‘I’M AN IDEAS MAN’ by JJ Breech

It was so dark, so very dark and the carriage could do nothing, but push against the storm, as it lugged its way up the deserted, country road…

‘Shit, shit, shit, I’m over describing, over compensating-’ Stephen squeezed his eyes together before the outburst ‘- because I have no fuckin’ idea where I’m going with this story!’

Tick, tick, tick- two days till deadline.

Meet Stephen Fulcher, Horror Impresario, creator of the ‘The Rattling Bones’ series of books, that have been made into a billion dollar movie franchise, action figures, comics, jewellery, toiletries. At the time he signed the contract he whimsically pronounced: ’Who’d want to wipe their arse on a disembodied corpse?’ but here he is a millionaire writer; or more specifically a burn out millionaire writer, in his penthouse suite, in front of one and a half thousand pounds of technology with absolutely no ideas for a three page short story.

‘It was so very dark? What is this shit? Where am I going with it? And why am I banging my head on my desk? Will that help with the blood flow? Maybe give me an idea or two?’

Remembering his agent’s words “it has to be violent, gory and offensive- pure Stephen Fulcher,” he stood up in temper as if he was going to a running jump out of the window.

‘What does that even mean? Pure… me? Can  I not write about love, laying in fields of buttercups,  young sexual folly and what it means to be alive, instead of… well…. dead?’

Stephen smirked at such a story being submitted to an anthology titled- Wake The Dead and Kill Them Again.

‘Faye, my already rather pissed off agent, wouldn’t see the funny side at all.’ Then a knock at the door- firm and repetitive- broke his concentration.

Stephen looked at his watch- 12:01 a.m.

Tick, tick, tick- one day till deadline.

‘What the- must be one of the other residents wanting some such nonsense.’

He opened the door to a tall, thin man dressed all in black, finished ever so smartly with a top hat and cane.

‘Hello? Can I help you,’ Stephen croaked. (Damn Marlboro-gotta quit, gotta quit.)

The man smiled. It was warm, trustworthy, that of a favourite uncle from your childhood. Stephen didn’t like it, or him, one little bit.

‘Howdy-doo? My name is Mr Aloysius Smart and I’ve heard you’re having a bit of a problem.’

‘I’m sorry? Are you the building’s handy man or something?’

‘No, no- although I am handy to have around, y’see, I’m an ideas man and I’ve heard you’re in need of my help.’ The way Mr Smart spoke was rhythmic; the words seemed to dance upon his tongue, and he let them out with great relish.

‘Oh,’ a bemused Stephen replied.

And with that the stranger sauntered into the apartment.

Stephen threw his hands in the air. ‘Excuse me but what the f—‘

‘Mr Fulcher-I know you’re trying to get a story finished and you now have one day to do it in. So I’m here to help you complete the task. It’s all quite simple and straightforward.’

Stephen clicked the fingers on both of his hands in a playful rhythm.

‘Ah! Faye sent you. I spoke to her earlier but she didn’t mention- fuck- who am I to question some help.’

Mr Smart placed his hat and cane upon the sofa, grabbed a stool from the open kitchen and sat himself next to Stephen’s old wooden chair at the computer.

‘C’mon, Mr Fulcher, you only have my services till dusk, so shall we…?’

Stephen stared at the blank, whiteness of the open document.

‘That’s it.’

‘That’s it?’

‘That’s it.’

‘I came not a moment too soon then.’

Without looking at anything but his own nimble fingers on the keyboard, Mr Aloysius Smart tapped with delicate speed as if he was reciting a concerto beamed from another place, and he was a mere lightning rod there to channel what had already been divinely decided on. When he finished he let out a short gasp like he had surprised himself with the speed or content of the document.

‘There Mr Fulcher, I’m sure that will suffice.’

Stephen sat and read Smart’s words. At first he smiled, then grimaced, then his eyes fell into thin slits as if he was having trouble with the size of the typeface. Then he turned his head slowly to the window overlooking the city. He did so with a kind of hesitation- no- like he was having trouble with his neck muscles working correctly and…

‘What’s the matter?’ asked Mr Smart calmly and, softly to the ear, but with an insincere kindness that hid trouble.

‘I…’  Stephen began.

Then a trickle of blood, like a black tear, started from his left eye taking a quick path down his face and dropping onto the clean, sheer white collar of his shirt. This seemed- if anyone was to view this situation in retrospect- like a warning of what was to come, as the floodgates (as it were) were now open and blood rushed unrelentingly from his eye sockets. The blood, with its force, pushed out his eyes and they made a literal POP POP sound , and that was when Stephen decided on his  inevitable outburst.

‘Agghh! For God’s sake, no, no what have you written?’

Mr Aloysius Smart picked up his cane and hat, put the former under his arm and the latter upon his head and tutted.

‘Oh Mr Fulcher, what did I tell you? I’m an ideas man; so, what you get from me are ideas, but I didn’t say they were always going to be good ideas.’

Stephen went into spasm and fell off his chair clutching his stomach. He heaved and black bile started to leave his mouth.

‘Oh dear, it seems you have also soiled yourself. That just will not do.’

Smart looked around the room with nothing but a slight curiosity.

‘Oh, I nearly forgot.’

He made himself comfortable before the computer and typed up another storm, with five minutes he was done and hit the final key with a theatrical flourish to celebrate.

‘There we go-Twitter, Facebook, YouTube,’ he slyly grinned, ‘I’m not letting one lousy critic, like you Mr Fulcher, be the only one to judge my work- let’s see what everyone else thinks of it.’

He switched the screen off and breathed out in triumph, as if he had shut a rather good book on a final fulfilling denouement.

The dead body of Stephen lay curled up like a dry, old twig upon his bloodied carpet.

‘Toodle-pip, Mr Fulcher. I’ll show myself out.’

Mr Smart slipped out of the front door and made his way down the hallway. As he walked, in grotesque stereo and with gruesome synchronicity: screams, hollers and animal-like yelps emanated from behind the many closed doors. As he hit the elevator and pressed the button for the ground floor, he bumped his cane repeatedly with excitement, upon the lift floor.

‘Well if everyone liked that, wait till they see my next idea.’

The doors closed slowly, as did Mr Smart’s eyes as he smiled wistfully to himself.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————JJ Breech is the Curator/ Editor/ OversEEr of bizarrEEye Creative Community. He writes @ the UNSEEN & the OBSCENE blog (amongst other places) and has had an interest in Horror and the Fantastique from an early age, when he saw An American Werewolf In London, and realised that’s exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up!

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