Pure Man

Okay, hit me.

All right. Here goes. Wait. How much time do I have?

3 minutes.

Has the clock already started?

Tic toc.

Okay, here it is. Here's my pitch. It goes like this. There's a man.

A man.

Yes, a man. He's naked. He's a pure man. He hasn't been tainted by clothes or money or possession. He's real. Pure.

Okay, a pure man.

That's right. And he's on the side of a mountain.

Is it a mountain in Chile? Or Siberia?

Neither. It's more like Canada.

So, he's a naked Canadian.

Yeah. Except he's not really Canadian. He's got no country.

This man's an island?

Uh-huh. And he has no sense of political allegiance. In fact, he has no allegiance to anyone but himself.

I like where this is going. Pure man on mountain.

Yes. And he's not - like - a modern man or something. He's like one of those Cro-Magnon men, the ones with ridges on the tops of their head like Charles Barkley?

Oh, yeah. And with the furrowed, thinking-man brow?

Yeah, you got it! He's ancient. But, get this.

It's not ancient times. It's modern times.

Like, now?

Yeah, like now!

Wait. I've seen that movie.

No, no. It won't be anything like that. I mean, he'll be discovered, of course, because that's the drama. But it's not like he gets put into a high school or feels a sense of loneliness or anything. This guy's whole deal is that he can kill at will. With his bare hands.

Hmm. An interesting twist.

Right. He could come in here and pop your head off like the cork from a champagne bottle.
Don't get nasty, buddy. Your time is just about up.

Sorry, sorry. Just trying to make a point. Anyway, it's like this. A farmer finds him roaming around on his land and he tried to help the pure man, but the pure man doesn't know how to deal with strangers or humans because all he does is roam around northern Canada and kill animals and so he kills the farmer. Then, he goes back to the farmhouse and kills the whole family: an old haggy wife, a good-looking daughter and her baby.

A baby? I'm not sure our viewers will like that.

Okay, well maybe not a baby. But we have to demonstrate just how cold and heartless he truly is.


I'll get to that. See, he kills the whole family and then the cops and the FBI are out looking for him.
Then comes our hero.

Oh, the hero's not the pure man?

Well, now that you mention it, I guess he's the hero too. But he's sort of like an antihero. See, our hero is a really slick FBI agent who hunts down the pure man. This is the best part. We do this whole montage scene about the hunt. The pure man hiding in a cave, then up a tree, then in the bed of a truck. See? He's adapting. He's learning how to be the hunted. And the FBI agent becomes the hunter. We show him always just two steps behind the pure man, always his gun drawn, a furrowed brow of his own.

I see! It's like he's becoming the pure man.


That's actually kind of brilliant.

Thanks! I was starting to doubt myself but I think you might be right.

So, how does it end?

Well, it's really quite exciting. See, the pure man starts to adapt too much. That's his weakness. He becomes tainted by possession. He wants the hip new clothes and a cool car and a gun, etc. And - you know - he doesn't actually need any of it. The audience sees this, but he can't. He's blinded by greed.

Is there any way to get a little romance into this thing?

You bet! That's exactly where I was going. Because - you know - it's always the women who lead to pure man's demise.

Haha. That's true.

Haha. I know. Anyway, pure man meets a girl. She's young, innocent, maybe even in high school because pure man's not very intelligent and has only learned a few words while adapting to society. But he's got a really nice body, right?
Maybe she'll see him at the beach?

Except they're in Canada.

Christ. Could we relocate to LA?

Well that would be tough. I mean, where would pure man go unnoticed, untouched in LA?

Good point.

Maybe she'll meet him at a tanning salon or a gym. He'll have his shirt off or something.

Okay, we'll work the details out later.

Anyway, they fall in love. But she's not happy living on the road. And she misses all her stuff, which sort of trips pure man up. He needs more and he needs to slow down to keep her happy.

I can see where this is going.

Except, it's not that simple. See, she also sees that there's a reward out for pure man. And, like any teenage girl, she wants the money even more than she wants love.

Fucking bitch.

No kidding, huh? She's pretty easy to hate, right?

She sure is. Why are there so many bitches in the world?

Good question. Anyway, so she contacts the FBI agent who - really - is more pure than pure man. At this point anyway. He's stopped wearing shoes and has begun painting weird cave-type paintings in his apartment in order to help him catch pure man. But, of course, this wasn't working because pure man had been tainted.

Poor pure man. I've already forgotten that he murdered that baby.

Exactly. That's what makes him such a good character. He's complex.

He certainly is.

Anyway, the girl takes pure man to a really fancy restaurant. She even has him wear a suit that she's picked out with a special, purple boutonniere in the lapel so the FBI agent can recognize him.

You mean, they've never actually seen each other?


I love it!

I know! Think of all the tension surrounding this moment. So the girl strokes his hand and looks into his eyes, which are no longer pure but tainted and confused and she says to him, "I loved you once, but you've changed." Can you believe that?

What a bitch.

And then she kisses him on the hand and slowly lets him go. This is the sign for the FBI agent to come out of the kitchen dressed as a waiter. He's carrying a tray with one of those dome-like lids on the top? And he sets the tray down on the table and lifts the dome-lid and underneath it is his gun and some garnish. Of course, this will all be shot in slow motion.

Of course.

He picks up his gun and points it at the pure man and says something completely unintelligible to the pure man. It's like ancient gibberish except it isn't because pure man understands him.

Wow, so does he kill him?


Does the agent kill pure man? Or wait, does pure man kill the agent?

No, they understand each other. See? This is the real twist. They are like two halves of the same person.

Huh? I didn't expect that. But now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense. So do they become - like - partners?

Not exactly. See, pure man sees in the agent the absence of purity in himself. He sees how tainted he's become. But he can't go back to the mountain. Especially now that he knows there are women and sports cars out there. I forgot to mention how much he loves sports cars.

Well, that can make it into the montage chase scene.

Absolutely. And so the agent decides to hire pure man as a hit man for the FBI.

Do they have hit men?

Of course! And pure man is perfect for the job - killing, living it up, etc.

He doesn't kill good guys does he? Because the baby was enough for me.

No, he kills bad guys. You know, mob henchmen, Mexican drug dealers, etc.

Huh. Not bad. It's almost like you're setting us up for a sequel.

Exactly! And it's like he's doing what he was born to do.

You're right. I like that. We all need to find our place, you know?

We sure do.

Wait, what happens to the agent?

I was hoping you'd ask that. Well, this is the final plot twist. And it's a doozie. After the agent hires pure man he still won't wear shoes and keeps painting cave-like finger paintings in his apartment until he gets kicked out of his apartment and just disappears into the mountains.


Well, we'll show him in the snow wearing some furry boots or something that he's constructed himself.

Wow. I did not see that coming. What'll you call it?

Well, I've been thinking about that. And I figure it has to be as pure as pure man once was.

Why not "Pure Man"?

Huh. It's so simple it might work.

I like it.

"Pure Man."

About the author:

Katie Flynn lives in San Francisco and teaches writing at Menlo College. Her fiction recently appeared in The Big Ugly Review, Cranky Literary Journal, Rhapsoidia and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.