A Night not to Remember

Written in response to: Write about a character with an unreliable memory.... view prompt


Romance Funny

Sounds of gunfire rang off the walls. Tracy and Trina huddled together, their limbs jerking each time the Magnum barked out another.

"I counted six, babe," Tracy turned and whispered. "Always figured he was bluffing."

"It was definitely only five. Watch and learn!"

Callahan stood over the whimpering, bleeding rat-haired excuse for a life form with a face as straight as the mole on it was rigid. The end of the matte black barrel grazed the culprit's sweat-covered cheeks without the inspector having to lean to get any closer. The afternoon sun reflected off Harry's massive forehead and the wooden dock creaked and moaned beneath them as the apprehended alternated between flapping around like a beached fish and cursing.

"Here it comes," Tracy said with armloads of goosebumps and a fistful of heavy-buttered popcorn on standby. "I could quote this whole movie in my sleep. Best badass line in cinematic history! Wait for it...Wait for it..."

Trina shook her ivory-eyed head at the ceiling fan and released a sigh of a giggle.

Callahan's stiff lips twisted into a tough frown.

"I know what you're thinking punk. You're thinking: 'Did he fire six shots, or only five?' Well to be honest, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself; but being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful hand gun in the world - and could blow your head clean off - you gotta ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya, punk?"

Trina stood up on the couch and danced, pumping a fist in the air.

"Yes! Ooh honey child, you do not wanna mess with no Dirty Harry! See? I told you there was still one bullet left!"

Tracy was mouthing the words 'Go ahead. Make my day.' Grinning like someone who couldn't come to terms with the fact they'd seen a ghost. He shook his pointing finger at the TV, glancing back and forth between the paused screen and Trina.

"That was not - I repeat - not how the line goes! Fast-forward to the credits and get the producer's name, I demand an explanation for this!"

Trina cupped her hands around his face and pinched at his cheeks.

"You look so cute when you're wrong. Just breathe and chill. How did you think the line went?"

"It was 'Go ahead. Make my day!' I know it was!"

"Darling, you're thinking of Sudden Impact; Sudden Impact came out about ten years after this one."

The house fell quiet except for Tracy's heavy breathing.

"You just got the two confused. No big deal," Trina continued. "We all do that, including me."

"But I never went to see Sudden Impact! How could I get confused about it if I've never seen it?"

"Mm hmm. Ever heard of trailers? As I recall, this movie was advertised every other commercial break in the months leading up to its release. What probably happened was you heard the line in the trailer and loved it so much your brain associated it with all the Dirty Harry flicks you have seen. When was the last time you watched this?"

Tracy sucked in a gulp of air, his caramel pupils aimed at outer space.

"Forty years ago; I was in junior high."

"See? Long enough ago to forget some things. Forty years ago would've been right around the time Sudden Impact was released too. So you watched this one, saw the trailer for the other; remembered the trailer. Simple explanation."

She raised the remote and toggled through settings.

"Let's put this baby on some music!"


"No no! Hell no! Leave it on this channel will you?" Tracy plead as the ambient guitar plinking caressed his soul.

"Hey, this is cool and all, but I'm in more of a Bobby Brown kind of mood tonight."

"Bobby Brown?" Tracy asked with a scrunched nose.

"Bobby, when you could be getting blown away by the greatest masterpiece of all time?"

"Who's it by?"

"Seriously? It's Led Zeppelin! Come on, you're lying if you try to tell me you never heard of them!"

"I'm sure they're great, but I'm sorry Trace: I never have. Now if you'll quit talking, I'm about to find out how good they are."

"Shh!" Tracy urged, lurching forward at the screen. "Song's about to start!"

He cleared his throat with a dreamy smile.

"There's a lady who's pure

So the stories are told

And she's trying to make way

For heaven"

There's a lady who's sure

All that glitters is gold

And she's buying the stairway

To heaven

Tracy bloomed fire engine red. Trina stared at him as the correct lyrics bled through the whine of her fiancee's singing.

"What. The hell. Was that?"

He leaped from the sofa and stomped out of the living room, returning with a sheet of paper and an envelope.

"Now what are you doing?"

"Gonna write mister Delbert Plant an angry letter and send it to his fan mail address, that's what! This is an outrage!"

Trina bowed into her chest, parking her dark hair over it.

"So you misheard a couple lyrics! That's nothing to get all worked up about! Just let it go."

She waved an arm in the direction of their little office.

"Yo! Why don't we just forget about TV now and do some reading? We haven't touched a book in ages."


A Tale of Two Cities caught Tracy's eye right off the bat. He remembered having done a book report on it his Freshman year. He had such fond memories of that assignment. Three weeks of total immersion in this timeless classic which had flown by like nothing. He stifled a sneeze as dust began to stir from the book case.

"That's how long it's been," Trina observed. "Whew, this room is in serious need of some traffic and some Pledge!"

"I hear ya," Tracy acknowledged while turning the cover of his beloved book. "Which one are you gonna pick, Sweets?"

"Think I'll go with one of the Harlequins. Haven't read An Unlikely Rancher yet."

Tracy puffed his chest as he wielded his treasured pick.

"This here is the kind of beautifully-woven tale that stays with you forever!"

"Oh, I agree! It's a heck of a story alright; one of these days I need to get around to reading it again myself."

Before diving in, Tracy shut the hefty book, cradling it in his arms and stroking at its leather cover with his fingers.

"It was a blessed time/It was the wildest of times..."

Trina rushed over to restrain his hands from opening it to the first page.


"Do you mind? I'm trying to read!"

"I just had the dopest idea! Why don't you start another vlog on YouTube?"

The book hit the table with a thwack! Tracy touched his hand to Trina's forehead to check for fever.

"Are you kidding? After the response my last one got? Zero interest whatsoever from anyone! You remember that? Huh?"

"That was because it was...well...dry and boring! No pun intended, but nobody gives a crap about the crapping habits of common household insects, Number One; Number Two - again no pun intended - you gotta work on your delivery style. You made it even worse with that monotone voice; it sounded like you were reading out of a textbook or something."

"So what's the brilliant idea?"

She formed a sheepish smile.

"OK, hear me out on this. No interruptions: Now you and I both know you have a stellar memory, right?"

Tracy affirmed with a vigorous nod and beaming grin.

"So in this vlog, you're gonna pretend that you don't. It'll be you and me sitting around chit-chatting just like we did tonight. Reminiscing about movies, music, events in history and what not; only you'll deliberately get all the facts wrong. You'll make JP Sears look like an amateur!"

He rose from the chair like a helium balloon and waltzed toward their room.

"Hey...Vanilla Dream?" she said, sending him pivoting back around on one heel.

"'There's a lady who's pure'? You were thinking about me when you sang that, weren't you!"

"You know me well, Sweets," Tracy replied leaving her with a tingle in her spine.

A few seconds passed. Then a muffled voice came from the other side of the house.


"Yes, Trace?"

"What did you do with the web cam? I distinctly remember putting it away in the bottom drawer last year!"

April 05, 2022 21:01

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Kristin Neubauer
12:10 May 03, 2023

This was such a funny and clever story, Gip! I loved these two characters and how you developed them primarily through spot-on dialogue. Very skillful how you wove the dialogue throughout all the different pop culture / literature references. What a great read - well done!


Gip Roberts
22:17 May 03, 2023

Thank you, Kristin. I've learned a lot since I got on Reedsy three years ago, mainly from good stories like yours. Every now and then, I emerge from life's stresses and realize it's been a while since I revisited writers I like, and I remembered how good your last story that I read was. Thanks for checking out "A Night Not To Remember". Feedback like this encourages me to never give up on writing.


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Chris Campbell
04:45 Mar 07, 2023

Gip, a fun read. Movie lines are so easy to misquote, like the one in Casablanca. "Play it again, Sam" was the misquote. The real line is: "Rick: You know what I want to hear. Sam: No, I don’t. Rick: You played it for her, you can play it for me! Sam: Well, I don’t think I can remember… Rick: If she can stand it, I can! Play it!" But then, "as time goes by," our memories sometimes mix up famous quotes. Good dialogue. Well done!


Gip Roberts
22:17 Mar 08, 2023

Thanks, Chris. I can personally attest to that Casablanca misquote. It was one of my grandpa's favorite movies, and even he got the whole bar scene wrong. I can remember watching it for the first time as a kid and waiting and waiting to hear: "Play it again, Sam", only to hear "Play it!" One of the most famous misquotes of all time is Darth Vader to Luke in Empire Strikes Back. The line goes: "No, I am your father," but everyone (including me) remembered it as "No, Luke. I am your father." Thank you for reading this. It's refreshing to g...


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Kathy Roberts
20:17 May 21, 2022

I enjoyed reading this story. I have never seen a Dirty Harry movie so there isn't much I can say about it.This is a very different type of story for you. I got a kick out of their good humored arguing back and forth.


Gip Roberts
18:14 May 29, 2022

Thanks for the comment. You should binge-watch every Dirty Harry movie ever made for one simple reason: Even though they were meant to be serious movies about crime, Clint Eastwood's hilarious and brilliant lines are what make them so memorable.


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Amy Jayne Conley
18:24 Apr 10, 2022

Oh man - this was SO wholesome, but Tracy's memory... damn! It had me so frustrated! In a good way! Hard to explain, but I am in love with these characters! Although you threw me with the start of the piece - I genuinely thought they were trapped in some kind of horrible kidnapping! Amazing work, as always! I do also love the idea of them having a kind of vlog/podcast, and just sending the internet insane!! I would totally watch that!


Gip Roberts
19:30 Apr 11, 2022

Thanks for having a look at this. Yeah, I wanted to draw readers in by starting it with the impression they were in the middle of something terrifying (Saying they were just watching TV would be boring), but I made sure to dive right in to Tracy's memory hang-ups from there. I love watching vlogs myself, and that JP Sears guy I mentioned in the story is for real and a comedic genius. He mainly does political satire now, but he started out doing parodies of New Age gurus, and sometimes his wife/girlfriend joins him. I went to your Twitter p...


Amy Jayne Conley
08:25 Apr 12, 2022

It really did work! I was hooked - it added a lovely layer to it that draws the reader in and takes us on a bit of a rollercoaster! Really well-written, and the characters well-developed as always! I've actually heard of JP Sears!! I just researched him a bit and yeah - I recognise his name! I'll check out some of his stuff - I've never actually watched him perform but he sounds pretty funny! Ah yeah, it's just a regular Twitter profile! I don't post my script there (unless you want people stealing your work, you don't do that), but it w...


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Hello, Gip. ------------------- Do you read the prologue of a book? A Yes, every time B No, never C Sometimes/It depends Note: I am copy-and-pasting this to multiple people. -------------------


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