Write What You Know, Except When It’s Terrible

It was, all things considered, a lovely day for a run…

Out the back door of the coffee shop…

Into a sunny, wide alley that had an inexplicable mini-park planted off-center in it…

While being pursued by a half-dozen football players who were built like their mothers had done something lewd with tanks.

Bastards could run, too. Good Lord. They were practically down the back of his shirt before he scrambled up the fire escape on the opposite side of the alley.

And…

And…shit.

I stared bleakly at the screen. Here were my problems:

Problem Number One: I was late with my story for Two-Fisted Teens. Which isn’t, in fact, a skin mag.

It’s, y’know, teens. Getting into trouble that requires punching and occasionally kicking. Sometimes there’s car chases. Hot rod chases. Bike chases, when we’re feeling a little disillusioned with the seriousness of our content. Sometimes there’re nice girls in nicer sweaters who spend their time with the boy breathing heavily, but kissing very chastely.

You’ve got to watch that shit, nowadays. Anything bigger than a B cup or involving the tongue in kissing is just asking for the government to bring down the hammer on you.

Anyway. “On the Run From the Running Backs” was my assignment for this month’s mag, and I was late. Which leads into…

Problem Number Two: It feels like someone paid a bum to vomit his rotgut into my intestinal tract while I was sleeping. My stomach has hurt for three days. My…my goddamn gas smells like brimstone. Sulfur. Like Satan himself is up my ass and throwing Hell’s own stink bombs. Dropping the things like a goddamn bombardier in the war.

Sometimes, I think I hear The Satan in My Ass laughing at me. But I think it’s just an auditory hallucination brought on by sulfur inhalation I think.

Combine the two, and you get Problem Number Three: I tend to write what I know. I frequent a nice little coffee shop for a cuppa and the waitress that works there. I did that this week, so that’s where I spin a story from. Write what you know, y’know.

Except this week? All I know is the horrible goddamn alchemist’s kit that my lower intestine has become.
Chad is a clean-cut wiseacre from Everytown. USA on the run from the meathead football team he’s done some well-deserved wrong.

I do not need to be arrested or wire tapped because I had him shit molten rock at the coffee shop, then pull a runner when he blamed it on the quarterback.

Which is a shame, because if it weren’t for the righteous shitstorm that would rain on me for that, I think I would’ve just solved my writer’s block.

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Josh Hechinger is a future writing superstar/cautionary tale. He lives in Pennsylvania.

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