Flash Fiction: George and the Fatal Mistake

Earlier in the week, I blogged about a rejection I received for this story. No matter what I tell myself, at the end of the day, it really is fan fiction, and I need to stop sending it to places that don’t publish fan fiction. It belongs here, on my blog, where any one can read it for free and get a laugh, or shiver, from it. If your not a Star Wars fan, you might want to skip this one. Otherwise, enjoy!

-Sara

George and the Fatal Mistake

By Sara Codair

George felt sick as he walked down the red carpet. It should’ve been like walking on a low gravity planet full of cuddly Ewoks, but it was more like wearing lead shoes while trudging across the molten Mustafar. His wife’s arm was threaded through his. Lights flashed. Cameras clicked like a Killik army, clicking their pincers and mandibles as they marched.

His skin was crawling by the time he took his seat. Normally, he would’ve seen every cut of a Star Wars movie before it premiered, but he gave those rights away when he sold his franchise. He hadn’t known about the new books until he saw one on the shelf in the grocery store and he was being left out of the brainstorming meetings for the Clone Wars cartoon. The public was under the impression he didn’t care, that he had washed his hands of Star Wars. The public didn’t know shit.

Contrary to what most people thought, Star Wars had never really been his. There were guidelines it was supposed to follow and George feared Disney had thrown those in the trash compactor. He never meant to give up all control.

#

The screening confirmed his fears. Sweat dripped down his forehead, and he couldn’t hold his popcorn down another second. Abandoning his seat, he went straight to the single stall bathroom.

No matter how many times he hit the switch, the bulb wouldn’t illuminate. His cheeks tingled. His throat tightened. He stumbled towards the toilet in the dark, sunk to his knees and heaved. His throat burned as half-digested popcorn and Coke spewed from his mouth. A cane tapped on the tile floor, followed by a shrill, frog-like laugher.

“A long time, it has been,” croaked the voice.

George turned around and saw the demon he had sold his soul to over thirty years ago. It was barely three feet tall, with wrinkled green skin, glowing red eyes and pointy ears.

“Remember me, you do. Good.” The green devil took a step forward.

George nodded, staring at the being that inspired Yoda. With its tattered brown robe, tan tunic, stick cane and light saber, it looked like it had just hobbled of off the set of The Empire Strikes Back. Of course, the fictional Yoda’s eyes had never glowed that hellish red.

“A deal we had. Keep it, you did not,” continued the creature. “Thought you could cheat me, did you?”

George shook his head, backed away. He hadn’t intended to break the deal; he just wanted to retire and enjoy his wife before he got so old and shriveled that she started hiding his Viagra. Selling the franchise had been the best way to do that. It satisfied the fans’ demand for more and gave him billions to retire on.

“Appear in the new movies, I did not.” The creature rose off of the ground and hovered mere inches away from George, so they were eye to eye. “Dead, they will think I am. Power, I will lose.”

“You’re still in the other six.” George scrambled to mollify the monster’s wrath. “You were a Force Ghost in Return of the Jedi. They know you’re not gone. Your name was mentioned in the books hundreds of times. You’re in the Clone Wars shows. People remember you. They adore you and quote your lines like scripture.”

“Yet, mentioned in this movie, I am not. Sold me to my enemies, you did. Destroy me the Faeries will, now that my image they own.”

“Fa-faeries?” Breathing became difficult; he didn’t know if it were nerves or if the creature was Force choking him. It didn’t need hand motions like Vader or the Emperor. Those had been purely for the benefit of the audience.

“Mmmm….Own Disney, the Faerie Courts do.” The creature placed a three-fingered hand on George’s chest. Its fingernails were long, black and sharp enough to pierce through George’s tux and draw blood with the lightest touch. “Punishment, I must extract.”

“Please!” George sunk to his knees. “I didn’t know. I’ll get it back. I’ll do anything. Just please don’t hurt me!”

“Too late, it is,” cackled the creature. He dug his claws into George’s chest and pulled.

George felt his skin tear and screamed. It wasn’t loud enough to drown out the slurping, sucking and chewing until fangs pierced his heart and the world went black.

#

When the crossroads demon was done feasting on the traitor’s flesh, he took on the appearance of the dead man. He brushed the dust of off his pants as he got up and walked into the hall, in search of someone who could fix George’s mistake.

“Do just fine, this one will,” he muttered to himself before he offered to buy JJ Abrams a drink.

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When a Form Rejection is Better…

I often find myself cringing at form rejections, wishing that editors would give just a snippet of insight into why they rejected my story. Today, I found myself wishing for a form rejection.

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a story titled “George and the Fatal Mistake” merging George Lucas’ sale of the Star Wars franchise to Disney with a cross-road/deal with the devil trope. I sent to a few speculative publications, but quickly realized it was too close to fan fiction for their taste. I sent to a few celebrity and pop-culture themed calls for submissions, but also got rejections. After more rejections from humor zines, I was thinking it just didn’t belong in a lit mag, but saw an interesting anthology and thought, “I’ll try one more time.”

That was first of my big mistakes.

The second was that I didn’t reread the story to make sure it was the most up to date, error free draft. I wasn’t confident it was even a fit for theme. It was late. I didn’t think it was worth the effort.

The result: The rudest and most detailed rejection letter I’ve ever received that not only criticized my editing and writing skills, but put me down as a teacher as well. This editor even went as far as telling me that she couldn’t imagine anyone anthology editor would publish my writing.

For the first time since I started submitting stories, I actually wish the editor had just sent me a form rejection, and while I normally don’t let an angry editor deter me from submitting a story elsewhere, but I knew even before I sent this one out that it was the type of thing that belonged on my blog, not someone’s zine or anthology.

Later today, after I finish fixing all the grammatical errors than angered this editor (and a few she didn’t comment on), I will post it on my blog, and readers who don’t know anything about Star Wars can ignore it, and those who will appreciate it can read it.

Next time I get a form rejection, I will think of this angry editor, and be happy with “thank you for submitting, but this just isn’t what we are looking for.”