So, I spend a little bit of time over at Chuck Wendig’s sandbox, Terribleminds.com. Several of my flash fiction pieces here were prompted by He Who is Ravaged by Trouser Badgers. Below is yet another of those works, prompted by the photo he posted on his website:
“Goddamn it, they misspelled the sign,” Pierce said as he slowed his Prius down and turned into the parking lot. “Half the people coming to this thing won’t be able to figure it out.”
“They left our names off,” Willie replied. “And is that a fucking Tastee Freeze next door? Holy shit, man.” His tone was disappointed, but not really surprised. Tired would be a good way to describe it. “Guess we shouldn’t be too surprised. ‘Boneron, starring Pierce Highman, Willie Diddle and Fonda Peters’ really wouldn’t look good next to a pizza sign and a Tastee Freeze.”
“If it didn’t suit them, why did they agree to have the event in the first place?” Pierce slammed the shifter into park and turned the key. “I mean, hell, what are we doing? I’ve been trying to build a career in this industry and make it respectable for twenty years. I’m forty fucking years old, and here I am at another movie unveiling in a pisspot town that doesn’t even want me.”
“Half the men in the country want to be us, Pierce. We have money, we’re famous, and we fuck the hottest chicks on the planet for cash. Just calm down for a minute, I’m sick of some of the bullshit too. But, c’mon, it’s just a fucked up sign. You’re Pierce Highman. This is supposed to be triumphant, man! We got every big name in the industry to work in this film. Peter Enya even came out of retirement to do a scene. Take a breath, dude.”
Pierce knew Willie was right, of course. The people running this theater were just like so many of the others. They wanted the money he brought but they didn’t want their neighbors to know what was going on. He laughed, thinking about the old couple that owned this place going to church on Sunday and being questioned about “Boneron.” Still, he knew most of the guests for this evening’s unveiling. Most of them would drive down this road 50 times, with the address easily visible, and never make the connection with “Oberon.” He took the vial out of his pocket and snorted a couple of spoons of blow, handed it to Willie and got out of the car. He inhaled deeply, savoring the drip in the back of his throat. “There’s no instruction book for running an adult studio, Willie.”
“Nope,” Willie said, slamming the door, “It ain’t all fuckin’, that’s for sure. Maybe WE ought to write that instruction book, you know? Not too many people been in the business as long as us.”
“Man, the last thing in the world I want to do is be a writer. Shit, even I got standards, man.”
He walked across the parking lot, looking at the letters and trying to decide what to do while Willie leaned against the Prius and lit a Camel, exhaling deeply into the afternoon sunshine.
Pierce reached up and moved the “B”. “Oberon” became “Bo_eron”. He stepped back, admiring his work. It wasn’t perfect, but the guests would be able to figure it out, and the theater owners could go to church on Sunday with their neighbors. “Looks good with the pizza sign, too,” yelled Willie, still smiling, from beside the car. Satisfied, they went inside to prepare for the night’s activities.