Writer Chuck Wendig laid forth the following challenge at his Terrible Minds blog and I accepted. Please enjoy the following. And enjoy Mr. Wendig. He is a man who wants, nay demands, writers to be better at their craft.
“Huh. So you are.”
It was true. Frank was floating about an inch off the couch they had been sharing for the last, oh, 15 hours or so, watching Monty Python, playing video games (if the zombie apocalypse were to come, Frank and Tony would be experts in culling the mindless killers, assuming the guns were in the shape of Playstation controllers), and smoking a ridiculous amount of weed. Despite the amount of THC coursing through their respective systems, Frank actually was floating, a fact causing no small amount of hilarity within the minds of the two friends.
The first hour of Frank’s barely-measurable exile from the earth’s surface was spent attempting to discover why the proud junior college dropout was now hovering above the indented and sweat-moistened section of the couch he had spent the last several hours, and truth be told years, firmly attached to. Tony took a card from the deck sitting next to the couch (when food/beer/weed supplies were low, the drawer of the low card had to get up and restock) and slid it between Frank and the couch. The card met no resistance. Tony giggled.
“You’re not touching the couch.”
“No shit. I’m floating. That’s what floating means.”
“I know, but it’s weird.”
Tony proceeded to shove Frank off the couch. Frank landed on the floor, or rather an inch above it, appearing to have actually crashed to the filthy carpet, but was instead still floating ever-so-slightly over it.
“What the fuck, dude?!”
“I wanted to see if you would hit the floor,” Tony said, tears forming from his barely-controlled attempt to conceal his laughter. “You didn’t.”
“Felt like I did. That hurt.”
Tony pondered. “So you didn’t actually touch the floor, but it felt like you touched the floor. Has it occurred to you that maybe the rest of your skin is invisible? That maybe you have, like, invisible flab or something?”
“You slid the card under my ass, remember?” Frank asked, still looking wounded from his fall. “It wouldn’t have slid under me if it was ‘invisible flab.’”
At the moment Frank said “invisible flab,” both pairs of eyes immediately lit up. They looked at one another, exlaiming, “Band name!” (It was an inside joke the pair shared. Other band names included “Shitty Cupcake,” “Batman’s Nipples,” “Couch Fart,” and “Drug Mules for Sister Sara.” The irony being neither could play an instrument and Tony couldn’t actually spell the word “guitar.”)
After laughing maniacally over the new musical moniker, the two lapsed into silence. Nearly five minutes had passed when Tony spoke.
“Alright, man. I want to you really think about this. Open your mind and shit and, like, really focus on this. OK?”
“Sure, man,” Frank said, sounding hopeful.
“OK. Now. Has it occurred to you that you’re only floating because your mind is telling you you’re floating? What if you told your mind ‘Hey, dude. I’m done floating. Now let me get back on the couch so I can smoke a bowl and get back to the Parrot Sketch?’”
Frank thought about that. He took Tony’s concept, inhaled deeply, taking in the aroma, and then put it in his mouth, swished it around for a good 20 seconds to really release the flavor, paused for a moment, and then spit it into something that looked like a small ashtray.
“I told my mind to knock the shit off,” Frank said, dejected. “And I’m still floating. Dude, what if I fly away? Will I float into the sun? I don’t want to fly into the sun. I’ve got too much to accomplish on Earth.”
A man, or at least a man-shaped being, strolled into the room shared by the now-deeply depressed duo. He was nude, in the sense he was wearing no clothes, but Tony noticed immediately he had no genitalia. Despite his assurances to anyone within earshot at any given time that he was a real man and loved the pussy, Tony was actually gay. It would be two years later at a late-night round of fantasy gaming at his local comic book shop that he would act on those feelings with a young mage named Aaron who preferred to be called “Monkor the Mightily Equipped,” especially during what he referred to as “Naked D in D.” (Don’t ask what D in D means. Seriously. Fine, it means “Dick in Derrière.” Happy?)
“Who are you?” Frank asked.
“Doesn’t matter,” said the being, smiling. “I’m going to eat you.”
“Wait. Did you say you were going to eat him?” Tony asked, starting to giggle.
“Yep. Had to slap a force field around him for a couple hours to get the germs off and there were a lot. Now, I’m going to eat him.”
Before another word could be spoken, the being’s mouth opened impossibly wide as he leaned over and quickly devoured Frank. Tony, torn between screaming in horror and laughing hysterically, settled on looking at the space his best friend since age seven recently occupied. He finally managed to tear his gaze away from the piece of floor Frank had been sitting on (hovering above) to look at the being.
“Am I n-next?” Tony stammered, true panic setting on him for the first time.
“No,” the being said. “Eating two of you? That’s just weird. And gross. Yes, weird and gross.”
Tony shook violently and woke up. He turned to his left and there was Frank, sucking on a 52 oz. fountain drink from the local convenience store and watching Monty Python. Michael Palin was dressed in an outfit obviously purchased from LL Bean and singing about his occupation as a professional woodsman. Tony felt a sense of relief that was better than any bud he had ever smoked. Ever.
Frank noticed Tony staring at him and spoke.
“Huh. So you are.”