Saturday, April 02, 2005

Short story - All about Gary

I met this guy Gary, he was a writer. He had already written a number of words.
“I just write individual words at this point,” he confided. “Such as 'coffee' or 'papier-mache', that sort of thing. I'm learning, you see.”
I knew Gary had been locked up for some of the things he'd done, he'd thrown some stones and one of them had hit someone on the head. Unintentionally, he insisted. I used the idea myself, and I wrote a story about someone who gets hit on the head with a stone. It was a sensation.
I met Gary again a few months later in a bar. I'd had my hair cut and was wearing an overcoat.
“That's quite an effect, your haircut and your overcoat, you're starting to look like a writer. What can I get you?” He came back with some beers. “You know, I know the idea for your story, the story that has been a success, I know the idea for that story comes from me, from the rock I threw that hit someone. Unintentionally.”
“I owe you a debt of gratitude.”
Gary sat still for a few seconds.
“I want you to have something,” he said, and placed a parcel on the table. “Open it later.”
I put the parcel in a pocket of my overcoat.
“So, how is your own writing coming along? Still single words, or are you making combinations now?”
“I've stopped writing altogether, actually. I found something i enjoy more.”
“What's that?”
“Rock-climbing.”
“Rock-climbing?”
“Rock-climbing.”
“You climb rocks? Sounds exciting, how did that come about?”
“I haven't started it yet, you know, actual climbing. I'm still researching it. I climb in my thoughts, small rocks. Dry. Always dry...”
“I see. Where's it headed?”
“Who knows? Can I get you another beer?”
We had more beers, I had to pull off my jersey, it was getting hot inside that pub.
“Nice shirt,” commented Gary. “You should have a pen design printed on it, now that you're writing is going so well. Or a typewriter. Do you use a typewriter?”
“Word processor.”
“Oh, a computer,” he frowned. “It's not very noble, is it, it's so secretarial... It's a nice shirt, though, lovely material.”
He reached over and stroked it.
“You don't mind me stroking it, do you? Hell, without my story about throwing the stone, you wouldn't even be wearing this shirt. I mean, I'm not saying you'd be sat here without a shirt on, no, you'd have a shirt, but it wouldn't be made of beautiful material like this.”
I sat there.
“And your hair, too. Your hair would still be long. Now it's neat. And this transformation is partly due to myself. It's good. It's really good. It makes me think that throwing that stone wasn't such a bad thing, it had some positive consequences. Can I get you another beer?”
“No. I'm going in a second.”
Gary got himself another beer.

At home, I unwrapped the parcel. It was a small stone with “Hate you” written on it.

8 Comments:

Blogger anan said...

we all have our collection of rocks. Usually we leave them at home; well, for the sake of the pockets, anyway. Nice to see your character had such a lucidity of thought.

Nice loose, vernacular style. It draws you right in. I would love to see what happens when these two meet again. Or maybe... did they have a history together, way back in university or something?

3:42 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

i really don't like the word vernacular, it makes these efforts seem diminished as writing, like i just eavesdrop on the next table when i'm out, then write it up.

i was reading Hemingway today, and my "vernacular" is most definitely a literary choice. i can't help but be turned off by that modernist dialogue that lives just on the page.

or maybe i'm just being too sensitive, of course. but the V word is now discouraged (never censored)

(was reading Garden of Eden, a really terrible novel where you get to see the characters eat anchovies, think over what wine, and walk around)

6:48 PM  
Blogger anan said...

hmmm.
ok, how about... 'conversationally alluring'? I actually wasn't referring to the 'temper' of your writing, but to the style used carry the dialogue.

Although, now that you mention it, this definately does have the feeling of a story overheard at the next table.

*ducks and runs for cover*

6:15 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

Just because of that last remark, I'm going to Howl At You and point out that definately is actually definitely.

I'm am not looking to be alluring, seductive, gripping, entertaining - I am not Performing for the Benefit of Mr Kite!

"And of course Henry the Horse dances the waltz"

1:56 PM  
Blogger anan said...

You realize, of course, that if you let me know that you're this easy to tease, i just may make your life a living hell.

I have a brother, you know. Ask him.

Here is not the place to go into the cretinous reasoning behind standardizing Victorian spelling. But if English is to escape becoming a dead language, it must constantly move forward with alternative spelling as a mode of greater simplicity and communication. Doing so has never stopped any other ethnic group from inserting the rules of their language into English, has it?

OK, that's sort of a joke. But in all seriousness, i proofread for fun and have a 99 percentile on the English Placement Test. Trust me. Both spellings are acceptable. Definately.

3:35 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

Ha, yes, i am easy to tease. you've become a little homunculus that pops up to poke fun at me, which is doubly irksome, as i'm already poking fun at myself!

with definately, sure, spell it however you lyke!

and send me a list of all your other Personal Achievements and i'll do you up a Dandy Scroll of Honour!

we'll be talking IQ next (well, someone else will be talking IQ and i will be calling Eysenck an unreformed eugenicist and racist)

5:03 AM  
Blogger anan said...

shucks, pinhut. A homunculus? With a Dandy Scroll of Honour?
I guess i deserved that one.
Still, i think yer chock fulla talent and one heck of a guy.
All the best.

5:21 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

ah, damn, you flipped my Guilt-o-meter right up into the Red Zone. i should be thanking you, not insulting you, you're the most marvellous source of comments.

just don't say the V-word!

because of the very very short stories, i packaged up about 6 (can't count now) into a PDF, and will link to it later today.

you can just tap in V x 6 and drive me over the edge!

5:24 AM  

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