“I really wanted to write a best selling novel,” Author said. “In fact,
I would still like to one day. Then I decided to write a great short story.”
He sighed. “Lately I’ve been trying to write a good love song, but I thought
any song might do, as long as it isn’t just bad poetry set to music, you
“Well, Author, tell me more,” said Tall Man.
“Right now I am at a point in my life where if I write anything, I’ll be
happy. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, you see. But I have had writers
block all of my life. Anytime I try to write something I just break down.
I freak out. I can’t write more than three words without beginning to doubt
my spelling abilities, grammar capabilities, and quickly I drop into a
pit of depression. Quickly, like within three seconds.”
“More than I wanted to know, little guy,” said Tall Man. “Though perhaps
the three word three second thing has something to do with the fact that
you are only three feet tall… just a thought.” Tall Man winced- “Ouch,”
he said, “I didn’t mean to say ‘only’.”
“That’s quite alright. I am quite used to being short, and being referred
to as such, for instance, “little guy”. Anyway, I think my parents did
me a disservice when they took me out of school in third grade and put
me to work as a freak in the circus sideshow. Even though I quit performing
when I turned thirty, I stayed on the circuit as an owner of games of chance
booths. But when I would walk around, I would here “look at that freak!
He’s only two feet tall!” to which I would respond that I was only eighteen
inches tall… until it got old. But Midge and I became best of friends,
then of course we married. A midget marrying a dwarf, quite a spectacle
to some I’m sure, but to us it was truly our day. A day when the universe
seemed to finally come together and make sense. A day that all of the stars
seemed to align in perfect heavenly harmony seemed to create a chord so
crystal clear that every living being throughout infinity- time and space-
heard the music and smiled. She finally has quit calling me ‘freak’. It’s
a shame that Fat Boy had to choke on a bone during the reception. That
was kind of like the fart heard throughout the garden of beauty that is
all God created… may her soul rest in peace. Fat Boy, such a stupid name
for that sword swallowing beauty. She really demanded attention when she
limped into the room. Only she could limp so lovely, and of course everyone
loved to see her perform her sword swallowing act- so phallic.” Author
sighed, and coughed. “This is too beautiful a night to die, Tall Man. I’m
sure you’ve another nickname than the one I’ve pinned on you…”
“That sucks. Tell me where you’re from.”
“I am from everywhere, I touch everything that is touched by life. I am
necessary, part of the plan, an artist if you will. Tonight I have come
to harvest you, Author. To cut you down and replant you elsewhere, in a
better environment than you could possibly imagine. For even though I have
such a horrible nickname, I am a talent scout for a prominent short story
and novel publishing company. Your wife Midge sent me samples of your work,
we’ve decided to publish three of your stories and retain you for a novel,
with certain conditions of course. Why is tonight too beautiful to die,
Author? What made you say that, and why did you ask my nickname?”
“Well,” Author said, “I’ve been feeling under the weather lately. Stressed
out. The whole I can’t write thing, you know.”
“I have one thing to say,” said Death. “Well, two. One is dictation. The
other is that Midge insisted that if you were pulling that ‘I’m a dwarf,
my wife is a midget crap that I should ask you to stop.”
“Fair enough. I was in the circus, though.”
“Yes, and you are a dwarf. But no one notices, really.”
“Kind of you to say.”
There was an extremely, more than three minute pause while Tall Boy and
Author simply sat still. They stared at each other, at the scenery, at
the napkins and silverware and the other patrons of the restaurant. They
were both momentarily lost in thoughts deep and meaningful yet simple and
Someone in the kitchen dropped glass, it broke. The restaurant erupted
in applause, startling Author and he dropped his glass, it broke.
“That is why I wear stilts.”
The moon had slowly crept up the horizon and was lighting the world with
it’s ghostly glow. Flowers took a break from the heat of day and the chore
of being beautiful to sleep and dream dreams of blossoming into yet something
more beautiful. Nighttime critters came out and crittered about. Cricket
wings rubbing sang songs of mating so softly. The stream continued to flow
towards it’s goal of becoming a river wishing to be a sea, dreaming of
being an ocean…. With memories of being a single snowflake recurring now
and then like a pull towards reality, a benchmark, against which all dreams
“I wear stilts so people won’t notice how short I am. I wear these false
arms to help with the illusion. I can’t type with these damn things. Midge
says “take’em off, for cryin’ out loud!” but I can’t. I just can’t. You
wouldn’t understand, you just wouldn’t.”
“Maybe I would,” said Tall Man. “You see, I was born without a head.”
The silence between Author and Tall Man was thick, it could be cut with
a knife, it was suffocating them and then Author coughed, breaking it.
“Born without a head. You are, kind sir, pulling my leg.”
“I wish I were. I am Death, I have come to harvest you, Author.”
Author coughed again, and winced. “Waitress, bring a beer for me and Death,
The waitress looked right through Tall Man, as if he were not there.
Author looked nervous.
Tall man said, “I told her I would I would tip her well if she did that.
See… it’s my professional line. I am Death, I have come to harvest you.”
“You were born without a head, I hear.”
“Yes. It sucked. You see, my twin who they called “Life” had to die for
me to live. I was twenty when I killed him.”
Author looked shocked, he reached for his drink and his artificial arm
knocked it over. Death reached out like lightning and caught it, not a
“Author, don’t be so gullible. We were separated shortly after birth. That
is why I have three arms. Yes, like you, I was raised in the circus and
I always wanted to be a writer. But I was born with three arms, a doomed
brother, and no talent.”
“Your Story sucks. It is depressing. I don’t like it.” Author reached his
two fake arms out and grappled his beer. He took a good, long swig, spilling
only a little upon his face and shirt.
The river flowed and the fish within swam with passion. They could not
be seen but their movements were a mathematical dance, a swirl of numbers,
currents, friction and life. The clouds overhead echoed the movements.
The breeze birthed this, and satisfied moved on to journey the world and
enhance the flight of countless birds and butterflies, and dandelion seeds.
“I know. I’m sorry. I really want to publish your stories, Author. That
is why we have met here tonight. I’m sorry about my story, I live with
guilt, I guess. Brought into this world without a care we care as soon
as we can think, our thoughts a balance between dreams and guilt, fear
and an ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude. Man, as soon as I was born a doctor
hit me! Can you believe that? How many kids lived without being hit? How
many kids died for the lack of this wisdom? It is all about balance. I
mean, it all has to be about something, doesn’t it?”
“Yes,” Author mumbled. “To me it is all about the climax. Of the story,
that is. My thoughts run on and on, like a melody we continuously hum though
we don’t know the words. I think I just don’t know how to end a story.
I hear I tell a good one, for an old dwarf.” He chuckled, then coughed
again. He took another swig, another spill, again.
does your story end? And mine?”
“Well, I sign you to a contract, we both get something out of it, and though
neither of us was given a choice at birth we can make a decision now that
will show that as adults we control our destiny. What do you say?”
“I say yes,” said Author.
It was a happy ending, and the world rejoiced. Leaves danced against the
breeze, showing independence. Waves flowed against the tied, full of determination.
Much more happened in that very moment though nobody, no one was noticing.
bottles clinked together, neither broke, an agreement was made and a friendship
born of similarities immediately began to blossom into a friendship born
of Destiny, who sat back and smiled. Once again, all of the stars seemed
to align in perfect heavenly harmony seemed to create a chord so crystal
clear that every living being throughout infinity- time and space- heard
the music and smiled. Destiny coughed, something happened, and then it
was called a night.
A short story by Scott
This website was created by Dana and Scott
Stuart. Copyright 1999-2999.