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It was in his twenty-third year of self-promotion that Blazen Ghoulsby first recognized himself as a pot of gold. He preferred to speak mostly of his own accomplishments whereas others were more inclined to listen to him and he knew that they were interested because he knew how great he was. His parents had raised him such that he was never incorrect and even when the police claimed they had discovered a flaw it was fought to the extent that even the law bent to Ghoulsby and had to admit he was rather remarkable.
His mainstay was a question of habit, his parent’s basement, but a quaint and lofty basement it was. He indulged in his own way and wove tales of college campuses and how he would never enter one, and his parents were readily excited by this because they thought and he assured that the best minds never stepped foot inside a dorm. Typical cynics passed by every day and shouted, “There’s Old Goulsby, right where we left him,” but he ignored them because they were typical cynics and typical cynics, he asserted, were always incorrect.
Life had been less of a blossoming flower petal for him and more of a crudely constructed jigsaw puzzle with missing edges and a few pieces jammed obscenely together. He knew not of how he was to come into wealth and fame, but he knew he was accepting the brutal rejection and living the indignant demeanor that awaited on the cusp of fame’s horizon. Therefore, he aspired to be what others had been and thusly become them. He was infinitely sure that the answer to life was in blatant repetition and he pitied the others who toiled without following the directions of ages.
“Blazen, what is it you want out of life?” It was his therapist, Mr. Redenbacher. He should have been off making popcorn, but he was mistakenly registered as a therapist and so a therapist he would stay.
“One million dollars, I guess.”
“And how do you want to make that one million dollars?”
“I just want it. I don’t want to make it, I don’t want to earn it, I just want one million dollars that are all mine.”
“Uh huh. Well the aptitude test came back and you scored highest as a librarian. What do you think about being a librarian?”
“I don’t read and I don’t like books. What the hell’s the matter with your test? How the hell’d I get librarian?”
“Well the second option was actor.”
“Is that making a hell of a lot of sense to you, Doc? You know what, here’s my plan. I take up work in a library say until about the time of my twenty-ninth birthday. Then one day as I’m checking the books in and telling everyone to be really quiet because I’m a disgruntled bastard, Steven Spielberg will walk in and offer me a leading role in his next film and I’ll make a cool million dollars. Does that sound like a good plan to you?”
“Blazen. I think you’ve lost control of yourself again.”
The therapist was matching his counterpart’s figure as they both leaned inward on their hands eschewing the welcoming embrace of two oversized sofas. In the corner of the room flaps in the blinds gave ample sunlight to a single green plant and on the whitewashed walls a fly was buzzing and reminding Mr. Redenbacher that he should have entered the popcorn industry.
“That’s exactly what I wanted you to say. Thank you so much doctor, that’s exactly what I needed.”
“You know I’m not actually a doctor, right?”
“Hey, come on, keep it up with the insults that’s how all the famous people get started. More insults Doc, throw ‘em my way.”
“I didn’t even mean to insult you, Blazen. I’m sorry if I did, but don’t you think most of those people at least had an idea as to what they were going to do with themselves when they were being insulted?”
Ghoulsby reclined and laid two recumbent arms behind his head.
“Doc, you don’t know the first thing about being famous. Hell, that’s why you’re a lousy therapist, no offense.” He had a habit of adding no offense after many of his directions. It meant that you should have taken stern, vehement offense to what was just said, but that it did not count because he had remembered the critical byline.
“Do you? You’re twenty-three years old. You don’t have a job, you don’t have any money, you don’t have a girlfriend, and you live with your parents.”
“That’s it, Doc. I can handle more, throw ‘em at me.”
“Are you even listening to yourself. You don’t just waltz into fame. You don’t get an invitation one day and become famous. You have to do something first. You, Blazen Ghoulsby, have got to make a move. You’ve got to do something, something no one would expect and you’ve got to decide on it soon.”
Ghouslby placed his hand upon his chin in the perfect image of contemplation and recited Redenbacher’s tirade a few times over. It had sustenance, but more importantly it had a clue, a clue to fame. He had set up almost everything in perfect order, but the man was right. If he wanted true fame, he would have to do something. That conscription made him immediately weary. He hated doing things, it was his least favorite thing to do, something.
“I’ve got one, Doc. One single idea, but I don’t want to tell you. I think it might spoil it.”
“Well… Uh… You don’t have to tell me, but make sure it’s reasonable, Blazen. And I’m serious about that, not like the librarian thing.”
“You got it, Doc.”
This is an important News Bulletin
Downtown Pittsburgh was ravished by the detonation of a concealed bomb that tore through most of the strip district leaving hundreds dead in its wake. The carnage itself is not yet fully realized, but we will have more to report as the news floods in. Presently, the police have no suspects, but state that whoever committed the crime appeared to do so merely for satisfaction as no demands were made.
“All right, bring him back,” that was Lieutenant Herbert a veteran cop with a history of brutal interrogations.
The man in the cold, metal chairs bright spotlight was a phantasmal white with a snaking tongue and a terrible hiss about his speech.
“You wanted to see, you wanted to see me, officer?” the man chucked and coughed up a solution of phlegm, which he spat directly onto the ground.
“My apologies, my apologies. Allergies,” he said smiling with his upper teeth aligned perfectly along the lower so his mouth was wide and his eyes bulged psychotically.
“Shut up! You don’t think we know what you did? You don’t think we know? You get out for two weeks. Two weeks you’ve got your parole and then a bomb mysteriously detonates. You don’t think we know it was you Filch? You better get a damn good lawyer because we’re sending you to the chair for this one f***er.”
“Innocent, innocent,” he wiggled his fingers in the air, “Innocent until you prove me guilty. When will, when will that be by the way? I’d hate for my wife to schedule our vacation for the same day, for the same day you plan to zap me.”
“You don’t want to talk? You want to make jokes, huh? Well here’s a real funny one for you,” Lieutenant Herbert punched him across the face and he hissed and cackled madly as he rubbed furiously at the edge of his jaw line where he had been hit.
“Any answers now huh? Julius Filch, what a name for a rat! Any answers for me now, Filch?”
“Do you have any, do you have any of that delicious pasta sauce they started serving in the prison. Oh my, I can’t wait, I can’t wait to get back to that.”
Lieutenant Herbert threw another fist across his face and his blood spattered onto the interrogation table and his tears juxtaposed with his maniacal cackle gave way to another thrust and then another yet.
“You better confess! I swear to God, I’ll kill you right here!”
“Now don’t get, now don’t get a big head, Lieutenant. You can’t, you can’t kill me. I’m innocent. Innocent remember?”
The Lieutenant breathed heavily and felt a bead of sweat trickle down his emerging sideburns. It mirrored the blood flowing from Filch’s brow. He panted and then snarled while the man in handcuffs grinned at him and he reached behind him to retrieve a pistol attached to his officer’s belt.
“You think I can’t kill?”
“You won’t, you won’t. Because if you want answers, want answers, you can’t kill me.”
“Take him away!” The Lieutenant lowered his weapon and hung his head.
“Well Blazen, you’ve had a week. Tell me, have you started anything?” Mr. Redenbacher said sipping tea from a white cup.
“Actually I have, Doc.”
“Why that’s great,” the therapist said moving for a hot decanter from which he poured more tea, bending to measure his cups contents as he did so.
“So do you want to let me know about it now?”
“Not just yet, Doc. I want to let it sit for a while, see how I feel about it, but it started with a bang.”
“Well that’s perfectly fine, Blazen, but I want you to know, I’m proud of you.”
“I’m proud of me too, Doc.”
When Blazen returned to his home he found the morning paper dismembered and sprawled incoherently along the dining room table. One of the articles on the front page in particular caught his eye and he carried it with him out onto his overlooking deck.
From his own home, Lieutenant Herbert carried a cup of chilled water onto his back porch. He was shivering fiercely despite the summer heat, and as he removed his officer’s hat, he heard the throbbing sobs of a despondent soul. He climbed back up through his house and onto his porch where he gazed to his left to find Blazen Ghoulsby reading the paper and shaking with tears.
“Boy! What is it boy?” the Lieutenant said walking to the edge where their decks met in connection.
“Julius Filch! It’s not fair. It’s not fair.”
“I know boy, but we’re working on it.”
“It’s just not fair! They’ve given him all the credit.”