In the Basement | 10-15-2015

He put a gun to my head and said “write a fucking short story”. So I did. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t thought out, I wasn’t even sure it had a plot, but I did it, and it saved my life.

The fuckers had been thinking this out for a while. How they knew I was coming to Vegas, how they knew I’d be coke’d out of my fucking mind, how they knew I’d drink too much that night. These things I didn’t know, but they raked my head as I wrote. Regardless, it didn’t matter at that point. All that mattered was that I had at least five pages by sun up, or that .38 was going through my brilliant but useless skull.

You could have asked me, years ago, if this sort of thing ever happened to writers, and I would have said no. Even after people had told me about it happening to them, I didn’t think it could happen to me. Who would do that anyways? I mean, really, what was a short story out of my hand actually worth? Looking back, I guess it’s not about whose hand it came from, but who wrote it. A reputation can make or break a man. A lack of security broke me. I typed the first thing that came to my head, which was, of course, that first line. Then I kept writing, furiously at first, but by the second paragraph I was almost out of steam, and I thought I was dead. I needed another bump to keep me going.

“Out of steam, huh?” He pressed the barrel deeper into my skull. My thick brown hair wasn’t making it any softer, and I was pretty sure the corner of the glock was making an impression in my skin. They’d tied me up completely, even my neck. The only part of my body still free to move was my forearms, and those were set on the table, my fingers plying away at the keyboard. I guess that was the best bump I was going to get. I thought as hard as I could, but thinking isn’t something you just start doing; it requires inspiration. This situation had been my inspiration, but I was pretty sure the only direction this story would go in would be with a bullet in the protagonist’s head, and that would ruin the whole fucking story.

Then there was a knock at the door, angry, rapid. I almost thought, for a moment, that this would be my salvation. Maybe it was the cops. It sure sounded like a cop knock. It wasn’t the cops. Some guy in a suit walked in.

“How’s this progressing? Is he writing?”

“He seems to be doing the best he can.”

“Well, good. Keep him going.”

The gun pressed into my skull again. This time I whimpered a bit as it made contact, and one of the guys in a corner giggled a bit. Fucking snakes. They didn’t even care that they were destroying the sanctity of my art. All they wanted was a fucking paycheck, probably from the guy in the suit.

“Watch what you’re writing,” said the man with the gun. “It would be a shame if my finger slipped.”

I knew I had no choice. I had to write. I had to do whatever it took. I thought out an ending, some random bullshit about me resisting. It ended with them killing me, my blood pouring onto the floor, the man in the suit laughing, saying some smart line about not crossing him. Whatever. They cut the ropes tying me up, and sent me on my way.

The fuckers sold it to some kid named Workman. What a crock of shit. I’m sure he never worked a day in his life. It killed me that my work was bought and sold, then thrown on some little shithead’s blog. I felt useless. They had taken the last bit of honor I had. I found my father’s .38 special, the one he used to keep on his heel.

As I pulled the trigger, I realized it wasn’t my finger doing it.

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