Thursday, October 18, 2007

So My Unicorn Has Cancer - A writing prompt

This is a writing prompt assigned by my capstone professor: Begin a story with "So my unicorn has cancer." I may stick writing prompts and my response up from time to time. Feel free to try them yourself. These are generally rough drafts I stick up here for amusement. Well. I sort of stick everything up for amusement. There is no rhyme or reason to this blog.

So my unicorn has cancer. Or so he told me today. The week before, he had gangrene in his horn. The week before that was asthma and the week before that he was pretty sure he'd had a stroke. I should have known better than to buy him from Lying Jack.

Lying Jack got his name because he is a liar. Pretty simple, yes? But the problem with Lying Jack is he is a very good liar. Really Good. I guess people call him Lying Jack so we could all remember why not to listen to him, but somehow people still forget. At least I'm not the only pulled in by Lying Jack's fast talk and dead serious eyes.

Toot Knowles bought a bunch of beans off him one time. Lying Jack said they were passed down from his great-great-great grandfather and they were not just any kind of old beans but they historical magical beans; that Toot had probably heard about his great-great-great grandaddy when he was a little boy. People told all kind of stories about him and his magic beans in children's book.

Oh, I know. It sounds ridiculous to hear about it now, but you obviously don't know Lying Jack. He just has this way about him. Some sort of earnestness in his eyes and his voice just seems to soothe doubts into nothing. It's like he truly believes everything he says. Maybe he does. It's hard to tell with Jack.

Anyway, Toot found himself with a handful of historical magical beans and felt pretty confident he'd gotten the better end of the bargain as he watched Lying Jack walk off with his wife's new Kitchenaide Mixer. With the attachments and a meat grinder. It wasn't until late in the bean season that Toot finally decided he'd been had by Lying Jack. All he has was a record setting beanstalk and the new nickname of Toot. You know. Because of all them beans. They did seem to rumble a stomach more than other types of beans. And Toot did get his name and picture in the Market Bulletin. He looked like a man with a sour stomach in that picture. He's been cooking for himself ever since he gave away the kitchen aide mixer.

I wish I could tell you Lying Jack never did take in anyone else, but then I'd be lying. He got nearly everyone in town to fall for some craziness or other. The chef, the baker, the candlestick maker. The mayor, the police chief, the lunchroom lady. All his life, Jack's done what Jack knows how to do and it seems to benefit him fairly well. Finally, I guess my turn came and he reeled me in with his story just like every other fool in town. I don't care to go into the details. It's a frightful embarassment how I ended up with ailing unicorn. My wife calls him a hypo-chondri-ac. She says we need to talk to him some more and show him we care. She watches a lot of that Dr. Phil.

She wanted to try and get us on that show so we could sort our problems with a real doctor of psychiatry for free and maybe get a little vacation as a nice bonus. I can't. How would it look for me to stand in front of the entire world with my head down because I let Lying Jack con me into buying some trumped up creature that don't do nothin but nag and sigh, sigh and nag. I've already got him sleeping in the bedroom because my wife thinks it'll make him have better self esteem or whatever.

I done been poked in the butt by that unicorn horn three different times on my way to the bathroom this week. He don't move, say excuse me, sorry, nothing. I can't. How would it look for me to stand up in front of the entire world with my head bowed because Lying Jack conned the devil out of me, I'm being run out of my own house and then have that Dr. Phil tell me my dog won't hunt. It ain't fittin.

Sure. Everybody around here knows about the unicorn and how I'm being pushed out of my own house. But that's different. Everybody here knows Lying Jack and they don't say much because they have their own affliction to contend with at home caused by him. Nettie finally put that phoenix out in the yard the second time it burned up her carpet. And Carl just does barely seem to tolerate that long haired blonde Jack introduced him to. I told Carl he ought to divorce and be done with the whole thing, but he won't. Says she just squalls every time he mentions maybe she ought to go home to her mama a little while. She goes to wailing and says she can't stand that boy climbing her hair no more. He doesn't know where she came from exactly, but he's just too soft-hearted to send her back to that kind of nonsense.

I understand. I don't know what to do with this unicorn. I got unicorn patties all over the house and a sore butt and my wife things I'm some sort of horrible person for not wanting to get therapy on national TV. I can't. Those people don't know Lying Jack and I just can't abide by being made more of a fool than I already am. Maybe I ought to do something, though.

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