Metafiction: Chekov’s Bomb

City Hall. 5:01PM.

Fly-man, Strong-man and Telekinesis-man were at a loss.

“Perhaps something will just… happen.  Something convenient.  Anyone feel like they’ve just discovered a new super power?” asked Strong-man.

“I think he’s got writer’s block,” said TK-man.

“What?” exclaimed Strong-man.  “No, he’s just –”

“Written himself into a corner,” said Fly-man.  “I mean, subatomic-nuclear-universe ending bomb, encased in the heaviest, most impenetrable material in, like, ever… with a minute to go?  That’s overkill.  None of us can stop this.”

“I feel a lot less super than usual,” said TK-man.

“He knows better than to deus ex machina his way out of this,” said Fly-man, “that’s all.  He’ll come up with something that’s been there all along – a Chekov’s gun, it’ll be fired any minute now.  We just didn’t see it coming.  Maybe the reader did, we’re just characters.”

“I think we’ve found Chekov’s bomb.”

“Will you be quiet?  Have a little faith.”

“This is an extract,” said Fly-man.  “You know where you said that thing about ‘something convenient’?  Yeah?  That’s where this guy chose to start writing.  There’s no story.  We don’t have backstories.  I mean, who did this?  Who planted the bomb?  How are we in this situation?  Why do we have such shitty superhero names?”

“It’s called in media res – happens all the time in films, books, comics.  We’ll save the day and our story starts there.  This is basically a pre-title sequence.”

“I think we’re all going to die,” said TK-man.

“That was his plan all along,” said Fly-man.  “He’s put us in a shitty situation, just to kill us off.  He’s like George R.R. Martin, but he’s a bigger dick about it.”

“Well, he does enjoy writing stuff that’s pretty bleak,” said Strong-man. “Often maintains a dark sense of humour throughout.  I guess it would fit with his M.O., his style.”

With ten seconds on the countdown, the superheroes exchanged looks of frustration and sadness.  I could tell you how much they hated me at this moment in time, but they’re right – I just want to kill them off.  And the whole universe is collateral.

“Well, I guess we’re fucked.”

The bomb detonated and earth cracked like an egg.  End of the universe, too.  Now there’s nothing left.  Just blackness and cold.  I’m afraid, there’s no happy ending.  I guess, it’s a bit of an anti-climax.  But, in my humble opinion, I feel you need them every now and again.  It’s good for the soul.

If you’ve got one.





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