(Originally posted April 2, 2016)
“AHHHH!” the man screamed at the empty sheet of paper, making it move in a slight, wavering fashion on the mahogany wood table.
He reared back, his face taking on a bluish tinge, and he breathed in and out. The man sounded, vaguely, like a squeaky toy caught underneath a car’s tire.
He put his hands on his knees and leaned back down once he could breathe again. His face, his skin, now so close to the white paper that the moisture stained.
His neck tightened and his Adam’s apple swelled with pent-up force. And he let it out with a face like a large man biting into a still larger hamburger.
“AHHHH!” He fluctuated between a loud register almost deafening to his own ears, then a low whisper of a quiet panicking intruder, and back up through the cries of a howler monkey in heat.
He let out a sigh that caused the paper to leap back a few feet, and he caught it at the edge of the table.
“Well,” he said, to the air, and to himself, “this isn’t working.”
He hit the side of his head a few times, first with in-tandem fingers, until they coalesced into a fist. He could swear it was driving his eyes to swivel like a shoddy children’s doll.
“What is wrong with this?” he mused, his feet tapping to the beat of a song he was making up rather than solving the problem.
“Perhaps,” he said, “perhaps the scream does not contain enough phlegm. I should get some water.”
And he would have, if not for the door at the end of the room, opposite to him, opening and revealing another man in a pair of cargo pants, and no shirt.
“What! The! Fuck!” he said, his spittle launching forth out of his mouth and leaving a cool, refreshing, and completely unwanted mist on the face of the first man.
“What the hell are you yelling about down here? It’s fucking three in the fucking morning!”
The man, the original man, did not answer, and looked at his watch. He studied it closely, looked at it again after a brief reprieve, and concluded that it had not changed its time in quite a few breaths.
“Oh, it appears my watch is stopped,” the man said. “Terribly sorry about that.”
“Who the hell are you, mate?! What sort of idiot screams this loud in a basement at this time of night? I should have called the police. I may still.”
“Oh, excuse me. Pardon. Um, yes. My name is Phillip. I believe I am your neighbor. It’s so nice to meet you.”
Philip–despite the great awkwardness hanging in the air–reached out to take the other man’s hand. With no reciprocation, he picked it up and shook it. Once finished, it flopped back to the side of the irate man.
“There we go. Now that we’re properly acquainted, I’d like to resume my actions, if you don’t mind.”
Philip turned back and leaned down to examine the empty piece of paper.
The other man had a look on his face often reserved for an argument with his toddler–which consisted of glazed over eyes and a deep confusion. He resembled, in all honesty, a dog not understanding a scolding.
When the scream started up again, the other man broke through the mental wall of sheer befuddlement.
“Stop that! What the fuck are you doing? It’s late. Why? Why would you do that?”
Philip stood up and looked at him. A genial countenance plastered across his face. Genuine, as far as anyone could tell.
“Oh, don’t worry about this. It’s for my work.”
The man tried to respond, and failing on the first try, chose a different sentence to say altogether. That one also fell apart. What he ended up with was not up to any standards a committee might use, but functional all the same.
“What do you do for work?”
Philip smiled. A deep gesture that moved up his face and lighted up his eyes. He spoke with the speed of a nerd asked about his favorite show.
“Oh, I’m an author you see, and I am endeavoring to create my next masterpiece.”
“And that requires…?”
Philip waved his hand over his head, whilst leaning into the table. He closed one eye to get a closer view of the paper. He nodded vertically and spoke in a distracted tone.
“It’s a very complicated and nuanced process, don’t worry yourself with it. I’ve practiced long to do this properly—but as you can see I clearly need a tad more.”
The other man shook his head, descending into a deep tiredness. Not just physical anymore. And he left without another word.
“AHHHHH!” screamed Philip.
The Christmas Collection Continues Tomorrow, And Every Day Up To And Including Christmas Day! So Stay Tuned To Coolerbs Writes!
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd.
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