Cardboard Characters

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GlendonPerkins_0149_2by Glendon Perkins

“You will do that!” I was furious with him. The nerve he had to stand there like an
insolent child. I would’ve choked him had he been real. Throttled him until his tongue
turned purple, swelled up, and protruded from his mouth like a rotting eggplant.
Charlie sized me up for a moment. “You can stand there hands on your hips and
grinding your teeth all you want. I’m telling you, I’m not doing that.”
“You are and that’s final. You forget that I’m the one controlling you and you will do as I
say.” I stood and watched as Charlie digested what I’d said. I had him by the jewels and
he now understood the importance of the situation.. And why shouldn’t he? It was true. I
had created Charlie and that’s that. Period.
“Well, that may be, but I’m still not going to kill my own mother. What makes you think
that’s even within my personality? Have I ever killed anyone in the past? Have I ever
been angry, for that matter? So why am I killing anyone? You’re the stupidest, most
ignorant writer ever.”
I boiled. He crossed the line and I wouldn’t tolerate it. I reached out and clamped him by
the throat. He fought back feebly, pounding weakly at my arms with his fists. I would’ve
been hurt worse by a marshmallow gun. He was so pathetic. How I could create such a
worthless character was now beyond me.
Charlie’s face turned red, and his fight nearly choked from him. His eyes rolled back and
he went limp. I let go; he dropped heavily to the kitchen floor. His head made a hollow
thud when it bounced. I kneeled next to him and checked his pulse: weak and thready. I
planted a knee on his throat for ten minutes. He died.
From beneath the sink, I withdrew the black lawn bags and the hacksaw.
***
I woke up in a cold sweat. The dreams were getting worse and lasting longer each
night. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, threw back the blankets, and sat up. Another
story had managed to not work out as I wanted. The damn characters fought back. They
are all fighting back now. They never used to, but since I started plotting and outlining
nothing worked anymore. But I had to do something. My editor, Brawk Simpson, told me
my characters were not improving but getting worse, flat, and weren’t relatable. Our
arguments were increasing in fury and frequency. I fashioned Charlie after him hoping
he would be inspiring enough for me to create complete, well rounded characters. And
now I’m starting over. Damn.
I stood from the bed, and walked to the kitchen. I stopped at the entrance. I smelled
something. Copper? My mouth watered momentarily and dried up. I searched for the
light switch, flipped it on. Yellow light filled the room, and sitting on the floor in a pool of
blood were three black lawn bags and a hacksaw. On the kitchen table a wallet lay
open. I could see the picture, it was Brawk.

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