Fact is stranger than fiction – that is the adage.
But what if a strange, hilarious, compelling, gobsmacking, factual premise falls short on its potential? What if it fizzles out to nothing because real life isn’t scripted and doesn’t conform to story arcs and satisfying conclusions? What then?
Then fiction takes over.
Such a coup occurred in my recently published short story, Craigslist Boots. Its origins lay in the actual experience of a female acquaintance who tried to sell a pair of knee-high boots on Craigslist (funny, that). After posting her ad, she got a reply from an interested buyer: he was willing to take them on spec for $100. What’s more, he was prepared to toss in an extra twenty if she would acquiesce to a small request:
Would she pull on the boots and kick him in the balls?
Turns out she would – for a cool $200, double the original ask. She emailed him the price-tag and he, delighted with the positive response, laid out the terms and conditions for the bout. Several good kicks. Reasonably private location. Dry. Well lit. He wondered if she might have a place that was suitable. Saturday could work, but it would have to be late, after 10pm. His place was a possibility, but only next week after hours when he could get out of the office.
It was at this point my acquaintance brought a halt to proceedings. Thanks, but bugger off. The buyer had no hard feelings (literally and figuratively) and that was the end of it.
Can you imagine my dismay? Here I was, primed for an epic unfolding of the fetish, breathless at the thought of scenes and sights and sounds, tears gathering in my eyes at the prospect of punted plums for modest profit, and what ensues? Sweet FA. Just polite goodbyes and dead air. Irony had delivered the blow in question to me instead of the Craigslist perv.
I wouldn’t succumb. The end of it? No bloody way. This scenario was going to play out. This tale would be taken into the full light of day.
Someone was going to get kicked in the balls.
And someone did. Who was it? How did it go down? And why in the name of Satan’s fiery sack did it have to happen? You’ll want to purchase Issue #21 of The Lifted Brow magazine to find out.
(Ouch! That was a nasty kick to the you-know-whats, wasn’t it? Sorry about that…)