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allan
October 27th, 2010, 02:06 AM
Buck stands with his back against the wall while staring nervously out the window. He holds the revolver with both hands. He is sweating profusely. His hands shake constantly and I worry that his finger might slip. “We’re never going to get out of here alive,” he is saying.
I am calm upon the bed. I’m not wearing any socks. I’m lighting another cigarette.

Buck hears sirens in the distance and crouches against the wall so he can stare out the corner of the window. “God, I hope they’re headed for us,” he says, but the sound passes and Buck stands up again. Then he turns to me with the barrel of the gun covering his nose. “What the hell are you doing?” he says.

I’m smoking a cigarette.

“I’m smoking a cigarette. What does it look like?”

Buck wipes his forehead with the back of the hand that holds the gun. Then he turns his eyes, without turning his head, to the window. “Not that,” he says, before redirecting his stare to the door. “Your computer,” he says.

My computer is in my lap.

“I’m checking my email,” I say.

Buck stares at me before he stares out the window again. “Your email? Are you fucking kidding me?”

I continue checking my email.

“A friend of mine found an abandoned dog and wants to know if anyone wants to adopt it,” I say.

“Do you want to adopt an abandoned dog,” I say. “She says it’s very friendly.”

Buck shakes his head before he stares out the window again. Then he calls me a fucking asshole. Then a single knock comes from the door, followed by the muffled sound of many children laughing at once from behind it.

I’m not sure how long we have been here like this, but it seems like a long time. There used to be a lot of us here. We used to leave the door unlocked. We used to inhabit every room of the house, but not anymore. Now it’s only Buck and me left. At least we think there’s only me and him left. I’m not sure how long it’s been since we left the room, nor how long it’s been since the screaming stopped. Seems like a long time. Seems like this is all its ever been, at least until the knock came from the door.

“We should see who it is,” I say.

Buck quickly shushes me with the barrel of the gun over his lips. Then he crouches against the wall again and whispers, “Maybe we should jump.”

“Maybe you should jump,” I say. “I’m busy checking my email.”

Another single knock comes from the door, followed by the scratchy voice of a child saying, “Don’t be scared,” followed by the sound of fingernails scratching at the edges of the door like rats clawing out the inside of a wall, then more laughter, louder, as if they were pressing their mouths against the edges of the door.

“It’s not funny,” I say, which only produces another solitary knock and more laughter.

Buck says, “Fuck!” from all fours and crawls along the floor until he is next to the bed. “How many of them do you think there are?”

“Enough,” I say as I confirm a friend request on Facebook.

Buck sits on his knees and scratches his head with the gun. “What do you think we should do?” he asks.

I shrug my shoulders without taking my eyes off the computer. “You wanna email Obama again?” I say.

Buck rolls his eyes at me and says, “I told you he doesn’t actually read them.”

“Well, Anderson Cooper told me that he does and Anderson Cooper hasn’t lied to me yet.”

Another knock comes to the door causing Buck to jump and his eyes to move frantically from me to the window to the door. “Like he actually has the time to go through the million emails he gets every day,” he says before he’s standing up again.

“I betcha he doesn’t get that many. Everybody probably thinks the way you do so they don’t even bother sending one, except maybe for lunatics and children. And since we’re not in the third grade or crazy, he’d probably read it.”

“No, we’re not crazy.” Buck agrees as he continues to stand by the bed, eyes still frantic around the room. “Well, what would we say?”

I take a deep breath. “Obviously we’d mention something about our impending death from the cannibalistic children at the door.”

Another knock sends Buck to a crouch in front of the oven, gun still held ready in both hands. “You’re not going to open with that, right?”

“Oh no, of course not!”

Buck nods his head in agreement. “Say something first about healthcare reform, something to get his attention. Maybe call him a pussy and then apologize for using the word pejoratively but explain that no other word best fits the way he’s acting.”

I put out my cigarette and immediately light another one. It’s important to smoke while writing an email about healthcare and cannibalism to the president. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to insult the man before we ask him for help.”

“Whatever,” Buck says while he nervously watches me type. Then another single knock at the door, this one with more force than the ones before it, shaking the door and reverberating throughout the walls.

Buck tells me to hurry so I quickly finish the email and send it. Then he asks, “What now?”

“Now we wait,” I say. “I want to check Craig’s List anyway.”

Buck grabs a paper towel from the counter and wipes the second skin of sweat from his face. Then another knock, even worse this time, and the doorknob turning and children laughing and the words “It won’t be long now” said by one of them and then echoed by them all.

Buck is up again with another “Fuck!” and he’s pacing the center of the room. “We got to do something!” he is saying before he takes his position by the window again. “We just can’t wait here forever,” he says.

“We can if we try,” I say.

Buck holds his gun up in the air and says, “I got it!” Then he drops to all fours again and crawls his way to the side of the bed. “What if we just make it look like we jumped out the window,” he whispers.

I’m reading a posting from a guy looking for a Portuguese Linguist. Then I ask Buck if he speaks Portuguese.

Buck ignores me. “What if we just throw some shit out the window and then hide in the closet. That way when they come in they’ll think we jumped.”

Then it’s a guy wanting someone to monitor his profile on a dating site. “Won’t they just look out the window and see that it wasn’t us?”

“You can’t make out anything clearly from this height so we’ll just throw shit that looks like us!”

“Like the coffee table?” I ask.

Another knock, this one as if from a sledgehammer, and Buck is up again and frantically searching for things to throw out the window. “No, not the coffee table. Something appropriate… something applicable to our current situation.”

Then it’s a call for submissions from people who met the love of their life in Central Park. “Throw the books,” I say.

Buck stops his search and turns to me to stare without blinking. “The books?”

“Yeah, the books,” I say still bored. “They should look a lot like a body from this height.”

Buck is already moving to the bookshelf while saying, “Good idea!” He puts the gun down on the couch and starts stacking appropriate books. “Aren’t you gonna help?” he says, stopping mid-stack to wipe the sweat from his forehead and stare at me.

“I’m not in the mood,” I say. “I didn’t sleep very well last night.”

Buck shakes his head before he continues the frantic stacking of books again, calling me various “fucking” names as he does: “Fucking Asshole, Fucking Bastard, Fucking Cocksucker, Fucking Douchebag…”

I’m too impressed that he’s able to do it in alphabetical order to return my attention to my computer and I try to guess what “fucking” name is coming next. Then I stop him to say, “Keep the Faulkner just in case we survive,” and he looks up with a snarl and throws a copy of The Sound and the Fury at me. I flip through it as he continues to stack two bodies’ worth of books on the coffee table.

Buck finishes and looks at the books and then at me to ask me what I think.

I take a deep breath and consider what he’s done. Then I smile at him as if I was smiling at myself. “Out of all the things we’ve lost,” I say while still smiling, “what have we gained?”

Another knock at the door, softer than before, then the words “Nothing can stop us now”, then another knock, until a steady, progressively louder rhythm is started.

Buck says, “We had nothing to lose in the first place.” Then he throws the first stack out the window, holding the bottom of the pile with both hands and heaving it with all his might at where the window was already cracked. Glass shatters, significant to an otherwise silent night to be heard from those below as a song of sublimation, countless articles of expression each as sharp as a shard of glass falling to the earth with nothing but flesh to cushion their fall, then the thud of the books, hitting the cement with the impact of a skull.

The knocking stops as me and Buck stare at each other. Then laughter. Then applause. Then the second stack with a second shattering and a cheer and Buck has his hands on his hips and is nodding his head. “Well, that happened,” he says. Then Buck grabs his gun and some Faulkner and I grab my computer and we hurry into the closet.

We sit across from each other with our legs crossed. There’s not enough room to sit otherwise. Buck has his gun in his lap. I have my computer. We both listen as the knocking starts again, now free to sound as loud as it wants. The wood splinters, then shatters, then a loud “Hooray!” as cannibalistic children fill the room. We can hear them at the window. We can hear them saying, “That was a good idea!” Then we can hear other things being thrown out the window.

I look at Buck in the darkness across from me. Then I whisper, “Luckily we’re wireless.” And I turn on my computer.

I consider my credit score. I consider enlarging my penis. I consider affordable car insurance. Then I say to Buck, “I think I’m pregnant.”

I can tell Buck is rolling his eyes in the darkness. I can tell Buck is considering either shooting me or shooting himself. “You’re not pregnant,” he says.

I elicit some inner nausea and say, “I really think I am.”

“You can’t be pregnant, you schmuck. For one thing, you have to have sex to become pregnant. And another, you have to be a woman.”

“Female sharks can impregnate themselves,” I offer.

I can hear Buck sigh in the darkness. I can hear Buck fingering the trigger. “That’s great, but you’re not a shark, and, again, you’re not female.”

I nod my head. I check the symptoms of male pregnancy on Webmd. “I think I might be a lesbian trapped in a man’s body,” I say.

“I think you’re a fucking asshole trapped in a man’s body,” Buck says.

“I really need you to be supportive of me right now,” I say.

Buck shakes his head in the darkness. Then he points his gun at me and tells me to give him my computer.

“Are you gonna email Obama again?” I say.

Buck ignores me by saying, “I’m ignoring you.” Then I listen to children muse about the faith required for such a fall. Then more things fall. Then more children laughing.

“It’s not funny,” I say.

Buck is checking his email. “No, it’s not,” he says.

Then silence. Then I light a cigarette. Then a single knock from the closet door.

“I wonder who it is,” I say.

Then more laughter. Then another knock a little louder than before.

“God, I hope we don’t make it out of this alive,” Buck says.

And I laugh, and then ask for my computer back so I can check to see if I got any new emails.

Bucky24
October 29th, 2010, 01:40 AM
This is very good. I especially like the contrast between the two characters: the one who is very mellow, not really worried, but willing to offer helpful advice, and the other who is almost frantic, trying to figure a way out.



...And since we’re not in the third grade or crazy, he’d probably read it.”

“No, we’re not crazy.” Buck agrees as he continues to stand by the bed, eyes still frantic around the room. “Well, what would we say?”

I take a deep breath. “Obviously we’d mention something about our impending death from the cannibalistic children at the door.”


The irony is wonderful.

I didn't find any serious grammar or spelling problems-the whole thing read pretty smoothly. Good job!

Ricky Jalapeno
October 29th, 2010, 02:27 AM
This is funny haha Nice! Good job! Bravo!

......Huzzaw? Haha

Draxia
October 29th, 2010, 03:19 AM
This is very good. I like the writing. It is is exact and to the point. Writing these days miss such a willingness.

Unfortunately that exactness doesn't actually give the reader an impression of something greater. Your point too closely mirrors its point. Which is great, but slapping your readers in the face (/trout slap FTW) too close to their comfort zones rearely garners anything worthwhile. Be more subtle.

jnimri
October 29th, 2010, 04:03 PM
Loved it. That style of writing is my favorite to read. It's dark and funny. Serious and sarcastic. I can see why it is going to be or is already published. I also love the ending. I try to do that with my short stories...some people don't appreciate the somewhat open and vague endings, I think they add to the mystery.

benja
October 30th, 2010, 04:14 AM
I’m smoking a cigarette.

“I’m smoking a cigarette. What does it look like?”

Repetition that is good repetition here. Feels very stylised and fun to read.

Sir.
October 31st, 2010, 10:58 PM
I love the dialogue; the laid back speaker infuriating buck with their totally dismissive attitude to the situation And the cannibalistic children, I am jealous at the display of genius they are - sinister, scary,creepy but at the same time quite funny and completely against the normal images of children in writing using the laughter of children as a herald of doom, extraordinary.

allan
March 18th, 2011, 12:02 AM
Sorry it took so long to reply to everybody. Been very busy and actually forgot I posted this here. Thank you all for reading it and your comments. Look forward to checking out all your work too.

Blood_Countess
March 20th, 2011, 11:21 PM
I liked this piece. A lot of people can't write in present tense well but you pulled it off. If there were any grammar and spelling issues I missed them because I was too interested to notice anything else. It pulls you right in from the first sentence which is something I think is vital in any story. The humor along with your writing style has me wishing this was a larger work. I wasn't ready for it to end yet. =)

allan
March 21st, 2011, 12:56 AM
Thank you. Present tense is my default. Not sure why but I think it's because i always think of a story happening as I write it, which it is since I'm writing it, rather than already happening. Even when I write in past tense, it's in the context of the present, like in my other post. But it really comes down to just being comfortable with it. Anyway, glad you liked it. It's pretty much an inside joke with myself about trying to get my book published, with literary agents being the cannibalistic children and the constant checking of emails to see if I've been eaten yet.

Isaiah Lake
March 24th, 2011, 03:44 AM
I like your style. It's very easy to get into.