“This Is Probably Not The Right Time To Tell My Wife About My Awesome Movie Idea,” by Doug Cornett

Apr 20th, 2016 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

From above, probably on a helicopter, we see an island in pandemonium. In the center of the island there’s a volcano that is just spitting magma all over the place, smoke pouring upward, the whole place is rumbling. But what is that we see? Down at the base of the volcano, somehow not engulfed in lava? We zoom in. It’s a hero, and he’s, like, meditating up on one leg. He’s got his shirt off and he’s ripped. Then… his eyes snap open!

This is how I would start the pitch to my wife, but based on the way her lips are pursed and how red her face is and the curse word she just muttered, I’m guessing this is probably not the right time to tell her about my awesome movie idea.

My wife always says I need a creative outlet, and honestly, I can’t think of anything more creative than this: The Island of Misfit Kickboxers. I know what she’d say: it’s been done, but hold on, listen to this—they’re not trained kickboxers. They’re just, like, normal dudes and maybe a woman, too, who suddenly discover that they can kickbox. And they’re amazing at it. And they’re marooned on an island with an active volcano.

If she weren’t wondering out loud in that high-pitched voice about what I’ve been doing all day, my wife would probably say that it sounds like just another mindless action flick. But get this: they’re also all having existential crises. Like, one guy is an accountant or something and deep down he’s thinking, accounting? Really? All those numbers? Bammo: now you’re bringing in the art-house crowd.

My wife seems pretty pissed at me for this whole “you forgot to pick up our daughter from summer camp.” But, call me crazy, “camp” makes me think of an overnight stay. Not just until 4pm. If we’re talking camp, in my opinion, we should be talking sleeping over in a cabin. But this gets me thinking: maybe the island of the misfit kickboxers is really, like, a summer camp for misfit kickboxers. They kickbox all day and maybe water-ski and then there’s a campfire on the beach with songs, s’mores, the works. They sneak out of their bunks at night and make out on the beach. There’s a rival camp of expert Jiu Jitsu people on another island and they’re always ready for an attack. Those people are a bunch of goons with ponytails. Just spitballing here.

And now my wife is yelling. Yep, she just opened the letter from the IRS and found out that I never filed our taxes even though I said I definitely did. I’ve never seen her eye do that before; kind of bulging but also twitching. She’s not in a good place right now for constructive feedback on this project. This isn’t really a nuanced headspace that’s she’s in. And I get that. I do.

They’re misfits because nobody understands them. Heck, they don’t even understand themselves. But that’s because they’ve all got the heart of kickboxers and they’ve never realized it. They’ve got the feet and fists, too.

If my wife weren’t throwing all of my possessions onto the front lawn right now, I’d tell her about the tribe of Amazon lady-warriors who, it turns out, also live on the island. They’re basically like Vikings but female and very sexy. But tasteful. They could either be friend or foe; when my wife’s heart rate goes down, maybe I’ll get her thoughts.

It doesn’t add up, is what the accountant thinks about his life, and I just made that up. He has that thought while he roundhouses a ponytailed goon’s head off.

Man, this could really be good. Like, important good. When my wife gets back from wherever she’s speeding off to, we’ll workshop this thing.


Defenestration-Doug CornettDoug Cornett is a writer and high school teacher living in Portland, Oregon. He was awarded the Denise Marcil Prize for fiction at Skidmore College, as well as first prize in the 2015/16 William Van Dyke Short Story Contest from Ruminate Magazine. His fiction has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes. His work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Lime Hawk, Fiction Southeast, Permafrost Magazine, and elsewhere. He is a monthly blogger for Ploughshares.

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