Tag Archives: guns

Chekhov’s Gun Registration

It’s the most important rule of dramatic storytelling: before a gun is left
resting on the mantelpiece, or hanging on a wall or other inconspicuous
location at the start of the story, it must be properly registered, the characters having undergone thorough background checks before
obtaining such plot devices      and thereby        ensuring
the satisfactory resolution       of the story.        For while
it is true that the gun must       always go              off, it
must also do so with a                                           purpose, a
reason that enhances the story and ultimately delivers
some form of catharsis in
the form of a well-aimed
and well-regulated bullet.

I Kill Dead People

Here’s how it happens:

I invent the first time machine. Or, Future Thom invents the first machine, then travels back in time, and gives Present Thom the schematics, so that I — that is to say, Present Me — can in turn invent the first time machine for Future Thom to deliver back to me.

Once I — that is to say, Future Thom — has completed this first leg of the journey, he/I will then go back further in time to August 1, 2002, in the city of Los Angeles, whereupon I — that is to say, Future Thom — will track down one M. Night Shyamalan, on the eve of the theatrical release of his film Signs, and I — that is to say, Future Thom — will explain this to him (that is to say, Past M. Night Shyamalan):

“I am going to kill you,” Future Thom will say, as he pulls a six-shooter from a holster hanging from his hip white Urban Outfitters belt. “I have come from the future to save you, and I will do whatever I can to save you, so I will kill you.”

Past M. Night Shyamalan will put his hands up over his head and try to defuse the situation. He’ll ask Future Thom why, what are you doing, are you mad, this can’t be happening. But it will be happening. And Future Thom will explain.

“After Signs, your career pretty much becomes a big joke of pretentious self-importance and cheesy ‘twists’ in lieu of any actual plot or purpose. Even Signs was only mediocre — honestly, you should never have shown the aliens at all, it would made the whole thing a lot better.”

“But they looked so cool…!” he’ll protest. He’ll be wrong, and he’ll know it.

Future Thom will pull back the hammer on the six-shooter and raise it to his chest. “If I kill you now, you’ll be forever remembered as a visionary young filmmaker, stolen away from the world before his time in some mysterious, unsolved murder. Your name, your legacy will never be sullied by such crap as Lady in the Water or The Happening. You will become the legend you have always aspired to be, and you will have me to thank for this.”

“Okay,” he will say with forced bravado. “Do it.” He won’t actually believe me, but when a mad man claiming to be from the future holds a gun to your chest, sometimes it’s best to just accept it.

“It’s for your own good,” Future Thom will say. “Killing Baby Hitler raises too many questions. But killing you will save us all.”

Future Thom will pull the trigger. You will never read this story, because I will never have invented a time machine to go back in time to kill M. Night Shyamalan, because M. Night Shyamalan was mysteriously killed the night before the theatrical release of Signs, and the inexplicable and perplexing story of his death will be remembered for generations to come.

(number 9)

Click. Armed. Or was it his arm? He isn’t sure, but swears he feels the impact. He swears he knows somehow, he knows just how it feels to be the hammer, with just one chance to pound the metal casing, sending bullets to wherever bullets go. He lightly sighs and feels the gun become an extension of his arm: Fire-Arm. The cold steel texture of what was once a handle has gone numb, warmed and smoothed by the flesh and blood that is pumping through veins and past the grip before it pours into the chamber. His heart is swelling steadily, screaming perseverance (or at least it tries); but our blood is built to spill before its time.

Ideas are bulletproof, he reminds himself. A single bullet starts a revolution. Forty-five revolutions every minute sing a song in seven inches. If one hundred bullets start one hundred revolutions, doesn’t every bullet have a tune?

He needs to find the harmony, so he counts the bullets in the chamber as a single bead of sweat falls from where his hand became the gun, landing on his toe that he had shot an hour earlier; irony. Only he could ever salt these wounds.

He breathes in deep, and checks his watch: it’s 9:43. Good time for a revolution.