Off The Page
?by Ren?e Hankins
?We haven?t been in one novel in the last five months. Not one.? Binky, the dapper protagonist, is a wanna be stat man. He?s a walking rememberer of current trends.
?How many drafts are you makin? through? I?ve been makin? it to two,? I testify.
?I?ve made three works all the way to the end. But that was a couple years ago,? Binky said. ?Currently? I?m through the first.?
?Wow.? I order another beer. It?s best we stay in the dark walls of Junko?s Bar and Tap. We don?t see how often we all come in the joint. We also don?t see how many of us stay for hours.
?Times is stuffin? us hard, Janey. Morris is takin on shorts.? Binky tossed pretzel nuggets and made baskets in his mouth like he were a circus clown.
?Shorts?? I slam my brew down. ?They?re the embers in a bonfire. How?s Morris gonna make a living in shorts??
Binky smiles between his jaws crushing his pretzels. ?I?m playin the odds, baby. I?m goin to big screen.?
A foul odor came whiffing up my nose like a smell of bad onions. ?Ah, sh?t.? I turn to sink my nose into Binky?s shirt and cough.
?Character calls are starting, folks. Get your drunk asses up and head outta here. Sluts, whores, pimps, johns, greasers, users, nudies, ninjas, bank tellers, and gutter bums. Line up.?
Jackson B, low grade story character agent, aka pig-man, keeps a lot of us in print. But it?s rarely more than a couple pages of print.
?How many pages tonight, Jackie?? Binky asks.
Pig-man offers one finger, sees Binky and brings on his gold teeth smile. ?How long you gonna sit out these golden opportunities, boy??
?I got mine, Jackie, boy. I got mine.? Binky eyes the pig-man hard.
I put a napkin to my face.
?Janey, Janey. You too good to work? You ought to get up from under this loser.?
I turn from Binky?s clasp and settle my big, red, luscious lips directly on pig-man?s. ?You know I don?t want what you got, Jackie,? I push his slippery lips from me. ?I belong in novels and nothing short of several hundred pages. Don?t forget that.?
Pig-man snorts and corrals his scullions out the door.
?Binky, you owe me.? I hold out my hand.
?Honey, you ain?t got no sense.? Binky brings out the fifty dollars. ?I make it onto the screen, you promise to come visit??
?I?ll do you one better.? I wink.
Binky?s eyes press for a hint.
?I?m crossin? over.?
Binky stands slow. ?No, Janey. Don?t play me, girl.? Binky pushed himself away from me. ?Characters don?t make it as authors. It?s a risky move.?
??Jackie?s gettin served his divorce papers tomorrow, Binky.? I gleam at him. ?Tell me what kind of character I am now??
Binky shook his head. ?Off the page, Janey. Off the page.?
Ren?e is a Baby Boomer, seventeen year massage therapy veteran, and a recent Fantasy Football team fan. Baseball, however, rules.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.