A Rebellious Character

Pete cleared his throat and said, “My computer broke down,
so I wrote this short story in longhand, and this is the
original. I didn’t make any copies.” He handed the story to
Caroline, “Would you read it to the class, please? My
asthma is bothering me, today.”

After Caroline finished reading, the listeners clapped a few
times. They always did, as a token of approval before the
critique period began. Linda, the chairperson of the writers
group, looked around the room and saw no raised hands.
“Any comments? she asked. Silence.

“Well, Pete, I think your story is well written, but needs
conflict. Everything is too…” Linda searched for a word,
“idyllic. Maybe, Sonia should cheat on Juan.”

“Yes, I think you’re right,” said Pete.

“Bullshit! You don’t know what you are talking about,”
said Caroline in an unsually deep voice and with a thick
Spanish accent.

“Beg your pardon! Why do you think conflict is not needed,
Caroline?” Asked Linda with a startled expression on her
face.

“I’m not Caroline, I’m Juan Lomita, the main character of this
story, and I don’t want my wife to cheat on me just to satisfy
your sadistic literary taste.”

At that, everyone, including Linda, laughed. “Very funny, is
this your idea, too, Pete?”

“No, Linda, I have no clue what’s happening. Look at Caroline,
her eyes are rolled up, and her face is twitching. I think she is
possessed.” More laughter followed these words.

“She is really a good actress! OK, I’ll play along.Tell me, Juan,
if you think conflict is sadism, why is it that all good fiction
always has conflict?” asked Linda.

“Because you are all sadists. You’re not much better than
the Romans who killed people for their amusement. The only
difference now is that you make us, fictional characters, suffer,
bleed and die for your perverted pleasure. I’m sick of it. I
won’t suffer it in silence any longer,” said Caroline, pounding
the table with her fist.

“Wow! You’re so good, Caroline. The hairs on my arms are
standing up,” said Joe.

“Shut up! Roared Caroline, the white of her eyes turning
toward Joe, her pupils quivering behind her eyelids. “Haven’t
you, fools, thought that maybe you are a story-teller’s
characters too? Maybe, right now, in some heavenly
classroom, apprentice gods are discussing how to add
entertainment value to your story.
What if your deepest hurts were nothing but literarary
devices for those gods? ”

When Caroline turned her blank white eyes on him, Pete,
felt the hair on his arms stirring.

“Here is what I think of your story!” She hissed and ripped the
story in little pieces.

“Caroline, Caroline!” Pete shook her by her arm. Caroline
shook her head as wet dogs do. She looked at Pete— her
eyes now normal, but a little dazed. “Did I read it well?”

“Hmm! Well…that was interesting! Who’s the next reader?”
Asked Linda.

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