Character Roundtable: Antagonists

Poster by Kirsten

Paige Grapheme: Hi and welcome to Ghost Human Bones, Character Roundtable Antagonist Edition. I’m your host, Paige Grapheme, a new character you’ve never heard of. I’m here with Time from Amethyst Alabaster Time, The Customer, from You Just Had to Die Today, Didn’t You? Translucent God from Chasing Waterfalls and Strange Clusters, and Brain Eating Amoeba from the Horrible Luck at Summer Thorn. Welcome everyone!   

The audience applauds. Time hovers in its seat, careful of its alabaster shell. The customer sits unimpressed. She sets her forms out in front of her. Translucent God takes the form of a blue man and holds Brain Eating Amoeba in his palm, radiating the power of speech so the amoeba can speak.  

Paige: Okay, one quick flash round to break the ice. Complete this sentence in less than two seconds… I am what I am, because…     

Translucent God: Because it feels good.    

Brain Eating Amoeba: I like to consume.    

The Customer: I like to expose the faults of others.    

Time: I am.    

Paige: Wow. Lots of questions after those answers. Jeez Louise, no wonder the protagonists in your stories didn’t have a chance.     

Brain Eating Amoeba: That’s not entirely true, not for me at least. In Horrible Luck at Summer Thorn, I targeted the person who kicked those kids and their father out. We all know that Tan Hat was a piece of shit. He had it coming…    

Time: I would love to learn your secrets.    

Translucent God: We don’t need you in the waters, Time. People will never come up.    

Time: Isn’t that the point? To take their time with me, see what they desire.    

Translucent God: Humans need to breathe.  

The Customer: You can help me out, Time. I desire to have these forms signed. Who can help me?    

GHB Fact: After her debut in You Just Had to Die Today, Didn’t You? The Customer was voted least empathetic by fans.    

Time hovers over to the Customer.    

Time: Touch me and I can show you.  

Paige: Okay, we can do that backstage, but I’m loving the energy! Now, before we get any further, there is one other guest I would like to bring out. She is the Human behind Ghost Human Bones and our very own Master of Words, Kirsten Curcio!    

The crowd applauds as Kirsten walks out. Time zig zags around her, extremely pleased.

Kirsten: Heyoo!  

GHB Fact: Kirsten is from Earth. A world that has been trapped in their creator’s old coat pocket for ages where face masks and cancellations are in season.  

Kirsten in a Earth Realm Home Depot

Paige: Alright. Welcome Kirsten it’s so good to have you. Before we get back to our flash questions, I can’t help but ask. What do you have going on now?    

Kirsten: Well, I have the Ghost Human Bones website where I post short stories and poems that our bad guy friends here starred in. I’m working on my fantasy novella that you’re in Paige, and I’m also working on releasing the first volume of my short stories this Fall.

The audience applauds. Kirsten blushes and looks down, smiling. 

Paige: That’s great! We can’t wait to see you listed on Amazon!     

Kirsten: Yeah! Stay tuned!  

Kirsten laughs, the audience whoops and applauds.    

Time: Wait, wait, am I in the fantasy novella?

Kirsten shakes her head.    

Kirsten: No, I’m sorry. You may be in Volume Two of my short stories. 

Time sighs and the Customer laughs. It hovers over to the negative woman, brushing along her skin.     

Time: Those are interesting forms you have there —   

Translucent God: They are, may I see those forms, please?    

God reaches out for the forms, but the Customer immediately takes them from their reach. She looks over to Time, concerned.

The Customer: Do you know how I can get my forms signed?     

Kirsten: Don’t do it Customer.  

The Customer: The Customer is always right.  She snaps.

Kirsten: If you say so.  

Time hovers slowly past Kirsten as she watches it float toward the Customer. It inches faster the further it gets from Kirsten’s resting expletive face. The audience gasps as Customer places her hand on Time’s alabaster shell and begins to cry. There’s hushed gasps, then silence as they await the news.  

Paige: Wow! I guess we know how the Customer’s story ends.  

The Customer continues to sob as the audience awes, feeling sorry for her. She pushes the forms aside. They slide in Translucent God’s direction where he reads over them. He chuckles and hands them to Brain Eating Amoeba.  

Paige: Okay, everyone, which is worse, failing or never trying?    

Translucent God: Failing. 

Kirsten: Never trying.    

Time: Failing.    

Brain Eating Amoeba: Failing.    

The Customer: Failing.    

Paige: Very interesting, so Kirsten, you’re the only one to choose never trying. Can you explain a little more?    

Kirsten: Um, well you have to at least try, you never know what could happen. You know?

Translucent God: If I can speak for you, I think never trying is worse for you being a human. You only have that one chance, so why not make it count while you’re here? It’s better to reflect on the fact you did it, even if the result were failure or success, then to not do it then look back and wonder, what would’ve happened if I did that one thing years ago? Some humans come back again and again and never learn, only to make the same mistakes, wasted lives.  

Kirsten: Is that what you believe, humans return? We come back like past lives?    

Translucent God: Isn’t that how you wrote me?    

Kirsten: No.    

Translucent God: I’m unsure where that information came from…    

Paige: God, are there secrets of our world you want to share?    

Translucent God: I like to sprinkle UFO sightings around the world amid approaching chaos to distract and yet bring everyone together. I also love sarcasm.  

Kirsten laughs.     

Translucent God: You ever wonder why you’re only seeing this so-called true UFO footage from 2019? It’s all a distraction. Your government is in on it, the others as well.   

Paige: That’s true, everyone in Kirsten’s layer has cameras. Why wouldn’t there be better footage of these objects by more people? 

Kirsten: If they did have it, would anyone really believe it? It’s seems more credible when a title is behind it, like the Navy, the Government…It’s all a game. 

Time: Are you a player or…?    

Kirsten: I’ve had to play many games in my life, but right now I like to think of myself as a conscious observer to it all. It’s the absurdities of life that strike me the most. These patterns, the strange complex behavior of us all. I like to reflect on this in my writing—you know, it’s a very intricate, detailed world full of absurdities and I’ve always had a powerful urge to bring these to life.

GHB Fact: In her spare time, Kirsten is also photographer of random things such as plants, signs and objects.   

Photo taken by Kirsten Curcio
Photo taken by Kirsten Curcio

Time: It’s a dangerous game though isn’t it? Once you write the words down, aren’t you manifesting those very thoughts and/or the persona of the character into your waking life?  

Kirsten: Yeah, for sure, especially when writing dark. Some characters become so intriguing you get sucked into their world and embrace their emotions. It can consume you just like an actor in a movie role. Sometimes it’s hard to shake off. But writing happy stories is always a pleasure. I think I need to do more of that because lately, someone’s always dying in my stories. Kirsten laughs. You know when I write, I’m reaching into this portal of sorts and shifting through the darkness with hands wide open, trying to string together the right characters into a tale. You never know what you’ll get. 

Time: Like me!  

The egg bounces up and down. Kirsten smiles.    

Kirsten: Yeah, just like you.

Paige: Brain Eating Amoeba, you chose failure. Why?    

Brain Eating Amoeba: For us, failing is worse because we’re written for a purpose, and when that purpose isn’t fulfilled its failure and we run the risk of erasure.    

Paige: Erasure?    

Translucent God: When Kirsten deletes us. If we’re not up to par, we can be replaced, and that’s true failure. Your question was absurd because we do not try, we just do as we’re written and in that action of doing…if we fail, we don’t exist.    

Paige: How do you know you’ve failed when Kirsten is the one writing you? If you fail, isn’t that because Kirsten wrote you…to fail?    

Time: Failure to us is when our stories aren’t told or halted.

Kirsten: Yeah. Each story stems from somewhere. Think of it this way, the imagination is a box and in that box there’s darkness, light, untold stories. Once I access this box and grab whatever I can inside, I may pull out a character like Time, Translucent God, the Customer. If that character isn’t to my liking, I can discard it and that’s erasure, that idea, that character, that concept is gone. For these characters that’s considered failure because they weren’t brought to life by the power of words.    

Brain Eating Amoeba: Right, we want to be seen and heard and if you’re not interesting enough, you’re gone.    

Paige: Erasure.    

Brain Eating Amoeba: Exactly.    

The Customer sobs again. As she wipes her tears, she reclaims her forms from Translucent God and Brain Eating Amoeba.     

Paige: Are you okay, Customer?    

The Customer: My forms… My petition to live. 

She continues to sob and departs the stage.    

Paige: I’m sorry, did I miss something?  

Translucent God: It’s her forms. She’s upset about them because Time showed her they’ll never be signed, she needed that task done to stay alive. Her time is limited, apparently.

The audience laughs aloud. Paige shoots Kirsten a skeptical glance.  

Paige: Truly? So, the Customer never had a chance, did she?  

Kirsten: The Customer’s tale was more so the absurdity of wanting the forms signed and the lengths she’d take to get that done.  

The audience laughs.    

Translucent God: Where did Brain Eating Amoeba go?    

Kirsten: It was just in your hand…    

The audience gasps.    

Paige: I’m getting word he stepped away to use the restroom, it’s fine. And the Customer is taking a personal moment.    

Time: She bailed the interview?    

Kirsten: More than likely. I wrote her that way, a stubborn character.  

Paige: Okay, so switching to a personal level, which activities make you all lose track of time?    

Kirsten: Writing, I go into another realm.    

Time: Reading people’s minds.    

Translucent God: Swallowing souls, humans are getting harder to digest, there’s a lot more anger these days, they give me heartburn.    

Paige: And, if you could give a newborn child one piece of advice, what would it be?    

Kirsten: Oh my gosh, I need a moment to answer.    

Translucent God: I wouldn’t say anything it’s pointless to give any advice to a newborn.    

Paige: Well, if the babe were to listen and heed your advice, what would you say?    

Translucent God: Ah, well, in that case I would say, good luck…    

Kirsten: You’ll never find reality on the internet.  

Time: Don’t pay attention to me.    

The Customer: Don’t trust… anyone…!     

The Customer stumbles back onto the stage, clutching her chest. Her hand brushes along the back of Paige Grapheme’s chair. Her crumbled body smacks the floor.  

Translucent God: What happened to the Customer?    

Time: Where’s Brain Eating Amoeba?    

Paige: Oh my gosh… The Customer… Someone get help!  

Kirsten: Amoeba is inside of her, look at her head!    

The Customer’s head swells like a slow filling balloon. Her eye sockets expand so wide her eyeballs fall out. They bounce onto the floor with a small squishy sound, roll about and disappear into a dark corner.  

Time: Write it away Kirsten, please! It’s disgusting. Why did Amoeba do this?    

Kirsten: I’ve had writer’s block recently, there’s nothing I can do.

The Customer’s head twitches slightly, and she dies in front of them just as the ambulance arrives. The audience gasps in horror, many flee.  

Translucent God: Ah. Perfect. He holds one of the Customer’s eyeballs in his hand. I have a better answer now, Miss Grapheme, the one piece of advice I would give a newborn.  

Paige: What is it?  

Translucent God: Everything happens for a reason.    

The room is empty. They stand around one another, watching Brain Eating Amoeba slide out of the Customer’s flat, stretched out nose. Translucent God extends his hand so the amoeba can speak.    

Brain Eating Amoeba: You all want to go grab a bite? I’m famished.

Paige, Time, and Translucent God nods, they all stare at Kirsten who says no but wishes her creations farewell. She crumbles up a piece of paper where the shadow of the Customer’s name was once written and dusts the remaining eraser crumbs from her hands.