It’s A Problem
[AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve mentioned in this space before that there’s a writers’ group based near where I live that sponsors a Halloween-themed flash fiction contest every year. I’ve also posted stories I’ve entered in that contest here in years past.
This is—sort of—one of those entries. Basically, it’s what I would have submitted (or something similar) had I entered the contest this year. I had every intention of actually entering the contest, but did not.
The short, self-serving version of the story is that the contest deadline fell when we were on vacation this summer, and I was busy vacationing and decided not to enter the contest. The longer, full disclosure version of the story is that the contest is opened every year months in advance of the deadline, but I procrastinated thinking I had all the time in the world to write something—it’s not a novel, just some flash fiction, no big deal, right?—and then next thing I knew the deadline was imminent and I didn’t have anything worth submitting and I just told myself that I’d skip the contest this year what with being on vacation and all when the deadline happened as if that was the real reason why I didn’t enter and it had nothing to do with my poor time management skills.
Anywho, every year this writers’ group contest has a theme. This year’s theme was IT. And as it’s a Halloween-themed contest, the stories are probably supposed to be scary, but I went in kind of a different direction than scary…but I still like how it turned out and hope you do, too. Enjoy!]
“Housemates, crew, fans, members of the media: Thank you for joining me this evening in the Living Room Of Destiny. Or, the L-ROD, as Viktor calls it. Hey, man, I know you and I have had our differences, but credit where it’s due: That’s a funny nickname. Respect.
Anyway, earlier today I was called to a meeting with the producers of AMH, who informed me that I was no longer welcome in this house.
Although I do not agree with this decision—after all, as I had mentioned many times, I was “in it to win it” and was hoping that when I left this house it would be either as the winner of AMH, or voted out fair and square in the End Of Week L-ROD Meeting—I respect this decision and will abide by it.
It was also brought to my attention in today’s meeting that I had largely brought this action on myself. In hindsight, looking back on the way I acted—literally, after viewing a two hour sizzle reel of my best worst moments compiled by the AMH producers specifically for the meeting, as well as for use in any legal action against me that may have been necessary had I not agreed to leave the house by sundown—I realized that this was true.
I realized—pun intended—IT’s a problem.
And yes, I have been informed that this phrase is already currently trending on various social media sites, but I actually thought of this play on words before I was made aware that it was already out there. Parallel thought—it happens.
So, I know that this is too little, too late. But before I leave this house and embark on a new phase, I just wanted to come before all my housemates and publicly apologize for my behavior.
Viktor: I’ve already mentioned you, and it seems right that I should start the apologies with you. It was my actions towards you—and what I said about you and your people—that ultimately led to the decision that I needed to go. I think you’ve been wronged by me the most, so it’s only fitting that you should receive the first apology.
I am so, so sorry for what I said. If I could go back in time and stop myself from saying those things, believe me I would. I really would. And I know saying “sorry” isn’t nearly enough to heal the hurt my words caused you, but I do mean it.
And I also want you to know that, not only am I truly sorry for what I said, but please believe me when I tell you that the things I said were said in a moment of anger and do not truly reflect my views of werewolves—sorry, Lupine Americans. I have such respect for your people. It pains me more than you know that I said things that made it seem otherwise. I wasn’t raised that way, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I don’t expect you to forget—I’m under no delusions that we’ll ever be best friends or anything—but I hope you can forgive me.
I also regret pushing you down the stairs. In hindsight, it was a mistake. It was also something done in a moment of anger that I now regret. Although, in my defense, I didn’t think you’d get injured. I figured you’d probably undergo “the change” in midair and then flop down the steps unharmed like a dog. Have you ever seen videos online of dogs running and tripping down stairs? They’re hilarious.
Also, you were the one who climbed the stairs to confront me, so: Kind of 50/50 responsibility between us for the stairs thing.
Bob and Elizabeth: I am also sorry for some of the things I said to you. You’re a great couple, and an asset to this house. I apologize for calling your relationship an “arranged marriage.” Also, I’m sorry for repeatedly referring to you as “the representation of man’s hubris” and for teasing you about your neck bolts.
Furthermore, I also regret pushing both of you down the stairs. In hindsight, it was a mistake. Although, in my defense, I figured anything that got broken could just be sewed back on or replaced. I’ve since been told that this isn’t the case, but I don’t think it was an unreasonable assumption on my part.
Ewan: I regret spreading rumors about your sexuality. First of all, I’m no homophobe. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re L, G, B, T, Q, A, or otherwise. But I am guilty of indulging in gossip, and for that, I’m sorry. And I’m not sure how you could be gay without a head, anyway. It was a dumb rumor for me to start.
I also regret pushing you down the stairs. In hindsight, it was a mistake. But, in my defense: I thought you were a ghost and that you’d just kind of float down the steps unharmed after I shoved you. However, the sling you’re wearing right now tells me otherwise, and for that, I’m truly sorry.
And speaking of gay rumors: Vlad, I’m so sorry I spread the same rumors about you, most of which also involved Ewan. I know you told me time and time again that you contracted HIV from biting an infected neck and not from sexual contact. My ignorance on this issue was inexcusable, and I have since educated myself on HIV/AIDS. I mean, you’re not exactly an innocent victim, here—from what I’ve heard, you’ve bitten a lot of necks in your day, I’m just saying—but you still don’t deserve to have that terrible disease, and your fight against it is inspiring. I want you to know that I’ve donated a portion of the salary I received for my time in this house to the Elton John AIDS Foundation in your name, with specific instructions to use the money wherever it is needed, even for neck suckers.
I also regret pushing you down the stairs while shouting “Let’s see how your compromised immune system handles THIS!” In hindsight, it was a mistake. Although, you could have turned yourself into a bat before actually hitting the staircase, so that one’s kind of on you, too.
Julie: I’m sorry that you walked in on me “masturbating.” I use the air quotes because I will again remind everyone that that was not what I was doing when Julie walked in on me. I was actually in the process of attempting to asexually reproduce. I’ve always wanted to have a child, and I’ve been struggling to asexually reproduce for the past few years but I’m still trying. I just thought if I could make it happen during my time in this house, not only would the storyline have been a boon for ratings, it also would have been really special to me to share the moment with all of you. I’m sorry for the emotion right now—this isn’t normally something I like to talk about. But I’m talking about it anyway because I want to be totally upfront with all of you and be transparent about what was going on in my bedroom that night.
However, I’ve been told by a few of you that what I was actually doing that night was “way more gross” than what you all thought it was. I regret not being more discreet.
I also regret pushing you down the stairs, Julie. In hindsight, it was a mistake. Although several of your body parts have already fallen off, so it’s not like you were way worse off at the bottom of the steps than you were at the top. I’m just putting that out there. But still, what I did was wrong, and I apologize.
Imhotep: I apologize for painting horizontal black stripes on your bandages while you were asleep, attaching a novelty plastic ball and chain to your ankle, and then subsequently referring to you as “The Fugitive” and blasting “Po’ Lazarus” on a boombox every time you entered the room where I was. I realize now that your bandages are part of your culture’s religious traditions surrounding the handling and interment of dead bodies, and that vandalizing your bandages with Forever Black Tire & Trim Reconditioner was insensitive at best and possibly a hate crime at worst.
I’m also sorry that, once I realized this, I attempted to paint over your black stripes with dozens and dozens of bottles of correction fluid. As we know, that did not work out as planned. I’m so happy for you, though, that you’ve since had your bandages professionally cleaned and you’re looking as good as new. Well, for a reanimated corpse. I will also be donating part of my AMH salary to you to offset those costs.
And I also regret pushing you down the stairs. In hindsight, it was a mistake. In my defense, though, I couldn’t resist the temptation. I had noticed one of your bandages had come loose near your ankle, and I thought if I stepped on it at the top of the steps and then gave you a good push, you’d completely unravel as you fell and you’d look like a human yo-yo and everyone would have a good laugh about it. I realize now that was a bad assumption.
Finally, Stacey: I’m sorry for all of the lame jokes I made at your expense about how good it must feel to “finally be white.” I was trying to be “edgy” and funny, but I realize now my words were not only unfunny and insensitive, they were downright racist. I understand now that—even though you have left your corporeal form and appear to us as a glowing “white” color—that is simply a matter of how our eyes are perceiving light falling on an object or person and does not change your race. You are a strong, beautiful black woman and I appreciate you for who you are.
And speaking of who you are, I also apologize for previously referring to you as “it.” I honestly thought that’s how you were supposed to refer to ghosts, but I see now that using that term—coupled with the insensitive racial humor—came across as offensive. Ignorance is not an excuse, and I won’t pretend that it is. I know now that I am—I was—the only It in this house, and referring to anyone else that way is not cool.
I also regret attempting to push you down the stairs. In hindsight, it was a mistake, even though in your case I wasn’t even trying to hurt you and it wasn’t done in anger. I figured pushing a ghost at the top of a staircase would be the equivalent of pushing someone on a swing set: You’d simply float off into the air and it would be fun. However, I obviously didn’t think it through and fell right through you and down the stairs myself—an appropriate comeuppance. And though I brushed it off at the time as “no big deal” and chastised all of you for being “too sensitive” when I had pushed you down the stairs, it hurt. It hurt A LOT. I was too proud to admit it in that moment, but I realized then how much I had physically hurt you.
And then, earlier today, to be made aware of all the emotional and verbal wounds I’ve inflicted on all of you as well? I was—and am—ashamed. And again, I’m so, so sorry.
I truly regret my behavior towards all of you…almost as much as I regret not taking one of the first floor bedrooms in the house. Chances are, I may not have been so shove-y had I not had to use the stairs as much. But Vik and Stacey and Ewan insisted on taking the first floor rooms, so I guess there was nothing I could have done about that. I think we’re all partly responsible for what happened on the stairs, is what I’m saying. But I was the worst offender when it came to pushing, so my bad.
And now, I take my leave of American Monster House—the house itself, and the show which bears its name. Even though it’ll be nice to take a break, process all that’s happened, and do what I realize now is some much needed soul searching and work on myself, I will really miss this place.
And although this isn’t ending the way I had envisioned it, it’s been an amazing four days. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this show, and I wish you all the best. God bless you all…or, Imhotep—I guess Amun-Ra bless you? I’m not really sure, but bless you too, brother.
Anyway, best of luck to you all, and may the best monster win!”