Short Story Saturday: The Support Group
Take a break from the hectic news of Hollywood with our weekly look into the world of "what if". Fresh fan fiction happens weekly here at Cinema Blend on Short Story Saturday. This is our latest short story entry... "The Support Group”.
Eight men and two women surrounded each other in a circle, sitting atop tiny chairs made for Mrs. Armstrong’s class of third graders. Nine of these individuals knew each other, and they were all staring at the stranger. He was fidgety and clearly uncomfortable, about five feet, eight inches tall and on the chubbier side. He wore black pants and a t-shirt that read “I Don’t Roll On Shabbas.”
After a few minutes of silence so awkward it almost became gaseous and thickened the air, the mystery man finally arose from his seat and mustered a few ounces of courage from his heart that had become two sizes too small.
“Hello, my name is Greg, and I have a lot of anger inside me. I’m hoping ya’ll can relate.”
“Hello Greg,” they all said in unison.
“15 years ago, I felt like John Keating. My confidence was at an all-time high. Even though my bosses gave me shit on occasion, the people loved me. They listened to me. They respected me because they knew I had good ideas, and in turn, I made them happy. Repeatedly. I was their captain, and if they could have stood on top of some chairs to show solidarity, they would have.”
“Fuckin A,” one of the listeners (clad in a “Han Shot First” t-shirt) shouted, nodding his head vigorously.
“But then everything started to slowly change. The customers started coming in less and less, and when they did, they were almost exclusively older people without any taste whatsoever. They stopped caring. They couldn’t have cared less what I had to say, and you know something, it fucking pissed me off. Because I am the man you should be talking to. I’m the fucking Wolf. I solve problems. I bring the fun, but after people stopped giving a shit, I started to feel like Clark Griswold--like I just wanted people to smile and they were just looking at me like I was the asshole. And then one day I got the news. The store was closing, and I was out effective immediately.”
That last comment clearly touched the entire room. One of the men, who wore a button-up shirt with a John Bender fist pump button, was nodding his head vigorously in commiseration, and one of the women, sporting a streak of pink in her hair and a clutch that said “Alright, Alright, Alright”, wiped away a single tear from her left eye. Every single one of them had a similar story about being laid off, and very few of those scars had healed.
“After a few months, I tried the Internet, but there’s so many goddamn people with shitty taste that you can’t get heard. No one listens. You can’t just wake up and do what we do. It takes time. It takes decades of careful study and commitment, but the dumbasses out there just don’t get that. They’ve never put on the foil with the Hanson Brothers or laughed their asses off at Max Fischer’s hysterical “oh, are they?” retort. I mean have you seen what they write in their dumb fucking IMDB lists? “You should totes check out G.I. Joe Retaliation because I liked it.” Pathetic.”
“Preach,” one of the listeners in a “Buzz, Your Girlfriend, Woof” t-shirt shouted.
“These people don’t know what it’s like to stay up for hours thinking about the pros and cons of Best in Show and Idiocracy and which one has the right amount of mass market appeal. They don’t know that a good list should take days to complete, not ten minutes in between Two And A Half Men episodes. For twelve years, I was a video store rental clerk. Every single Monday, I changed my Greg Recommends section and was bombarded with compliments over the next few days. Now that’s gone, and I’m lost.”
With that, he sat down and stared at nine commiserating faces, deep down knowing he’d finally found a group of people who understood.
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