I was going through my hard drive, and found this gem of a story I had written for an English class in high school. I believe the assignment was to write something inspired by the style of Edgar Allen Poe (or something along those lines), and I didn't have any particular story ideas for the assignment, so I borrowed one from The Beatles.
Though there are a few places I'm tempted to do some polishing with, I'm still fairly pleased with it overall, these ten-or-so years later, so I thought I'd share. :)
Maxwell's Silver Hammer
(Based on a song composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney)
Looking back, its almost funny how something as simple as a hammer can have such an extraordinary effect on a person's mind. Especially when that person is angry. But I'm not crazy. I never was. It's perfectly natural that, when one holds an object of such magnificent craftsmanship as the silver hammer was, he should get that passionate impulse to put it to use. That maddening desire, enhanced by the Clang! Clang!
in the mind, is enough to get the best of any man, sane or otherwise.
* * *
It started all of a sudden one night. I had just called Joan Lennon on the phone and asked her out to the pictures. Joan was a pretty, but lonely girl who was studying in the field of pataphysical science in her home. I had met her a month or two ago and we had been dating for several weeks. I was just leaving when a silvery gleam caught my eye. It was my shiny silver hammer. Without quite knowing why, I suddenly had a mind to bring it along with me. So, I put it in the pocket of my coat and went on my way.
As I went along, thoughts of the hammer began to grow in my mind. It was such a lovely tool; it seemed a terrible shame not to put it to use. I turned onto her street and I began to hear the clang
of a hammer in my head. As I approached her house, my mood grew darker, and as it did, the sound of hammer striking anvil rang ever louder in my mind. When I reached the door, I didn't knock the way I normally would. Instead, I drew my hammer out of my pocket and tapped it softly against the door in rhythm with the hammer that was tapping in my brain. At this point, I was feeling incredibly but inexplicably angry, and the Clang! Clang!
of the hammer rang so loud through my mind as to block out all other thoughts. It was at this unfortunate moment that Joan answered the door. As it opened, Bang! Bang!
The hammer came down upon her head and for a moment, the pounding on her head must have been even greater than that which going on inside of mine. Then she fell dead to ground, bleeding profusely from the wound that my tool had inflicted.
I carefully wiped my fingerprints from the hammer and dropped it on the ground near the body. Then I went inside her house and called the police. I explained to them that I had found her lying here. I told them that I was majoring in medicine and had decided to test my medical skills by examining the body. My story was only partially a lie, for I really was a medical major. At any rate, it helped to explain the blood on my clothes. No insane man could have come up with such a clever explanation. After asking me a few questions, they sent me home. But though the clanging in my head had subsided to softer level again, the hammer still called to me and rather than leave it behind, I hid in some nearby bushes and carefully recovered the tool when the police officer was not looking.
* * *
The next day, while I was preparing to go to my medical class, the hammer caught my eye again. Once again, I was seized by the sudden urge to bring it along and did so. I sat in class, but my mind was on the hammer and the pounding clangs returned to my head. I tried to listen to the lesson that was being taught, but eventually that awful Clang! Clang! Clang!
drowned out the words of the teacher and I began to pound my fist on my desk in rhythm with it. The teacher, Mrs. Starr, told me to stop banging. I opened my mouth to apologize, but instead of the intended "Sorry" the words "Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!" came out. And though my voice was the shrill, hideous shriek of a madman, I was still sane. It was the hammer that was causing this unusual behavior, and it could have happened to anyone.
Mrs. Starr, wishing to avoid an unpleasant scene, told me I was to remain here after class. So when the class had gone away, I stayed behind. I had to write fifty times "I must not be so noisy and disruptive during class." I couldn't believe it! This was a punishment for unruly elementary school students, not students in their early twenties attending medical school! But even still, the sentences soon turned into "I must not be so...Bang! Bang!...Silver Hammer came down upon her head...Clang! Clang!" as the hammer once again gained mastery of me.
I could not bear another minute of it. I waited until she turned her back on me and sneaked up from behind her (and in a way that only man who had his wits about him could, I might add). There was a flash of silver as I drew my hammer from my pocket, and then...Clang! Clang!
My silver hammer made sure that she was dead.
After the deed was done, I went home and before long, the police had come to my house to ask some more questions. I denied any knowledge of the crime, but this time I had overlooked one detail. The hammer was still in my possession. In fact, it was still bloody. Realizing this fatal error, I kept it hidden in my pocket, but the mental clanging was rising to thunderous volume levels, like a stampeding herd of elephants with metal feet running through my mind. Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!
It went on Clang!
And on Clang!
And on, growing worse with each denial of the crime. Finally, it became too much to bear.
"Yes!" I screamed. "I did it! I killed the teacher, and Joan Lennon, I killed her too!" and they arrested me and took me away. But this time, the error was theirs, for the hammer was still in my pocket.
* * *
I was tried in Public Court Thirty-One with Judge Harrison presiding. The officer who made the arrest announced that they had "caught a dirty one. Literally, he beat the brains out of his girlfriend and his teacher." But the trial held little interest to my mind at the moment. My attention was being drawn off by the hammer again, and I began painting pictures of the silver hammer pounding on people's heads. The clanging of the hammer was back, and was even worse than before. Rose Bush and her sister Valerie, who owned a local art gallery, noticed my paintings and insisted to Judge Harrison that I was insane and must be allowed to go free so I could paint pictures for their art gallery.
Judge Harrison, however, disagreed and said as much. But even as the words were leaving his lips, I ran up behind, screaming "Clang! Clang! Clang!!!!!"
Harrison whirled around in time to see a brief flash of silver before my hammer came smashing down on his face. Over and over again, I hit him, until the police officer came over and stopped me by force. But it was too late for both the Judge and myself. For he was dead and Mr. McCartney, the court's record keeper, had already put my case into the records.
* * *
And so here I am today, in this awful prison where everyone thinks I am crazy. I am not. It was my precious hammer, which they took from me. I was not a madman; on the contrary, I was fully aware of the deaths they say I caused. But I didn't cause them. The hammer did. And while I'm here in jail, the true murderer, that corruptive silver hammer, is still on the loose, just waiting for another victim to catch sight of it. And who knows, that victim could be anyone...even you!