Monday, January 21, 2013

'I Know Everything You Know About Me'

‘I Know Everything You Know About Me’
by Troy Blackford

retold in the laundry room by
a nice girl from three apartments down

I heard a story about this guy named James that works at this museum about guns or plows or something like that way out in the country, fifteen miles from the closest town. Anyway, James is the guy who sells tickets to people when they get there. He’s standing around all day, and hardly anybody shows up, and James is all bored, and he’s standing waiting to go home, and then he sees this guy come walking up the driveway.

Remember? This is real far out in the country. The guy didn’t have a car or anything, he was just walking up from the road. And this guy is like really big, like he could beat us all up easy. And he was walking up the dirt path really fast, even though he was huge.

James doesn’t know what’s up with the crazy-big guy coming up the driveway, and he gets all nervous. And the guy comes right up to the booth, and James sees him up close and is all like: this dude is only fifteen years old!

Like the guy looks really big, but really he’s not even fully grown yet? The guy has a weird, slow voice, and what he says makes no sense.  The guy is like: “I want a ticket, but I don’t want to pay with no money. I want to pay with a magic trick.”

And James tries to say that he can’t do that, that tickets cost money, but this big guy just keeps going. All out of nowhere, he looks at him and says “I know everything you know about me.”

James is all ‘what the hell,’ you know? Not, you know, out loud, but still. Before James can say anything, the big guy goes on.

“I know you think I’m big, and slow, and you think my voice sounds weird.” James thinks the guy is talking about stereotypes, that James is writing him off as a ‘big dumb country boy.’ “You don’t just think it’s weird that I walked up this road,” the big teenage dude says. “You think it’s like stereotypically weird!”

James thinks ‘That’s uncanny,’ and the guy says “And uncanny.”

And now James is all weirded out, but he still thinks it must be some kind of joke. The big dude’s just, you know, acting awkward on purpose to eff with him. And it creeped James out because he had been nervous about just seeing this giant kid before the guy had even said anything. So now he was like super-freaking out, you know?

The kid slams his fist down on the counter and he’s all like “Now you think I’m some kind of awkward joke and you’re scared of me.” But it was like the kid said it all weird: ‘awk-uh-ward.’

And James is all creeped out but... what’s that word? It’s important to the story. But... is it ‘prevaricated?’ That’s not it. Oh! I know!

James wonders if what the big kid says is predicated on what James is actually thinking, or is the guy just like, you know, guessing how people might respond? The kid starts slamming his fist down hard, and he says “You’re trying to trick me! What the hell is pear etiquette?”

That really freaked James out. He was scared of the kid before, but now he was like: Oh my God! He really can read my mind! What am I going to do?

“Why do you need to do anything?” the big kid says, all stomping mad. “Why don’t you just give me my tickets? Wasn’t that a good enough trick?” He was almost crying, and his face was super red.

James reached down for this gun they had under the register, trying to act like he was just getting the tickets, and the kid was like “You’re lying!” like James had said something, and he reached in and James tried to shoot him but the kid already knew what was happening and he kept grabbing and broke his neck.

The big kid looked around, but nobody saw him do it or anything. He dropped James on the floor of the booth, and tore off a ticket. And the thing of it is, when he was going up to the doors to go into the museum, the kid was all like: “This always happens. I should go back to paying for things with money.”

Or something like that.



  1. I think that would be the perfect story, if you ended it with the word "money"....And skipped the lead in....Loved it...

  2. Nah, I think it's perfect the way it is. Good stuff, Troy!

  3. Okay. First who told the girl the story of what happened and who told the first person? James is dead. Do you think the big, not so stupid guy when around telling people he killed James over tickets? Huh. And, the girl telling the story, I'm sorry, but I don't think she'd get the connection between stupid and rabbits and George. That's takes some knowledge on her own, and I don't think she has it.
    However, it was a fun read except for these two things which made me stop and go - Huh?

  4. Loved it, except nobody could have told her that story if he killed James.

  5. I'm loading up my gun to kill the girl in the apartment three doors down. (Interesting tale though :)!)

  6. Excellent short, Troy. I think that you ended the story perfectly, as i believe the female narrator would not have cut the story short and ended it after the word money, as George who commented first would wish it to have ended. It just doesn't feel like it would be something she'd do.
    As for James being dead - i think that all the others who have commented on his death are just assuming that he died, with the exception of Lisa, that is. People who have their neck broken don't always die, and some even make a full recovery! After all, it does say in the first sentence that James "works at like this museum out in the country." Works, not worked. And after all, we wouldn't have a clue otherwise as to what was going on in James's head if he had died, would we? The story couldn't have been told if he had!

  7. This reads like an Urban Legend.

  8. Really enjoyed reading this. Great little short and strange story :)

    RobynLeanne @ Fairytales and Folklore

  9. Haha that was a very amusing story. I especially enjoyed the narration by the ditzy girl. Thanks for sharing :-)

  10. At first I thought this was an actual event ! Very entertaining .. more please ..

  11. I agree with the previous comments about how this girl knows if James died. Would have rather read it as an account from James. The intensity of the story would have been so completely awesome! This way we lose some of the emotion because we don't connect with the characters. The voice is interesting, but a little annoying. But as always a fabulously disturbing story staring at me from the screen. Way to try something new!

  12. Those wondering 'how the girl knows what happens if James died' are missing the point - the narrator here is relating a -story- she heard, not a - say - rumor going around her high school about why James is no longer showing up for class. In the first draft, she mentioned in the first paragraph that she read this story on a website.

    The actual story was too insubstantial and I had been meaning to do a story in the voice of a vacuous storyteller who was not gifted at relating events for a couple weeks, so wedding the story to the speaker was the only way to make this one interesting.

    This is more meant to be taken, as one of the above commenters says, like an urban legend.

  13. Nicely done. I love the girl's voice for relating the urban legend - perfectly done, the apartment, the laundry room. Usually an urban legend involves a mention of an 'authoritative source' like a website as you said so that the narrator can swear it's real.

    Love the mixing of prevaricated and predicated.

  14. Imagine trying to tell this story to a friend. "So there is this guy, and he wrote a story, and then he had a neighbor retell the story..." Etc.

  15. It seems to me that anyone analyzing who told the story to whom; whether James is dead or which tense described James, is missing the point. Or am I? Does it matter? I now have a great story to tell my friends.

  16. ..Amazing story....pear etiquette....your weirdness is spellbinding...

  17. Great story, love the urban legend angle. Interesting character with an amazing gift but no idea of its potential. Also, can feel the frustration building and boiling over - great stuff!

  18. Great story, love the urban legend angle. Interesting character with an amazing gift but no idea of its potential. Also, can feel the frustration building and boiling over - great stuff!

  19. ......Enjoyed it the second time a murder mystery...mentally of us...