Friday, June 10, 2011


A little something I wrote for fun. A little bit more serious than most of my stuff, but whatever. It's rough (written exclusively at three a.m.) so I'm hoping for a little feedback. Be brutal internet.

“Tell me about Carl.”


“Yeah, Carl. I’ve heard about the guy. Tell me about him, he sounds interesting.”

“There’s not really much to tell.”


“It’s true! He’s just a guy. A friend.”

“He’s a crazy friend, that’s what I hear.”

“Who told you that?”

“Does it matter?”

“It does if I want to know whose spreading these baseless lies about a good friend.”

“Can’t say. Sworn to secrecy.”

“On what penalty?”

“Death. It was all very serious. So Carl’s not crazy then?”

“Sane as you or me.”



“Huh. How boring.”

The jingling of ice on glass.

“This person, did they tell you any stories about Carl? Why he’s so crazy?”

“Just one.”

“Can you tell me? Or is that sworn to secrecy too?”

A stool shifts.

“I heard that Carl likes to read in his apartment a lot. Just sits in the living room and reads--”

“That sounds pretty sane to me.”

“I’m not done. I’m not even through the first sentence.”


“So anyway, he sits by the phone and reads, and waits for calls. Apparently he gets a lot of wrong numbers, because he’s got a common number, like 5555 or something. And when he gets one, he answers it and talks to the person.”

“about what?”

“Their day and stuff, I guess. Nothing specific.”


“And anyway, Carls sitting in his living room one day, and he gets a call, another wrong number. Only when he picks up, the voice on the other end asks him to release the hostages.”


“the way I hear it, there was some hostage crisis at the hotel down the street. Some guy tries to rob it and the cops show up, so he takes like 12 hostages at gun point. But when the cops tried to call, they dialed 5555 instead of 5455, and they got Carl. And Carl, real calm, asks if the policeman-“

“Hostage negotiator.”


“It wouldn’t just be a random cop, it would have been a hostage negotiator. The kind of guy trained to talk to nutjobs.”

“Right, whatever. Anyway, Carls ask the hostage negotiator if he could call back in ten minutes later. And the guy on the other end starts stammering and stuff and says sure.”

“The poor guy probably though he’d just gotten someone shot.”

“Exactly! So when he calls back in ten minutes, the cops are ready to give anything; gold, a helicopter ride to Bolivia, whatever. They just don’t want anymore bloodshed. And keep in mind, the robber's still sitting in the hotel with a siege of cops outside waiting for the phone to ring. And the cop asks Carl what his demands are and Carl says beanie babies.”

“Beanie Babies?”

“Little stuffed animals. Kids play with them and sad people collect them. And Carl tell’s the cops, he wants the front door flooded with them. To hook up garbage chute to the front of the hotel and just pump them in. And the cops ask why, and Carl threatens to kill a hostage, and then hangs up.”

“But he doesn’t have any.”

“Yeah, but the police don’t know that! They think they’re talking to the hotel robber, who’s turning out to be a raving lunatic. So they get a shit ton of beanie babies from god knows where, and they start shipping them in to the building.”

“How’d the robber take this?”

“He was scared shitless. He gets the silent treatment for 45 minutes now, and suddenly the police start hurling teddy bears at him. He though the things were full of tear gas or something. Comes right out with his hands up screaming.”

“Huh. Sort of saved the day, didn’t he?”

“From the sound of it, yeah.”

“You believe it?”

“I don’t really care if I do; I like the story, and I like the sound of Carl.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“Is it?”


“Is it true?”

“I thought you didn’t care if it was true.”

“No, but I want it to be.”

A chuckling.

“Its hard to tell, with Carl. Facts don’t really stick to that guy.”

“Wow, copout answer.”

“Afraid so.”

“So how’s this Carl friend doing. Still sane?”

“He’s sane. He’s not doing so well, but he’s sane.”

“Why not?”

“He tried to kill himself last week.”

“Holy shit. Why?”

“Not sure. All I know is that he walked into the military base downtown wearing a trench coat and a fake beard. He went up to a group of soldiers and whips open the trench coat screaming “Allahua Ackbar” or something like that.”

“Oh my god.”

“I guess he was trying to get himself shot.”

“They didn’t?”

“Nope. Carls keeps telling people they didn't shoot because he’s white. But I hear he messed up the yell.”

“What did he yell instead?”

“The name of the slug guy from Star Wars.”

“Admiral Ackbar?”

“Yeah that one. I think he watched the third movie the night before or something.”

“See now, that’s crazy.”

“I don’t see how. That all seems perfectly sane to me.”

Shoes clicking, chewed ice cubes.

“You wanna get out of here?”