Saturday, May 16, 2009

No Comment: A Revenge-Lit Flash Fiction (#3)

by Shane Neilson

He looked good, chalked up, chalked off. He deserved it. He had been chalking up books for a few years, getting his start at an Open Mic and confirming his love for his own voice. But getting poetry into journals was a harder task than showing up early at readings, and poetry forced him to modulate his voice, and he wanted to hear his own voice. So he began writing reviews, finding that editors loved blood on the page. And he loved the blood of others on the page. He sometimes went back to the Open Mic, but randomly, to increase the terror, and he refused to read poetry, he read reviews, reviews of the books that were being read that night. The Open Mic organizers let him do it, because they were afraid of him, afraid that he would write reviews about them, and he would, and they knew he would, if they refused him. But his voice: he recorded a whole CD of his reviews, titled it Greatest Hits, and reviewed it himself in a local magazine, the only time –ever, it would turn out- he would uncork the word “masterpiece.” It was an odd voice, a wannabe Caper accent forced through a potato peeler, and it was completely out of sync with its own malice. It is this way I imagine him, stabbed in the back, his assailant refusing to identify himself or even preface his attack with the knowledge that he was about to die, blissfully composing his latest takedown on the way back from the Open Mic where the featured reader that evening, I hear, is smiling as he utters his most famous review, “No Comment.”

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