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Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Promptly/Your Story

Basically a promptly, but with the chance of publication in Writer's Digest. I also made some progress on another tune for the untitled duo project. I really can't wait to play live again. These songs are really starting to come easier and take shape. I'll be sure to post them soon.

Begin your story using the following line of dialogue: "You won't believe what came in the mail today."

“You won’t believe what came in the mail today.”


“No, but close.” Robert shot me a quizzical look.

“I’m being blackmailed, Robert,” I said.

The question marks radiated out of his eyes, magnified by his enormous glasses. I took out the letter and tossed it across the coffee table. Robert remained focused on me for another second or two, trying to discern whether I was joking or not. He grabbed the letter.

“This makes zero sense,” Robert said after finishing the sparsely worded letter.

“You’re telling me. Why blackmail a poor guy? I have no valuable information to give either. I could talk about the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust or what year each Beatles album came out…but that’s all stuff you can find on Wikipedia.”

I went to the kitchen and made myself a drink: Miller Light in a mug. Robert followed, still grasping the letter and looking over his glasses at it.

“Well, why would you be blackmailed anyways?” Robert asked. “I mean, have you done anything shady lately? Stolen anything? Peed in public? Picked up any hookers?”

“Christ, Robert. No. Those are things you would do, you sick fuck.”

He giggled a little and nodded in agreement. I shot daggers at him and Robert put the concerned look with the furrowed brow back on.

“Okay, okay. Maybe it’s not something you did directly. Maybe it’s someone screwing you over on purpose. I bet it’s a club owner who hired you to play but gave you fake money. Who have your recent gigs been for?”

“Churches, Robert. Churches.”


“Yeah, I don’t think all the Christian denominations are teaming up to blackmail a freelance guitarist for a hundred bucks a week. But nice try.”

I reached in to the fridge for another beer. Robert took it as soon as I turned from the door. My hand holding nothing, I stood in disappointment. I grabbed another beer. Robert and I had been roommates since college and these actions were not entirely unprecedented. He never grew up… or learned his manners.

“Give me back my letter,” I said as I snatched it away. Robert shrugged, chugging his/my beer.

Then I saw my crucial mistake.

Robert and I have incredibly similar names. It’s probably a strange form of narcissism, but I think that’s why we’ve stayed roommates. His full name is Robert Paul Van Zandt. Mine is Robert John Van Zant, but I always go by Bob Zant. The letter is addressed to Bob Zandt. I saw Bob and immediately dove in. Robert was chugging his beer again.

“Hey Robert. This letter is actually for you Mr. Z-A-N-D-T.”

“What?” He spit out some beer.

“Have fun with that one, buddy.” I pushed the letter on his chest as I walked away to enjoy my blackmail free Miller Light.

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