Craig Shaw Gardner: Dangerously Creative Writer of Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction


Broadcasts from the underside, and somewhere over slightly to the left

A public service message.

Friday, March 07, 2008Poor Jack. He had waited too long. His letter had arrived only moments after the 200th membership had been sold for Camp Necon. But 200 was the limit. He was shut out.

"Noooooo!" he cried out, throwing his substantial collection of stuffed animals and action figures against the walls of his bedroom. But venting his frustration did nothing to change his situation. Jack had always been a man of action. And action was his only hope.

Membership or no membership, he was going to Necon.

By the time he got there on Thursday night, the festivities were well under way. He stopped by registration, hoping for some last minute cancellation. At first, Mary Booth seemed happy to see him. And then she realized he had been -- too late.

"Sorry, Jack," she said, her voice tinged with sadness. "We're sold out. You have to go."

This couldn't be! Jack raised his voice to complain, but before he could utter more than a few bitter words, Mary nodded her head at a pair of nearby students, and Jack found himself quick-marched out of the room by two particularly burly co-eds.

He found himself back at the college guard house, outside the camp. But a man of action didn't take "sold out" for an answer. Maybe Jack couldn't attend officially, but he could at least spend a few minutes hobnobbing with his fellow campers.

Jack's idea would have worked, too, if not for the unfortunate events that had occurred at Necon 33. After that unpleasant, embarrassing Friday night two years before, the college had wisely surrounded the dorms with the ten-foot-high fence -- the fence Jack now looked through -- at the Campers mingling together, so close yet so very far away.

Jack called out to a few familar faces. Most didn't seem to hear him, although one of two glanced at him and waved a bit sheepishly before returning to their beers.

It was all too much. "Noooooo!" Jack screamed again. He would be a part of Necon, or he would be nothing.

He rushed the fence, determined to get to the party on the other side. He jumped as high as he could, a good six inches from the ground, and screamed even higher than before as 10,000 volts of electricity turned his body into a blackened corpse.

A few of the campers noticed the flash of fire as Jack was instantly incinerated.

"A real shame," Dallas Mayr remarked as he lifted his glass toward the charred remains. "I always liked Jack." With a final, sad smile, he turned back to resume his conversation with the young woman he had so recently met.

A breeze came off the bay, and Jack's ashes wafted over the college quad.

Nick Kaufman sniffed the air. "You know," he said to those gathered around him, "all of a sudden, I'm in the mood for a Saugie."


(My contribution to the "Kill Jack Haringa in Your Blog Day." Way to go, Jack!)

Posted by Craig Shaw Gardner at 12:27 PM |

3 Comments so far ...

OpenID imago1, 9:27 PM | Story


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Anonymous Rosandra Montequin, 12:13 AM | Story

Hilarious!!! Now I miss NECON even more.