TAG | Randy Pearson
The following story was written by WATL member Randy Pearson for the June 2013 Fiction 440 event at the Eli Broad Museum on MSU’s campus. Fiction 440 challenges writers to write a story of 440 words or less to a specified prompt. Then they sponsor a reading at a local venue –usually a bar or restaurant (writers love to eat and drink) — where those who submitted a story are invited to read their masterpieces. The prompt for Randy’s story was apocalypse, shapely, and sequence. Enjoy!
by Randy D. Pearson
Since the beginning of our civilization, people have been predicting the end of our civilization. From Nazis to zombies… to Nazi zombies, so many things were prophesized to be the apocalypse that would end our reign. Asteroid attack, viral attack… hell, Mars Attack! Some crazy ideas were bandied about.
But seriously, poison ivy? No one saw that coming. And no, I don’t mean the Batman villain, but that would’ve been infinitely cooler than this itchy nonsense.
The sequence of events, turning a mildly annoying plant into the virulent, hyper-fast growing uber-weed that engulfed Cleveland in a weekend, caught everyone napping, man. Of course, no one really cared about Cleveland, but when it took out Vegas and the rest of the West Coast, people became concerned.
So, even though only pockets of itch-free zones remain and anarchy rules the rest, some good did come from it. With most of the world dead or scratching, I have my pick of stuff. For instance, I love my red Stingray Corvette! I never thought I’d own this shapely beast, but now, I’m tooling up I-75 in the coolest car ever, trying to see if the rumors of an Ivy-free Canada truly exist.
As I spot a figure lying in the middle of the highway, creeper weed closing in on all sides, I ease to a stop. My first reaction is to leave this woman to her fate, but hell, I’ve been alone for ages. I could stand the company. And if she hasn’t been ivied yet… Well, dating in this landscape is, shall we say challenging, at the very least. Red welts can really ruin the mood.
As she runs toward my Vette, I jump out and yell commandingly, “Stop! Stay right there!”
Pausing, she yells back, “Oh my God, thank you for stopping! You’re my savior! I thought I was a goner for sure.” Her bright, grateful smile beams at me like a beacon in the late afternoon sun.
I pop the trunk and reach in to remove my high-pressure power washer. I’m not letting her or anyone get that nasty Urushiol (Oo–roo-she-all) oil all over my nice interior. I proclaim, “I know how uncomfortable this is, and I apologize in advance. But you know how…”
But then I hear the unmistakable click of her partner’s gun against my temple. “Shit!” I breathe.
I watch from the crumbling pavement as my shapely Corvette drives away. As the ivy creeps ever closer, I can’t help but think if I had my druthers, I’d rather be killed by the comic book Poison Ivy. At least Batman’s nemesis was hotter, more creative, and not nearly as itchy.
Ray Walsh wrote a wonderful, extremely thorough review for the Lansing State Journal today. Not only did he give Small Towns a glowing endorsement, but it appears he mentioned all of us by name.
Click here for a link to the LSJ article