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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

Max And I

Max emptied the magazine of his AK 47 at the waiting passengers in the crowded airport departure lounge. He quickly reloaded and emptied a second magazine.

Every shot missed the random travellers he had intended to mindlessly slaughter.

Max threw his weapon to the ground in frustration and looked upwards. ‘What are you doing?’ he screamed.

‘Sorry,’ I said. It’s just that all that death seemed a bit unnecessary.’

‘Have you read your own bloody character profiles?’ he demanded.

‘What do you mean?’ I said, hesitantly.

‘You described me as being a deranged, homicidal psychopath,’ he clarified. ‘A few hundred corpses in an airport massacre fits the bill pretty well, I think. Or would you prefer that I just shared some cucumber sandwiches with the fucking vicar?’

‘There’s no need to swear,’ I said with embarrassment.

‘Look Swan,’ his tone became more conciliatory, ‘you’re an author, right?’

‘Well, I like to think so,’ I replied, self-consciously.

‘Stories generally require a protagonist to confront some adverse event and then overcome the resultant jeopardy to create a satisfactory resolution, don’t they?’

‘Well… yes,’ I stammered.

‘Then,’ Max emphasised, ‘you have to let characters like me do our own thing.’ He put another magazine into his AK 47 and looked malevolently around the airport building, the occupants of which I had yet to allow awareness of his malign presence. ‘Without characters like me, all drama could be acted-out by the sodding Teletubbies.’

‘But people might believe that I think and behave as you do,’ I protested.

‘Do people think that Thomas Harris thinks or behaves like Buffalo Bill or Hannibal Lecter?’ responded Max with passion.

‘How did he get inside those characters, then?’ I countered.

Max sighed. ‘Research? TV? Newspapers? Literature? You are not your characters.’ His voice took a tone of sober advice ‘If you back-off, your characters will write themselves. Please allow us to live our own lives.’

It was late in the evening, and I retired to bed, pondering on Max’s words. In the morning I returned to my word processor with resolution.

‘Where the Hell have you been?’ demanded Max. ‘It’s no picnic sleeping overnight on the floor of an airport terminal.’

I didn’t reply. I simply typed the next two words of the story on the page:

Then Max…

He looked upwards and our eyes met, both recognising the significance of the decision that was to be made.

Then Max released the catches of his suitcase to reveal the nuclear device. Not a large bomb, but adequate to kill everyone within a mile and to make London uninhabitable for fifty years.

Max’s finger moved towards the trigger. He glanced at me suspiciously.

Four simultaneous bursts of machinegun fire instantly ended Max’s deranged, psychopathic, homicidal plan.

The four security police stood by the body, looking in disbelief at the oversized shoes, large red noses and other clowns apparel that were suddenly being sported by each.

They threw their weapons to the ground in frustration and looked upwards. ‘What are you doing?’ they screamed.

‘Sorry lads,’ I said. ‘This is a comedy website.’