The Writers

The old man held up a piece of typing paper. This blank, white page is like a whole mirror covered with cocaine to me! He shouted. It’s like the slope of a Swiss mountain after it snowed. A perfect white slope of powder just waiting for me to destroy it!

Life is a series of punches, I’m not going to lie to you, the old man continued. Before a boxer goes in a ring they tell him he might get hit. Whatever they tell you won’t prepare you for what you get. Life is a big factory that manufactures broken toys! So that’s why you sit down in front of a white page and start punching back!
The old man’s interviewer stared out one of the giant windows at finches arguing on a branch just outside. His tape recorder hummed away beside him. Then he looked back but the old man was gone. The monster of a typewriter remained, with a blank page fed into it, ready to go. The interviewer glanced around and then commenced typing:

The ancient clutched the boy’s hand and hissed, Life is a big factory that manufactures broken toys! He released the boy’s hand and collapsed back into his chair. Grandpa? The boy said. But the ancient was gone.
Days later the ancient was being lowered into a deep hole in the Warburshon Cemetery.

So you’ve already killed me, have you? The old man said, suddenly behind the interviewer, reading over his shoulder. Well, let me show you something! He lifted the typewriter with both hands and, with a violent swing, knocked the interviewer in the head with it, sending the younger man toppling to the ground, unconscious.

The old man set the typewriter back in its place and began pounding the keys:

The ancient threw the lid off his casket, refusing to be lowered into the ground. Cemetery workers, clutching the straps that supported the coffin, stared, frozen in disbelief. You won’t get rid of me that easily! The ancient shouted, leaping out of the box and running through the trees toward the gate.

 Harry! What have you done? The old man’s wife stood in the doorway in her nightgown. They both looked down at the interviewer, who now lay now in a small pool of blood. The old man stood up from the typewriter, flustered. I just wanted to teach him a lesson. I didn’t–.

You taught him a lesson all right! His wife said. She lifted her hand to clutch the doorjamb. So much blood… she whispered.

Just then the young interviewer sprang up and lunged at the old man, grabbing him by the neck and throttling him with both hands. Blood dripped down one side of the interviewer’s head. The old man fell back against the typewriter. As they struggled, the old man’s hand reached back, finding a ballpoint pen on the table. Swinging his arm forward, he repeatedly stabbed the interviewer with the pen until they both collapsed to the ground. The wife moved into the room and stood over them. When she could see they were both dead she sat down at the typewriter and typed: 

The cemetery workers watched as the ancient ran out through the cemetery gate.

What do we do? one of the cemetery workers asked.  

They told us to bury him! The other one said. So we bury him! 

They caught up with the ancient in the parking lot. Where do you think you’re going? The first worker asked. He brandished a musket, aimed directly at the ancient. The ancient raised his hand. Now be reasonab— BANG!  

But it was the cemetery worker with the musket who collapsed to the ground. The second cemetery worker lowered a small pistol, smoke curling from the muzzle.

The old man’s wife paused. I did not see that coming, she said quietly to herself. She glanced down at the two men in their death embrace on the carpet. The sky outside the great windows had turned scarlet with the setting sun. A flock of crows flew by, their ugly voices sounding like laughter. When the sun finally dropped behind the ridge the sky became blue and then black. The old man’s wife remained seated at the typewriter, making no move to light a candle as the whole scene was lost in darkness.



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2 thoughts on “The Writers

  1. Susan Maddux

    Hi Tom-
    really enjoying your stories, I’m delighted to have found your blog. So far I especially like The Writers, and I laughed out loud at the line “I did not see that coming”… your dark sense of humor and imagination are wonderful.

    I have an illustrated story blog at, if you like that sort of thing.

    Thanks for the inspiring work!

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