Concept Art Writing Prompt: Gentleman Godzilla goes out for a stroll

Illustration for article titled Concept Art Writing Prompt: Gentleman Godzilla goes out for a stroll

Fire up your keyboards, kids; it's time for another Concept Art Writing Prompt. This week's writing prompt features a familiar character: the one, the only Godzilla. Will your flash fiction piece star the famed Japanese monster? Or will you give this parasol-wielding lizard man an entirely different identity? Post your story in comments

Advertisement

Each Saturday, we're posting a piece of oddball artwork meant to enflame your imagination and get you writing. And each week, people post brilliant works of flash fiction in the comments. Join in and share your story!

This week's writing prompt may look a bit familiar as our own Cyriaque Lamar posted it earlier this week, from the Criterion Collection. But I couldn't resist. I want to see those Godzilla stories.

If you're a new commenter, it might take a while for your story to show up. If it's been a while and your comment hasn't appeared, shoot me an email and let me know.

Here's mine:

When Gojira-bo ordered the polenta, I knew to worry. He was generally a meat-and-satsumaimo kind of monster, and there was only one reason he ever asked for mashed grains. I raised a finger before handing my menu back to the waiter. "And two bloody marys?" I asked. "Do me a favor and throw a cube steak in his." The waiter nodded and scurried back to the kitchen.

Gojira-bo folded his arms, doing his best imitation of a frown. "I wish you wouldn't do that," he said.

"Remember you're a carnivore?" I asked.

"Treat me like a child," he said. "I'm not a child, you know."

Despite the honorific, Gojira-bo stood a full head taller than I did, and he'd been making movies when I was still sipping juice out of a cardboard box. The first time my father had shown me Son of Godzilla, I'd slept clutching a flashlight for a month. I'd wake to the slightest tremor and shine the light outside, half-hoping I'd catch a glimpse of the giant beast before he could stomp our apartment building. I tried not to smile as I stirred the ice in my water glass. "I take it the therapy isn't working."

He scratched his cheek with an absent talon. "I've tried everything," he said. "Lego men, Playmobile, even those wee little cars." He held his clawed fingers an inch apart.

"Hot Wheels?" I offered.

"Wee-er."

"Micromachines," I said.

He nodded. "Nothing works! I've been telling my shrink that I'm going to go to one of those places where everyone's really short, fuck with some pygmies or something. But he said he'd block my visa."

I leaned back, wondering if it was too late to order a shot of whiskey with my breakfast booze. "Well, as your agent, I'd rather you didn't make the newswires because you were huffing and puffing and kicking over some short people's mud huts."

Gojira-bo reached for the collar of a shirt that wasn't there. He'd gone through a phase of wearing polo shirts — nothing fancy, just the cheap Lacoste knock-offs I'd pick up for him in the night market — but he'd scratch them to ribbons whenever he was anxious. Most people seemed to expect him to go around naked anyway.

"Hey, hey hey," I said, reaching a hand toward him. "How about another disaster movie? After the studios dumped all that CG into making Mothra's kid look remotely scary, they'd love to have you back."

He snorted, releasing the barest puff of smoke from his nostrils. God, what I wouldn't give to get those nostrils back in front of a camera. "Doc says it's bad for my self-image, seeing myself up there on the screen, looking eighty meters taller than everyone else." Our waiter reappeared, carrying two glasses of bloody mary. He set the browner of the two in front of Gojira-bo, who instinctively sniffed the glass. As soon as the waiter left, Gojira-bo tilted his head back and poured half the mixture into his mouth. "What about that indie comedy I read for? The one with Christina Ricci?"

I sipped my drink, hoping I'd think of what to say in the extra few seconds. I decided on the truth. "They liked you, Bo. They really did. They just thought your previous work was a bit more...wooden than they're going for."

"Of course they think I'm wooden!" He threw his tiny arms into the air. "Those damn Son of Godzilla directors always wanted me to do an homage to dad! God, I could eat Phil for talking me into that garbage."

"Well, Phil's not here. I am. So let's work on a game plan."

He sighed. "I don't know, Kitty. Maybe I should just go back to dad, tail between my legs. I bet he's got, like, a crawl space in that mansion of his where I could live."

My ears pricked up at the unmistakable sound of a camera phone snapping. I looked over my shoulder to see a gap-toothed kid, no more than nine, aiming his iPhone at Gojira-bo's exasperated mug. Jesus, I thought. You'd think LA kids would know enough to turn the goddamn sound effect off.

Gojira-bo's eyes narrowed to reptilian slits, and I saw the faintest flare of atomic power on his breath. He called out the kid. "Hey! Get over here!" The kid's mouth widened into an "O," and he pointed quizzically at his own chest. "Yes, you." Gojira-bo pointed to the ground. "Here. Now."

The kid trotted over obediently, lips spread in a goofy grin. Gojira-bo cupped the boy's head with one of his claws. "Are you a fan?" he asked. The boy nodded so vigorously I worried his head would snap off his tiny spine. "Would you like to be famous someday?" Gojira-bo asked him, eliciting much the same response.

Gojira-bo leaned his snout in, getting in so close that the boy must have been able to smell the toxic energy on his breath. "Keep that up," he whispered, "and everyone will remember you as the child Baby Godzilla nuked at the Ivy."

The kid made a good effort of not letting his terror show on his face, but as he ran back to his parents' table, I noticed a small wet spot on the front of his khakis. I sat staring at Gojira-bo in silence, while the waiter sat down my omelet and Bo's polenta with heirloom tomatoes. "What are you looking at?" Gojira-bo asked when the waiter had left.

I straightened in my seat. I could spend this meal watching him sculpt his polenta into miniature people and crush them one by one, or I could save his career. "Bo," I said, "how would you feel about a reality TV show?"

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Concept Art Writing Prompt: Gentleman Godzilla goes out for a stroll

DISCUSSION

josh-mcdonald
josh-mcdonald

"So I take it you’re still with that monster."

"Mom…" I cupped my hand over the phone’s mouthpiece and turned away from the open doorway. "Don’t call him that."

"Why not? It’s what he is." My mother had slipped into her perfectly-innocent-so-why-are-you-taking-offense tone of voice.

"Mom, I’m not having this conversation with you." Out of the corner of my eye I could see Goji puttering about the kitchen, trying to act as though he wasn’t listening.

"Darling, I only want to make sure you know what you’re getting in to. You’re too young to remember what Tokyo looked like after …"

"Mom, we’ve talked about his anger management issues. He’s been in therapy."

"Hmm."

"He’s changed."

"What happened in Manhattan in ’98 looked like a lot more of the same to me."

"That wasn’t him."

"If you say so."

"I do. It was a copycat. It didn’t even look like him."

"Darling, I worry about you," she said pleadingly.

"Don’t, Mom. I’m fine."

"Look," she said, "all I know is, whether he’s trashing the city or defending it he leaves a lot of destruction in his wake. I don’t want my daughter to end up as one of those trampled bodies, is all."

"I know, Mom. I need you to trust me on this."

From there we made the obligatory small-talk before ringing off. Goji looked up from the magazine he’d been pretending to read. "You didn’t tell her," he said.

"It wasn’t the right time."

"It’s never going to be the right time. You know that, don’t you?"

I did, but I wasn’t about to admit it. Absently, I twisted at the diamond ring on my finger and tried not to think about how my mother would take the news.

"I’ll tell her," I said. Goji snorted. "I will," I insisted.

"Maybe we should just call it off," he said.

"Goji, no!"

"Well why not? It’s obvious what’s going on here. I haven’t met your family or any of your friends…. We never go out…."

"That’s not true," I said, even as I realized it was.

"It was foolish anyway to think we could make it work. A beautiful girl and a destructive radioactive monster…"

"Goji… stop it…" I left the room to get my coat.

"Where are you going now?"

"I need to take a walk. Clear my head."

He nodded but said nothing.

"You could come with me," I suggested.

He glanced up at me. "You deign to be seen in public with me?"

"Don’t start."

Without another word he fetched his odd little parasol – some radiation-shield, part of his gene-therapy. Supposedly it blocked out a lot of solar radiation that would otherwise cause him to grow uncontrollably.

We opened the door, and arm in arm we stepped out on to the sidewalk.