Deadline

Fiction

by Bernie Keating

OH SWEET BABY JESUS why did I agree to do this? (How many words is that? 11? Aw, crap . . .) Well, a deal is a deal. I'm a man of my word. Or, in this case, a man of my 500 plus words. (42 down . . . oh yeah, this is humming along. . . .)
 
Maybe it won't be that bad. Maybe I'll zip right through it. Maybe I'll polish it off in an afternoon. Maybe I'll lose 30 pounds by the end of the month. Maybe I'll unlock the hidden secrets of the human  genome. Maybe . . . maybe. . . maybe.
 
Oh, I know! I'll go through some of my old notebooks. I'm sure there are some solid ideas there. Where did I. . . ? Oh here it is. Let's see what we got. Story ideas: Hmm. . . "Reconstructing . . . or deconstructing. . ." — jesus, my handwriting — "deconstructing the limerick. . . or the turmeric?"
 
Absolutely nothing there. What are these? "Munchkin POV." "Darth Waiter." "The Strawberry Shortcake Massacre." "Snorkel!!!" "Absinthe of Malice." I was wrong. There's less than absolutely nothing here. I can't do this on an empty stomach. Just a sandwich then back to work . . . .
 
.....
 
I'm back. What time is it? Holy crap, was I in the kitchen three hours?! Well, I had to eat. And the vegetable bin isn't going to clean itself. Okay! Nose to the grindstone!
 
What was it my high school English teacher used to tell us? Write what you know? So, basically write the state capitals. Write my siblings' middle names. Write all the lyrics to "The Lonely Goatherd." Not what you call "a compelling read."
 
Wait a minute. Is that a car? Sounds like it. Bet it is. Bet it's my neighbor, blocking the driveway again. Damn it, how many times — wait, sounds more like a truck or something. Better go look. . . .
 
.....
 
I'm back. Wow. It was my other neighbor. The one I like. I started telling him all about my trip to the DMV a few months ago and right when I got to the good part, he says, "You've got a deadline, huh?" What an asshole. I mean, I take in his mail when he's out of — wow, it sure gets dark early.
 
Oh look! Looks like someone replied to my Facebook status. Wonder who it is . . . . Damn, just some cyber-farmer looking for a grain silo. These people who waste their time with Farmville when Mafia Wars is sitting right there. Speaking of, I should check my Mafia inventory.
 
.....
 
I'm back. What the hell is wrong with people? I started messaging my old college roommate all about how the Mafia Wars Chop Shop works and halfway through it, he messages me "You got a deadline, huh?" Whatevs . . . .
 
Okay! Back to work!
 
Hey, I know! A conceptual piece. Like cut and paste the entire text to "The Bell Jar" then delete every word that's not an adjective. People might not get it . . . too high concept. 

Or a revenge piece. Something like, my neighbor and my ex-college roommate struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Or, my high school English teacher in a race to the death from a pack of genetically mutated dogs with a lust for blood. Of course, I'd have to change Sister Kevin Joseph's name to something else. . . . 
 
Or maybe do something that's more "high-brow meets low-brow." Something along the lines of "Spiderman of LaMancha." Or "The Canterbury Veggie Tales." "A Hundred Years of Solitaire." "Steak Tartuffe. . . " "Tis a Pity She's a Kardashian."
 
Huh. This charddonnay is really beginning to take its toll. Should”ve stuck with the red. Mayby I shdul pt thss to bed fr the nghhht and srtat aggan frssh in the mrnng. )603!..../) Nd a @$m lk;mk %--_*+++*

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