Excerpt from the short story He was a Cannibal by Martin Twang followed by comments from his writing group.
Pterodactyl Sparks, at three months old, knew. He knew his mother was going to get hit by a bus on July 3rd. He knew she would be dead. And he knew he would, too, because he would be inside of her. That’s when Pterodactyl decided that banging on her stomach, pulling on her organs, pooping inside of her wasn’t garnering anything other than oohs and aahs. It was time for drastic measures.
On July 2nd, Pterodactyl broke through his mother’s ribcage and inserted bits of broken bones into his gums to give himself razor sharp teeth. He pushed onward, knowing very well how his actions would be viewed by the world, and ate a hole through his mother’s stomach. She did not notice, because being pregnant is very painful, and this was on par with that pain.
On July 3rd, Pterodactyl was able to tuck and roll out of his mother’s stomach, just before the bus smacked her head-on. It was midnight, and the mother was walking home late from work. So Pterodactyl rolled, unseen to the crowded streets of New York City, into a sewer where a mutant lizard named Rowley caught the baby in its arms. During this moment, it became July 4th, and the true meaning of Independence Day was achieved…
“This is like Nicholas Cage from the movie Next meets Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles directed by Uwe Boll and that’s not a compliment.” – Jonathan Blaine
“How could a baby produce enough force to break ribs? Wait, scratch that. Why is there a baby named Pterodactyl Sparks?” – Dana Todd
“This is easily the worst story I’ve ever read in this group, and I even read Ryan Tom’s ‘It has really happened’.” – Jonathan Blaine
“Have you tried not writing?” – Stephanie Wieland
“Knock, knock. Who’s there? Jonathan Blaine. Jonathan Blaine who? Jonathan Blaine will always be 500,000,000 times better than you at writing, Bitch.” – Jonathan Blaine
Entry from Martin Twang’s diary.
I just received another batch of He was a Cannibal rejections. Eight from magazines, all personal. They each went out of their way to try and convince me to bury this story deep inside the earth and then find a new hobby, particularly one where my hands would get ripped off. One said, “Reading your story was like coming across a Roman numeral while doing long division. It seriously turned my entire world upside down, and my world, before reading your story, was very, very good.”
The last rejection came in the form of not making the 60 finalists in the Some Guy Named Tony’s “This is the first thing I ever wrote competition”. How didn’t I make the cut? There weren’t even 60 entries!
To add insult to injury, Jonathan Blaine, the guy from my writing group who said my story was the worst ever, won some huge contest. He brought the jumbo check for $10,000 to the last meeting. I say “last” because I’m never going back there. Forget those losers.
I’m so sick of Rowling and Meyers and Patterson and Shakespeare and some lady who took pride in being prejudiced. And Jonathan Blaine wearing his black, thick-framed glasses and tucked-in sweater vest and hair that looks like it belongs on an action figure. How do these people make millions of dollars off of that crap? I haven’t read any of their garbage, but everyone says they suck, yet they’re really popular.
I just don’t get it.
Entry from Martin Twang’s diary.
I got it! Famous authors have crazy origin stories that make their lame fictional stories even better.
I figured, instead of me, why not cement Pterodactyl Sparks into the history books? Make him real to exact revenge upon those worthless editors and critiquing partners and anyone who reads.
The idea struck me today while I was on campus. I was sitting in the grass, writing down my biography and how I was going to sell my first novel and make millions, when someone laughed, pointed and yelled, “Look at that dufus with a diary!”
I yelled back, “It’s not a diary—it’s a journal!” They were out of journals when my mom picked this diary up.
Anyway, some other kid, a long green-bean of a kid with a broccoli head, came up to me and said, “Hey, Friend, do you believe everything you hear?”
I said, “No.”
“Then you’re not a dufus.”
“Do you believe in Jesus?”
“Good, you shouldn’t.” He handed me a business card which stated in letters that bled off the stock “The Searchers” and then he broke out into a speech while I stared at the words. “We’re the searchers.” He giggled, because we both knew I already read that part. “We don’t believe anything that’s out there. In Jesus or God or alien lords—none of that stuff. But we do believe there’s something we should believe in, we just don’t know what.”
I looked up to catch an egg splatter against this kid’s broccoli head. When he turned to me dripping yolk, I said, “This must be destiny, because I know.”
“I do. I know what no one else knows. It’s the truth.”
I nodded. “No one believes in it.”
“They don’t? No one?”
Everyone wants to be the first in a fad, or at least not last, because at the end of the fad line, you become like this kid. You want to start something new.
He knelt down, dripping, and as ants crawled up the yolk escalators and inside his tight jeans, I said, “It all started with Pterodactyl Sparks, the real creator of the universe.”
First press release for the newly founded church Pterodactyl Sparks and CO.
Are you sick of Crocs? How about those ShamWow things? Did you lose years of yourself during that Beanie Baby fad of 1990-something? Did you ever recover financially from all of those Longaberger baskets you purchased? Did you ever manage to sell them all on eBay? Did you leave eBay for Craigslist when the fees became insane? Did you meet someone on Craigslist who touched you in a way you’ve never been touched before? Not molestation.
If so, we’d like to touch you on the inside. We’d like to take you away from Crocs and ShamWow things. We’d like to take you away from those boring stories you’ve constantly been hearing for the last thousands of years. You know, the one about a guy multiplying booze for his friends, and the one about an alien lord creating us in a jar and punting us to Earth. These stories are lame. You can do better.
You deserve the TRUTH!
The truth, like so many other things, has been here on Earth for billions of years. The truth lies in dinosaurs. One in particular, a babe dinosaur born in cannibal blood, Pterodactyl Sparks is the real God. He’s the real alien lord.
But to hear the true story, it must be told to you in the basement of Carl’s Comics on 459 East Rutherford Street in the Short North. There, we will convince you of the truth by touching you on the inside.
Written by Martin Twang
Blog recount of Pterodactyl Sparks and CO.’s first birthday party for Pterodactyl.
After leaving the grocery store last week, I sighed when my car came into view. Another piece of neon paper was pinned under the wiper. Don’t you hate that? You want to toss it to the ground, but you feel bad for littering.
Anyway, since there was no one in sight, I was going to toss it, but then the image on the paper was such a train wreck that I needed to see if it was for real or not. Fast-forward to a few days later, and I found myself in a comic book store’s basement with a “church” called Pterodactyl Sparks and CO. It’s the basement you envision every time you think of some nerd on the internet talking smack.
Inside this damp underground box, I found myself next to smelly college students, baked-potato senior citizens, women you’d swear were men. They had three things in common—they were all extremely hard on the eyes, they were all convinced Pterodactyl Sparks, a baby dinosaur, is our creator, and they were all there to celebrate his birthday.
I’m kind of shocked at what happened next. Their “service” was a play reenacting the birth of Pterodactyl, and it was put together by the funds raised from their lemonade stand.
Apparently the story is as follows:
Pterodactyl Sparks extends beyond the realm of time, which means he’s always been. Six billion years ago, he created the universe inside his mind. He eventually grew bored with his artwork and decided to enter the canvas. Cue 230 million years ago when he took the form of a dinosaur on a place he called Earth. He created other dinosaurs and plants and humans—all things he considered “extremely dangerous”. To make a long story short, he did this so his life would ultimately be taken away by his creations, only to return in the future when someone, in this instance Martin Twang, brought back his memory to the world. Apparently this is what Pterodactyl Sparks wanted. Because we are all imaginations inside his head, he wanted the imaginations to make him an imagination to in turn make him real. Then he was truly born on July 4th after chewing his way out of his mother’s womb several months early because he was able to foreshadow his mother getting hit by a bus and dying violently three strokes before midnight on July 3rd.
The craziest thing isn’t Pterodactyl’s story, but the fact that a room filled with human beings is so certain of this, that they would die to prove their devotion. I know this for a fact. Someone said, “I’d die for Pterodactyl Sparks.” Another nodded and said, “Me, too.” And another handed me a handgun and said, “Same. Try me. Kill me for believing.” When I handed the gun back, the guy smiled behind bottle cap glasses and said, “This is a murder weapon—thanks for your prints.”
I almost soiled myself, but then he said, “Just kidding, but not about Pterodactyl Sparks.”
The Rush Limbaugh Show
“Later on the show, we discuss how the killer from the new horror movie ‘A Cocoon of Love’, a masked man who captures women and wraps them in cocoons until they love him, is supposed to represent me because he talks about limbs, and ‘limb’ is part of my name.
“But first up, a good friend of mine, Jonathan Blaine, the award-winning author who’s taking the world by storm with his stunning fiction, contacted me the other day and brought me up to speed about this ex-writing partner of his who took an unreadable short story and turned it into a religion.
“Let me just say something right away—if you start believing in this stuff, then you’re not American. You’re a Nazi. I bet Barak Obama is actually behind this, because this is a direct attack on our almighty God. Obama wants free health care, a +1 in college football and for my show to get cancelled. He also loves money, and I bet he’s going to take a percentage of this new religion’s profits. He’ll invest those profits into the secret underground facilities we know he already has, and then he’ll be able to finish the robot army our insiders have warned us about. Then he’ll take over America and make a new law where you don’t need a birth certificate to live here. Obama hates jobs and the private sector. He deeply resents them. Try to deflect that all you want, but the truth can’t be denied.
“By the way, my brother’s new book is out. It’s called ‘The Great Destroyer 2’, and it’s again about how Obama is trying to destroy our country. It’s a great tool to persuade liberals to become Republicans.
“Okay, well anyway, this entire hubbub I’m talking about is in regard to a religion called Pterodactyl Sparks and CO, who believe that a dinosaur created the entire universe. A dinosaur! Dinosaurs were stupid, so how could they create the entire universe? Next we’re going to hear that the dinosaur was a Democrat. You just wait. The Democrats are going to use this new religion to win the election.
“The point is, if you want to believe in this ridiculous religion that is clearly fiction, you should probably leave the country in a canoe and hopefully your canoe gets capsized by a wave and you float to the bottom of the ocean. Do not, I repeat, do not believe in this garbage! Instead, buy my brother’s new book, and if you really need to fill your fiction hunger, pick up anything by Jonathan Blaine, because he’s an amazing author. And he believes in God and Republicans.”
Entry from Martin Twang’s diary.
John Blaine won three Nebulas for stories which judges and readers and experts called “amazing” and “mind-shattering” and “timeless”. I know because he emailed me the announcement right before the Rush Limbaugh interview aired. The subject line said, “You’ll always be…” and the body of the email said, “…the worst ever. Oh, by the way, if you get a moment alone in your basement, LMAO, check out how awesome I am.” The word awesome was linked to the announcement.
But then Rush single-handily ruined John’s career by publically associating him with extremist Republicans. I just got an email from John. The subject line said, “Sorry,” and the body of the email said, “I didn’t mean anything I said to you, ever. Swear.” The word swear was linked to a Hallmark apology card.
John’s just mad that Justin Bieber is missing. That the ShamWow guy is back in jail. That my church has amassed over 500,000 new followers thanks to Rush. Rush is like a parent, and the working people are like teenage children. Rush says something is bad, and the children give him the middle finger by loving it.
John’s also mad that on page 49 of my book Pterodactyl Sparks Believes in You Believing in Him I introduced him as “The Imagination Killer”. I dive into John Blaine’s character for several pages, stating how he tried to halt me from bringing Pterodactyl Sparks into the world by smacking me with rude comments like, “If the publishing industry were real, it would abort you or give you up for adoption to Snooki and J-wow,” and, “You’re like parenthetical remarks (very unnecessary),” and, “Reading your work is worse than having AIDS, but AIDS isn’t that bad anymore because there’s a cure, so change AIDS to IMJBS (Internal Mexican Jumping Bean Syndrome). Don’t think about it, because you’re too stupid to get it.”
In my book, which easily landed an agent who said, “It’s not good by any means, but it’s going to make us both rich,” I explain how, after I began spreading the story of Pterodactyl Sparks, The Imagination Killer made up his own stories to try and smother mine. He tried to steal the limelight, but like goldfish swallowing and pet rocks and Polly Pocket toys and Pogs and 8-ball leather jackets and bowl cuts and that song “I believe I can fly”, he’s now in the pit where all fads go to die, and nobody will remember John Blaine for anything other than being The Imagination Killer.
The Pterodactyl Sparks Pub located in The Red City on Mars.
“I heard they wiped out the entire city on Neptune,” says Colonial Roberts leaning back in his floating spoon of a chair. After he takes a swig of his drink and slams it down on the table, he throws his arms out and begins to flap them wildly. “Pterodactyl is good.”
“Indeed he is,” says Private Timmons, mirroring Roberts’ flapping. “It’s a shame a Bible was found there. Shame a few were worshipping some magician named Jesus.”
They both flap insanely, as if they’re about to take off into the soft red sky.
“You’d think that the three-percent of the sixty-two-billion people in the universe who don’t believe in Pterodactyl Sparks would grow up already,” says Roberts.
An elderly man, well into his 200s, floats by on a silver bowl, and he can’t help but look down, shake his raisin of a head and mumble, “Pssst.”
Roberts instantly leaps in front of the elderly man, making him slam on the breaks and skid across air. “What did you just say?” Roberts rips a plasma canon from his thigh holster and aims it at the raisin. “Look at me. Speak to me. But don’t lie to me.”
The elderly man looks up with dead eyes and mumbles through his gums, “What if the Bible wasn’t fiction?”
Roberts yanks the trigger, and a fuzzy, pink ball rips into the elderly man’s torso, causing him to explode.
“Tell The Imagination Killer I said hello,” Roberts says, blowing the red hot tip of his gun. The dozens of patrons huddled around tables in the pub rise and give him a thunderous round of applauds. They all flap so wildly that it feels like a storm front is moving in. They all chant, “Go into raptures over Martin Twang for reviving Pterodactyl Sparks!”
Food for Thought
What if your religion is a lie? Imagine, thousands of years ago, if someone like you concocted a riveting tale and shared it amongst friends and family. What if that tale got passed along, exaggerated (as often is the case), and spawned one of the most popular religions to date? The story you just read may have come across as silly fodder, but honestly, what if?
About the Author
Matthew Hance has a beautiful wife and two awesome boys. When he’s not swamped with real life, he gets his frustrations out by writing like a banshee. While he’s published fiction of every genre, he’s currently hard at work on a middle grade book series inspired by his lively home life. Find him having fun on his website (www.matthewhance.com) or chatting it up on Twitter (@thememoryeater).
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