I have always known I wanted to write. Some day, some time, a future, grownup version of myself would write my novel, or novels. And short stories. I have always loved short stories. In some capacity, when I was older, had a job, money, and all this free time when I was no longer in school (an ironic thought coming from a younger version of myself, as now I am a teacher in my postgraduate life and am therefore, by default, almost always in school; funny how life works out) I would sit down and write my stories, of which I had a whole lot, in my head.
One such story was Star Sharks, about which I have previously written in great length, and is my first novel that I have just recently published on Amazon. (The link can be found here.) Now that I have written that and published it, and realized that life is too short not to follow your dreams and write and publish those stories in your head while you're here, and am actually roughly midway through writing my second novel (more on that soon, keep checking back!) I have done a lot of thinking and reading and writing. Especially about things, characters, and stories that I have written or made up in the past.
The first thing, at least formally, I ever wrote, so far as a short story goes, was in 9th grade when, having the aforementioned creative muse inside, my heart leaped when I saw that there was a one-semester creative writing elective course offered at my high school. I signed up and took this course. It was wonderful. For the first time in my life, even though my writing skills were fledgling and I was merely learning the basics, I was writing real stuff. It was fun and I got a lot out of it. My teacher was amazing and supportive, going so far as to write up some of the things he would hear his writers saying during class, unbeknownst to us, giving us a handout full of them he had typed up at the semester titled "Quotes from the Great Writers of the 21st Century" or something like that, below which had a quote from each student in the class, yours truly included. It was an amazing experience that I have not and will not forget it.
For the culminating end-of-semester project we were offered a choice, one of which was to write a "polished piece," the teacher called it, which included the possibility of a short story of so many pages/words. I had written several poems and brief writing exercises that were very short stories or parts of stories. At that time I was very into the comedy of Peter Sellers, going through a phase where I watched the original Pink Panther movies with my younger brothers (and later the Steve Martin versions, too!) as well as the cinematic antics of Ernest P. Worrell. Inspired by those characters, in addition to Nickelodeon's Spongebob and other cartoons, and exploring and enjoying other stories of comical noir, I had focused several of my in-class writing exercises on the development of a comedic character I appropriately named Inspector Spoof. He was a bumbling, incompetent detective reminiscent of Jacques Clouseau, cartoonish, ridiculous, and (at least to me, anyway) lovable. He was also very good at solving mysterious despite his zany antics. I wrote my short story on him and his partner detective, Charlie Gumpinson.
This was not the last time I wrote about Inspector Marty J. Spoof (so I came to elaborate his name) and Charlie Gumpinson, a spoof, as it were, of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I would get the creative itch now and again throughout my high school and collegiate years and jot down a scenario or even draft a screenplay (my friends and I made short films in high school) full of nonsensical adventures, some of which inevitably involved incompetent Inspector Spoof.
Now as an adult I am revisiting this character. I have plans for him. I recently searched my hard drives, notebooks, and old usb sticks I used in high school, undergrad, and grad school, searching frantically for my original story, to look back and revisit what I wrote about him all those years ago. I couldn't find it anywhere. I was worried I had lost all trace of the story until last night when I visited my parents' house, and, after about an hour of searching, eventually found my creative writing class folder from 9th grade, complete with the final, graded, manuscript, as well as a draft marked up with grammatical and suggested plot revisions from my father, with lots of dust on it tucked deep into a plastic storage bin underneath my childhood bed.
This afternoon I scanned the original manuscript of the story, Spoof the Spectacular, and uploaded it to my Google drive. I did this both because I wanted to preserve it on the internet forever, in case I should (heaven forbid!) lose it again, and I wanted to share it with the world. Of course, the muse has already whispered in my ear and my gears are turning. I am going to re-create the original, edited, revised, elaborated upon, and enhanced through my current creative writing skills. Additionally, I have thought of another short story altogether, in which hints are dropped as to the nature of Inspector Marty J. Spoof's origins and cartoonishness, as well as many other stories of zany misadventures he and his best friend Mr. Gumpinson. With any luck, I will be writing and telling Inspector Spoof tales for years to come.
In the meantime, you can enjoy the original, unvarnished, unadulterated story of Inspector Spoof right here on tdsmithwriter.com. I have attached the file to this post and it is available below. Please keep in mind that the characters and story are mine, even though I wrote them as a 14 year old boy years ago. I hope you enjoy it, and the story, written by a naive yet aspiring and idealistic 14 year old, makes you laugh, and brightens your day somehow, in a world that can be bleak. I look forward to the future and can't wait to see where Inspector Spoof goes and where he takes me.
Yours in creative musings,
Friends of T.D. Smith