My Writers Circle

Workshop => Review My Work => Topic started by: Skip454 on February 13, 2011, 01:53:32 PM

Title: You Scared The Bejesus Outta Me! (2050 words) Humorous Horror? Bit graphic.
Post by: Skip454 on February 13, 2011, 01:53:32 PM
I don't know what to call it, just a story wanting out.


I screamed out to the the waiting ghosts, hand on my heart, smile on my lips, "To be or not to be? Why was I meant not to be?" I could hear my voice echo off the long neglected walls of the building. The ghosts didn't hear me, nobody paid attention to me any more. I tried to trip the new guy coming in, missed by that much.

"Damn, you scared the bejesus out of me Mike, don't do that!"

"Sorry Wily, I thought you heard me coming. Erie old stage ain't it?"

"Ya, never saw this open in my life. They say twelve people died on this stage before they closed it down for good," Wily whispered as we looked out into the long rows of empty seats. "My mom said it was open when she was a little girl, an actor died when she was seven. She said a stage backdrop rope managed to get tangled in his feet and he tripped and fell into the ropes. As the new backdrop fell in place it managed to snag his neck and before all the crowd, he hung himself. I hear tell the play was about some hanging judge," Wily did a sick laugh, "then the kids a year later and that was it."

Mike waved his hands around, encompassing the large building, "Well, we ain't gotta worry none about that, it is all coming down. Them Historical Society folks lost the court battle finally, and the boss says we need a parking garage a lot more'n a closed down theater. Wonder where it got its name? Malthouse Theater ain't no highfalutin' name or nothing."

"Maybe the Malt was fermented?" Mike snickered.

I had been standing behind them the whole time, waiting to speak, wanting to speak. Finally, I said, "Boo!" as loudly as I could. Figures, they paid no attention.

Ten times now I had gotten their attention and I was figuring on making it eleven. One guy didn't count, he really did fall and hang himself. Spoiled all my fun.


I was called Albert Mott the Third; I had such great talent and hopes, I went to all the proper schools, took all the required courses, mother always said I was the greatest ever, but James, the director of my first real play outside of the college theater, went and ruined it all for me. I was supposed to play King Lear, I was the best, but no, James says another guy is better in that part and he gives me the part of the Duke of Cornwall. I knew he was just paying me back because I put a whoopee cushion on his mothers chair on opening night, still.

The third night of the play all had went well until the servant stabs me after I pluck Gloucester's eye out, but the stupid prop knife malfunctioned and it really did stab me. The people all thought I was good in that scene, as I died.

I got up and bowed to a round of applause, but none saw me. None but the servant actor that stabbed me, and a couple people off stage knew that for my greatest performance, I hadn't been acting, as my life slipped away. They waited until the curtain came down on that act before they moved. James said, "The play must go on!" or some such drivel. I was dead and he continued the play as the police came. It was ruled an unfortunate accident.

James was the owner, he was actually Norwegian and this theater was then called 'Middag og en Spiller', which meant 'Dinner and a Play'. We always did King Lear or The Tragedy of Coriolanus, they were the only two plays he knew or liked.

Took me several months of careful watching, but one day he was in the rigging before he opened and was trying to get a slipped rope back into a pulley when I hollered, "Boo!" But of course he didn't hear me since I had already pushed him off the narrow rigging. His body made such a fine thump when it smashed into the stage far below.

So sad, Shakespeare was out of business for a while, as the theater looked for a new owner. James had been so clumsy.

Grundell was next, William Grundell, a self-proclaimed playwright of the grandest order. He chose a name for the theater. He wasn't Portuguese but named it 'O jantar e um jogo' which still meant the same damn thing, 'Dinner and a Play'. I found out his young house cleaner he made out with was from Portugal someplace, he wanted to impress her. At least he put 'Dinner and a Play' in English below the other name.

If you ever wanted to see really terrible plays written by a true idiot, this was the place to go. He had one where a man tuns into an evil tree and waits to ambush young maidens on the way to town to sell their milk. Another was about a high Lord of some fiefdom, I mean high as in smoking stuff neither Lord's or stupid surf's had business touching. He finally finds out he can't fly from the castle walls as he thought.

After two weeks of actors and actresses trying in vain to bring something to the stage of worth, I found he had a weak heart. He took special medicine for it. Late one night after the close of yet another terrible play, I slipped under a tablecloth and waved arms and such. He knew it was a prank by one of the staff of course, and was laughing as he ripped off the sheet and saw no one was there, plop, dead as they come! I doubt anyone even bothered to save one of his scripts. Since I was trapped here anyway, I felt I had a right to something with taste being presented upon my stage.

Mr. Tidelaw was the next owner, he named it, 'Dinner and a Play', I was getting miffed at these people. Such a complete lack of originality. I'll give him his due, he spent good money to hire descent actors and actresses of at least a little local renown. One was the same guy who played King Lear instead of me, he was older and still wasn't much good at it, but such is life.

I got a twofer' the fourth week as he and another poor actor played their terrible sword fight, with their little rubber swords. I had both handles dipped each night of the play in a rather toxic poison I made up in the kitchen, part of which was a chemical called mercury(II) chloride used to whiten the floor tiles. The play started normally and on the same night, both feeling poorly and showing a desire to use their understudies, Tidelaw said, "The show must go on." He wasn't about to fork out extra money for understudies if it wasn't needed. I could not have scripted it better, on cue, plop and plop, dead as dead gets in the middle of the sword battle. From the seats it did look a bit cheesy though.

Investigations were done, reasons manufactured as Mr. Tidelaw was tried and convicted of the poisoning murders of two actors. Some kind of insurance scam was given as a reason behind the senseless murders.

People shied away after that, and it was again for sale. People were having such rotten luck with this place.

Two more hapless people bought the 'haunted' theater and failed to succeed.

The first was a British fellow, big handlebar and chops almost to his chin. He installed an electric winch to help with the drops. While inspecting a malfunction one night, one of his chops got caught in the gears and sucked his face in, the crunching and screams were rather disturbing on the people sitting and watching the play.

The second was a woman named Ms. Wilks. She was very pointed on the Ms. part. Clearly a spinster, her looks befitted a pig, or maybe a Saint Bernard. She had large hanging jowls, big busy eyebrows, you know, butt ugly!  And her mood often matched her looks. The few actors she found usually didn't stay long. She wasn't quite as unlucky as her predecessor, she improved her looks one-hundred fold when her face was crushed by a huge spotlight that fell from a weak rafter mount. I had to work hard for that one. I spent a week just practicing and marking the stage to get the perfect spot. Then I waited another two weeks when she had her fifth cast call. She always stood the same spot, right on my mark. I shoved the light, mounts already weakened, no luck, I finally had to do a flying tackle on the light to get it to fall, to bad I went with it, only got a short glimpse of the carnage before I fell through the stage into the basement.

My greatest accomplishment was actually a bit of luck. A Mrs. Hornaday finally bought it and opened a Malt Shop in the large front vestibule. She brought in a couple priests whom she paid to bless the place and chase any evil spirits away. I guess they didn't really believe in themselves. Anyway, I don't think it helped much, other than making her feel better.

She ran that little malt shop for a year, I liked watching the kids come in and talking of all their dreams, hopes, loves and failures in their young lives as I sat with them, or in the middle of their tables, or just hung in the rafters. Mrs. Hornaday was a kindly old widow, but she was hard pressed to make ends meet, even with the popularity of the malt shop upon the locals. A Mr. Griffen from the local Historical Society approached her one day after being given hard earned taxpayers' money he was supposed to fritter away on hopeless causes.

I stood next to her when Mr. Griffen said, "Mrs. Hornaday, I wish to purchase this fine old building and return it to its days of glory as the finest 'Theater and a Dinner' in these parts." Was he stupid? He didn't even get the name right. Typical deluded fool with someone else's money to burn. They made a deal and the name would be changed to Malthouse Theater. Well that was a real change anyway.

After a bit of renovation Mr. Griffen brought in the local College kids to perform some plays they wrote. I think some were quite well done, considering their ages and lack of experience. They had one where a big log swung down out of the rafters, coming over the crowds heads and knocked down a castle wall of Styrofoam blocks so the evil King could be confronted by the Heroine. A short battle scene and she could save her beloved from the dungeon below. I saw the kid playing her lover, he needed rescuing alright.

They had a problem on opening day, the big plastic log didn't arrive. Mr. Griffen really got me mad as he said, "The show must go on." He substituted a real railroad tie for the plastic log and they had a tether rope two guys held from up in the balcony, to insure it didn't get going too fast during its swing. I saw them test it a dozen times, it was flawless.

Third act opened with the evil King atop the wall of his castle spouting vile insults at the Heroine and her rag tag army. Finally the grand moment came, the log was away, gee, the ropes holding it were longer than practiced and mounted differently so the log turned sideways, the two strong men found their rope was attached to nothing and the log smashed into the heads of the Heroine and her three companions. Although it was what I had planed, I still felt sorry. It was more than I wanted. I thought maybe one, two at the most. I really just wanted it closed down.


Wily turned to Mike, "So what we gonna do first?"

"Boss says to cut out the entire cross beams in the attic; they took up the floor already, then the second floor as well. He says when the wrecking ball hits it the whole thing will fall in on itself and we get a bonus." Wily smiled.

I followed them up to the attic; they tied harnesses to themselves and walked out on the massive old beams. The chainsaws started with a loud buzzing as they cut through the first beam. Then, against their strongest wishes to the contrary, each other, I think they screamed but the saws were quite loud.

A few days later the wrecking ball smashed in the walls, I could see light, I saw the sky, after so many years, I was free at last.
Title: Re: YOU SCARED THE BEJESUS OUTTA ME! (2050 words) Humorous Horror? Bit graphic.
Post by: emva83 on February 13, 2011, 02:27:22 PM
     I start by saying that was hilarious. I got so lost int he humour, it was a shame it ended. There were a few spelling errors which I'm sure you'll spot in the editing phase so I wont bother too much with that. You did have the same problem that most writers seem to battle with, commas. A couple of sentences ran on too long, but again, nothing that a small editing session won't fix.

     The story itself was pure brilliance. I loved the ghost, you wrote him so believably. My only problem with him was at the end. You created a rather sadistic ghost that killed people purely out of spite, some of them hadn't really done anything wrong, he just liked doing it, but at the end, you write it as if he's been trapped in hell for waiting for release. I think you had the intention of making him the victim of the story, if so, i think a slight rewrite may be needed. Near the end, where the story returned to the original characters, I felt was also a nice part, well written.
     All in all, I thought that this was the best piece that I've read on here so far. Is it meant to stay as a short or story, or would you like to expand it more. Either way I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Which is the most important thing about writing, making sure people enjoy your work. Keep it up
Title: Re: YOU SCARED THE BEJESUS OUTTA ME! (2050 words) Humorous Horror? Bit graphic.
Post by: Silt on February 13, 2011, 03:41:42 PM

there are a few places you could tighten up. I bet it felt good to just let a story out.

I don't know if you need the dialogue characters at the beginning and end, Wily and Mike, it felt told well enough through the ghost's voice.

'For some reason people stayed away.....'  - i think with all those death it showed there was a reason so you didn't need to say 'for some reason'

there could have been a better hint as to his goal, i liked the ending that he was free but for the deaths it could have been just revenge vice to close the theatre down as his ultimate purpose, or did I miss that?

I could have missed that reason, so if so, disregard.


I would have liked him to be more sinister, cold-black humour if you wanted to keep that cynical side.

thank you
Title: Re: YOU SCARED THE BEJESUS OUTTA ME! (2050 words) Humorous Horror? Bit graphic.
Post by: Skip454 on February 13, 2011, 04:16:20 PM

I agree, I could maintain the story without them but...

Wily and Mike were there for several reasons. The reference to Wily's mother being a little girl adds a feeling of how long it sat empty. The name of the story was actually the first thing I wrote so Mike provides the reason and they set the general mood.

At the end they provided the ghost with one last hurray, his last licks at the theater which is what he actually hated for trapping him, he knew he would soon be free.

Since I was trapped here anyway, I felt I had a right to something with taste being presented upon my stage is in there someplace to hint he was stuck, not wanting to be there. (I added the 'here anyway' to expand the possibility of the fast reader catching it.)

I agree with the 'some reason'. I removed the offending part.
Title: Re: YOU SCARED THE BEJESUS OUTTA ME! (2050 words) Humorous Horror? Bit graphic.
Post by: 510bhan on February 13, 2011, 11:12:25 PM
Hi I've read through this a few times now and it took me the third read to really 'hear' it. Once I had a casual, easy toned voice in my head for this it was great - before that, I dunno - lacked style or something. I kept coming back to it because you said in the title that it was humorous and I didn't get/feel that . . . which annoyed me, I have a pretty good sense of humour and an open mind . . . until I heard the narrator's voice, as I have explained.

Perhaps you could create a 'theatrical' opening perhaps with a "stolen line or two", delivered in stentorian tones then once you get into the narrative, the shift of voice would be more apparent - kind of like an aside to continue with the tale suggested by the guys whispering in the beginning.

This could be something other than my mind talking here - so feel free to ignore it.

Once my head did it's job I thoroughly enjoyed it.   ;D ;D ;D

Q: Is the guy Wily [as in Wile Coyote or Willy/Willie?]
Title: Re: YOU SCARED THE BEJESUS OUTTA ME! (2050 words) Humorous Horror? Bit graphic.
Post by: Skip454 on February 15, 2011, 04:41:13 PM
Humor, I have been told mine can sometimes be a little to subtle. People also have so many different perceptions of what it is.

I can change the opening a bit, maybe, somehow. :)

Wily Synonyms:
    * adjective: crafty, sly, artful, astute, tricky, and a few more.

So more the Coyote I would think.

Title: Re: YOU SCARED THE BEJESUS OUTTA ME! (2050 words) Humorous Horror? Bit graphic.
Post by: 510bhan on February 15, 2011, 04:44:52 PM
Perhaps - it might be a bit telly but it could be helpful - after     

The people thought I was a good actor in that scene, as I died.   

maybe add in a line, That was joke/ I had the last laugh    something like that to lead in. ;)