Author's Note: I was watching a movie with friends and saw glee on my friends' faces when one of the characters was going to go out in a blaze of glory, causing a wake of destruction in his path and killing tons of unnammed, off-screen characters. My friends wanted this guy to die because of something he did in the movie (I don't remember what it was) and were constantly saying, "This guy deserves to die." "When is he going to die already?" If this were real life, would we dish out life and death so carelessly? Probably not. This story was a reflection of that, and it turned more into a piece that would be to get this reaction of turning someone into someone that the reader thinks deserves to die, and giving them a reason to live not for the reader, but for the author. Maybe they don't deserve life, but that's how life works. This piece was a story that I wanted to write that was completely not for the reader and more for me to see the reaction on the reader's face. I wanted it to have an anti-twist and just completely break the bounds of what a short story can be in terms of style and structure, as I've never really done anything like this. Hope you enjoy!
There he stands at 11:30 in front of a shiny new BMW M3 convertible. It’s blue with that finish that makes it look metallic and futuristic, the envy of all others on the road. Trevor Grant’s shiny new law practice has earned him enough money to easily afford this automobile, but he has hesitations about it. The hesitations about the purchase come from his wife, Heather, who is very stingy about money even though she has much more than everyone else on the block. She wants to save his money until they have enough to move to a block where she only has a bit more money than everyone else on it. Trevor Grant bought Heather the ‘cute’ bulldog puppy that she wanted two weeks ago, so she shouldn’t mind too much. It is his turn for an impulse purchase. “At least you don’t need to clean up a car’s shit,” he thinks to himself with a smile.
“I’ll take it,” he tells the dealer, flashing a perfectly white smile, firmly shaking the dealer’s hand, knowing that he must make this decision quickly because he only has so much time on his lunch break.
(I’m planning on making Grant get into a car accident. Grant can die or Grant can live, that’s all up to me. I am at a crossroad with what I should do. You see, Grant comes off as a guy who has a lot of money, and no one likes those rich pricks. You know the type. Those guys who will be driving those fancy cars, swerving in and out of lanes on the highway while modestly over the speed limit and, even though you don’t let them, they cut you off and give you the pinky thank you because their hand is busy on their cell phone yelling at other employees because they’re rich and therefore snotty and mean. I should kill him. Killing an archetype that nobody likes makes everyone happy. When you can’t do it in real life, get away with it in creative prose.
But then again, maybe Grant deserves to live. He has done some noble things in his life. Grant has his own law firm, which “grants” ha ha people a new lease on life. He specializes in car accident claims, whose fault it was, etc. Trevor Grant really helps people out. He owns his own practice and works by himself, so he’s not using anyone to get to the top or anything, he’s quite good at what he does and truly earns the six-figure salary he makes. Grant should live and keep helping people with their problems in life. I mean, when you’re in a car crash, you think that everything’s over. Grant helps people see that this is not so. However, Trevor Grant is a lawyer.
Everyone hates the parasites that are lawyers, feeding off your emotional distress. The last thing that people want to think about after they get into a car accident and know that they’re going to be spending a lot of money on something knows the extravagant fees that come with lawyers. Especially a lawyer like Trevor Grant. It’s always fun to kill off a lawyer, regardless of how anyone feels about him. He’s a lawyer; they are hated by definition. All lawyers should die! Being a stupid teenager, I’ve never had the experience of dealing with a lawyer, but they are portrayed in a negative light everywhere in our society and it is always successful. That lawyer in Jurassic Park was eaten on a toilet! Michael Crichton knew that people hate lawyers so much that they degraded him by having him eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex while sitting on a toilet. Those silly lawyers. That movie made a lot of money. Trevor is a lawyer, and therefore should be killed off. I mean, wouldn’t it be ironic and literarily exquisite if he died in a car accident? Yes, he should die because people will love the fact that he dies and because it will be one of those really strange coincidences that belong to the Darwin Awards.
It would be sad however, to kill him off because of his situation with Heather. Trevor Grant loves Heather; he bought her a hideous bulldog puppy. Have you seen how truly ugly bulldogs are? The fact that he is willing to get a puppy which he will have to endure with longer than the average ugly bulldog is proof that he will do anything to make her happy. He’s allergic to dogs, too and he’s willing to get the hypoallergenic shot monthly so that he can live with a happy woman. Love would be a terrible thing to ruin by spiting Grant to death just because he is a lawyer. Heather, however, is not in love with him and his unibrow. Heather is obviously using him for his money.
Heather’s main goal in life is to be better than the Joneses. With Trevor, she has found someone who will allow her to do this and have a “cute” puppy along with it. Trevor Grant is a rare breed indeed. The reader now sides with Grant and thinks that Heather should be killed in his stead, because she’s a superficial bitch who isn’t good for Trevor. She’s not good for him so she should be killed off; there will be no resentment.
There is also always the 1:140,000,000 chance that the earth can be hit by a huge meteor and kill everyone. The problem with a meteor is that it provides no resolution for any of the characters, which makes such an ending out of the question when trying to write a story that focuses on the dynamics of character. Deux ex machina isn’t the best way to end a story these days.
Dammit, Grant. Just when things seem to be looking up for you, you have to say that thing about not having “to clean up a car’s shit,” showing that you hold resentment toward the dog. While it is understandable that you are allergic, that gives you no reason to speak with such negativity. Everybody loves puppies. If you hate puppies, especially puppies that are so ugly that they are pitied, you should die. Well, Trevor, the odds are against you now. I guess there’s only one thing left to do. Time to brainstorm.
Ending 1:Trevor Grant does all the paperwork and about a half hour later, drives out of the lot with his new shiny metallic blue BMW M3. At 12:03, Grant bids his last goodbye. At his first traffic light, he crashes it into a telephone pole because he is not used to how quickly a BMW M3 accelerates and the brake system is different from the beige Ford Taurus he used to drive.
And we are all happy.
I’m gonna give this ending a no because it’s the obvious ending and it’s what the reader wants. We want Grant to die, but this ending is too obvious. It won’t work.
Ending 2:Trevor Grant does all the paperwork and about a half hour later, drives out of the lot with his shiny new metallic blue BMW M3. He works late and gets home at about 12:03 in the morning where his wife greets him with a bullet to the face.
Trevor Grant is dead. And we are all confused.
The reader here will infer that Heather had a gun and found out that (gasp!) Trevor has been cheating on her for the past two years! This could work as one of those twist endings that come out of nowhere and make no sense but the reader loves anyways regardless of the lack of substance. It’s great to throw the reader for a loop and when he’s expecting all of these great things out of a character then Bam! something comes out of left field and ruins the pristine image granted to the character they have grown to love. Adultery works perfectly for this, which is why this ending could work.
Ending 3:Trevor Grant does all the paperwork and about a half hour later, drives out of the lot with his shiny new metallic blue BMW M3. On his way back to work, he sees that it is already 12:03 and he is late to get back to the office. He decides that he can be a bit late getting back because he never got a lunch and he wants to roll up in the drive-thru with the new ride. Smoothly pulling up next to the drive-thru menu, he is about to order his favorite when, out of nowhere, a smoldering rock soars overhead at blinding speed. Seconds later the shiny metallic blue paint of his BMW M3 peels off due to intense heat and Trevor Grant is vaporized from the heat a huge meteor striking the earth created.
OK, now I’m just playing around. A meteor? People will interpret this as an easy out, like I’m not smart enough to come up with an actual ending. Oh, these people. Do they not see the complexity of this story that I am writing? In one short paragraph, I have a multitudes of possibilities that can happen with a life and I can explore them all and have whatever I want happen in an effort to please the reader. The reader loves seeing characters die, especially characters that the reader would not like in real life. For many reasons, Trevor deserves to die.
Trevor is a lawyer. Trevor deserves to die.
Trevor is a rich prick. Trevor deserves to die.
Trevor does not like puppies. Trevor deserves to die.
Trevor Grant drives out of the lot and goes back to work in his shiny new metallic blue BMW M3 Convertible. He is the envy of all the other drivers and when he gets back to the office, he has three miles on the odometer. He has a great rest of the day at work and is able to stay positive knowing that he just bought something that will bring him a lot of joy. At the end of the day, he drives home and Heather greets him at the door with a stern look on her face. She does not look pleased with his purchase.
Trevor nervously walks up to her and gives her a kiss on the cheek. “Hey babe,” he says, glancing at the sleek vehicle. “What do you think?”
She looks at the car, then looks at him and his proud eyes. “Boys will be boys,” she sighs.
“Come on, let me show you how it rides.”
They take an enjoyable drive with the fresh air combing their hair. They both have a great time talking about the lovely neighborhood that they live in and Heather discusses all of the cute things Bradley, the cute bulldog puppy, did today.
Upon returning back to their large home, Heather cooks an immaculate meal while Trevor watches SportsCenter. They engage in deep and meaningful conversation over the chicken cordon bleu. After dinner, they have wonderful, passionate sex and before going to sleep, each reads a chapter in the current bestseller they are reading. They tell each other that they love each other and go to sleep.
(Readers love unexpected endings better than predictable death.)