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GuyBeardmane

K.I.S.S., a short story

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K.I.S.S.
"Keep it short and simple," Morris said to himself.  He held a pen in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other.  He stared at the blank notepad on the desk in front of him, his eyebrows furrowing.  "Goddammit."  He stood up quickly, the chair he was sitting in falling back and hitting the floor.  Almost immediately there was a knock at the door.
"Mr. Warren, are you okay?"
"Fine, fine.  Just working," Morris replied.  He picked the chair up and paced along the plush carpet.  He stopped at the vanity and looked in the mirror.  His eyes were sunken and grey, sweat pouring down his temples.  He straightened the collar of his tux and adjusted his bowtie.
"Fucking trash, that's what you are," his reflection said.
"Shut up."
"You are out of your element.  You're a joke.  You don't belong here.  You don't deserve this."
"You're wrong.  I've worked hard for this," Morris argued to his reflection.
"Oh yeah, hard work to pretend to be someone you're not."
"Shut up."
"But you've had loads of practice being fake these past forty years, haven't you?  Fake son, fake husband, fake father," the reflection taunted.
"Shut UP!"  Morris punched the mirror, cracks webbing out along the glass under his knuckles.  Another knock on the door.
"Mr. Warren?"
"I'm FINE."  Morris looked at his fist, some blood streaming down his knuckles.  "Actually, can you get me a bandage?"
*    *    *
A few minutes later, a medic and two security guards joined Morris Warren in his dressing room.  The medic dabbed Morris's hand with some Neosporin on a gauze pad.
"Just a scratch, Mr. Warren," the medic said as he finished up.  "Won't even need a bandage and won't leave a scar."  He pointed toward the broken mirror.  "Can't say the same for that guy."  Morris faked a smile while the medic and security guards laughed.  Morris glanced at the other men in the room, the clouds in his head starting to clear.  "Yeah, I think it's going to be fine now."  The medic packed his first aid kit and stood up.  Morris shook his hand and the medic left the room with the two security guards.
"Mr. Warren?"  One of the guards stopped just outside the door and turned to Morris.
"Yes?"
"I know it's unprofessional, and they told me not to say anything, but I just wanted you to know I'm a huge fan and I'm rooting for you.  Good luck tonight.  You really deserve that award."
"Thank you," Morris smiled.  He patted the guard's shoulder and closed the door behind him.  The smile dropped as soon as he turned toward the vanity.  He sat back down at the desk and lifted the pen.  He stared at the blank notepad and drummed his fingers on the desk.
"I want to thank the Academy," he said as he wrote.  He immediately ripped the page from the notepad, crumpled it up, and dropped it in the waste bin.  He tapped the pen to the tip of his nose as he stared at the ceiling.  "I want to thank my son Ash and my wife Delia for their patience, love, and support," he wrote.
"That's right, you'd better thank them," his broken reflection taunted.
"Not again," Morris sighed.
"You know she's only sticking with you because this award tonight.  Years of separation, the last few months of neglect and ignoring her, the yelling and fighting when you're home.  If you weren't about to be 'award-winning actor Morris Warren,' you'd be on the front page of the tabloids for custody hearings."
"I'm done."
"Sure you are.  And imagine how proud your son is.  The father they've seen two weeks a year for the past eight years."
"I've heard enough from you."
"Not NEARLY!" the reflection boomed.
Morris turned around and looked at the broken mirror.  His reflection stared back, unresponsive.  Morris took a deep breath and rubbed his forehead.  He turned back around and looked back at the notepad.  He picked up the pen and resumed writing.
"I want to thank my parents--"
"Yeah, like they're going to be watching."  Morris sighed deeply as his reflection continued.  "The son who dropped out of school, ran away from home, and lied to America about being abused.  The son who disappointed his mother by experimenting with drugs and disappointed his father by experimenting with boys."  Morris's hands shook as he took a cigarette out of his case and lit it.  He took a few quick puffs.  "You ever wonder what life would've been like with Greg out on that ranch in Montana?"  Morris stood up quickly, clamping his hands over his ears as he returned to pacing around the room.  His reflection continued to mock him.  "Face it, Morris.  You're nothing.  You've pushed away everyone who loves you.  You're a monster.  A greedy monster.  And tonight they're giving you award for your selfishness.  And all you can think about is a damn acceptance speech."
Morris stopped in front of the vanity.  He leaned on the table and looked his broken reflection in the eyes and smiled.
"Oh?  You think of something?" his reflection asked condescendingly.
"I got it.  Son of a bitch I've got it!"  Morris took his seat at the desk and started writing feverishly.  After a few minutes he ripped the page from the notepad and turned to the broken mirror.  He held it up for his reflection.  "How's this?"
His reflection laughed.  "You forgot the first rule.  Keep it short and simple.  You've got all this shit written down and it's all hollow."
"You're right, you're right," Morris said as he crumpled the paper and threw it into the waste bin.  He sat back down and started writing again.  When he finished, he took the note back to the mirror.
"This is awful," his reflection moaned.  "Sure, thank the directors you blew to get a start in this town.  Thank your wife's best friend you've been fucking the past year.  Thank your best friend who you left bankrupt trying to get you into the business.  All these people you're forgetting."
"Shit, what do I do..." Morris's arms dropped to his sides.
"KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE."
Morris turned in his chair and stared his reflection in the eyes and started tearing up.  His lips curled into a smile.
"That's it, Morris.  I think you finally got it."
Morris smiled as he took the pen in his hand once more.  "The perfect acceptance speech."
*    *    *
After the show, there was a knock on the door and it opened.  Morris's agent barged into the room.  "Morry, congrats on the big win!  You deserved it-- OH MY GOD!  SOMEBODY CALL AN AMBULANCE!"
Morris's corpse lay on the floor, blood pouring from the jagged gash across his throat.  In his hands were a shard from the broken mirror and his award.  His agent looked at the desk where his nearly empty notepad sat.  He read the note left.  A list of names and the word "Sorry."

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The suicide at the end was a little much, personally, but it couldn't have happened any other way, considering the content of his note.

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