Monday, 6 December 2010

AGAINST THE ODDS By A. T. Greenblatt

Against The Odds

            It started with a bet.  The simple belief that it couldn’t be done.  Sure mortal enemies could kill each other; they did it all the time.  But could they do it with spoons?
            So there we were.  In an empty parking lot, facing each other and the audience forming a ring around us.  Jimmy-John was glaring at me; I could see the hatred burning in his eyes, even at ten paces away. Clutched in one of his massive hands was a serving spoon.  I’d known him long enough to tell that he doubted that we could do this, despite the mutual belief that neither of us would be happy until the other was dead.  But he would not wound his cherished pride by refusing a fight with me. 
            I stood my ground calmly but firmly, silently figuring my odds.  Lightly cradled in my palm was a small silver sugar spoon, no longer than my finger. 
            The odds were not in my favor, I realized.
            The duel was the result of a failed business relationship.  The smothering ruins of an illegal collaborative, of lost gambles and the actions of desperate men.  I won’t deny my guilt but I won’t forgive how in his desperation to save himself, he sacrificed me.  Ironically, Jimmy-John accused me of committing the same crime.
            We had started with bar fights, hoping that the simple exchange of blows would pacify our rage.  But it hadn’t and bars became rings and the rings forced us out to the streets as the consequences of our poor decisions continued to destroy the foundations of our lives.  Our feud developed a following and the audience became the referee and began to set the conditions of the matches.  They took full advantage of our growing hatred and fights grew more violent and absurd until it evolved to the final ultimatum: Death by spoons.  
            So there we were, armed with our weapons of choice, waiting, calculating, wondering what the first move should be.  Someone from the audience stepped forward and raised a gun to the air.
            POW!  A single shot sang the death note and Jimmy-John closed the gap between us in an instant. 
            I had no time to dodge the flying, angry giant.  But I did have time to position a small silver spoon so it could do the most damage. 
            SMACK!  Down we went, groaning.  I could tell from the tone of his voice that the spoon had hit the mark.  “That’s for the insults,” I wheezed.
            He half rose, never letting his weight do anything less than crush me.  With his free hand he swung the serving spoon at my nose.
            CRACK!  I heard something on my face break and discovered it was the most disquieting sound I’ve ever heard.  That’s for the lies,” he hissed, as he raised the spoon again.  I took the opportunity to jab my spoon into his exposed stomach.
            WHOOSH!  The air rushed out of those massive lungs, and I knew I hit a nerve bundle. 
Jab, jab.  A few more hits in the right places and I was no longer being smothered by the oppressive weight.  I leapt to my feet.  “That’s for the money,” I said.
But Jimmy-John was quick to recover and was standing again in an instant.  I didn’t even see the spoon coming.
 WHACK!  My ears were ringing.  “That’s for the broken promises,” he panted. 
Jab.  I was always quick with rebuttals.  “For the schemes.”
SWOOSH!  “For the envy.”
Jab.  “For the betrayal.”
SMACK!  WHACK!  “For our dead friendship.”  The serving spoon had become a battering ram
Jab.  Jab.  Jab.  And the sugar spoon was a wasp.  “For the lost time.”  Amidst the exchange in blows, we found ourselves both on the ground again.  I saw both spoons were now slick with blood and its metallic taste was in my mouth as well.  I wondered it if was his or mine. 
I saw Jimmy-John rising and I made sure to do the same.  An eye-blink later, we collided and were grappling, threatening to topple again.  Clenching my sugar spoon, I aimed for his face.  He saw it coming, though and bit down on the utensil when it was in range.  Instinctively, I pushed the spoon in.  And instinctively, he swallowed.
He took a final wheezing breath before it became impossible.  Collapsing on the pavement, his face began transforming from extraordinary shades of red to blue.
“That’s for taking my girl,” I said, slowly and clearly so that he made no mistake about the last words he would ever hear.
Jimmy-John could not reply, but his eyes were laughing, saying:  “We put on one hell of a show, didn’t we Tom?  We sure proved those bastards wrong.”  His eyes were laughing despite his defeat, laughing at them, laughing at us.  Then the lights went out of them completely.
The audience was stunned.  No one could believe we had actually done it. Almost a full minute passed before the crowd erupted in a chorus of cheers.
I stood in silence over the body of the great Jimmy-John, my best friend and worst enemy.  I had finally killed him, after all these years of fighting, and I had done it with a spoon.  Against the odds.  


A. T. Greenblatt works in a firmly non-writing field when the sun is up and writes under a desk lamp at night.  Fueled by a sheer love of books and a tyrannical imagination, she writes the stories that appear over her morning coffee and won't leave her alone until they are put down on paper.  

To learn more about her published and upcoming works, follow her on Twitter at


  1. Loved it! Could not stop reading! What a way to die!!!

  2. That was so unique and I really liked it. Had the feel of Running Man and a Tales From The Crypt episode. Well written and easy to read.

  3. Very interesting & compelling story! Really enjoyed the writing style.
    Would never have thought a duel by spoons was feasible. I liked it!

  4. I love this piece. I love the fact that the narrator has a silver spoon and the lowely Jimmy-John only a serving spoon. This line is great "become a battering ram...[a]nd the sugar spoon was a wasp." The ending is great too where the narrator spoon feeds Jimmy-John's death to him - literally. Very funny.

  5. What a deceptively haunting piece--it sticks with you like gum in your hair, and I have to say I love it.