Murder in the Consulate

Words || Dan Vasey

Aspiring writer Erik Cavendish likes to root his fiction in the news. When he enters a six-word story writing contest, he types Khashoggi in the box marked title. Into the text box he pastes, “Corpus Divisa in Tres Partes Est.” Heart thumping mightily, he clicks the submit button.

Immediately an error screen appears. There are red asterisks in both boxes. One message reads, “Only fiction entries are accepted.” The other reads, “All entries must be in English.”

Erik rewrites the title, Death in the Consulate, Or, the Totally Fictitious Tale of an Imaginary Reporter Murdered by Agents of a Nonexistent Middle Eastern Country. He changes the text to “Body divided in three parts is.” This time the site accepts his entry.

Within the hour a stretch limousine pulls up in front of his house, and men pour out wearing dark suits. Several of them have red- and white-checkered keffiyehs on their heads. They all carry machine guns.

Erik escapes out the back and sprints to his Kia. A chase ensues. Motorcycles and sports vehicles join the limo. Erik's Kia leaps the gap of the opening drawbridge, but his pursuers are not so lucky and end up either submerged in the river or in flames on the banks.

Though Erik's fiction entry does not win, he writes his true story as a screenplay.