Monday, 15 February 2010

TWO MEN TALKING by Brian J. Smith

Brian brings us something a bit different on his TKnC debut...


“THIS place is bullshit.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Shopping malls are bullshit.”

“No, they’re not.”

“Yes, they are.”

“Why do you say that?”

“They’ve made these things especially for people who don’t work a fuckin day in their lives can--.”


“You didn’t let me finish my sentence. What I was going to say was that ‘they created these things so that people who don’t work a day in their lives can spend other people’s money.”

“Wrong again.”

“Then why don’t you enlighten me, Smart One.”

“They made this shopping mall because of one reason and one reason only. So that big businesses can move in and fill the mayor’s pocket or in some other way, keep the town’s economy from going belly up.”

“Don’t give me that lecture.”

“Which one?”

“The one where you tell me it all has to do with more than one simple thing.”

“It does. What happens is a town or a city needs to make some money but they can’t raise taxes anymore than necessary so the only way to boost a city’s economy and pour some money into the town to be afford street repair or school-type issues like new textbooks, new computers and other stuff. Besides, this kind of thing gives kids someplace to go after school. It’s better than seeing them hang out with the wrong crowd or doing drugs or something.”

“Is that what you think?”

“It’s exactly what I think.”

“Kids are the other thing that really piss me off. Especially nowadays.”

“Why do you think that?”

“When you and I were kids, I never expected us to be the most perfect kids in the world. We had our ups and downs.”


“And I’m not trying to say I’m better than anyone else.”


“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You said you were trying to insinuate that you were better than anyone else. And I just agreed with you.”


“And you were saying?”

“Kids these days don’t have structure. You walk over to that Wendy’s kiosk over there and what do you see?”

“A whole bunch of fattening food.”

“Not really. They took the bad oil out months ago and made all the restaurants use trans fat but that not what I’m asking. What do you see when you go up there?”

“Not much.”

“My point exactly. But what you do see is some forty year old who can barely make it by on the finances they get from that crappy job. They drive whatever piece of shit car they can get their hands on as long as it gets them from point aeh to point bee everyday for the rest of their lives until the day they die and no matter what that car needs done to it so it can do its job or what highly expensive bill comes floating along they have to sacrifice themselves to make sure they come up on their promise.”

“So what’s got you all fired up?”

“I’m not fired up. I pisses me off that Sam Forty-Year-Old has to work his or her ass off to get the things they wanted while Barbie and Ken don’t have to work a day in their entire lives because Mommy and Daddy are too busy taking care of their problems, buying them all the cars, clothes and God knows whatever else they want without batting an eye. Meanwhile, you’ve got people who have to rob Peter to pay Paul if you get my drift, you’ve got people who can’t afford gas for their cars. Last week, I saw a guy in dirty jogging pants standing outside of a broken down Winnebago holding up a sign that said WILL WORK FOR FOOD and what made matters worse was the fact that his kids were sitting in the front seat of their broken down behemoth, staring out at the highway like a couple of abandoned puppies. And just seeing that really burns my ass. Here this guy is willing to bust his ass for his kids, to feed his kids and not to mention himself but the government says ‘hey let’s not give it to him, let’s give it to this guy’s spoiled little brat.”

“Maybe that guy isn’t as innocent as you think.”


“Maybe it was his fault he and his kids are in that predicament in the first place. Maybe he did something to put--.”

“What the hell are you saying?”

“What I’m trying to say is that good people wear evil masks, too. Maybe he’s responsible for his situation. Maybe his wife or his girlfriend or his room-mate or whoever didn’t like kids and they kicked him out of his house. They may or may not have had reason to kick him out. That’s what I’m saying. People whether rich or poor have always done something to put themselves in their own situation. They’re no different than you or me.”

“You saying you don’t understand where I’m coming from?”

“I fully understand where you’re coming from. I don’t like to see a man down on his luck, either. I’m all for a world where people don’t hold cardboard cut outs detailing their current situation. I’m just saying not everyone is perfect.”

“Understood. You’ve made a very good point and I respect your opinion but do you understand where I’m coming from or what I’m talking about?”

“I do think kids should get a better idea of what it’s like to work for a living but it’s no different than these stupid fucking toy companies.”

“What about them?”

“You remember your first toy?”

“It was G.I Joe Command Center. I got it for Christmas one year and it took my father three hours to put it together.”

“Was it your only toy?”

“No. I had lots of them.”

“And did you play with them?”

“Not exactly.”

“What time is it?”

“Ten till noon.”

“Alright, set the timer for ten minutes and then drop it in the trash can.”

“You sure we can do this?”

“Just do it. Just drop it in and let’s get out before the whole place goes. ”

“I’m walking toward the trash can.”

“I’m behind you. Just drop the fucker in.”

“The timer’s set so let’s go.”

“I’m going.”

“No, you’re not. You’re just---.”

Brian J. Smith has been featured in Drabblecast, Darkest Before The Dawn, Crooked, New Voices In Fiction, The Forbidden Zone, Postcard Shorts, The Horror Zine and The Flash Fiction Offensive. He lives in Chauncey, Ohio.


  1. Welcome, Brian.

    I wondered where the hell that was leading, but the twist was awesome, fella.


  2. Brian - that's some feat - containing your whole story in dialogue!!! And a nice twist, too! Well done!

  3. Really enjoyed the argumentative dialogue, was nodding in agreement with some of it only to find it snatched away. That's clever enough in itself but to casually drop that ending in was wicked.

    Welcome to TKnC Brian.