[This is a little something I wrote from an idea sparked by a Twitter conversation I had yesterday. Thematically it’s sort of a sister story to The Eye. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Thanksgiving, but just so you know I’ve been blessed so much I don’t even know where to start being thankful. Have a great holiday ya’ll.]

Everyone has a novel in them. You’ve heard that right?

No, don’t struggle. You’re going to be fine. I’ve done this before. Lots of times.

Who am I? Give me a look and tell me you don’t know. You’ve seen my face before. I know you have. Maybe I was being interviewed on TV. Or maybe it was a bit part they gave me in one of the horrible movies they made from my work. But most likely you’ve seen it on the back of a paperback somewhere.

Yes, the wheels are turning now. Now you’ve got it! Of course you know who I am. Perhaps you’ve read something of mine? Almost everyone has.

Oh, calm down. Honestly the restraints wouldn’t even be necessary if you were more cooperative. You’re going to be part of something incredible here. You should really be able to appreciate that.

I wish I could tell you it wouldn’t hurt, but unfortunately that’s just not true. You wouldn’t think it’d make a difference, but if I put you under or even administer a local anesthetic it doesn’t work the same.

Oh, you’re welcome to scream all you like. No one can hear you from here, and I’ve learned from experience it’s best to have a decent set of ear muffs on hand when it comes down to the nitty gritty. I’ll give you a hint though, it’s really best if you don’t look at the knives. Anticipation’s a nasty bugger when it comes right down to it. No, I wouldn’t say it’s worse than the experience itself, but it certainly prolongs an already unpleasant affair.

A little iodine to help prevent infection. And I want you to know, all my tools are thoroughly disinfected; not like in the old days when I was stalking winos down dark alleys with the Old Timer my daddy gave me. Those were hard times: staying up late worrying about whether we’d make the car payment, credit card debt piling up a little at a time. You could hardly fault me for my methods. And I never killed anyone. Not outright at least. I only took something they were never going to use anyway.

What was that? I can’t understand you through all that blubbering. Oh, of course. “Why?” It’s a fair question. Though if you had been listening you would already know the answer.

Everyone has a novel in them. I’m sure you’ve heard people say it before. Maybe you’ve said it at some point. And it’s true. Everyone does, in fact, have a novel in them. The catch being that getting it out is trickier than you’d think.

You probably thought it involved drinking lots of coffee, maybe a little alcohol, sitting in front of a typewriter waiting for the muse to whisper in your ear. It’s okay. That’s what we want you to think.

But as it so often happens, the truth is much harder. The secret truth, the truth us writers don’t want you to know is that if you want to get that novel out you’re going to have to cut it out. And it’s going to hurt. A lot.

Me? Of course I have. Here, I’ll show you the scar. Nasty, yes? I thought I was going to die at the time. Really and truly. I sat there with blood leaking all over the place, digging around in my innards for something I couldn’t even see. You have no idea how close I came to removing my spleen by accident. By the time I got it out my hand was shaking so bad I couldn’t even sew myself back up, had to have my wife do the stitching. But I got it out. I got it out, and the rest is history.

Only then they were clamoring for a follow-up and, well, you can probably fill in the pieces for yourself.

It was hard to live with myself there for a while. But eventually I made peace with what I was doing. It’s like I said earlier, you, people like you, you were never going to use it anyway. You have no idea how often people come up to me and tell me that they’ve got an “idea for a story”. As if that were some great feat. That was when I realized I was doing people like you a favor.

That novel is as useful to you as an appendix. And like an appendix maybe it’d get inflamed. Maybe you’d start making up characters and plot lines in your head. You’d buy a Moleskine notebook and jot down notes about your “story-world”. And that’s as far as it’d go. Because you’d want it to be fun and easy. You couldn’t handle the pain. So you’d go through life always a little disappointed you never wrote that book you were always dreaming of. Better to get it out of there before it gets that far. Better to take it out before it becomes a problem.

Now hold still. This is only going to hurt a lot.

2 responses to “Vestigial

  1. Wow. That definitely got more involved than I imagined. A wonderful piece of work, sir!

  2. Brilliant! I was prepared to be grossed out, as usual, but wow, I really, really like this one. Applause are in order. (see and you thought the Mono would get you down. Which by the way, so so sorry to hear about that.) But honestly, this is truly really good.

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