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Big Foot

In Fiction on November 17, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Eulogy

“He weren’t going to have his life stomped out by no big foot,” said the one in the black plaid Goodwill suit, winging a shriveled rose down onto the coffin.

“No, sir, he weren’t going to have his life stomped out by no size 170½ shoe. He weren’t going to, he wouldn’t have it,” said the next, sprinkling dirt clumps into the grave just as lightning flashed across the cityscape behind him.

“No matter which muthafuckin’ magazine editor’s size 170½ shoe was crushin’ the very life out of him,” said the mystery girl, mascara running down her cheeks as thunder played drums across the coroner gray sky, “the song of exultation in his black heart could not be snuffed out by no angry big foot. Charles Mansen, we hardly knew ya …”

History

Given the name Charles Mansen by his folks as a grim joke (the Mansen part was for real, the Charles part unforgivable), Charles Mansen put up with some serious ocean waves of shit in his young life.

“It’s spelled with an -en!” he’d shout as he fell, punches and kicks carrying him to the ground.

But like the original Charles Manson’s gift for song, this Charles Mansen had a gift for pressing down onto paper little stories that meant a lot, at least to young Charles Mansen.

So he’d write them up–crazed little tales of mayhem, slaughter and ritual torture–and shoot them off across the internet like poison darts, hoping for publication, but never seeing any. Every night a new story, a new dart, and by daylight another mocking (or perhaps slightly distracted) rejection. Charles Mansen found this tedious.

Sticky Dee, his girlfriend of fifteen months and three weeks, found it more than tedious. She found it repulsive. When she found Charlie’s stories–of maiming, torture and rape–on his hard drive, she could only think this: what a monster. She made plans to leave him, while fearing for her life and packing her things surreptitiously.

All the while, Charlie Mansen (the unknown one) just continued to write, churning out one ghastly story after another, and pissing them into the gutter of the Web, only to find them all flushed back at him in time–usually quick time.

“So, um, Charlie,” said Sticky Dee, who had never heard of the notorious Charles Manson, so that was never a problem. “Like, what the fuck, you know?”

“No,” said Charlie, “I don’t know.”

“Like,” said Sticky Dee, “What’s with all of these fuckin’ stories anyway?”

“Have YOU been reading MY STORIES?” Charlie screamed, freaking out, raising his hand to her. She flinched, took a step back and said, “No, Charlie, don’t …” He lowered his hand. “Don’t what?” he replied.

Sticky left that evening, standing briefly at the corner as the bus pulled up, looking up at Charlie Mansen’s bedroom window, where she knew he had already composed another story and was trying to inject its fever into the veins of the Net.

Defeat

After Sticky Dee left, Charles Mansen went crazy. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t eat. He certainly could no longer write. And he didn’t go out to the local watering hole. Well, one time he did go out, but that was a disaster. Coincidentally enough, he ended up at the same bar as Sticky Dee, who was there with her new ‘love interest’.

Charles Mansen nearly lost it. He imagined cutting Sticky Dee with his knife, and writing on the walls with her blood. But he didn’t own a knife, so instead he finished his beer and went back home to his room above the stairs, where he composed his word songs. He wrote a story about Sticky Dee, then sent it out like a guided missile against the internet.

The next day, a direct hit: acceptance. “We’d love to print ‘Sticky Dee Will Live Forever (In My Heart and On the Internet)’,” the email said. Charles Mansen read the message sixty-one times, just to be sure he wasn’t missing the word “not”.

Triumph

‘Sticky Dee Will Live Forever (In My Heart and On the Internet)’ was anthologized. In Best of the Net. In The Pushcart Prize. In The Best Short Stories In The History of Ever. And in other collections that meant one thing: greatness. Or so he naively believed. Charles Mansen was impressed and wrote more, sure that people would now find him popular and women would enjoy standing next to him. But nothing else from that day forward was ever accepted.

Not a single one of his many horrifying tales of glorified horribleness found life on the Net or the printed page. Although he wrote 1,121 more stories, prose poems, and non-prose poems, all were rejected with varying levels of rage, disgust, malice and glee.

And each rejection stabbed the sensitive Charles Mansen much like a rusty fork to his heart, with the tandem dangers of blood loss and lockjaw (although worse for Charles would be lockhand, if there was such a thing). And then, one day, his window on the world suddenly closed. His connection abruptly unplugged. His social network unexpectedly de-socialized. He ceased writing–but more, he simply ceased.

The feet

The big feet won in the end, tragically enough. Stomping like a critical eye in the storm straight towards Charles Mansen’s apartment. Right up the stairs to his bedroom. Directly on top of his oily head. Crushing the life out of him in an apparent heart attack (the official story). But no mere heart attack could have stopped a talent like Charlie’s, only Big Foot could. And that was just one strike of two, because Charles Mansen–no mere mortal–died not of one broken heart, but two. First for the love of Sticky Dee. And second, the final footnote, for the fame he never found, but which he wanted as much as Sticky’s love.

Carl Plumer is a graduate of the Masters Writing Program at Stony Brook University. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Foghorn, Blink | Ink, Black Lantern, Static Movement, Pulpsmith and elsewhere. Carl lives with his extraordinary wife and children somewhere in the Midwest, sleeplessly plotting his imminent return to New York City.

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