The Saddest Boy on Earth: Part 1 by Rick DeMott

Billy Churin sat at the dinner table looking at his parents with scorn. He thought, "How can they just sit there eating their Hamburger Helper and not realize that their son is being oppressed by society." The smiling faces of his mother and father just made his stomach turn. Supper was now ruined.

"Parents just don't understand," thought Billy. He poked at his food and then, without knowing he was even doing it, he began tapping his foot and humming D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand." Right at the line "her hand was gently moving up my thigh," Billy realized what he was doing. Slamming down his fork, he stormed away from the table. Look what his parents had done to him again.

Billy bounded down the hallway, pounding his feet on the carpet so that the floorboards in the basement knew he was upset. He entered his room and went to slam the door, but the handle slipped from his hand and the door gently shut. Billy flung open the door again, gazing down the hall to see if anyone in the household had cared enough to follow him. But alas, no one was there. This time he succeeded at slamming the door at an audible enough level that certainly happy people around the world would be shaken out of their blissful pursuits to realize the unending pain of this one teen’s ruined heart.

With the lights off, Billy began to ignite the candles that filled the top of his dresser. Rivers of solidified, volcanic looking wax caked over everything. After lighting the last one, he slid a tape cassette into the player in an almost religious ritualistic fashion. The brooding boy threw his mortal-coil down on his knees, bowing his head to his shrine of sullenness. He slowly pushed down the play button on the tape deck as if it would send thousands of volts of electricity surging through his body. Click. The heavy metal ballad cords of Cinderella coursed through the smoky, stale air of the dank bedroom.

Don’t know what you got till it’s gone
Don’t know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I got
It’s just this song
And it ain’t easy to get back
Takes so long

The high-pitched, scratchy voice of Tom Keifer always got to Billy. As the Philadelphia rocker sang, "I can’t clear my heart of your love it falls like rain," Billy began to bawl. Through his tears that would make any crocodile jealous, the distraught boy ripped out the rubber hair tie holding up his ponytail from his head, allowing his long, frizzy hair to cover his face. Like a drunk on a cold turkey attempt trying desperately not to reach into the medicine cabinet and down a bottle of Scope, Billy fruitlessly tried to lock his gaze on the course fibers of the carpet. But as if his eyelashes were metallic and the ceiling was a giant magnet, his gaze began to rise, ending on the wallet-sized photo of Lottie Logan, which was taped to the center of the mirror that hung right above his waxy altar of sorrow and self-pity.

Billy tried to force out tears. Nothing came. Impatience grows. He looked up at the ceiling, keeping his eyelids open. The lack of blinking forced water to well up at the bottom of his eyes. Billy wailed and clawed at his red veined eyes, trying to halt those salty streams from running down his face like waterfalls of acid, burning the flesh from his cheeks.

A knock at the door. "Go away," screamed Billy.

His mother, whose voice was muffled by the door," said, "Honey, are you okay? You seemed upset at dinner."

"Leave me alone!" yelled Billy.

"Okay, hun," Billy's mom responded.

Billy thought, "Only if she knew. Like she cares. Like anyone cares."

Lottie sure didn't care. He knew that was true. She took his heart. She took his virginity. She took his Nirvana "Nevermind" CD. And she broke them all.

Billy paged through his yearbook, coming upon Lottie's picture, which was surrounded by a pink ink heart. Written next to the picture in girlie handwriting — Love always, Lottie.

"Ha. Lies!," thought Billy. It only made things worse that he was in love with a liar. It was just Billy's luck that he'd fallen for a girl of such weak moral convictions. Yet he loved her nonetheless and this was how Billy knew it was love. Still wanting to be with someone you wished would die of some disease that only remains in impoverished nations could only be rationalized as the deeds of the devilish imp named Cupid. Despite Lottie's flaws, Billy still wanted her with a passion that rivaled the lust of Mary Kay LeTourneau. Even though she dumped him for Tyler Smiley.

Flipping through the yearbook, Billy came to the picture of Tyler, which had the eyes rubbed out with an eraser, a noose drawn around his neck and blood penned in red ink flowing from his ears. Billy took a letter opener and stabbed the picture repeatedly. At that very moment he wished he knew voodoo more than anything. He crumpled the edge of the page just enough to adequately express his mood, but not too much to destroy the irreplaceable high school memento.

Then Billy thought Tyler would look great sporting a Columbian necktie. "Say hello, to my little friend" ran through Billy’s brain as he gave Tyler's picture one last jab before throwing the yearbook against his closet door with all his might. The crunch of plywood. Billy rushed over to the closet and inspected it. No visible damage. Billy breathed easier.

Having never been in a fight in his life, Billy didn't want to start, but he was certain that he could easily kick Tyler's pretty boy butt. Rage was on his side. However, the desire for revenge was unquenchable. It gnawed at Billy's brain more than his hormones gnawed at his genitals. Because of their joy, Lottie and Tyler needed to know exactly how much Billy was in torment. Hell, the entire world needed to know. No one on Earth had ever felt like this before.

With that thought, Billy knew what he had to do. There was no other solution. Lottie, more than anyone else, would regret what Billy was about to do. He needed to kill himself.


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Billy is such a tortured soul. If he had Poison's "Open Up and Say Ahhh.." album on vinyl, it would do him good to play it backwards to hear C.C. DeVille and Rikki Rocket do a scene from Shakespeare.

Rikki: Lay on, MacDuff.

C.C.: What? Oh, yeah, man. Hey, do these cats where leather pants or what, dude?

I take it this story is set in the early '90s. Otherwise, I thought the "Look what his parents have done to him again" at the end of the second paragraph was referring to the fact that they had handed down their taste in music and he resented that.

OK, there's some good stuff here, but there's also something glaring about the prose. Was this originally a script idea? It seems like much of the beginning is described in the same way a screenplay is and then it slowly drifts into something a bit more literary near the second third. This, along with the shift in verb tenses near the end (present to past) created a jarring effect for me and pulled me out of the moment, distracting me from the good descriptions and funny bits.

For whatever it's worth, I'd advise changing all the verbs to past tense. I think the writing is stronger near the end of the scene and one of the reasons is the shift to the past tense. Another reason is the mystery present after the conversation with Mom. I'm not talking about mystery like Scooby Doo. The beginning is too descriptive (which is why I was pretty sure this idea originally lived as a screenplay or a sketch of one) and leaves little to the imagination. Certain parts stick out as very strong, like the description of Billy walking (the pounding on the floorboards bit). Near the end, you seem to rely more on thoughts and allow the character and the narrator to live a little more through the words instead of through the expository description needed for a script. Our brains are allowed to gnaw on the information and fill in the blanks because there's a bit more mystery in the words.

All in all, it seems like a nice start idea-wise. I think better, more literary descriptions could lend a lot more power and focus to the story and the humor. Help your story resolve its screenplay/prose identity crisis and you'll enhance it greatly.

Having been (or still am) that tortured high-school soul, I found this quite amusing. Not to say there can't be something serious to be gained from the story, but I like how this story started.

Unfortunately and quite seriously, my sister enjoyed Cinderella and the like so I'm quite lacking in the ways of 80s rock. I had to look up that lyric to figure out what it was but it all came flooding back once I figured out what it was. I blared Erasure and Pet Shop Boys to repel the Slaughter, Winger, and White Lion coming from my sister's room. Gay 80s disco cancels out hair metal everytime.

After having read Chris' thoughtful comments, I revised the story. And it is much better now. I think. The main problem was that I had just finished a screenplay before writing this and was in that mode of writing. Plus I really wanted to get this idea down on paper.

Tell me what you guys think.

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This page contains a single entry by published on June 9, 2005 3:45 PM.

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