Uncle Hypey's Story Hour (Literally)

Programming Note #1: For the past few days the motto has been a misprint. It was supposed to be "Ridden hard and put away wet," which was origanally a horse term and is now used to describe something else. (I have written a column about this, so the meaning will I hope soon become clear.) INSTEAD, the motto read "Ridin' hard and put away wet," which gives it an entirely different meaning. I apologize for this error and promise to beat the party directly involved around the hind quarters.


Programming Note #2: I asked for suggestions for new mottos for my links over on the right. Only Biff Spiffy was kind enough to take me up on it, so I have rewarded him by using all of his ideas. If you have one better by all means, send it in.




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Yesterday I set up a story with the following rules: the first five people to comment could set up the place, characters, genre, plot and title of the story, and once I got that information, I'd have one hour to write and edit that story, no matter what.


Easier said than done.


Of course a million interruptions came up, and I wrote an opening three times as long as I could reasonably finish, and I had virtually no time to edit (I spell-checked, but if I wrote the wrong word or whatever had to leave it in), the end result being what my mother called "the worst story I have ever heard in my life."


But you know what? Screw it; I had a lot of fun.


The first comment was from Koz, who gave the story its plot:

The story is about - 5 guys sitting at Applebee's. Ripping jokes at each other and one guy claims he can drive home after dring 4 huge beers. The story is about - 5 guys sitting at Applebee's. Ripping jokes at each other and one guy claims he can drive home after dring 4 huge beers.

Next was Biff Spiffy, charged with describing our main character:

Main character's name is Robert. He never goes by Bob, because he can't stand the thought that it can be spelled backwards. He does not like Kleenex, and if he doesn't have a silk hankie he will snort snot for hours on end. He's a mean drunk.

Lady Jane Scarlett was given the task of the main character's romantic counterpart:

Robert's true love is Sophia. She is short and petite, with beautiful long brown hair that has just enough curl to give it body, but not too much that it frizzes in the humidity. Her deep blue eyes are enchanting. Sophia's main interests are gardening, word games, and salsa ancing. Although she has been known to kick back a few shots of tequila in her younger days, she now prefers to enjoy life soberly and quietly.
The story's genre ended up in Dragon's claws:

The genre should be Gothic.

All we needed now was what to call it, provided by Dominique:

"Mama said I could" (title)
With that information I set to writing as fast as I possibly could. I had to decide what "Gothic" meant, since there are at least three ways to take that. Did she mean "Goth," as in Vamps and whatnot, Gothic as in 17th and 18th century gargoyles and the like, or American Gothic, that X-Files-esque type of story where everything seems normal on the surface, but not so much underneath.

Needless to say, that's the way I went.

If I'd had let's say 6 hours, or even 3 I think this could have been a pretty nifty story, but as it was I had a helluva lot of fun wrting it, as I hope you do reading it. Please forgive the numerous editing snafus and enjoy:





MAMA SAID I COULD




Five guys sit around a centrally-located bar-adjacent three-legged stool-ringed high-legged table at Applebee's Neighborhood Bar & Grill, swapping lies for truth and truth for lies, scoping out women they'd like to make wise. Of course to look at the forbidden fruit; to lick lips unaware at the sight of a couple of half-exposed ripe pomegranates (or in some cases, watermelons), was one thing, but to act was something else again. Individually these five had each had middling success with the rougher sex (and don't for a minute dear friend think that the female persuasion is the gentler one; not for a stone-cold minute), but as a group they preferred their own company. It was just easier that way. Half-told stories starting with "Remember when…." would get full marks: memory and legend filling in the empty spaces in the tale. The camaraderie was so great among the five that by comparison other groups looked dull and insignificant, and if that made them more attractive to females, they were willing to count that a success.

By name the five were Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Robert. The first four were a coincidence, one that used to be funny but got less so with each successive pointing-out that strangers would do, as if in all that time of friendship it hadn't occurred to them. Luke wanted to say they were "Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Bob," but Robert wouldn't permit it.

Robert hated palindromes. It was just one oddity about the man. He hated palindromes as if they were an ancient tribe at war with his people. He would not use them in speech and became so agitated at their use around him that he would start crying, blowing his nose for minutes at a time on his seemingly inexhaustible supply of silk hankies. (Yet another strange fact about Robert was his hatred of Kleenex. On the rare occasions when his silk hanky supply ran dry Robert would snort his own snot for eternity rather than avail himself of a paper-related nasal remedy.)

It was Robert's hatred of palindromes that perhaps fueled this evening from what it would normally have been--a boys' night out--to the terrifying events that eventually occurred.


***


Sophia sat a few tables away from "The Gospels and Bob," as she had silently named them. This wasn't the first time she'd seen them there, and in some ways she felt she knew them. Sophia was quiet, dressed conservatively and gave off no vibe, but her beautiful long dark hair--with just enough curl to make men get a lump in their throat--as well as her deep blue eyes ensured that the five had seen her plenty of times their paths crossed at the neighborhood Applebee's, enough times that they might actually nod companionably to her, but never more than that.

Sophia used to be a bit more sociable. Tequila and she had at one time been as close as Appalachian cousins until the now infamous "dog-collar" incident. Now she preferred to enjoy her evenings soberly. It wasn't as if Sophia was boring; far from it. She had a passion for gardening, could out-landlord a real estate mogul on the Monopoly table and even enjoyed Salsa dancing (though this meant something far different to her than to others). No, Sophia was not boring in the least. She was just waiting.


***


Mark had bought a book or crazy palindromes, and delighted in torturing Robert with them. Phrases such as "Madam, I'm Adam" and "A Car, a Man, a Maraca" got Robert to drinking, and Robert was a mean drunk. After four very large (we're talking 48 ouncers) glasses of Icehouse beer Robert was quite drunk indeed. He claimed he could drive home, and when the others protested, Robert responded with "Mama said I could!" (As to why a grown man such as Robert would say the word "mama," this was because he refused to say "mom.")

As often happens among friends (especially friends who have been drinking what would be considered a lethal amount by even the great drunks of the world, the Irish, the Russians, and particularly ugly nuns), angry words were exchanged. When Mark refused to quit singing "a car a man a maraca" to the tune of "Personal Jesus," which had to fore been one of Robert's favorites, a scuffle broke out. The end result was that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John left Robert all alone, sitting at his prime location.

This was what Sophia was waiting for.

With a languid grace friends would have been shocked to see her exhibit--at least, exhibit sober--Sophia walked--nay, SASHAYED over to Robert's table, melting herself into the stool next to him. Robert was still caught in angry memory of the fight and didn't even see her for a moment, and when he did he seemed truly startled. With practiced grace Sophia smoothed over the rough beginning and began to whisper softly into Robert's ear. Had this been earlier in the evening, alone or with friends Robert would have found the behavior--both by this quiet slip of a girl and vis a vis his own plain exterior--to be suspicious, but drunk as he was now he simply went with it. In short order Sophia had Robert into her car and was driving him home.

But not his home.

Sophia pulled Robert out of her sensible hybrid Toyota and half-led/half-carried Robert to her front door. By this point Robert was sufficiently drunk enough not to question anything going on, and the only real worry he had was whether he would be able to perform adequate to the apparent task at hand.

When Sophia and Robert entered the old dark mansion Robert noticed more than a few other young women who looked sufficiently enough like Sophia that they just had to be siblings. "Quite a coven!" he said jokingly, in that annoying way that drunken people think is funny but no one else does.

Tolerant smiles came back at him.

"Would you set the table?" Sophia asked the youngest sibling, who couldn't have been more than 9. "I've brought home a gentleman for dinner."

The little one (her name was also Sofia, but spelled with an "f" instead of "ph" for reasons I will let you deduce) ran off to do the older one's bidding.

Sophia busied herself around the kitchen, bustling around the counters, pulling out sauces, spices, and one enormous knife. Seriously: it had to have a blade almost two feet long. Sophia also pulled out an entire pile of silk hankies, indicating them for Robert's approval as she continued her work. Later when Robert's carcass was chopped up into a homemade salsa that the girls danced in and ate from they would use the hankies to clean off their feet and ankles of blood and gore. (They were also excellent for bibs, as entrails could so easily slide off the fork.)

Sophia used the hankies to tie Robert down on the dining room table, not all set for dinner. The others helped, though 19-year old Sylvia looked sour over it all.

"It's not fair. I thought we weren't supposed to be eating anyone from the neighborhood because it could be dangerous."

"It's all right," assured Sophia. "It's sort of a reward for all my good behavior since I quit drinking."

"I'm going to tell and you're going to get in trouble!" Sylvia whined. (She really was a pest, the kind who complained about never getting any white meat, then getting jealous because others were enjoying their piece of thigh.)

"Go ahead." Sophia said laughing. "Mama said I could."

4 comments:

Koz said...

I laughed, I cried, I soiled myself.

Biff Spiffy said...

Wow, that had unexpectedness written all over it... I stopped short of soiling myself, but fun was had by all nonetheless.

Snickered out loud at 'the gospels and Bob' and your utter destruction of Personal Jesus for me. Thanks a lot.

Dragon said...

"Quite a coven" I'm going to use that line next time I get together with my girls.

Great story. Again! I wanna do this again!

Hyperion said...

Thanks all. I couldn't have done it without you. Well, I could've, but without your input it wouldn't have been that bad.