Final Bang Bang Bible Salesman Post

This is the last of these, I promise. (Until I finish the rewrite!) If you liked the story and you just couldn’t stop saying to yourself, “wow, this would make a great short film!” then today is your lucky day!

Here is the link to that film.

Directing credits go to Alison Huffman and Carly Snowdon.

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Bang Bang Bible Salesman (3/3)

(Part 3/3)

Knock knock knock.

He paused, as usual.

         Knock knock knock. There was no answer from inside the house. He knocked again, louder. No response. He knocked louder still, and just as he considered the amount of force necessary to break the old door down with his shoulder, it creaked open to reveal a small, fragile old woman wearing sunglasses.

“Hullo, miss. I trust you are having a good day. What might I call you?” he began with his usual opener. It almost always worked, and people usually gave more information than they realized.

“What? Who’s there? Is someone there?” The woman was talking towards the doorframe instead of the salesman. He waved his hand in front of her face.

“Hulloo. Hullo, I’m right here!” On one wave he almost chopped down on her nose.

“Is that you, Sammy? Come on in.” She turned and inched towards a living room.

“No, I’m a salesman— I’m the Bang-Bang Bible Salesman. I’m here to sell you a Bible and trust me; I won’t leave until it’s in your hands.” He followed her into the house.

“Oh yes, that’s nice dear. Would you like some cookies?” she asked, still walking away from him. Blue and red flooded the room from the windows. Luckily, the door had been closed before the police arrived in the neighborhood, and he was sure no one saw him enter. He was certain that the only person who was any danger to him was almost entirely blind, and if she posed a threat, he still had four bullets.

“No, no cookies—I have some nice Bibles here, let me pick one out for you. I am selling them. Bibles.” He emphasized the words, hoping that she wasn’t as deaf as she was blind.

“Oh! Oh, Bible— sure, sonny, I’ll go get my checkbook. You stay right there. I’ll be back before you know it. And with cookies.” She never stopped her inch-walk, one step at a time in a great circle around the house like the world’s slowest train on a closed track. He knew he had some time before she got back, so he sat on the couch and opened his briefcase, taking inventory and inspecting the newest additions beyond the cursory glance he had paid them at the Jackson household.

It never occurred to him that he was in danger, and so the entire time the woman was gone from the room, he became enthralled in the examining of old books.

As soon as she was sure she was out of eyesight, the woman took a deep breath, and tiptoed to the hall closet. She withdrew a large double-barreled shotgun and two shells. She loaded the barrels and returned to the living room.

She turned into the living room and caught the Bang-Bang Bible Salesman staring up at a Bible he had hoisted towards a ceiling light. She could have killed him right then, but she wanted to enjoy this one.

“All right, sonny, the jig is up. Ah-Ah-Ah!,” she cooed as he reached behind his back. His hand returned the Bible he had been admiring, a 1986 New Jerusalem Bible. She saw his knuckles go white as they gripped it, but whether this was from fear or anger she did not know. In either case, his face remained completely emotionless.

“There must be some mistake, I—”

“You don’t think I got calls from every neighbor here to Timbuktu? Chrissake, we all heard them two shots you fired. You one arrogant son of a bitch,” she added, gesturing with the gun for him to look at the police cars outside. “Now we can either do this by way of legal proceedings, or fun. Personally I like the fun, ironic ending.”

“What ironic ending?” he asked, now clutching the bible to his chest.

“This one.” She fired both barrels at once, aimed directly at the Bible over his heart.

“Bang Bang.”

Bang Bang Bible Salesman (2/3)

(Part 2/3)

Knock knock knock.

This house had a nice BMW in the driveway, with an ichthys bumper sticker. The house, though small, had a Christmas wreath on the front door and advent candles in the windows— a perfect customer.

A bald black man answered the door.

“Hullo, sir. I trust you are having a good day. What might I call you? How are you this advent season?”

“Hello, hello! I’m Chris. Chris Jackson. Do come in! What a beautiful December day, praise God!” He stood back, leaving room for the Bang-Bang Bible Salesman to enter without any real effort.

“Hullo Mr. Jackson! I have a real nice set of Bibles here that I am just certain you’ll be interested in.” The salesman held up the briefcase, opening it for the customer to get a look inside.

“Ha-ha! Lord in heaven. You know, son, I’ve got quite the collection of Bibles upstairs! As it happens, I’m the pastor of the church down on Harrison. Perhaps you’ve been, though I don’t recognize your face— is something wrong?” Chris had noticed a brief change in the salesman’s demeanor. Nothing permanent, only a flash of excitement in the salesman’s brow.

“No, no! I am quite all right, excuse me. Say, Mr. Jackson, do you live alone?” The salesman fidgeted with the back of his shirt— Chris guessed he was tucking the back of his shirt in.

“Please, call me Chris, and though I’m in the market, right now I have no one. Well, I guess you could say I’m single. Anyhow, I don’t live with any—”

Two shots exploded in quick succession and Chris Jackson ceased to be. The Bang-Bang Bible Salesman stepped over him and replaced the gun in his waistband. He ascended the stairs. In a room with a bed the salesman assumed to be Chris’s, he found the answer to his prayers—fourteen different Bibles lay scattered across shelves, the bed, and a desk. A fifteenth was found in the drawer of the bedside table. He opened his briefcase and reorganized the books in order to fit as many new ones as he could. In the end, he only managed seven, but he replaced two of his least favorite from the original case.

Faint sirens rang through the windows. It was only a matter of time until they arrested him off the street, but he was not afraid. He simply would not stroll home along the street. He would hide.

Outside, the evening sun slowly fell behind a line of trees and the December air kept his face chilly. Looking first right, towards the first house of the day, then left, he spotted a few potential hiding spots, including the sewer, several cars that were either unlocked or that could be unlocked, until the perfect cover came into sight.

In front of a quaint, single story home with no garage, the Bang-Bang Bible Salesman noted a Lincoln Town Car— evidence enough that the residents were quite old. As if to validate the miraculous nature of the discovery, a light came on in the house. He trotted across the street, and arrived at the final house.

Bang Bang Bible Salesman

I wrote this version of the story, then had it critiqued. I have since fixed all of the grammatical errors, but I am still in the process of rewriting it. The new story will be very different, but I like this version (and this is the version that was adapted to film), so I am posting the version of the story with fixed language, but imperfect plot. Afterwards, I will post the video. Without further ado-

Bang Bang Bible Salesman

Part (1/3)

Knock knock knock.

A pause, then another knock knock knock.

The door opened wide enough for a plain-looking woman to look out of her suburban North Carolina home at the plain-faced man on her front porch and the briefcase that rested between his long legs. He wore a black suit with a white shirt and a too-perfect bowtie, all underneath a black bowler hat.

“Hullo, miss. I trust you are having a good day. What might I call you? How are the kids doing, if you don’t mind me asking?” The Bang-Bang Bible Salesman removed his hat with his left hand, revealing a large bald spot on the left side of his head, while at the same time he extended his right hand across the door’s threshold. The woman assumed she was supposed to grab a hold of it and shake it, and so she did, with a considerable amount of anxiety and suppressed aversion.

“I guess I am… I’m Catherine. The kids are fine… how did you know I had kids? Are—Are you trying to sell me something?” Her thoughts were divided between her two children playing upstairs and the best strategy to get this man off of her porch as soon as possible.

“I sure am! I have a nice set of Bibles here and I’m just sure you’ll be interested.”

“Oh! No, thank you, we already have one or two in the study,” she gestured with her arm towards the bookshelf in the nearest room. “And besides— we really aren’t the praying type in this house. Thank—”

“Perhaps your husband is home?” he forced, trying to keep the conversation rolling. He would not be leaving this home until they owned another Bible. One of his.

“No, he’s—no, please, I have a lot I’m trying to do today, okay? Good luck with your sale!” She sighed as she closed the door, or at least she tried to close the door. It stopped about four inches from the frame. She looked down. A black loafer impeded the door’s trajectory.

Suddenly, the man’s clean-shaven jaw thrusted its way into the room.

“Really, Catherine, you’re going to love them, I know it. Just take a look!”

“I’m really, really not comfortable with any of this, I—” She struggled to catch the opened briefcase that he pressed into her stomach, with his arm underneath, apparently doing some kind of awkward holding maneuver. The case was full of Bibles. Bibles of varying sizes and colors, some brand new, some deteriorating and probably antiques. Still, none interested her and she was not one to be pressured into a purchase.

“This is a very nice collection, sir, but I am afraid I’m not interested.” She extended her arms away from her, hoping that he would receive the case and turn out the door, but in moving it she only uncovered what he had been holding underneath. A Colt .45 revolver hung firm from his arm. Catherine shuddered in fear, and her astonishment glued her hands to the case. She looked up into his blank face and back down at the barrel.

“You’ll notice some of my products are much newer than others— they’re hot off the press!” He never took his eyes off hers.

“Uh— oh Lord help me.” Catherine was rooted to the spot. Every muscle in her body was flexed tight, and her mind couldn’t fathom an escape— all of her ideas felt like they were crashing together before they could complete themselves.

“Yes! Yes, see? Now you understand. The Lord is here to help. And I can see from the look on your face— it’s a look I see quite often with my customers, indecision manifested— that you could use a little help deciding. Let me guess, you want them all! Ha-ha!” The corners of his mouth pulled back and his eyebrows rose, but what happened to his face was anything but a smile. “Perhaps… perhaps that new red King James? I picked it up only this morning. How does, oh, twenty-five dollars sound? Quite the deal, I’d say.”

Before he had finished, Catherine had already frantically removed the wallet from her back pocket. Still staring at the gun, she took all of the bills she had— she remembered there being a few twenties and a couple ones— and laid it on top of the books.

“There— There! I gave you the money! Please, leave! Please!”

“Woah there, miss! You can’t forget to take your product! The book!” He pulled the red Bible from the briefcase and, in three large steps, crossed to the bookshelf in the neighboring room. He had recognized the brown leather spine of a New American Standard from the doorway, and as he arrived at the shelf he pulled the brown book and replaced it with the red King James. With the gun still in his other hand, he approached Catherine, who had dropped her empty wallet on the floor in order to grasp the briefcase more carefully. She had decided it would be wise to not drop his case.

He inserted the New American Standard in the space left open by the King James and closed the case.

“You know, I usually charge much more for fresh books, especially first time customers,” he said as he pulled the briefcase from her arms and onto the porch, “but I give great discounts to my repeat customers, and I have that feeling in my gut that you’ll be making many purchases in the future.”

He finished, turned, and was almost off the porch before he heard the door slam behind him, followed by a scream. The new prop had taken some practice, but since he had given up the nice-guy salesman pitch, sales had gone through the roof. Of course, there had been some mistakes along the way, but he was certain that he had stomped out the kinks and the business was surefire from here.

He had a few minutes before the police arrived, if they were coming at all— definitely enough time to share his Bibles with another friendly homeowner. He arrived at the next house.

Day 2 of Filming Bang Bang Bible Salesman

I wrote a story titled “Bang Bang Bible Salesman” and a couple of my friends are adapting it into a short film! I will post the story here soon, and I will post a link when the video is complete. Here are a few pictures that I took today, the second day of filming.

The Bible Salesman waits outside Catherine's door

The Bible Salesman waits outside Catherine’s door

The Bible Salesman toys with a rifle.

The Bible Salesman toys with a rifle.

Directors and the Bible Salesman filming the street scene.

Directors and the Bible Salesman filming the street scene.

Grandma looks on as Directors and the Bible Salesman film exterior shots.

Grandma looks on as Directors and the Bible Salesman film exterior shots.

Grandma and the Bible Salesman prepare for their first encounter.

Grandma and the Bible Salesman prepare for their first encounter.

Perverted Utilitarianism Or: Cannibalism Gone Dry in a World Without People

I am going to try to take down some kind of history of what happened, in case someone ever happens across these words, though I am no writer and I doubt there will be anyone left to read it. I suppose you could call me lucky for still being alive at this point. I’m not sure I feel that way.

When it all started there were about two billion of us, by my estimate. John Mill’s grandson got elected prime minister and then, when the Great War ended Mill III took control of the League of Nations. He was so attractive then, with different ideas on liberty than his grandfather, but he was a staunch utilitarian through and through and he might be called the reason we’ve survived this long. I, and probably Mill, too, never expected it to happen the way it did. Utilitarianism- Mill told us even God was for it.

In the beginning, it all worked fine. Mill changed some of the laws and some of the governments so that every law was based on the basic concepts of utilitarianism- whatever would bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number. Everything seemed perfect until the land stopped producing food—something about a virus, so new and widespread the scientists couldn’t stop it—and the bottom of the food chain gave out. Soon after that, we had hunted most of the animals that were left unstarved.

When the food ran out, we stopped being so happy. Mill, as always, asked what would make the greatest number of us the happiest that he could. We told that what would make us happy would be full bellies. Mill understood what he had to do, and so we had our solution- we would have to eat some of our own.

At first it was only the ones that deserved it. Dissenters and criminals of utilitarianism’s laws were the targets. As a bonus, killing the ones holding us back would make us all happier anyway. Getting rid of the ones bringing about the least happiness would also lessen the number of hungry mouths and, more importantly, get some meat back on the table.

When we ran out of prisoners, immorals, and unhappy people, there were still a few million of us, all still under Mill’s guidance. I don’t know what we would have done without him. But we were still hungry. Because they didn’t stand much of a chance anyway, and all they were doing was stealing food from the healthy, we ate the sick and the elderly. We ate the young.

When there were a few thousand of us, our hunger was the only thing holding back our abundant happiness. Mill helped us decide that if it made nine people happy to eat one person, it would be worth it. We kept that up for a while, until this morning. There are only three of us left, and I’m sure I’m going to be chosen winner of the lottery. At least I won’t have to deal with what Mill does with the other guy once I’m gone. I guess my real luck is in my chance escape.