prompt: lie, title: compare and contrast in "the next big thing" flash fiction

  • Nov. 5, 2021, 9:11 p.m.
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  • Public

Frank Yetti prefers to say that he is “seven feet tall” in American English, in local measurement vernacular, even though that’s not exactly true. If you put him in the cliché of a general practice office, the telescoping stick would put him just a hair over six-foot-eleven. The fact that he is a sasquatch and therefore has a hell of a lot of hair doesn’t change the grim truths of the standard Imperial System. All these things are arbitrary, of course, but it doesn’t change them relatively.

“It’s not a lie,” Frank lied, “it’s an approximation for ease of understanding.” “It’s not a lie,” Frank lied again, “I’m just rounding up.” I’m just as bad. While Frank is quite short for a sasquatch and rounds up from six-foot-eleven to seven feet, I myself am six-foot-five-and-a-half yet round up to six-foot-six in the asking. Basically, I am tall enough to make it inconvenient to drive a car or fly economy but not tall enough to automatically be employable as a pro-wrestler, basketball star or circus freak. I mean, I suppose I could’ve been any of those things at six-five, six-six rounded up, but I would’ve had to exercise a lot and focus my whole life on any of those things instead of sitting around and dreaming. Skyhooks take a lot of practice, body-slamming a person without actually hurting the either of you takes a lot of practice, swallowing swords and broken glass without dying takes a lot of practice. All of them take exercise and exercise is just another word for “pain” and pain isn’t nearly as fun as sitting around dreaming. Not tall enough to basically just be paid to exist at such a height, just for being a freak, was one of the greatest disappointments of my life. Failing that, all I had left to monetize about myself was my inner freak and there’s only one way to make that work: writing. That’s why I ended up in Hollywood.

Not like Frank, who just had no one like him left to be around, not like Frank Yetti who pulled up stakes to Dreamland just because he was very goddamned lonely. Frank lies about his height, not because he longs to be effortless obvious extraordinary like some vain schmuck, not like me. Frank lies about his height because he just wants to be normal. Not our normal, not the normal for the human race, not normal for Hollywood where the very idea is gleefully obliterated with each new terrible bar for rich assholes, no. Normal for where he came from. Frank, for all his snobberies, despite his high wall of academic obfuscations, just wanted to not stand out at all.

I suppose the Curse of the Thirty-Mile Zone gave Frank that, in its own way. Standing there at Hollywood and Highland, just the next big thing standing next to a thousand other creatures, all believing themselves the next big things as well. When everyone’s a freak? No one is.

Last updated November 09, 2021

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