Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekly Prompt Story: Vacation

All I Ever Wanted
By Christopher Munroe

I haven’t had a vacation in four years.

I mean, I’ve been unemployed, and that’s technically time off, but it hardly counts, does it?

For a vacation, you need to be able to relax.

Similarly, I’ve taken a number of three day weekends, for weddings, comic expos and the like, but is three days really a vacation?

I would put it to you that it is not.

A vacation is a week, minimum, off. In which you vacate. This is the reason it’s called that, after all.

In that light:



Now I just need to figure out when…

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Taking My Bows

The show had gone, if I may be so bold as to pat myself on the back, spectacularly. I, particularly, had been incredible.

I don’t mean by this to come off as egotistical, I’ve had a number of performances over the course of the run in which I had not been incredible. That night, however, was not one such performance. I was spot on, every line, every gesture emotionally connecting with the very core of the character, embodying him heart and soul as I poured myself into my craft, infusing words on a page with life and vigor.

I love nights like that. Nothing energizes me more.

We finished the show and, as we took our bows, four hundred people called out to us, taking to their feet to shower us with enthusiastic, if incoherent, cries of praise. The applause was thunderous, it was inspiring.

But I couldn’t let it distract me.

My eyes scanned the crowd, seeking any among them who’s applause might be ingenuine, anyone who might not have been honestly moved by my riveting performance, who might simply be going along with the people who surrounded him. And, as I always do, I found a handful among the audience insufficiently moved by my work, who applauded but, no matter how gifted I was, did not weep.



We finished our bows, and as the curtains closed I tracked down the stage manager, to tell him what I’d seen.

I reported everyone who’s applause had been insufficient, gave seat numbers and brief descriptions, and only when I had finished did I retire to my dressing room, to wash off my stage makeup and change back into my street clothes.

Some of the other cast members planned on hitting a pub to celebrate another successful performance, and for a moment I considered it, but I was tired and, with six shows a week, I knew there’d be plenty of other opportunities to join them at a pub. Every town has a pub, and they all look more or less the same once you’re a month into the schedule. What difference does missing one night make?

So I changed back into my street clothes and, avoiding the crowds waiting in front of the theater, made my exit out the back. It isn’t that I don’t love my fans, it’s just that after a performance that good I’m drained. I have nothing left to give, and the autograph hounds don’t always respect that.

Better to sneak out where nobody thinks to look.

And as I exited the theater into the ally behind the building, I noted the dumpster, a ways away, stuffed to overflowing with the dismembered bodies of the people I’d pointed out to the stage manager a short time before. One arm, hanging over the side, gave the slightest twitch as I passed by, exposed wiring sparking as the fingers reached toward me, then fell dead and limp again, smacking the side of the bin with a dull thud.

When I first took this gig I was surprised to learn how many replicants there were out there, going about normal lives with no idea what they really were. After a few months, however, I’d become cynical. I played my roll, pointed them out to the stage manager and let him take care of them. All I wanted was to do my job, go back to my motel room and get a few hours sleep before I had to be back on the road in the morning, to the next town, for the next performance.

It’s not the most glamorous life in the world, but I’m doing what I love, I bring entertainment to the masses and I help catch a few stray replicants. Overall, it’s a pretty good gig.

I mean, the travel’s a bitch, but it’d be petulant of me to complain about that one detail. After all, I knew what was required of me when I took the job, and I wouldn’t swap the job for anything in the world.

I like the life I lead, and the travel is part of that, so I accept it.

Such is the lot, after all, of a Turing actor.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekly Prompt Story: Starting Smoking

Starting Smoking
By Christopher Munroe

You’d tried everything, but nothing had worked. So you came to me.

I sat you down, made you comfortable.

Counted down from 100, each number causing you to fall into a deeper state of relaxation, each word causing you to sink deeper, trust deeper, fall deeper under the spell of the soft, soothing words I spoke to you.

And once I was confident you were under, I whispered my command in your ear.

“You will smoke.” I told you, and you never smoked again.

You never would have, had it not been for me.

That’s the power of pre-hypnotic suggestion…

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day

When she saw the ring, there at the bottom of her drink, her eyes went wide. As you’d expect them to.

It had been the perfect romantic meal, topped by a grand romantic gesture, and for a moment she couldn’t believe it. couldn’t believe it was happening to her. Her mouth worked silently as she tried to put together what she was seeing, tried to force words out against their will, to respond to what was laying there, before her, at the bottom of the glass, but it was all too much to process.

I thought she was going to cry, maybe she thought that too, for a few seconds, but she blinked back the tears, shook her head, and looked up into the eyes of the man she loved.

“Yes.” She finally whispered, “Oh God yes. Of course I will!”

And that’s when his eyes went wide.

And as he started sputtering and stammering that none of this had anything to do with him, and the perfect romantic moment they’d shared began its descent into the fight that would surely threaten the very foundation of their relationship, I watched from the nearby side stand, doing my best not to giggle.

The fake engagement ring wasn’t even that expensive.

It was totally worth what I’d paid.

Being a waiter isn’t the most rewarding job a man can have, indeed there are days when I think it might break me, body and spirit.

Still, Valentine’s Day makes it all worthwhile…

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekly Prompt Story: Switch

After the Adventure
By Christopher Munroe

…I’d switched the idol for a forgery. So by the time Heinrich’s crew found the temple and deactivated its booby-traps, I’d long since absconded with the treasure.

That’s where my troubles began.

I don’t know the first thing about fencing ancient artifacts, and I’d financed the expedition on money borrowed from people who wouldn’t accept “…once I find a buyer” in lieu of cash.

And to make matters worse, Heinrich will definitely figure out that I have the thing eventually.

He’s not stupid.

I expect this isn’t over...

…also, there’s a horrible curse, but that’s a story for another day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

No Need to Worry

There’s nothing in my closet.

Nothing under the bed.

Nothing outside my window.

In fact, there is no window.

Everything outside of my most immediate frame of reference, that which extends beyond the nearest reach of my senses, has at some point vanished, and all that’s left is me, in my bed, covers pulled over my head.

On the other side of this quilt gapes empty void.

And when I close my eyes, I have no doubt the quilt will vanish too.

All my life I was afraid of what might be out there.

Now: There is nothing.

So… good?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Weekly Prompt Story: Black

I Finally Get Around to Endorsing an Energy Drink
By Christopher Munroe

I am thirsty.

Life is empty.

Why? Why isn’t there an energy drink for me?

Isn’t there?

Bev-rage, an energy drink by Goths, for Goths, is finally available, assuming you can face the conformists at your local store.

Available in three flavors, Black as Night Black Current, Black as the Raven’s Wing Black Cherry and Black as my Soul Salt-Cola, Bev-rage provides the energy you need for moping, writing poetry, or just sitting alone listening to old Cure records through oversized headphones.

All the activities a Goth might need energy for…

Bev-rage, buy it.

Drink it.

Quench your existential thirst.