Flasher Fiction: The Writing

Since I’m writing some story things, here’s another one. It hasn’t went through the vetting process the previous one did, but I will say James will be reading this one first, so I might change something between now and when he provides feedback. If he provides feedback. Or maybe you could; if you’re not James, I mean.

The Writing
by Steven G. Saunders

I enjoy writing. Well, not all of the time… I have to make time to enjoy other hobbies, like mounting insects I have captured in nets and in other various ways; reading through old comic books that others, before me reading them, have thought unpopular; studying up on the intricacies of Albanian history; and numerous other things I do to occupy my time before I do a jazzy shuffle off of this mortal coil.

But there’s always the writing. It calls to me. But not in the way other writers say it does. Many of them try to be cool and hip and edgy about it, as if they actually read The Shining first before seeing the movie when they were younger. Some writers make it all look like some sort of compulsive addiction that they must appease, like some sort of hungry demon who feeds on words falling from the fingertips of high-purposed booze-hounds. Some writers do it for the money and pretend that all the ad-copy work eats at their souls, when in fact they are powerless control freaks who will never understand their own misery is, in fact, themselves. Other writer-sorts just shit things out like they have a kind of intestinal infection of the mind, crapping out pieces like this one, hoping later on that they correctly channeled Bukowski as some kind of hilarious blood-drunk gremlin, with good ol’ Chuck pissing about and pissing in everyone’s faces.

I was going to make some more shit references, but I seem to enjoy that sort of thing too much, and I don’t want to come across as a scatophile.

Writers have all kinds of explanations and excuses for their passions. It’s just a thing people do, you know? But what they will never tell you is about what lurks within. In order to be a writer, you almost always have to be a narcissistic egomaniac who loves your work above all others. You will befriend other writers, and if you determine they pose no threat to you, you will stay actual friends with them. Usually, though, we end up in situations like this one, where jealousy and envy on both sides escalates into a silent emotional war of wills. No one ever admits to it, or talks to it, because while writers are chatty wordsmiths, they hate telling you how they actually feel.

Unless it profits them in some way, of course.

Writers fashion themselves to be storytellers, much like how you fashion yourself to be some altruistic archetype for your profession, whether it’s police officer, school teacher, brain surgeon, or drugstore cashier. Justification is what it’s all about.

Human beings seek justice in their own justification.

One time I was wandering about, looking for bugs. And I found one, this little, brown Hesperia Juba. I caught it in my rugged sweep net; rather unexpectedly, in fact. I instantly thought of another writer I know, one who never ever supports my work… but always expects me to support theirs. There are many of these people, because that’s how people tick, but this person especially irritated me, so I gently removed the butterfly from my net and stared at it.

the_writing_butterfly

I imagined the writer I was thinking about as duct taped to a wooden chair; you know, like those ones used in old schools, or found along the side of the road; and I imagined them with their mouth taped shut. As I took my phillips head screwdriver, I quietly muttered that I should have selected a standard screwdriver and punched holes into the duct tape on the writer’s mouth.

I was… uncareful and stabbed him a little, but that’s okay as this was just a silly fantasy. I then took the butterfly and crammed it into his mouth, shouting terrible obscenities at him. As I ordered the writer to chew the butterfly, I covered him in kerosene and set his naked body on fire. I filmed it all, taking special note of his burning genitals. The writer’s screaming could be heard through the holes in the tape, and I could see little butterfly wings being spit out and catching on fire.

It was beautiful.

As I sighed at this gorgeous dream, I placed the Hesperia Juba into my mouth and chewed. It felt good. It felt… complete.

But not quite. I was talking about writers and I’m a writer, so I will continue with my thoughts on writers.

Writers will always be hiding something. They always have hidden something. It’s why they write. Hiding things and keeping things from others is how they learn how to lie, and all writers are proficient, hardened liars. Even if they have nothing to hide, they will envy those who have things hidden and make up hidden things to hide from others.

Part of being a writer is wondering if you’re crazy, too.

Of course, it’s everyone else who is crazy. Especially other writers. Whatever brain chemistry it is that makes people feel special and unique, writers produce twice as much of. Whatever hormones cause greed, envy, jealousy, and wrath, writers have three times as much of. Writers also know what’s best for them because they always know best. They are better than you.

I am better than you.

I am a writer, after all.

If there ever was a creature who was undiluted in their toxicity, it is a writer. And when writers mix, the result can be a nasty cocktail of pure bullshit and hurt. Most writers are weak, though, which explains their typical demeanor.

I’m different, though. I’m special. I was an athlete in school. I played college ball. I can run, jump, talk fast, restrain, and stay calm. All at once. I am rather proud of these features. I deserve to have pride in myself. Most writers are overweight, depressed, and quite literally mad. Whether they have developed some sort of psychological malady or they are angry about something, writers are fully predictable in their want for unpredictability.

Writers never see me coming.

They’re easy enough to track down, to follow, to talk up. You feed their egos. Nothing feeds their egos better than complimenting them on their work. They also like to drink. The ones who don’t drink love to tell you all about not drinking. All writers talk. All writers will disagree with what I’m saying because I am touching their hidden place. But they will know what I mean.

Writers are easy prey.

Most writers will tell you they know a lot, but, like that kids from the Encyclopedia Brown stories, they couldn’t defend themselves if their lives depended on it– as it often does. Now, Sherlock Holmes could defend himself. Did you know he was created to be a master of a particular fictional martial art called Baritsu, which is actually a real martial art called Bartitsu?

See? Writers are smart.

One time, a man disagreed with me about my Sherlock Holmes facts. He won’t be disagreeing with me anymore.

Writers encapsulate hubris, and if you can use that hubris you have the most finely crafted sweep net in the history of sweep nets. Writers love to talk, which is what I’m doing right now, and…

And you found him. I see.

Did you find the wings?

__

My fellow writer and dear friend, Josh Wagner, suggested something that I originally felt when writing this piece, anyway. Originally, this story ended with “I feel it’s in my best interest to tell you nothing else until my lawyer arrives, detective.” Now, some folks may like that– which is why I have added this note. Others might feel differently. Actually, let me know what you think, because one day I will be putting together a collection of these stories, and I’ll love to know what the “final form” should be.

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