(not so much) Fun with Dick and Jane

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Bright as it was from the acorn streetlight, Dick still fumbled with his keys. “Fucking Daylight Savings Time!” he cursed under his breath. It was still early, time wise, but the sun and the “damn Earth rotation” didn’t seem to notice. On the third try, he got the key into the  lock and opened up the front door to his parent’s house. His and Jane’s house. His house, now.

Dick stepped inside and immediately felt something was…off. Flicking on the front hall light, he looked around. He stood still and listened. Nothing. He was about to close the door when he thought he heard something. Nothing again, but then there was a car cruising by. The radio from the car was booming “She don’t even love me like she did when I was younger, Suckin’ on her chest just to stop my fuckin’ hunger I wonder if I died, would tears come to her eyes?….” trailed off as the car trolled down the street.

Dick cursed the driver and slammed the door.  Dropping his jacket on the floor and kicking  off his shoes, Dick went into the living. He found the remote and turned on the TV, going into the kitchen to get a beer. Dick hit every light switch on his way: living room dining room, kitchen hall (with built in pantry), and kitchen. Opening up the fridge, he grabbed his Lite. Twisting off the top and tossing it in sink, Dick took a big gulp of the frothy beer and trudged back to watch Oprah. He plopped himself onto the padded recliner and reclined. Feet up, Dick settled in.

He raised his bottle to Oprah as she greeted her guests. “Thank you, Nell, for having a half day at school and thank YOU, Debbie’s mom, for inviting her over for a play date! Thank your nice rack too, while you’re at it!”

The show was going along, all the applause and laughter just barely sinking in as Dick killed the bottle and got another. He had just gotten comfy again when a news flash broke into Oprah’s greeting her first guest.

“Hours ago, a daring daylight escape and murder occurred at the Eloise Memorial Asylum in southeastern Michigan. The body of a nude female nurse was found by a door that led to the outside, her keys missing. Her name is withheld until her family can be notified.  Two of the escapees were caught within a half hour of their bid for freedom: a Ms. Bridget “Biddy” Hughes and Mrs. Felicia  Ibbotson. The third, unnamed at this time, is still at large and is considered dangerous. As soon as we get a photo and a name, we will announce it. Be on the lookout for a Caucasian woman, chalk white skin, red shoulder length hair, last seen wearing green hospital scrubs. Do not approach her and please use extreme caution. This woman allegedly is the one who killed the guard. More information will be coming as it breaks. We now return you to your..” Click.

Dick sweated. Dick gulped. Dick had not turned off the TV. The click came from the back hall, where the breaker box was.

He got up. Click. The light in the hallway went off.

Dick started to walk to the kitchen. Click. Off went the dining room lights.

He started to run. Click. The kitchen hallway went.

Click went the kitchen light. He stumbled around the small breakfast table that he hated so much. A little streetlight peeked in by the sink window, enough for Dick to make it to the counter. He stared at an empty Ex-Unique Knifeblock, the one he ordered from ThinkGeek. The red plastic body was stab free, leaning back and looking right at him.

Dick scrambled for the silverware drawer. Empty. Under the sink for his tools. Gone.

He tried to make it to the back door, but he slipped and fell hard. He landed on tacks and nails and he screamed “MOTHERFUCKER!” as he was punctured in a variety of unpleasant places. There was a smell here, as he tried to get up,  that he finally took note of.

“Vitalis hair-tonic, DICK,” she said from the darkness. “I bought it just for you. Remember?” Jane advanced from the pantry door, slightly ajar now. “Remember how much you loved it, when you had hair. I liked your hair, I really did. Now it’s gone, gone, gone. Ha. Poof.” She threw a paring knife at him, the wood end hitting him in the head.

“Damn. I better practice. Will you be my practice..dummy!” and she laughed at her own joke, while Dick finally got to his feet. “Nuh uh… back off buckaroo. This is not June Cleaver I have in my hand. She slices” Swing. “And dices.” Swing. “…and blows your house down, DICK!”

“Haven’t you done enough you crazy bitch. I had five years of your toxic fumes. You put me in the hospital. You killed the dog. You almost killed Nell.” Dick was backing up, as far away from her as he could. His back ached and he felt warm liquid drip down his his hind quarters and legs. Some of the Vitalis soaked into his clothes, and when it touched an open wound…

Wincing, Dick looked for a way out. Jane was blocking the doorway to the rest of the house. The back door was his only choice.

“Nuh uh, DICK. DICK! Watch, DICK!” She tossed a carving knife at him. This time the throw was good, sinking into his right calf. Dick went down on one knee, yowling to the heavens. While he was panting and screaming and crying, trying to pull the knife out, Jane picked up a can she had left on the far counter, behind the effigy of her. “See, DICK. You love barbeques. I HATED barbeques. You knew it,’ squirt,” yet you kept on” squirt, “fucking barbequing.” She drizzled the charcoal lighter fluid, which had been in the pantry, all over back door and surrounding area.

“Whoosh!” she said, as she flipped a match she just lit onto the flammable. It echoed “WHOOSH!” back to her.

Knife out, blood seeping, Dick held the knife that had recently impaled him in an unsteady hand. “You crazy bitch. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS!!??? Didn’t you hurt me enough, all those years? Wasn’t I enough of your punching bag?”

Jane dropped the other knives, but held onto the cleaver. She smiled. “Nuh uh, DICK! Can never hurt you enough. Never, never, never ENOUGH!” She waited for a moment. Dick’s nerves were shot. He heard something in the distance. “Not that fucking rap again,” he thought.

His distraction was her toss of the cleaver. It went sailing at his head, perfectly aimed for right between his eyes. THUNK!

Except the pain in his leg twisted him down, and the cleaver took off part of his ear instead of giving him a splitting headache.  Screaming, he rushed her. The heat from the flames as his back was beating into him, propelling him forward. Jane ran laughing, past the pantry hallway. Dick followed, knife in hand.

Jane slid over the dining room table, knocking over two chairs, one which went into the breakfront. “DICK..I just smashed precious mommy’s fine chinnnnnnaaaaaa!” and out she went, into the living room

Dick threw a vase at the shadow that was her head and connected. It smashed into tiny bits as it sent her ass over the comfy chair. Before he could jump on her, Jane kicked out and caught him in the gut. She turned to run for the front door.

Reaching out, Dick grabbed her red locks and yanked, sending her screeching to a halt. He threw her against the wall and held the knife towards her, keeping a few feet in between them.

The sound from outside got louder. Sirens. Dick smiled. “The fire. You did this yourself, setting the fire. They’ll take you back and you’ll NEVER get out. You’ll NEVER see Nell. NEVER FUCKING EVER!”

Jane ran into the knife..backed up slightly, and then again. She held his hand, which was on the hilt, and pushed it in one more time.

“Wha..whu..what the fuck? WHAT THE FUCK! JANE…” he looked into her fading eyes.

Gasping, she said “See, Dick? You’re a.. dick. See? Mine to play with. Always min..mine to play with….DICK DICk dick dickdickdick….”

The firemen burst through the front and back doors at the same time. See Dick, not run.

***************************************************

So you know where this came from. I have been wrestling with the “What quality of writer am I?” question. This blog is big fun, but I have to wonder do I start taking it more seriously (the mechanics, not the mechanicals  from Midsummer) or do I just plod along, pleasing myself and the few who stumble over my work.

I’ve been getting some great critique from a number of people. Damyanti of Daily (w)rite was the one who took some of my work apart, pointed out the weak links, and then suggested things I should look at/read. One of the books is “On Writing” by Stephen King. Some of you may have heard of him. I got the book, was reading it (almost finished, actually), when I came across a challenge BY Mr. King: starting on pg.  170 to pg. 173, a very large interesting writing prompt was laid out. Check it out for yourself.

The result is the above story. Just about 1,500 words. I’m going to see if he is still accepting this writing exercise, which he so graciously offered eleven years ago. Can’t believe I never read the book before this. Either way, Thank You Mr. King, and Damyanti, and all my critiquers, for giving me the nudges I need at times.

So..what do you think of this?

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31 responses »

  1. i usually have a hard time reading long stories…but when it gets me hooked, then i read it in details… i become part of the story…

    sorry, i was a bit annoyed with his name :P… the intensity was coupled with a few humorous lines that had it balanced…

    i liked it from beginning to end…

    keep it up 😉

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    • Thank you Melissa. I was “stuck” with his name as it was (1) playing around with the old “Dick and Jane” books and (2) it was from Stephen King’s prompt. It actually gave me that ending of Jane’s, so, I was more than happy to play around with it.

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  2. The story kind of reminded me of a series of Horror Comic Books I knew in the 1950s. These are the ones that had the grotesque violence cut out of them by something called “The Comics Code Authority.” Comics weren’t worth buying after those censors appeared on the scene. This is not something to read before dinner or bed, for that matter but it is masterfully adapted and earns a great big old Liming HA!HA!HA!HA!HA! Seriously though, folks–eggs-zellent writing!

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    • Wow. My very own Liming! Where should I put it? 😉
      Hi John, and thanks. I LOVE the EC comics stuff. I was born just when it was ending, but I started to see the reprints and got hooked, fast. I was at the EC Comic Convention in 1972 (hmm.. I was 15?) and met all of the greats, got autographs and sketches, had a wonderful discussion with Marie Severin (she drew a super Kull head for me..it was that time at Marvel)…just great memories. Thank you very much for the comment on the story. I hope you stick around and enjoy some of the others. All of them might be asking too much. 🙂

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  3. I’m a huge horror, suspense, thriller fan so this read was right up my street. A bit difficult on my iPhone as I’m scrolling but I’m going to read it again tomorrow on full screen. 😉

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  4. If that didn’t kick ass, I don’t know what does. The ending is direct and brilliant. I’m a huge Stephen King fan and this was definitely reminiscent of him at his best–naturalistic language, strong emotional center. (Check out my post about him http://tinyurl.com/3mrt2gj ) Keep writing for you but also don’t give up your dream of publishing fiction. There are lots of publishing options open these days.

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    • Thank you Adrienne. I hate to admit this, but..I haven’t read anything by King in years. I read all his early novels, and then after The Stand.. not so much. I’ve read more of his short stories, which I like. But, still, nothing by him in a long time until I picked up this book “On Writing.” I do appreciate that you felt I got his language skill. I was just following what he wrote in his prompt “rules”. I’ll check out the post.

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  5. Li…thank you. Yeah, some just rush out (Hit the dirt..; the tango one, even with all the backtracking I did with the Tango language). This one was easy once I got going. The beginning eluded me until I found the picture prompt. One of the prescripts King put in was that he/she went home in the afternoon: why? My story worked with the lights: that’s one thing I had in mind before I wrote it.

    Ebook… no.. I haven’t. I know Damyanti is planning that (and anyone reading this SHOULD read hers when it comes out). I’ll have to look into it.

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  6. Well, I can tell you why I think this is good. I loathe horror movies and books – I’ve never read an entire Stephen King novel, I skip the scary/gory parts. I didn’t like this; not because of the mechanics, but because it creeped me out. Therefore – you hit the mark! I think one of the great things about writing short stories is that it gives the writer an opportunity to try out all sorts of styles and genres before settling on 1 or 2 which you feel really at home with. Which stories ‘flowed’ out of you with the greatest of ease? Which of your stories/genres do you return to, or read over time and again? Which ones drew the most positive response from readers? Is there a subset of these 3 categories?

    You’ve built an audience; have you ever thought of collecting a few of your stories and e-publishing them, perhaps as an initial freebie or 99cent collection, just to put it out there? Only a thought.

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  7. See, Dick? You’re a.. dick. See? Mine to play with. Always min..mine to play with….DICK DICk dick dickdickdick….” HAHAHAHAHA. I truly enjoyed this. Reminded me of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
    When it comes to writing, it is about what you feel you should write. Yes, it is nice to please your audience and to keep them coming back but, if you don’t do pieces that make you happy as well it begins to feel more like work then actual fun. If you are writing for anything other than fun that is one thing. I, personally like the spontaneity of your stories. I like not knowing what I will read from you, keeps me intrigued and coming back.

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    • Thank you Jenni. yeah. the main reason I do this IS for me, and it pleases me that so many do like what I am doing. The other hand: I have had that dream of being a published author, and I do know I have to “learn” more. You are right..I never want this to turn into a job. I do not stay past the fun stage.

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      • I understand how you feel. I WANT to be a published author too. But, when I would push myself to write a story, article or poem it was never good enough…for me. There will always be people who love your work and people who hate it but, at the end of the day you are the one who needs to love it. You are talented and honestly, we all could learn some things. All I can tell you is….nothing worth doing is easy and success does not happen overnight.

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  8. I loved this! The twist in plot was well done, and the ironic humor of it had me continuing to read to find out what would happen. Suspense is definitely your genre – I hope you continue, and I hope you start submitting your work to agents and publishing houses.

    ~ Dawn

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