I am gonna do an experiment this week, because I can't think of anything better to do, to write a short story a night based on a random Biggie lyric. Today's selection (from "Kick In The Door"):
Your reign at the top was short like leprechauns
Everybody wants to stump you.
The waitress at the airport diner asks you the name of the world’s first test-tube baby. The flight attendant stops you from boarding the plane so she can as you what’s John Wayne’s hometown. Back at work Monday morning, your boss Terry forgoes finding out how you’ve been the past three months to ask what acrocyanosis is.
Everyone has at least one bit of trivia, one silver-bullet stumper, packed away with encounters like this with supposed smart guys. Everyone, no matter how daft, has some segment of their life that’s exposed them to some details nobody else would know, or so they think. The airport waitress was a test tube baby herself. The flight attendant grew up in John Wayne’s birthplace. Terry is the dumbest person you know, but his wife’s checkered health history has given him the hard-to-spell multisyllabic name of a single obscure malady to wield. And he does so frequently, because doing so is the one bright spot in a disease that renders his wife sexually unattractive to him.
Louise Brown, you say.
Winterset, Iowa, you say.
A dark blue discoloration and swelling of the hands and feet, you say.
You have no special bit of trivia. You have all of them, you have a sticky brain. You have no strange angle, no weird quirk that gives you a vein of rich specifics. You’re an insurance claims adjuster. Nobody ever asks game show questions about insurance claims adjusters, there are no salient details to the job. Other people live interesting lives and write about them and they end up in encyclopedias they made fun of you for reading in grade school. You don’t read so much as you laser the information into your skull. You had a dream one time where that’s what it looked like.
Your interesting thing happened four months ago up until two weeks ago. The thing that you would know that nobody else would know is the softness of the cushion of the makeup chair on the set of “Genius Battle.” How the host, Gene Tendril, smells vaguely of gin and his made-up face, when not interpreted through a camera lens, looks wrapped in Saran Wrap. How there’s a Genius Battle groupie named Sarah who rents a studio apartment across from the lot and makes a point of fucking whoever’s the show’s current champion. The guy before you was married and wouldn’t do it, and he was on for seven months, four months longer than you, so when you started winning, God was she hungry for it. It was better than that girl at church camp when your were both seventeen year old counselors who wanted to do it while she was on the phone with her mom, and ended up attempting suicide, shaving her head, returning to the camp the next summer and throwing a dead raccoon into a raft full of campers. She was the last time you had anybody. You think of all the sex in your life as finding money in the street: it’s great when it happens but it has nothing to do with your merit.
The salesman at the boat dealership asks you what was the name of Joan Jett’s first band.
The guy you hire to teach how to sail asks you what NFL player simultaneously played quarterback for the Browns at got a Ph.D. in Mathematics.
In the absence of anything else to talk about, a guest at your yacht party asks you what makeup vaudeville artists wore for blackface acts.
You figured sailing would be something interesting to do with your winnings, give you something truly unique, but you already knew what everything was called, even though you’d never been on a yacht. No further instruction necessary, the sailing instructor spent the rest of the eight hours you were paying him for trying to stump you. By the time the party rolled around, you still didn’t have any good stories.
The Runaways, you said.
Frank Ryan, you said.
Shoe Polish, you said.
One night after a taping and three glasses of wine, you asked the groupie woman what she did when the current champion was female. She walked over to the stereo, turned down Steely Dan, put her hand to her mouth and gave the universal symbol for cunnilingus. You weren’t quite sure why she had to turn down the music to do that, but you were pretty certain someday she would shave her head, and start tossing dead critters at children.
Now that he doesn’t want to fuck his wife, Terry and this woman should get together. But that could never happen, because Terry is an idiot. Unless of course all the questions were about acrocyanosis.
Gene Tendril asked you seven hundred and seventy eight things over three months and then he asked you who was the first king of an independent Portugal.
After the show, you called Groupie Woman and the phone just rang and rang. Crazy women do not have answering machines. Then you went downstairs and checked out of the Westwood Sheraton, where guests of Genius Battle stay when in Los Angeles. The pool is not as idyllic as it looks in the post-show promo still.
Uhmmmm, you said.
You think you might start pretending not to know the things people ask you. You might start shrugging and say “You got me!” This will give the people a story to tell their friends. They’ll preface the story by asking their friend, “Do you know the name of the third most winning contestant in the history of Genius Battle?”
Then they will have stumped two people in a row.Posted by DC at July 26, 2005 03:04 AM