For those who don’t know me, I’m a funny guy, as in funny ha ha. I like to tell jokes and I say quite a few inappropriate things at inappropriate times but draw laughs while doing so. There have been folks who have said I should have gone into comedy instead of writing, or that I should write comedy. When it comes to writing, the hardest two things to do (in my opinion) are to scare people and make people laugh. I prefer scaring people.
However, I love comedy—good comedy, and I don’t feel there is enough of it out there. One of my favorite standup comedians is Gabriel Iglesias, better known as Fluffy. If you’ve never seen Fluffy, look him up on Youtube and you’ll find a large sample size of his work. Netflix recently released a special titled, One Size Fits All, filmed in Houston, Texas. I watched this special recently and laughed—a lot.
Near the end of the special, Iglesias made a statement that made me pause the show. He was talking about the beginning of his career twenty years earlier when he said: “Everything comes from somewhere.”
That may not seem groundbreaking, but then he went into the beginning of his career, where he got his start. According to Fluffy, it was in this couple’s garage and then at a little club in California. The couple attended many of his shows, bringing friends with them. They were important to him—so important he flew the couple to Houston so they could attend the taping of the special.
Though Fluffy used the term ‘comes from somewhere’ when referring to where he got his start, I believe he meant, everything has a beginning, or everything starts somewhere, or possibly, everyone comes from somewhere.
As a writer, I remember very clearly the first story I wrote, where the idea came from and how I felt when I finished writing it. Here is my beginning:
Early in 1993 I began having a nightmare that repeated itself almost nightly for months. The first time I had the nightmare, I woke with the typical heart thumping, out of breath feeling of an especially bad dream. I remember not wanting to go back to sleep after I woke because I thought I would have the nightmare again. I eventually dozed and slept the remainder of the night with no issues. The next night the dream returned, followed by the one after that and so on.
For several months, I had the nightmare and got to where I would go to bed later and later, hoping I would be so tired I wouldn’t dream at all. No dreams meant no nightmares. It didn’t work.
One day someone asked me why I looked exhausted. I explained the nightmare. She told me that next time I should write the nightmare down after I have it. Supposedly, on advice from his physician, a famous writer did that after having a recurring nightmare. The story goes that the writer had the nightmare soon after visiting the doctor and then sat and wrote the original draft. Long story short: the author supposedly never had the nightmare again.
With that in mind, that night I placed a notepad and pen by the bed. When I woke after having the nightmare again, I grabbed the pad and pen and spent the next several hours hand writing what I could recall. By the time I was done, I felt as if I had exorcised a demon. Who knows? I might have.
Though I’ve never been a great sleeper, I laid down and slept through the rest of the night and then slept well the next one also.
A few days later, I sat at a computer and typed out the first short story I ever wrote outside of school. I titled it, Chuckie. When I was finished, I read over the story. I thought it was good. What did I know?
But there was so much more to it than just thinking it was good. I enjoyed telling the story, creating the two main characters, Chuckie and Alex. I thoroughly enjoyed the cheesiness of it—it had the distinctive bad humor feel of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I found that for the first time in my life, I had enjoyed writing something. The writing bug had bitten me and it itched. I had to scratch it and scratch it and scratch it.
I’m still scratching it.
I hand wrote Chuckie in June of 1993. I typed it a couple of days later. Since then, I’ve written over one thousand stories. No, you did not read that wrong. In fact, I’ve written 1060 stories. Honestly, I thought that number would be higher—it feels like it should have been.
Let’s go back to Fluffy for a minute. “Everything starts from somewhere.” He is right. I began writing in 1993 while sitting in my bed on a hot June night. That’s the where and the when.
Two things before I finish. First, Chuckie is a bad story. It’s cheesy and poorly written. It’s lame and the action is typical horror movie action. Second, I warn you now: I am posting Chuckie at the end of this blog. Read it at your own risk. It is completely unedited and raw and … bad. Do you understand what I’m saying here? The first story I ever wrote is MASSIVELY BAD. You’ve been warned.
The point to this post? Everyone starts somewhere. Often, those starts result in an accomplishment that isn’t too great, but it is still an accomplishment, and that can lead to other accomplishments of much more significance. I hope my start, which was bad, led to something better you have come to love.
As always, until we meet again my friends, be kind to one another.
Okay, last chance. You can turn back now, click that X in the corner and move along as if this post is over. Don’t blame me if you read the utter dreck that follows this sentence.
By A.J. Brown
A good night’s rest is all Chuckie Benson wanted. Lately, though, it seems he can’t get a decent hour’s rest without dreaming about someone; someone who has been dead for seventeen years.
Lightening flashes suddenly outside, interrupting the stillness of the night. A loud clap of thunder follows quickly, shaking him from his troubled sleep. As he sits up bolt right in his bed Chuckie screams.
“Another nightmare,” he tells himself, “Just another nightmare.”
The storm outside is a violent one. The wind bending trees and snapping power lines to the ground. The rain, coming down in the same direction the wind is blowing, is mixed with hail stones the size of golf balls. The sky is pitch black with no sign of stars or the moon. Bolts of lightening streak from the sky followed by the explosive sound of thunder.
Ring. . . ring. . . Chuckie jumps at the sound of the telephone ringing. Standing up, he answers it quickly.
“Hello. Hello, is anybody there?”
“Remember me Chuckie boy?” came a cold and almost sarcastic sounding voice from the other end. “Come on Chuckie boy, you’ve gotta remember me.”
Chuckie sat on the edge of the bed, his tan complexion turning white. He breaks out into a cold sweat, and his mouth begins to feel dry. He hasn’t heard that voice in seventeen years.
“Who. . . who is . . . is this?”
“Ah. . . Come on Punkin, you know who I am, or has the last seventeen years made you forget?”
Chuckie tried to keep from screaming from the fear that was overcoming him. He put one hand over his mouth, and his eyes grew large as tears swelled up in them. He tried to muster up the courage to speak but could only manage a few slight whimpers.
“What’s wrong Chuckie, cat got your tongue? You know what tonight is don’t you Chuckie boy?” the voice was growing meaner with every word. “Look out the window, Chuckie boy, I’m coming to get yah. This time I’m taking you with me.”
“Alex! Alex, wait! What is tonight? Alex? Alex?” Chuckie cried as the receiver went dead. He stood up in a panicked hurry, dropping the receiver to the floor. Quickly he ran to the window of his apartment. The complex overlooked the J.C. Recreational Center in which there were half a dozen phones by the building. Pulling the curtains back, Chuckie looked down toward the phones, only to see all six of them on fire, and what looked like a person trying to get out of one of them.
Chuckie hurried to put on a pair of socks, and blue jeans. He stepped into his slippers, ran out the door and down the eight flights of stairs to the lobby. He ran out the main doors and out into the storm, which had calmed down to a steady rain. Chuckie stared at the phone booths by the recreational building.
“It’s impossible! They can’t be on fire, it’s pouring out here.” he says aloud. The man in the phone booth was slouching in the cramped area. He was no longer trying to get out. Chuckie picked up a rock by the road and threw it at the phone booth, shattering the hot glass. Pulling off the shirt he had slept in, Chuckie ran to the phone booth, and grabbed for the man, pulling him out and away from the fire. He patted the man down with his shirt to distinguish the fire, and hopefully save the man’s life.
“He’s dead. Damn it, he’s dead!” Chuckie yelled in an agonizing voice.
“Run, boy. He’s coming to get you.” the man surged upward as he spoke in a haggard voice, grabbing Chuckie’s arm with his burnt hands. Chuckie tried to get free, but the man’s grip was too strong. “Run Chuckie, run. He’s coming back. He’s. . . coming back.” The man’s grip loosens as he lays backwards, dead, on the concrete, his eyes still wide open. As Chuckie went to close the man’s eyes he sees a face in them. It’s the face of another man; it’s Alex’s face.
As he ran back to his apartment the storm began to pick up again. The winds were getting stronger, the rain fell harder, and the lightening seemed to touch ground with each flash.
Chuckie remembers Alex Morrison. Alex was known in town as a trouble maker. He had been arrested several times for beating up the old folks in town and then setting them on fire, but since his father was the town sheriff, Alex always managed to get off with a probation of some sort. He was a mean kid with an evil smile who liked to hurt those weaker than him. He once bragged that they probably wouldn’t let him into Hell because he was too mean.
Alex was nineteen when he died. Chuckie was eleven. Alex had tried to rob the Benson’s house one night, while they were away. He didn’t expect them to come back while he was still there. Mr. Benson confronted Alex. Alex pulled out a gun and shot both of Chuckie’s parents. He then looked at Chuckie with an evil grin.
“Go ahead, Punkin, I’ll give you a fair chance to run.” Alex had said.
Chuckie ran around the staircase and hid in a hide-away closet. Trying not to cry he listened and hoped Alex would leave.
“Come out Chuckie boy. I got a surprise for yah.” Alex had laughed. Alex laid the gun down on the staircase as he went over to the back window. “Well, if you won’t come out, I guess I’ll have to flush you out.”
From the hide-away by the staircase Chuckie could see Alex walking away, without the gun in his hand. He looked around and saw the gun sitting on a step on the staircase. Running from his hiding spot Chuckie grabbed the gun and ran back to the hide-away.
“Hey Chuckie boy, you know what we’re having for dinner? We’re having roast beef!” Alex yelled as he set fire to the back room curtains. He turned to get the gun and Chuckie was waiting for him. He sprang from his hiding place with the gun pointed at
Alex. Bam!! Bam!! Two bullets plunged deep into Alex’s chest and he hit the floor. Chuckie dropped the gun and ran out the house.
Alex struggled to stand up. He kept yelling at Chuckie to come back and help him. Alex never made it out of the house before it was engulfed in flames.
The whole town mourned the death’s of Bill and Maria Benson at their funerals, but no one appeared at Alex’s funeral, not even his father. Thunder snapped Chuckie out of the past and back to the present. He went to the bathroom and started to wash his face in the sink. “This is to unreal.” he whispered to himself.
Glancing up into the mirror Chuckie was faced with the gruesome sight of Alex’s face staring back at him.
“Don’t put the coffee on, Chuckie, we’re not staying!!” boomed the evil reflection in the mirror.
“Ahhhh!” Chuckie yelled as he stumbled backwards out of the bathroom and into the hallway. He grabbed his keys and ran out the door slamming it behind him.
Chuckie was panic stricken as he cranked up the car. “The cemetery. His body is in the cemetery. I’ll find his tombstone and prove he’s dead.” He proceeded to drive to the Greenlawn Cemetery with the eerie feeling of someone watching him. As he approached the graveyard, he looked into the rear view mirror; Alex was in the back seat. Chuckie swerved off the road, crashed through a gate, and into the cemetery, where he came to a stop at a grave that had been recently dug.
Chuckie scrambled to get out of the car, falling forward as he opened the door and landing in front of the tomb stone that was in front of the newly dug grave. Looking up, Alex was standing in front of him.
“Take a look Punkin; look at the tombstone, it’s yours.” Alex sneered with an evil laugh.
Chuckie looked around. The cemetery was dark and there were no lights to be seen. Haunting trees overhung throughout the graveyard. The night was pitch black and the storm had ceased. The ground was wet and muddy from the rain, and there was a very distinct odor in the air.
Chuckie mumbled under his breath “What’s that smell?”
“That’s me. . . ” Alex said “We don’t have deodorant in Hell, Chuckie!” Alex’s tone of voice was now sadistic, and very evil sounding, and his laugh was as cold as any Chuckie had ever heard. “Now look at the damn tombstone!” Alex yelled angrily.
Chuckie slowly stood and turned toward the grave site while watching Alex. Looking down he read the tombstone, and then fell to his knees again. “Charles Alen Benson. Born February eighth,1963; Died September 13, 1991.” Tears streamed from his eyes, as he looked at the tombstone then at Alex.
“Ah, you’re not going soft on me, are you Chuckie?” Alex sneered.
“But you’re dead.” he cried as he stood up. “You’ve been dead for seventeen years. I can prove. . .”
“I know you can prove it!” Alex interrupted. “All you have to do is find my grave, right? Well, go ahead and look for it. It won’t be hard to find, Chuckie–it’s the one on fire.” Alex was yelling and pointing toward the south side of the grave yard. “You know what’s over there, don’t you, Chuckie? That’s where they bury the people like me. On the Darkside, Chuckie. Nobody goes over there, not even the dead. I’m the only one over there, nobody else! I’ve been there for seventeen years, rotting away, while you’ve been enjoying your life, Chuckie! You’ve never even come to visit me. Go ahead, prove to me that I’m not really here.”
Chuckie slowly walked to the grave that Alex had pointed to. The grave was on fire, just as Alex said it was. Chuckie shielded his eyes as he got close enough to the tombstone to read it without getting burned. The tombstone stated: “Alex Vann
Morrison, August 22, 1955 to September 13, 1974.”
“You’re. . . ” Chuckie started.
“DEAD!” Alex finished.
Chuckie looked at Alex and for the first time that night he saw exactly what Alex looked like. Alex was, indeed, dead. What was left of Alex’s skin was charred a deep black and flaking somewhat. The right side of his face was completely void of skin while the left side had patches of skin left on it. He was missing his right eye, and his left eye was of a deep purple color. He had no nose and no ears, little patches of hair on his
head stood out like a sore thumb, apparently most of it had been burned off in the fire. His clothes were burnt but still intact, and his shirt had two holes in it, and what looked like dried blood. There was a lot of decaying flesh still left on his body, with the exception of his hands and forearms, which were all bone. The glow of the flames off of the grave made Alex look even more horrifying as he moved toward Chuckie.
“What’s wrong Chuckie, don’t you like my rugged good looks?”
Chuckie stared at Alex in disbelief, as tears streamed from his eyes.
“It’s time, Chuckie. It’s time to go home.” Alex sneered as he moved closer.
“Please stay back. Leave me alone.” Chuckie pleaded as he backed away from the tomb.
“You still don’t know what tonight is do you?” Alex said in a childish voice. “It’s the seventeenth anniversary of my death, Chuckie, and now you’re going to join me. Tonight, Charles Benson, you shall join me in Hell!”
Chuckie started to run, trying to get away from Alex.
“You can run, but you can’t hide Chuckie.” Alex was laughing vehemently now.
Chuckie ran out of the cemetery and toward town. He ran for what seemed like forever. Finally, he stopped on the Dunbar Street Bridge, which leads back into town, and looked around to see if he could see Alex anywhere.
“I must have lost him.” he said with a sigh of relief as he looked back toward the cemetery. “No, he’s here somewhere. . . I gotta keep running. . . get some help.”
As Chuckie turned to head back toward town, there stood Alex. Alex was on fire from head to toe. Swiftly he grabbed Chuckie by the neck and hoisted him off of his feet.
“Last time you saw me I was on fire, Chuckie! It gave me a hell of a heart burn!” Alex yelled as he held Chuckie in the air, his grip on Chuckie’s throat tightening, the fingers sinking into the flesh drawing droplets of blood. Chuckie pried at Alex’s hands, trying to break the grip somehow, so he could breath. The flames from Alex’s body were burning against Chuckie’s clothes and skin. Chuckie’s eyes were growing wider as he felt faint. “Say ‘Good night’ Chuckie, it’s time to go to sleep.” Alex said as he tightened his grasp on Chuckie’s throat, sinking his long bony fingers deep into his flesh, and snapping Chuckie’s neck, drawing a flow of blood. Chuckie stopped struggling and his body went limp and his hands fell to his side. Alex stood and laughed as he held Chuckie’s lifeless body by the throat, blood running down his bony arm.
“I’m sorry to be such a pain in the neck, Chuckie, but I really must be going.” Alex said as he threw Chuckie’s limp body over the edge of the bridge, then turned and walked off in to the night.
The storm had picked back up and was worse than before. Lightening flashed and hit trees, splitting them in half. Thunder boomed as if it was a bomb explosion going off.
“Noooo!!” Chuckie yelled as he sat up in bed, sweat pouring off of him. It was eight thirty and the alarm on his clock was ringing; it was Saturday, September 13, and time to get up. Chuckie got out of his sweat soaked bed.
“Another nightmare. . . it seemed so real.” he said to himself breathlessly.
Chuckie took a long shower to relax. He looked in the mirror, still shaking his head and trying to figure out why the nightmare had been so real.
Knock. . . knock. . . knock. . . knock. . . knock.
Chuckie jumped at the sound of the door; “That must be Jessica, she’s early.” he thought to himself. He finished drying off and rapped the towel around his waist as the knocking grew more insistent.
“Hold your horses, I’m coming.” Chuckie yelled as he opened the door.
“Remember me, Chuckie boy?”
June 29, 1993