“It’s not a disability,” Syawn, my main-character-muse asserts. “We can traverse far more planes and universes than you can. There’s only one you can exist in. There’s only one we can’t exist in. Who’s really the reality-impaired here?”
Fair enough. And ouch, while we’re at it. Still, the Stranger Than Truth Club takes people from all walks of life, universes, times, and species, and brings us together through beautiful, ever-evolving, cross-plane friendships. I wish I could give you a glimpse into our insightful, loving, hilarious, open community. Unfortunately, I can only give you transcripts of our idiocy.
And so without further ado: Truth is stranger than fiction. We are–
Tirzah: I wrote a story–Of Mice and Monsters–and it’s now published in Beyond the Wail, a paranormal anthology! In my words, my story is about Benjamin, a man who, “troubled by ghosts within and without, struggles to become the man his girlfriend needs instead of the monster he is.” But what are my own words worth? I thought. Wouldn’t it be infinitely more bizzare and confusing–I mean, awesome, to let the Stranger Than Truth club tell it like they see it? And so, beginning with the beginning…
Of Mice and Monsters: “There is a man who twists the necks of caged mice. There is a coward who fancies himself a warrior. There is a man who squeezes little songbirds in his hand, listening to the helpless cheeping, and supposes himself a bullfighter, a breaker of wild stallions. This is the man that preys on small women and makes them smaller, that crushes a bruised flower until there is naught but the scent; for that helpless scent is incense to his assumed godhood.”
Will: There is a man we are not inviting to hang out with us.
Tirzah: We’ll invite all sorts in here but, yeeeeah, that’s probably not one.
Danielle: So, Lute, what stood out to you about this story?
Lute: I wasn’t in it.
Allyn: I wonder what fate befell the mouse. It says its life went downhill. …How far?
Tirzah: To the bottom, I expect.
Allyn: I feel I should speak a eulogy.
Bruno: Props to Tina for knowing Italian food is king.
Sy: Even if she has trouble making herself eat it. Even if she thinks Olive Garden is representative.
Tirzah: I love how you all immediately hit on the heart of the story. Italian food ambassador – that’s what I was going for.
Arthur: I, for one, would really like to see “Macbeth: A Comedy”.
Bedivere: There’s something to be said for Benjamin’s snark-voice. In between him being unbearable, that was fun.
Will: That’s what they’ll be saying about you.
Bedivere: I’m sure that’s what Lancelot’s already saying about me.
Galahad: It’s reassuring that there was a part of Benjamin willing to stand up to the monster inside him. It may be that not everyone has that, or ignores it to the point where it becomes ineffectual.
Gawain: Why did she shorten her name to “Tina”? It was what, Margareta?
Tirzah: That’s a mystery I’ll admit to never having solved. Maybe it was her middle name?
Sy: Sir Gawain in da house, comin’ atcha with the DEEP questions!
Lancelot: I suppose congratulations are in order for the wordsmith, since I can’t so much as think about this story without choking on cheap jasmine perfume.
Tirzah: *sensorialy artisanal bow*
Rosalba: Are you actually familiar with any of those Armored Nights songs, Tirzah?
Tirzah: Actually, I made them up.
Will: Wait, they’re not a band??
Tirzah: Nope. I guess with them being in there with all the actual, legitimate references, I made it look legit. Should I preen?
Danielle: I’m just over here thinking how frustrated I’d be if I tried looking them up on YouTube.
Edgwyn: One of course feels dreadful about the baby. But then, it’s not as if Benjamin will be ready to behave like a father for a very long time. One hopes he’ll get there eventually, though.
Tirzah: Could be.
Dalvin: Not to blame Tina or anything, but I just feel like, if there weren’t people like her, the monsters like him would starve.
Bedivere: You mean, when someone says something you don’t like, just smack the hell out of ‘em, and the monsters will be like, “never mind”?
Dalvin: Yeah. Draw a line. Set boundaries. It’s as simple as that. Except… *sighs, glancing at her mother* …I guess it’s not that simple for everyone.
Sy: Even in my days as a thief lord, I hated that sort of cheap and shoddy emotional manipulation. *shakes his head* I guess I don’t understand the motivation, either. I’d rather be powerful than feel powerful any day. That’s the problem I have with men like that: They feel small, so they find someone smaller and cut them down further still. And I’m like, do you even lift, bro? If you feel small, work on yourself! Not that I’m against cultivating emotional dependence, but—
Danielle: A-a-and that’s the end.