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Danny Matchwick's backstory

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Figured it'd be worth sharing this backstory, what do you think about having a backstory told from the perspective of the character talking to a tape recorder?



Danny shakes his old 1990’s tape recorder, the Radioshack logo glimmers against the fire’s dancing light.

“Is this thing even on?” Danny flips over the tape recorder to reveal the tape inside moving, indicating that the recorder is on.

“Oh shit, hell yeah it is, I’m fucking retarded.” Danny chuckles a little, thinking of how many times he’s said that to his brother and friends.

“Uh so, I guess..” He pauses for a moment, choosing his words carefully. “..Ah, fuck it, We’ll do it live!” Danny smiles, remembering a less complicated time. Merely thinking of the past makes him think of the present, He stokes the fire and fabricates a mental note to himself that he needs to get firewood rather soon.

“So, Yeah, I figured since I’m out here in bum-fuck middle of god-knows-where, surrounded by sick zombie looking corpses-” He almost forgot, there is a threat out there and he let his guard down. As he remembers he turns his head, holding the radio shack cassette recorder in his left hand. Danny continues to speak for a moment with his head turned, muffling his voice on the tape.

“Yeah, I really really hate them shits… I don’t even know where to start with all this.” Danny lays back next to the fire, placing the rolling tape recorder on his chest. The plastic on the tape recorder hits the zipper on his jacket and makes a small tap noise. Danny partially jumps, but subdues his body before he fully jumps. He sighs, “The year is nineteen ninety four, and if I’m getting more specific the month is march.” Danny pauses for a moment, racking his brain before mentally slapping himself for not even remember his own birthday.

“Man I don’t think I’ve celebrated my birthday in awhile.. It’s been a few years.” he thought to himself.

“And it’s absolutely the 19th.” Danny said with complete certainty, unearthing a smile on his face. His lips were chapped and he was pretty sure that one smile cracked his lip back open again. Danny takes his hand, he raises it up and strokes his scraggly beard on his round face and places his index finger on his lip. Danny presses it in and pulls it off, glancing at his index finger from his back.

“God- fuckin’ shit fuck!” Danny yelled in a hushed voice, while wiping the blood off from his lip on his green jacket. Danny throws his arms up, still lying on his back.

“Like, what the fuck man?” Danny called out to the sky, as if there was a person. His arms fall like heavy sandbags back down onto the grass and dirt next to his fire. He stares at the stars for a minute, then begins again. “Yeah so March 19th, the best looking, coolest motherfuckin’ guy you’ve ever seen just came head-first outta his shithead mother’s vagina like a slip-n-slide.” He got a little angry thinking of his mother, but opened his mouth again, “Doc said I came out dancin’ with a dick that was below my knees.” He smiled visualizing of the scenario he had come up with himself.

“From that point on; It’s history. You all know the story from there.” He thought back to his childhood and his voice soured slightly. He moved his eyes down and caught the glimmer of the fire painting a moving picture on his jacket’s buttons.

“But if ya don’t” Danny continued, “Let me learn y’all.” Danny begins to talk into the tape recorder on his chest, looking back up at the stars, fighting with his fire to light up the darkness that surrounded him.

“I didn’t have the best of childhoods to be honest, but I won’t sugar coat it. Had a mom who beat me, and a dad who wasn’t there. He worked construction and left my mother and my brother, Carl when we were around five or so.” Danny scrunched his face a little, thinking back on old memories.

“Yeah, five.. well  at least I was. I was absolutely five. Carl must’ve been 6 by then.” He pulled his bottom lip in, digging deep into his recollection of memories.

“Maybe seven.” Danny said more confidently. “Shit, when mom would beat us-” he stopped, growing agitated. It reflected in his voice. “She was a tough son-of-a bitch.” Danny loosened back up and laughed “She could kick both our asses with her hands tied behind her back.” Danny’s smile faded.

“Carl hated her, and I hated her too” He paused, “I only hated her when I was young because he did. Carl took most of the beating for us.” There was a long pause. Danny looked at his tape recorder resting silently on his chest to see how much time he had left on his tape.

“Y’know, there was this one time” A laughter can be heard in his voice, “We made her lose it. God, she was pissed that day.” the smile returned to his face, “I guess when we were ten and twelve we saw a TV show about some teens having a party in their house and we decided we were going to throw a party in the house.” He laughed again into the tape recorder. “I guess we weren’t the brightest, cause somehow we missed the whole ‘make sure your parents are gone for at least a day so you can clean up’ thing.” He remembered his ancient shrunken townhouse he lived in when he was a kid.

The door was on the second floor, they had neighbors below, old folks who didn’t get out much. Rosie and Ronnie, quite the couple. Together for 50 years, something even now Danny couldn’t fathom. The stairs to get up to the fluorescent red door were probably older than the house itself. Rotten and old, Danny hated climbing the stairs in the winter when they’d get saturated with snow blanketed on them. He always envisioned himself falling through the steps onto the hard sidewalk below. Danny always ran up the stairs to avoid falling to his death. Inside was not much to look at, you could see nearly the whole house from the front doorway. The kitchen was the first room you walk into. Complete with a rusty old stove-top, an old kitchen table patched with plywood on the front left leg that Danny cut himself on numerous times, a coat rack, a few lawn chairs, one good chair which was dad’s, a way outdated fridge with take out menus stuck to the front, and a black and white tile under it all. Glancing to the left reveals the living room, a single old rattan love-seat with stains, a TV, a small cracked coffee table, and a single lamp in the corner that had never worked for as long as the Matchwicks lived there. Looking back to the right, straight through the kitchen reveals the main hallway with 3 doors. The one of the left was the single bathroom, the lock never worked Danny remembered. The one on the left was his parent’s bedroom. Really just his mother’s, since Dad was never home. Her room always smelled like cigarettes. And straight ahead was Carl and Danny’s room. Complete with an Iron-man poster, set of bunk beds that always creaked at night when Carl moved in his sleep. Danny liked the creaking of the bunk though, made him feel safe that Carl was there. And a big cabinet that Danny shared with his brother for clothes.

Danny’s smile stayed glued to his face while remembering that old house.

“Oh man, we were so young and Tito decided to bring some bud. I assumed Carl smoked before since he was the first to puff up when handed the joint, he did it expertly and he didn’t even cough! Imagine that!” Danny thought about smoking, he missed it. “Oh man, and I was up next. Jesus. I coughed so so much, everyone laughed. I remember Carl patting me on the back saying ‘fuckin’ baby lungs bro, we’ll fix that.’ - and oh man did we fix that.” Danny chuckled, smile still stuck to his face. “And I guess maybe we were too high or something, I can’t remember. But we just left the roaches on the coffee table, Tito left eventually with his group of friends and Carl and I just sat there watching MTV music videos on the TV for a bit until we heard ma climbing them steps up to the door. We booked it to our room and our socks slid all over that splintery wood flooring.”

Danny cackled loudly away from the tape recorder, “and, oh man Carl ate. shit. rounding that corner from the kitchen to the hallway, fuck, he slid and knocked over dad’s old chair. Which I guess dented the fridge, and by this time were opening the door to our room and we hear mom open the front door and see this chair leaned up against the fridge with a huge ass dent in it.”

Danny pulled away from the recorder again laughing harder, “God she was livid she could not have been angrier until she found the roaches on the coffee table.” Danny slapped his hand on the grass in a comedic manner, still laughing, “She wasn’t pissed her sons were smoking weed, she was pissed because they didn’t share with her.” Danny broke in a laughing fit, the tape recorder slipped off his chest onto the grass as he rolled back and forth. Danny picked it up and examined it, it was out of tape.

“Mother fucker..” he mumbled under his breath. The smile finally loosened its grip on his face, Danny sat up and began to rummage through his old backpack until he presented the night air with another fresh tape. Danny began to record again.

“Anyways, long story short. Childhood was normal shit I guess. Mom sucked. Carl beat her up one time when we were 12 and 14, and she never fucked with us again. I mean, shit by that time we were on our own. Out on the streets, hanging with friends all night, drinking smoking, whatever- you name it.” Danny laid back down onto the grass, grabbed a stick and stoked the  fire some more. It was nearly coals.

“I worked for this convenience store down the block when I was..” Danny thought hard, his voice going up in pitch, “fourteen?” Danny said with slight uncertainty.

“Worked there for oh, say 2 years? From there I just worked in small restaurants around town washing dishes.” Danny’s voice grew lower and more relaxed. “Being a dishwasher was pretty slick to be honest, come in high, get high, and leave work high. Easiest job I’ve ever done.” He frowned slightly, “Didn’t pay too well. I guess that’s why I went and worked as a construction worker like my old-” Danny stopped himself from mentioning his father, he didn’t want to be compared to him.

“Yeah did that for awhile, and well I didn’t like it so I looked elsewhere. There was a full time, housing, food, whatever job that was construction in a different country.” Danny looked around him, at the trees and grass. “Some shit-hole Russian place that had a civil war and needed rebuilding. Figured I’d check it out, it paid well and I could leave all that shit behind. In New York.” He scratched his beard and placed his hand on his chest. “Carl came too, but I haven’t.. Uh” he stopped and his voice grew melancholy, “Haven’t seen the fuck in awhile. We got assigned to different buildings, he was up in the northern city and I was stuck down on the coast. I fucking hate the coast.” He paused again, thinking of his brother. “Yeah I’m sure he’s alright. He’s a tougher son of a bitch than me.” Danny closed his eyes, the tape ran for a few more minutes until it ran out. Danny stared at the stars until he dozed off into a peaceful sleep.


Feedback would be excellent, I love writing this stuff so any suggestions, criticisms are completely welcome

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