Regrets of a Paranormal-Romance Stock Character

Army_Guy“YOU’RE TELLING ME you trained in Cambodia and Laos from age six, took shrapnel in Afghanistan, attended night school on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Harry Henchman’s Institute for Filthy Living and you couldn’t pull no Van Helsing on no buck-fifteen, double-d, American-lookin’ chick with poser Asian-tattoos and fangs, coming straight at you with a samurai sword? Come on, dude.”

“Drop it, Snake.”

“I knew some guys in the Core—they even sees ya lean back a little on yer heels—”

“What did I just say? I said drop it Snake!”



“What does it look like we’re doing, woman?”

“Man, this really is Hell.”

“Let’s just push this mill, okay?”

“Where do those paranormal-assassin chicks even come from, Pig?”

“Best not to ask.”

“All I wanna know is:  if the girl that killed you was American, why’d she have all those poser Asian and Celtic tattoos? If she likes men, how come she’s so hell-bent on killing every man she meets? If she’s a vampire, why don’t she suck blood or sleep in no coffin? If she’s so strong, why don’t she have to look strong like the rest of us? I think that’s what got me. I trained for every contingency, except a chick ignoring physics. I knew there was something I forgot.”

“Don’t beat yourself up.”



“You know what else’s bothering me, Pig?”

“What’s that, Snake?”

“All the while I was getting my ass-rocked by that Scandinavian, four-foot toddler chick, I kept hearing this voice in my head—”

“You heard a voice too?”

“Yeah. It was telling me what was gonna happen next. It was like I had to play along with it.”

“Me too!”

“It’s not that I mind an irrational voice telling me what’s gonna happen. I knew when I got into henchmanship there’d be irrational voices bossing me. It’s just…”

“It’s just what, Snake?”

“It’s just—it’s embarrassing. I worked so hard for so long at my evilness—I always hoped the voice that did me in would understand me. You know? avoid clichés, avoid passive voice, avoid proofing and conjugation errors, avoid point of view filtering—avoid a festering smorgasbord of logical fallacies, Michael Bay-inspired metaphors, threadbare tropes, borderline plagiarism—you know; would take the time to appreciate the uniqueness of my evil before doing me in?”

“I know, Snake. I know.”

“My friends, you have not seen the worst of these things.”

“Carlos! Man, what are you doing down here?”

“I have been down here since the mid-eighties, my friends. I too, attended the Harry Henchman Institute for Filthy Living, seeking a better life for my family. Harry, he says to me, he tell me:  if muscular Americano rips off his shirt and holds the M60 like the firehouse, you jump out into the bullets and flop around like fish.”

“But Carlos, you flew under the radar for years; evaded guerillas; dodged freedom fighters; slipped past slave traders—scrounged by on five hundred calories a day! Why would you jump out into the bullets of a conspicuous outsider?”

“I do not question. I do what I am told. I turn this mill to keep things moving. For what is to come may be the worst pill for swallowing.”

“I fought a villager once, Snake. Didn’t look like much. Didn’t really even look like a man. Not a Hollywood man, anyways. But he was tough. Like an animal. Like I’d been studying martial arts my whole life and had finally come face-to-face with the thing all marital arts were based upon. After I managed to kill him, I felt so embarrassed of myself. This cold chill came over me and it was like the whole world, everything that was alive and everything that existed for a real purpose turned its back on me and I fell down on my knees and wept in this man’s fresh blood. And I wondered then why all around me, why so many women should have such strange fantasies about having the power of men, when all men can ever do is destroy and they alone can bring life into this world.”


“EXPRESS—Ahh? I—I kinda liked that one.”



“Why does Hell need a mill? What does this connect to above?”



“No. Hold still, Pig. That’s it! I will not turn this mill one inch further until someone here tells me what we’ve been milling all this time. Well—?”

“Chwaah-piish—! Chwaah-piish—! Chwaah-piish—!”


“No. What are we milling? Answer me.”

“The pulp of the past, my friends. The pulp of the past. The Earth, she must digest all the forgotten fiction of the generations before us.”

About davidwallacefleming

David Wallace Fleming is a U.S. writer, living in Austin, Texas. He is the author of the coming-of-age, social media novel GROWING UP WIRED, and the satirical science fiction audiobook, NOT FROM CONCENTRATE.
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