Thanks to his big ugly mug, Ben Coburn always played the heavy in Hollywood. Yeah, his name was in the credits of a bunch of low-budget B-movie horror shows, but at least he could say he was in the movies.
That was a long time ago.
Now Ben sits alone in a trailer park listening to an old married couple across the way argue about money, just nursing a beer, waiting for something to happen.
But nothing ever happens. That pisses him off.
No, Big Ben Coburn isn’t going to wait around anymore. He jumps on his motorcycle and tears off into the night.
Intent on escaping into a new life, he races past a field of scarecrows, barreling headlong down the highway toward a blazing inferno and a bottomless pit.
I’m rather fussy when it comes to short stories. It’s not that I object to mysteries that lack the word count to be fully explored, or reject characters only glimpsed in passing. These are realities of the medium. What often puts me off is structure. Yeah, that’s a pretty boring thing to be going on about, but for me a short story structure is what turns the words from a loose collection of ideas into a narrative. All manner of absurd notions can be thrown into a short story, as long as the structure is planned and thought through.
Well that sounds pretty damn pretentious doesn’t it? Forgive me, I didn’t mean to come over all arrogant, I’m sure plenty of my stories fail on this account, but I wanted to establish this principle to explain why I describe “It Came From Hell And Smashed The Angels” as elegant.
Gregor Xane’s short story (STRUCTURAL SPOILER) tells you all you need to know in the first couple of pages. Only then, with the rules and the reality established, does he take you on the journey. But of course, what keeps this so elegant, is that you are unaware of these rules being laid, so when they rear their ugly heads at a later point, his careful work is revealed.
I may already have given away too much, so I’ll refrain from discussing the plot lest I make everything too predictable. On the surface “It Came From Hell And Smashed The Angels” is an angry and spontaneous story, but beneath it is concise and methodical. It is free, well worth a read, and can be found here.