In our new author series, we’ll be offering a clairvoyant peek behind the veil of who and what makes up TRANSCENDENT. Here’s a glimpse at Case C. Capehart and his story “Wretched Nobelesse.”
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
The butterfly parable from Zhuangzi. I also have kind of a thing for monster girls and feel like I’d be super open-minded if I came across one (I would probably flee, though, let’s be real). So I wondered what would happen if I started seeing monsters, but even though they looked terrifying, they were totally cool. Then I went a step further. What if they weren’t cool, but desperate? What if at some point we made ourselves stop seeing them and it started screwing up the natural order of things? And if they tried to tell me about this, would I believe them or just blow them off as hallucinations? And so thinking of Zhuangzi, I decided to write about a guy who can’t tell if he’s a human hallucinating about monsters or a monster hallucinating about humans.
Did you have to do any research? If so, what kind? What did you learn?
I did a little bit of online research to see if the disability I gave Rico was feasible. It’s… complicated. Basically Rico has extreme ADD, to where he simply cannot focus on anything. I drew a lot from my own struggles with ADD and just amplified them to debilitating levels. I often wonder how productive and attentive I would be if I would just get on medication, so writing about Rico’s frustrations came fairly easy to me.
Can you tell me a little bit about your protagonist?
Rico is a guy in his late twenties, who has lived a very unfulfilling life due to the weird nature of his disability. He couldn’t focus enough to complete school, he can’t hold a job and he can’t really take care of himself. He has to set alarms on his phone for simple things like showering, because he’ll lose focus and stay in there until the water runs out. He can’t cook because he’ll just walk away from cooking food and go do something else while the house burns down. So when he gets offered a drug that will allow him most people’s basic level of focus it’s a Godsend. And even when it causes him to start seeing monsters, he doesn’t want to give it up.
Tell me about the setting you chose and how it influences your work.
I chose the suburbs because that’s where I’m from and that’s kind of where I live. Honestly, I’m sick of everything taking place in Manhattan or L.A. It’s basically present day, because Rico relies on his cell phone. I think cell phones kind of throw a wrench in the spokes of horror stories sometimes, but what if you can’t call for help because no one else can see the threat? What if telling anyone else about the threat will just make it worse? A cell phone can’t help you there.
Which phrase are you most proud of in this story?
“You would exchange flesh for fantasy?” I’m not sure this even really makes sense, I just love Billy Idol.
If your story was front-page news, what would the headline be?
Area Man Claims Harassment from Demonic Woman Described as “Dreadful, yet Slightly Arousing”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I hired a grad student to redo the cover of my second novel, because the first two covers for it looked exactly like the author tried to photoshop his own cover.
If you had to put your name on someone else’s book/story, which would it be and why?
Confessions of an Average Teenage Boy by Mark Hill. It’s just a fantastic story, and I wish I would have thought of it first.
When did you decide to take writing seriously?
Creative Writing 1113 in college. My fraternity brother told me not to take it because I wouldn’t get to write “nerdy shit” in the class, as I am apt to do. I took it anyway because I liked coming up with stories. At the end of the class, each student had to pick their favorite story of the semester. Like 80% of the class picked one of my stories. It was an absolute blowout, and I had not expected it at all. Honestly, I thought I was a terrible writer and super uninteresting up until that point. Now, I write nothing but “nerdy shit.”
If you could choose a single superpower, what would it be and why?
Okay, as a comic book guy and lover of anime, this is a really hard question to answer. But I’ve put a lot of thought into this (I’ve been contemplating this question since I was in elementary) and here’s what I’ve arrived at: My superpower would be a magic book that pops up next to me the moment I wake up. I write the name of an established superhero in the book, close it, and I have their powers for the duration of the day. I know, it seems ridiculously overpowered, but I feel like I’ve earned it. Besides, I’m only going to use my powers to punish people who double park or those jerkwads who scam the elderly out of their pensions.
Case C. Capehart lives in Oklahoma with his wife, Kristy and son, Jackson. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and served for six years in the Army Infantry as a 50 caliber machine gun operator. During his service, Case earned the Expert Infantry Badge and Air Assault wings and was a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal.
Case is inspired by the works of Terry Brooks, Phillip K. Dick and Yukito Kishiro, as well as the Tao Te Ching. He has self-published dark fantasy novels in the Hell Cliffs Series and a supernatural YA novel titled Blood Daughter. His short stories have been published by Transmundane Press and Cohesion Press.
He and his wife are members of the First United Methodist Church.