The Plight
by P.S.Gifford
forum: The Plight
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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The Plight


          I have got myself into a right old nasty quandary.

          You see—I have always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I began to read and write at age four, it always appealed to me.

          As a young man, I was always found buried in a book. I devoured several of them a week, and my desire to write remained.

          Even as I grew older and attended college, that thought never quite left my mind. I admit I was distracted by all the depraved diversions that typically do distract a young man, yet deep down that notion still thrived.

          That thought deep within my consciousness was like a tiny candle illuminating a vast mausoleum in the middle a pitch black winter's night. From a close proximity, you could just discern it flickering … Yet, from a distance, no-one knew it was there at all; its light was simply absorbed by the darkness surrounding it—sucking away at its energy and strength.

          Yet, miraculously, that flame flourished and began to grow and then finally it ignited my whole imagination. I become at one with my calling and the words flooded out of me…

          I wrote poetry, short stories, screenplays and novellas. I quit my worthless job and immersed myself in my passion completely and utterly… Writing sometimes twenty hours a day.

          I accumulated a vast body of work, and an equally vast number of rejection slips from every publisher imaginable. So I compared my words to those getting published and realized to my consternation that my efforts were pathetic in comparison. They were not only shallow, but ill-thought-out and badly phrased, never quite managing to convey the visions inside my head with the clarity that I desperately desired.

          I used to admire them once, those proper, skillful and eloquent writers. The ones who could effortlessly spin a tale about a man going mad and make it sound witty—even inspiring. Making all who read the story feel completely different about its unsavory topic, oh, what power they yielded.

          So I began to contemplate what was the source of that astonishing power? Where did this ability to generate perfect prose come from?

          It did not take long for me to realize the answer to my question, as it surely could be no other place—their brains.

          Yes, the more I pondered on the matter, the more convinced and crazed I became. There was clearly something contained in their heads that gave them this wondrous ability to express themselves not only clearly, but majestically. Something that cannot be taught, something special, something embedded deep within their cerebral cortex.

          And I wanted it. I wanted it more than I have ever wanted anything before—and I was prepared to do whatever it took to acquire it.

          So I began my little writing group, and joined a few others.

          They were all writing, laughing and smugly sharing their accolades and successes… All those people who had that magical elusive ingredient… The one I was convinced was contained somewhere within their gooey creative brains.

          I suppose some people find it a tad vulgar what I did subsequently—but I cannot dwell on that notion. For me, the rewards far outweighed the ethical consideration.

          I quickly decided that if I was to absorb the magical power from the writer's brain that I needed to consume it. There is much precedent for this in many ancient cultures; several believed that eating their dead allowed the deceased's memory and soul to live on... Furthermore, my warped mind decided the brain should be alive to harness maximum effect.

          I am not particularly handy with tools, I will be the first to admit this… Yet I was pleasantly surprised with what I managed to construct.

          I sacrificed my old heavy kitchen table to the cause of developing my art. First I cut an oblique circle directly in the middle… I did it slightly larger than my head—as from experience, writers of skill have larger than average heads.

          My next dilemma was how to secure the tops of the heads firmly in place. Surely they were going to wiggle and scream, and not freely permit me to eat their brains. Rather selfish of them, I thought… Not wanting to share what nature randomly gave them with people with the passion, but no skill, to write.

          I found the answer in the local hardware store: a large vice. I simply bolted it to my table, beneath the hole I had cut. I also realized that their screaming was going to be an issue—my neighbors over the years have proven that they are very inquisitive sorts. I would hate to have them poking their pointed noses into my business.

          I remedied this by attaching a tennis ball, via two slits made in the ball, to an old leather belt of mine. Problem solved.

          Finally, I needed to bolt the table to my kitchen floor, after I discovered that it was somewhat unstable despite its weight and that any writer with reasonable physical strength could easy topple the apparatus.

          The basic set up was complete, and I don't mind telling you I was very proud of it!

          It then occurred to me that I was going to need special tools to actually get to the brain. I know for a fact that skulls are particularly tough.

          This required another trip to the hardware store.

          While I was there, I must have had a bewildered look on my face. As I examined the various electric cutting devices, a chap wearing denim striped overalls with "My name is Bob, how can I help you?" written on the front walked up to me.

          Bob smiled and asked me what project I was planning to do, and if he could offer any expert advice.

          I simply smiled back and politely informed him that I needed to work this one out by myself.

          I ended up purchasing a small circular saw; quite a handy little gadget, let me tell you, and a roll of industrial strength duct tape. On the way home I also procured a boning knife, a paring knife, and a grapefruit spoon (a spoon with a serrated edge). I also got myself an apron with the words "Kiss the chef" decorating the front. And people tell me that I do not have a sense of humor!

          I shall never forget my first time trying it out. What a laugh! I had encountered this old chap, a certain Julian Bramble; perhaps you are familiar with his work? He has published quite a lot of books in his time—even won some of those fancy awards and everything.

          I lured him to my house quite easily. I just told him I wanted to interview him and that I worked for one of those big national glossy magazines. He fell for it, hook, line and sinker. Writers always like to sprout on about themselves, don't they?

          After a couple of drinks I simply bopped him over the head with an old cricket bat. I needed to be careful… I did not want to kill him or—more importantly at this stage—damage his wonderful brain. It must have been beginner's luck as after one clunk on his noggin he keeled over.

          It was a bit bothersome maneuvering him into place under the table. But eventually after a little huffing and puffing I got his head into position.

          I secured his arms and legs with duct tape, and after a bit of effort secured the tennis ball in place.

          I have to admit I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, sitting there waiting for him to wake up again. I even worried if I might have hit him too hard after all and he was in some sort of a coma.

          I wanted him to be awake when I began to eat. I felt that his fear was going to add positively to the experience.

          Finally I heard him squirming under the table, and peered down at him. I could tell by his eyes that he was absolutely terrified. He tried to scream, but the tennis ball worked admirably—each time he opened his mouth a little wider, it wedged itself farther inside.

          I had set the table with my finest lines, with a hole cut in the middle of the tablecloth, just where the top of his head was sticking out. I had matching napkins, my goblet full of grape juice (I never touch alcohol—I find it repulsive.), my finest silverware, the grapefruit spoon, and my circular saw. I was ready!

          When I started the saw, the sound must have been disturbing to my dinner guest, as he began to squirm even more frantically. What a sight! I had to stop myself from laughing.

          I soon discovered my big mistake, though—I had used my best linen tablecloth, and it was quickly stained with the squirting blood.

          I whistled gaily some favorite show tune as I sawed through his cranium and to the meaty part, and proceeded around the base of his skull. Then it was a relatively easy process to simply flip it up. It reminded me of opening a can of ham.

          I noticed that he was still squirming. I picked up the grapefruit spoon and enthusiastically dug in—deep.

          I have to admit, it was a rather unusual taste, and warmer than I had expected.

          After my fifth or perhaps sixth mouthful, the squirming finally stopped. I paid no heed and simply kept on eating as fast as I could. If there were a Guinness book of records time for eating brains… I would have surely have beaten it.

          Over the last few years, I have consumed seven more writers' brains… Three horror authors, one science fiction, two romance writers, and one political analyst. (The last one was a little too dry for my taste.)

          My writing career took off! Just as I had suspected it would… I have written three bestsellers, and even have been featured on that famous daytime chat show.

          But I must quickly bring you up to date… and to why I am in such a horrible plight.

          It appears that my secret to my success at writing has gotten out…

          Currently I am being bound and held underneath someone else's table. And some idiot no-name writer, who claimed he was going to interview me, is about to start his own circular saw… And become famous.



copyright 2006 P.S.Gifford.

P.S.Gifford calls Lake Forest, California home. His work can be found at