Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Literary Conspiracy

            I take my job as an amateur internet writer very seriously, which means I’ll take any interview that will score me a lot of hits.  Even, as was the case yesterday, if most of those hits are self-inflicted kicks to the skull.  I was loitering in the halls of an upscale hotel near LAX, minding my own business, when I noticed a line of people in suits carrying notepads and tape recorders was forming outside one of the suites.  With nothing better to do, I got in line. 

            I was the last person in line, and after about forty-five  minutes I found out that this was a press junket for Stephenie Meyer, talking about life after Twilight.  If my years on the internet hadn’t taught me how to control my gag reflex, this article would have had a very different ending.  I sat down in a plush leather armchair across from Meyer, the spacious suite suspiciously lacking any bodyguards, personal assistants, or anyone else for that matter.  Something seemed off.

            “So,” I said, after an awkward silence, “What’s next for an author of your stature?”

            “I’d like to do some high-concept avant-garde work.”

            “I see.”  I made a mental note to make sure ‘stature’ means what I think it does.  I was about to say something else, but then I noticed that Meyer’s head was twitching violently back and forth.  “Are you okay?” 

            A few things tipped me off that she was not okay.  The first is that she started repeating the same word over and over again.  The second is that that word was ‘Error.’  By the time sparks started flying out of her ears, I was pretty sure something was amiss.  When the sparks had stopped for long enough that I was confident she wouldn’t catch fire or explode or spawn Meyer-nano-bots, I opened the suitcase sitting next to her seat.  (It’s perfectly legal to look through someone’s stuff if you’re there when they died; it says so in the sixth amendment.)   What I found was evidence of a conspiracy so complex and far-reaching that it is almost too stupid to believe. 

            The suitcase contained all the information on ‘Literary Contingency Plan Theta.’  Which, the cover sheet informed me, was designed to ‘inspire book sales in the otherwise illiterate in a manner that will anger the more literary among the populace, prompting them to buy quality books.’  It appeared that a number of authors all wrote their own version of Twilight, and those versions were then compiled and distilled into a garbled mess, i.e., a bestseller.  I was able to retrieve brief excerpts of the various versions of the story before the Meyer-bot self-destructed.  This conspiracy goes back longer than I would have dared to imagine, and could completely rewrite literary history.  The authors mentioned hereafter will, undoubtedly, deny any involvement.

Cormac McCarthy:

            See the girl.  She sat in the back of an old car.  Thunderheads galloped through the sky above, below the fog-muted greens of the treetops rattled in the cold seawind from the west, carrying the salt laden air inland. An alien world unlike the interminable expanse of orange and gold that was Arizona.  The girl stirs.  When will we get there?  she asks.  There is a man driving, he does not turn to her when he speaks.  Another hour, or so.

            That long?

            It’s the weather.

            The hill crests before them, at the peak they can see the town under siege from the rain that has sprung up out of nowhere.

Michael Cricthon:

            “So the enzyme in your saliva is responsible,” Bella asked.

            “Exactly,” Dr. Cullen explained.  “Once in the bloodstream, the enzyme enters the DNA of the individual cells, much in the same fashion of the naturally occurring thyroid hormone, tri-iodothyronine.  The enzyme rewrites the DNA to, first of all, produce more of the enzyme.  Then it prevents the shortening of telomeres, which halts the aging process.  However, it inhibits erythropoiesis, the production or erythrocytes, better known as red blood cells.”

            “But what about your super strength?”

            “If we look at the muscle fibers we –

Thomas Pynchon:

            He held her, pressed up against an eldernly oak.  She turned her head, could see an eroded etching in the bark, made out that it said ‘Ron + Jenny Always.’  They had put that there in 1952.  Ronald Hopefalls was a sailor aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Mishap, which had anchored safely in Seattle after six months off the coast of Thailand.  Ronald had bartered for a ride south from Seattle, he traded a sterling silver pendant that he had stolen from a drunk in Bangkok.  The pendant appeared to be a meaningless series of criss-crossing metal mesh, but when a light shone through it, it cast shadows depicting various methods of fellatio depending on the angle and intensity of the light.

Bret Easton Ellis:

            I am wearing an Abercrombie and Fitch black polyester-blend tee-shirt, Hot Topic tattered denim blue jeans and black and gray Converse sneakers with white laces.   I’m trying to get to English class when I see Mike coming towards me.  I don’t want to deal with him.

            “You look really nice today,” he says.

            Please go away.


            He shuffles his feet like a moron and I know what he’s going to ask.  It’s embarrassing to watch.

            “Do you want to go to prom with me?”

            I’d rather slit open my abdomen and eat whatever comes out.

            “I’m not going.”

            He looks broken and walks away.  I should suggest a girl for him to take out, just so I won’t have to deal with how pitiful he looks.  Half the guys here have asked me out, like they think that just because I’m the new girl, I’ll drop my panties for the first nice guy that comes along.  Why not?  There’s nothing else to do in this shitstain of a town.

Ernest Hemingway:

            They thought the man had been torn apart by wild dogs.  The carcass was ragged with teethmarks.  I listened to my father relate the investigation.  They found a second body.  Now they think a man did this.  He is going to search the woods for the killer.  He told me he loves me and left.  I poured myself a drink.

Geoffrey Chaucer:

And eek sporte hadde he,

But condiciouns ther neede be.

The shoures soote  loved hem alle,

For thanne koulde folks playen balle.

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