The Fourth Wall

I’ve been pretty introspective the last couple of days, probably because of what’s behind my last post. Nothing breaks the somber mood like a romp, so please forgive my indulgence. It references every story I've posted to Writer's Digest so far ...


I pick up the book like an ancient treasure. It’s large and thick, bound in oaken covers. Heavy too, over six kilos (thirteen pounds American). The title is “Conquering  Your Dreams”; effing prophetic. I’ve been living this disjointed insanity for over a month now, and it’s time to get conquering.

The book catches Steve in the gut; red and green powder flies out the window and scatters over the busy commons. For the next while Jennifer Nelson will be the most populous girl on campus.

The book desn’t pass right through Brian. He tries to protest but I cut him off. “Your brother is haunting this house. Leave him alone!”

The old guy’s skull cracks under the impact and he slumps. “Poe this! Getting up again? Nevermore!”  I move on quickly before the big black dog comes for me.

Smacking her in the chest knocks the wind out of Delilah. The beagle is chewing my leg but I ignore the pain; I’ve had worse. “You want peace? Put the damn dog in another room and let them kill each other. They’ll both come back anyway. And get a bigger bath towel!”

I knee-cap Rob Edelmeier with the book’s spine and he goes down like a falling redwood. Then I turn to Farrah. “Run, girl! You don’t have to be faster than him, just faster than that gold-digging camera skank.”

The newscaster makes a little ‘meep’ sound as the book’s spine finds his most sensitive spot. “Keep it in your pants!” I turn to the woman riffling through the script. “Didn’t I tell you to get a bigger towel?”

The book-smack to the back of the boy’s head smashes his face into the contract; the impact nosebleed ruins it. “Get a new copy, and read it before you sign! It’s better to look like an idiot than to be one.”

I don’t have to hit Tim as he lies on the pavement dazed; I just crouch next to him. “Don’t let your girlfriend solve your problems.” Then I boot it before Jenny arrives.

I smash the window, reach in and open the car door. “Get up and run, dumbass. Zombies are freakin’ slow!”

I splat the amoeba-thingy before it does something unconsciously stupid.

Angela stares at me and I can’t move. “Get out of this dream before I get really angry. Your problem is over there, behind the fourth wall.” She points in a direction that doesn’t exist.

I leave Tim alone. At least he’s solving his own problems. That’s twice I’ve spared him; maybe I’m getting soft. Nah.

Finally, I’ve got him. Self-insertion: the writer’s biggest blunder. This ends now, Observer Tim.

And then the old man looks at me. The old man who spent over seven decades dealing with every piece of shit the world could fling at him and came up smiling. This isn’t going to work.

But I can see your hands on the keyboard through the fourth wall. I’m coming for you, Observer Tim. Somehow.

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