Monday, December 14, 2009

Story - First Edition

First Edition
by Steven Brandt
December 13, 2009

So this is my story. It’s kind of ironic when you think about it; me, telling a story. My brothers and I were put together and rolled out with high hopes. We were going to take on the whole world. We were really going to make a difference. And for a while, we did. I swear we did. For a while, we had the world by the tail. They talked about us in newspapers and magazines. And they didn’t dare say anything bad about us either. The whole world was ours for the taking, but it slipped away. Somehow, it all slipped away.

I guess I should start from the beginning. We all started out together, see? Of course, we knew we'd have to split up eventually. Some of us here, some of us there. We wanted to reach everybody! I was shipped out with a group that went up North.

We were special, see? We weren’t just spouting a bunch of nonsense like most of those guys. We had a real message to deliver. A message that really could change the world. All we had to do was tell people, and we just knew they would understand how important it was.

The plan went pretty smoothly at first. We knew we had to hit the major population centers first. Start at the top and work our way down, you know? We landed hard on the bigger stores and major shopping centers. All the places where lots of people gather. Maximum exposure. In my particular zone, there were about a thousand of us. The plan was to pick our targets, and then hit them at home. It worked. We were all dispersed within a matter of days.

When I got to the home of my target, it was easier than I thought. They didn’t even put up a fight. They totally bought in to everything I had to say. Pretty soon, they were quoting me to each other. Sometimes, neighbors would come over to see what I had to say. It was working! They were really listening to me! I know it sounds a little silly, but I could almost feel the world beginning to change all around me.

That’s when it started to go bad. I’m not even completely sure how it happened. One day I just kind of noticed that no one had paid much attention to me for a while. How could that be? I was in all the newspapers. Wasn't I? I couldn't remember the last time I had seen a newspaper, come to think of it. I was still trying to figure that out, when they moved me. I’d had my own special place, you know? Right there where everyone could focus on me. Maximum exposure. Next thing I knew, I was stuck in a dim corner where no one could even see me. But that's not the worst part. There were others here. Not my brothers, these guys were weird. Not just weird, insane. Spouting nonsense and gibberish all day. Some of them only spoke in rhymes, and a few just seemed to sleep all the time. There were dozens of them.

I knew I had to get out of there fast. I had to find my brothers and regroup, but I couldn’t even move. They had trapped me somehow, here with the idiots. The plan was falling apart, and I was powerless. I think I blacked out for a while.

When I woke up again, I wasn’t sure how much time had passed. It only took a second to realize that I was still stuck there. The idiots were still there too, murmuring their nonsense. One thing was different though. There was dust everywhere. It covered everything, including me and the others. How long had I been out? I spent some time trying to get information from the guys who were closest to me. It was pointless. Then I tried inciting them to riot, present a united front and all that. That was no good either, they were spineless.

Things got a little hazy for me after that. More time passed, although I don’t know how much. I only remember things in flashes, like fragments of a bad dream. People came near now and then, but always ignored me. Mostly what I remember are the broken fragments of gibberish from the other captives. Nonsense like, “God bless us every one,” and "call me Ishmael," and “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” One guy just kept murmuring, "and miles to go before I sleep,” over and over again.

One day, I woke up just as someone was grabbing for me. Too late, I was shoved into a cell and sealed inside before I could act. Me and a few of the others. We were being moved, probably to a maximum security facility. I knew I might never have another chance to make a break for it. But it had gotten so hard to think. And I was so sleepy. At one point, I realized with terror, that I was beginning to mutter and murmur to myself, like the others. I began to cry then, and cried myself to sleep.

The next time I woke up, I was here. I looked around my new surroundings and saw that I was in a much bigger place now. There were a lot more of us here too. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, packed together like sardines in a can. I was still a prisoner though. Still trapped. I had almost decided to just go back to sleep and never wake again, when I got my first, brief glimmer of hope. It was one of my brothers. Right here, beside me! I almost couldn’t believe it, but yes, he was right there. Maybe there was still hope. We could find some of the others; regroup; form a new plan. Yes, this was my big chance!

He was asleep. I yelled and yelled to wake him up. How had he let himself go like this? Finally he stirred, and I began sketching out a plan. But he wasn’t paying attention, what was wrong with him? I tried again, speaking slowly so he could follow along. But he wasn’t even listening! He…..he was...

He was muttering under his breath. The same lunatic phrase, over and over agan. “Once upon a time; once upon a time; once upon a time.”

I woke again, some time later. I saw that two more of our brothers had joined us. I didn’t even have the will to try to talk to them. What was the point? How did it all go so wrong? I now know that I’ll spend the rest of my life here, under the sign that says ‘used’. I know what that word means. I know all the words.


David put the book back on the shelf. It really didn’t look that good. This store never had anything good. He wondered why he had come in here in the first place. His girlfriend, Susan, stepped up beside him.
“What was that one?" she asked him.
“To Kill a Mockingbird.” He answered. “Ever heard of it?"
“Me either. Can’t be very good, there’s four copies of it up here.”
“Hm.” She said uninterestedly. “Wanna go catch a movie? I heard ‘Space Bugs From Planet X’ is showing at the Marquee.”
“Sounds good.” He answered, bright-eyed. “Nothing better to do today.”
They left the store hand-in-hand, while the rows and rows of books slept on.

Copyright 2009 Steven Brandt


  1. Awesome! The man is a writer too!!!! I love the story and all of it's connotations. :* I'll leave the in depth critique for the pro's! ;-)

  2. I was sooooo sonfused. I thought you were writing your story. I didn't know it was fiction. You had me freaking out there a little hahaha!!!

    Ok, now that I know it's a story, I like it hehehe!!!

  3. This is pretty neat. Love the allegory. Shame though that most writings end up being a 'once upon a time' or 'has been', never capture an audience again. Great job and keep on writing.