story based on a picture. Skip down below the picture for the story.

For my regular readers, I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting much lately. I have been working hard to finish a manuscript of a novel so that’s taken most of my time. I just finished today, so I should be posting more from now on.

The Best Mother’s Day Ever

“Happy Mother’s Day, honey. I got you something really special!”

“What is it?” Debbie asked, taking the box from her husband Robert’s hands and opening it.

“It’s a gun,” he said. “You shoot yourself with it.” Seeing her look of horror, he continued quickly. “No, no, it doesn’t hurt. You know how you never have enough time to do everything you need to? This gun helps you split up your body so you can do more things at once. Great, eh?”

“Uh huh, I see. How does it work?”

“You just point it at a body part and fire and it detaches. You can still use the body part and control it though. You shoot it again to reattach it. Imagine how efficient you can be now.”

“Sounds great,” she said brightly, and shot him.

Twenty minutes later, Debbie was sitting on the couch, eating an ice cream sundae and watching a movie. Robert’s left arm was cleaning out the gutters; his right arm and legs were out picking up the dry-cleaning; his head was watching the kids; and his torso was mowing the lawn, somehow.

She smiled. This was the best Mother’s Day ever.

 

 


The Reality Gun

I woke up in what looked like a lab. Which was weird, since I’d fallen asleep on my couch watching reruns of the X-Files. A young woman bent over me and smiled brightly.

“Good morning, Mr. Churchwater.”

“Where am I?” I asked.

“You’re in a secure location.” That was a bad sign.

“How do you know my name?”

“Everyone knows the name Gregory Churchwater,” the woman said. “You’re the most famous hostage negotiator in the world.”

I smiled to myself. Heck yeah, I was. Time Magazine had named me their Negotiator of the Year three years in a row.

“The thing is, Mr. Churchwater, you’re too valuable a negotiator to waste your time with bank robbery standoffs and small time stuff like that. So we decided to kidnap you and freeze you cryogenically until a really big threat came along that no one else could handle.”

I was still trying to get my bearings and understand fully what she was saying. “You mean the government kidnapped me?”

“Yes.”

“Which one?”

“All of them,” she said. “Well, at least 183 of them. They formed the PCP: Protect Churchwater Pact, just for that purpose”

“You could have just asked me instead of kidnapping me.”

“Oh, you know you would have talked us out of it,” she chided, with a you-should-know-better smile.

I sat up, my head spinning. The room was all white and Star-Trekky. “The last thing I remember, it was May 6, 2018. You mean I’m in the future now?”

“Yes, you are. We have a huge crisis that is threatening the universe in a fundamental way.” Her smile never changed as she said this and I wondered if she was an android.

“What is the date today?” I asked. To think, all my family and friends could be dead now.

“It’s June 20, 2018,” she said. “Frankly, if we’d known, we wouldn’t have bothered kidnapping and freezing you. But that’s hindsight for you. Now, Dr. Grimsword will tell you about the threat.”

A young man in jeans and a T-shirt walked in. He saw me staring at his clothes and glanced down. “Casual Friday,” he said, apologetically. “If I’d known, I’d have worn a tie. But that’s super-villains for you.”

“Super-villains?”

“That’s why we woke you,” he said. “There’s a scientist named Igor Paintspackle Wong who’s holding the whole world ransom. He has built . . . a reality gun.”

This is not a reality gun but it came up when I did a Google Image search. It is apparently the scariest MRI in the world.

This is not a reality gun but it came up when I did a Google Image search. It is apparently the scariest MRI in the world.

Dr. Grimsword stopped with dramatic effect. “Which means,” I said slowly. “That it’s real?”

“No, it’s a gun that destroys fundamental aspects of reality. To demonstrate it, he blew up 5+3=8. We’re not sure how he did it, but now, 5+3 just comes back as an error. On a computer, on paper, even on your fingers, doesn’t matter. Just try it.”

I held up my hands, five fingers and three. “Damn,” I said mildly. “That’s really weird. I’ve never seen an error on my fingers before.”

“Hawking is working on fixing it. In the meantime, just switch hands. He didn’t mess with the communicative property.”

I switched hands, three fingers and five and sighed with relief. “So, where is this guy now?”

“He’s in a coffee shop in London,” Grimsword said. “Now he’s threatening to destroy the concept of beauty.”

“That’s pretty fundamental,” I said. Being groggy made me say obvious things. “So, we’d think beautiful people looked ugly or something?”

“No, we wouldn’t even know what beauty was,” Grimsword said. “As you can imagine, the film and modeling industries are in a panic. The only group supporting it is UGGO, the Unattractive Girls and Guys Organization, although we suspect they’re only doing it for the free publicity.”

“Alright,” I said. “Get me a cup of coffee and get this guy on the phone.”

A few minutes later, the phone was ringing and I was slurping a little life-giving caffeine into my mouth.

“Hello?”

“Hey, is this Mr. Wong? This is Gregory Churchwater.”

“Oh, it’s you,” he said. “I was wondering if you were going to call. Don’t even try to talk me out of it.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” I said. “Sense of beauty? Who needs it? Fire away, I say.” I saw Dr. Grimsword give me a look of alarm, but I had a brutally effective reverse psychology. I once told a terrorist that if he didn’t kill every hostage he had in five seconds, I was going to shoot them for him. He gave himself up three seconds later.

“Don’t you want to know my demands?” Igor Paintspackle Wong asked.

I sighed. “Fine. Get it over with.”

“I want to win a Nobel Prize,” he said. “I have been nominated for an award six years in a row and never won. Do you know what that’s like, to always be a nominee and never a winner.”

“Here’s the problem with that,” I said, stopping to take another sip of that glorious coffee. “If we give you a Nobel Prize now, it sets a bad precedent. What’s to stop some other mad scientist next year—”

“What did you call me?”

“What? You sound angry to me and you’re a scientist, so you’re a scientist who’s mad, right? Anyway, as I was saying, other mad scientists will get the idea it’s okay to hold the world hostage to get an award.”

“Well, then kiss beauty good-bye,” Wong said. “And it won’t stop there. Every day until I get my Nobel Prize, something else goes. Tomorrow it’s the concept of humor, then fashion, then justice, then pi, then being on time, then—”

“Yeah, I think I got the picture,” I said. “Listen, I hesitate to do this, but I think there’s something else I could interest you in. There’s another prize, much more exclusive than the Nobel Prizes, called the I.G. Nobel Prizes. The I.G. stands for “Intense Genius”, by the way. They don’t even award them every year, it’s that exclusive. I think you could win one for this reality gun of yours, if nothing else.”

There was a pause. “You really think so?”

“Oh, I know so,” I said. “You’re more than qualified. Look, let’s do this: you go get yourself another cappuccino and I’ll contact the Ig Nobel Prize people and see what we can set up, okay?”

“Okay, sounds good,” Wong said. “You know, I thought you were going to be mean, but you’re really nice.”

“Yep, that’s me,” I said, then hung up the phone. I turned to Dr. Grimsword. “Now, you get a contract agreeing never to kidnap me again or I’ll call him right back and tell him what the Ig Nobel Prizes really are.”

He nodded in defeat and left. “And get me another coffee!” I shouted.


My Smoking Gun is Trying to Quit

I admit it, I’ve been in a weird mood. Maybe not more than usual, but more consistently. For those of you who like my saner stories, they’ll be coming, but this isn’t one of them.

My Smoking Gun is Trying to Quit

The police asked me about the smoking gun in my hand.

I said it had been smoking since before I met it, but it was trying to quit.

They asked about my red hands.

I said I’d been doing a craft project with disadvantaged youth.

They asked about the head in my freezer.

I said I was running a highly specific cryogenics experiment.

They wished me luck with my experiment and left.

Just as well. If they’d left the freezer door open any longer, it would have ruined everything. Now, I have to go wash the paint off my hands and go pick up some nicotine patches for my gun.


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