The following is a guest post by Brandon Jenkins, whose short story “A Fireball for Edgar” appeared in Issue 11 of Typehouse.
While reflecting on this past year, the first year I actually started submitting my stories to publications, I began pondering why I’m a writer and why I chose to write about the things I write about. I found myself reminiscing about the first story I ever wrote a long time ago. Although the details of that first short story I ever wrote are foggy at best, I can recall the circumstances surrounding that story as if it were yesterday.
The assignment from our third grade teacher, Mrs. West, was to write about the moon then read it aloud to the class. I can vaguely remember a few of my classmates reading their stories to the class: My best friend Justin talking about eating ice cream on the moon; my friend and little league teammate Lance talking about a neon green moon that would drip radioactive ooze; and my friend and teacher’s pet C.B. who ingeniously created a world on the moon and used the earth to light up its sky at night.
I can remember taking my turn immediately after C.B. because I had a clever plan to one-up him. I had decided to use everybody in the class in my story. Since it was a big class (there were about thirty of us), I had to group a lot of people together to make it read faster but at the very least every student would get a mention. Those who were close friends of mine, however, got prominent roles in my story.
As I mentioned, I don’t remember too much of the story itself but one thing I am certain of is that it was titled The Remote Control Moon and the premise was simple: our class had the remote that controlled the moon. I was a few sentences in when I remember all hell breaking loose both figuratively and literally.
As I read about Lance accidentally smashing the side of the Empire State Building with the moon, or Justin nearly killing himself while trying to control the moon, the actual Lance and Justin were convulsing with laughter on the floor at hearing their names mentioned. I remember at one point my friend Matthew actually injuring his elbow when he fell out his chair from laughing so hard when he smashed another classmate into the ground with the moon.
All of the girls in the story were broken down into several “gangs” which I based on their real life cliques. I couldn’t help but notice Mrs. West getting a special kick out of this. Their job in the story was to find the “special” remote that controlled the room.
When I was finished, and nearly out of breath from both reading and laughing, there was maybe one or two boys still seated properly. The rest were scattered around the room hyperventilating as if they just ran a marathon. I handed my story to Mrs. West and got a polite applause from those able to do so.
Maybe that’s what made me want to be a writer: The fact that I was able to entertain thirty of my classmates while just being myself. Maybe I would’ve become a writer regardless of how the story was received. All I know for sure is my friend Matthew was still in considerable pain when we went to recess later that day.
You can find Brandon on Twitter.