#5. My Cookbook
Look, I've seen the cookbooks on the market today. They're OK, but you know what the problem is? They are all for people who already know how to cook, basically, or at the very least having a functioning kitchen. (A "rolling pin?" Fuck you, Julia Childs.) No one has made any cookbooks that cater to regular folks and your average Joe who would only cook when he's absolutely forced to. I'm here to corner that market.
#4. My Book of Poetry
It's 2011 or thereabouts. The men of yesteryear--men of steak, and beer, men of calloused hands--are dead. Modern women want sensitive, caring men. Since, at my best guest, modern women are the only people who buy books, it follows that the book-o-sphere needs sensitive, caring books. And I'm, like, eight different kinds of sensitive, like, you don't even know. To prove it, I've written a series of love poems. *
From Page 3
From Page 22, Three Poems About Butts
From Page 117
*Just to be clear, the poems contained in this book are, in fact, love poems, but I would also settle for being best friends with pornstar, Joanna Angel. I've honestly been actively seeking a pornstar best friend for quite a while and Joanna Angel seems like the perfect candidate. We have so much in common. We're both from Jersey. We even went to the same school (though, I graduated Summa Cum Laude and she graduated Summa Cum, you know...all over the place). Plus, come on, she's got an engaging and active Twitter feed, and I also have a Twitter feed.Twitter buddies! It's totally fate, and we don't have to have sex, Joanna, just be my best friend. In fact, as long as Evan Stone is a working adult film actor, you will always have at least one coworker with whom I can in no way compete with sexually, so I'd actually prefer it if we kept this relationship non-sexual. At least until Evan retires.
#3. My Mystery Novel
I haven't actually been to a bookstore since 1992, and even then I was lost. Are Hardy Boy mysteries still popular?
From Chapter One
It was foggy. Lightning struck the road about 100 yards ahead. DOB thought he could almost sense reluctance oozing from his old Ford Pickup. But of course that didn?t make any sense. Reluctance is an emotion, and his old Ford Pickup doesn?t have any feelings.
Or does it?
Lightning struck again, horizontally this time forming a smile in the dark clouds and there was a hearty guffaw of thunder to accompany.
Dark-haired Frank Hardy sat in the passenger seat, idly twirling his magnifying glass in his hands. There was plenty of room up front for a third or even a fourth person, but blond Joe Hardy rode outside in the bed of the pickup truck, because fuck that guy.
Frank rolled down the passenger-side window to let some air in. Both boys seemed to sense it: It was getting foreshadowingly uncomfortable inside. It smelled like murder outside. The fog poured in the open window, settling in between DOB and Frank, occupying the spot on the bench seat that perhaps Joe would've occupied, were he not such a stupid fucker.
"That fog out there sure is thick," Frank remarked with characteristic over-excitement.
"Uh huh. And talking about it sure makes it easier to drive through. Dipshit."
"Sorry," Frank said quietly, and he went back to messing with his microscope, or whatever I said it was.
He was right though. You could just barely make out the rain through the fog; it was so thick. And you could just barely make out the lighting through the rain; it was so dense. And the lightning was so heavy DOB didn?t even see the ominous "DANGER AHEAD" sign on the site of the road.
"Where do you suppose this road leads, Mr. DOB? I sure hope the next stop is a mystery for us to solve!"
"I thought we said we weren't going to talk unless there was an emergency. We had a whole conversation about it. Remember that? It was your ability to grasp the No-Talking-Unless-Something's-on-Fire concept that got you a seat up front and What's-His-Name a cold spot in the truck-bed."
"Joe," Frank offered, "is his name." DOB pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger, like his thumb was thunder and the lightning was his forefinger and they were both hitting... the... the bridge of the sky's nose, I guess, I don't know. Shit.
"I don't want to know his name, Frank, I'm selling him as soon as we get to Mexico. If I learn his name, I run the risk of getting attached. Fuck, you're thick." Thick as thunder. Ooohhhh.
"You're gonna sell my brother!?"
"Yeah, figured we'd go halfsies on it, maybe see some sights while we're in town. If the policia are preoccupied, maybe we can go ahead and solve the mystery of 'The Two Guys Who Ordered a Bunch of Mexican Hookers And Never Paid,' if you catch my drift."
"Oh... OK, yes, I would like that." DOB patted Frank on the shoulder affectionately. Then slapped him a few times.
"Atta boy. But keep in mind, I am not against turning that mystery into a solo adventure, if you follow. So just keep quiet."
"Sorry. I'm doing my best."
Magnifying glass, that's what it was. Well, fuck me.
"Well, I did my best not to have sex with your sister, you know? Sometimes our best just isn't good enough."
"...Are you saying-"
"Hey, is that lightning? Oohwee, we're having a time here. Aren't we having a time?" Before Frank could respond, the boys were interrupted by the sound of hard, intense banging on the back window of the old Ford Pickup. At first they thought it was thunder inside the car, but it turned out to be Joe, from the bed, pounding his fists into the glass. Frank reached to slide open the window to see what Joe had to say. DOB raised his voice.
"No no no no no no don't- Ooohhh, you fucker, I hate you. You're the worst." Joe poked his stupid face through the open window.
"Guy's, I don't mean to be a bother," he began, bothering, "but the storm's getting pretty intense out here. I was just thinking that maybe we could-" Suddenly, and without warning, every passenger in the car felt and heard the unmistakable thud of an old Ford Pickup slamming into a human body. The next sound anyone heard was of the three boys shouting in unison
"Golly," Joe yelped.
"Goodness," Frank called.
"Fuck me," DOB screamed, slamming on the brakes. When the old Ford Pickup finally screeched to a halt, DOB reached under his seat to retrieve his shotgun. He then grabbed the backpack the boys brought along, the backpack that was filled with a first aid kid, some food, all of their collective savings and, for reasons that were never clear to Frank and Joe, jars of urine that DOB demanded they each fill.
"Idiots," he said, addressing the Hardy Boys. "Stay in the car and don't come out for any reason. I don't care if there's a storm, or a fire or if Dipshit back there only has 20 minutes to take his birth control pills and he's out of water- you do not get out of this car, is that clear?"
"Clear as lightning," Frank said.
"I don't take birth control pills," Joe said. Frank and DOB sighed in unison.
"This fuckin' guy. OK, Frank, do me a favor and slap the shit out of your brother for 20 minutes or so while I tend to this situation."
"On it," Frank said, unbuckling his seat belt and warming up his slapping hand, just like DOB taught him.
DOB walked through the mysterious rain, the feeling of lightning pumping through his veins. The thunder was blinding out here. He followed a trail of fresh blood. It was hard to follow, because of all the fog, you see. But he followed it anyway and it led right to a crumpled mess of a man on the ground.
"Fuck," he said. "Fuck fuck fuck, oh man. OK. Fuck. Alright, this is fine. Fuck, OK. We know what to do here." There was so much lightning around it's not even funny.
Back in the car, having exhausted himself slapping the shit out of What's-His-Name, Frank was content to sit and speculate as to what DOB was doing.
"What do you suppose he's doing, Joe? It's been a little over an hour."
"I don't know, but I know we won't find out sitting in this car!"
"DOB told us to stay in the car, Joe, no matter what."
"But what if it's a mystery!"
"Settle down, Joe."
"If Dad were around, he'd encourage us to investigate and look for clues," Joe said. And then lightning.
"DOB said you're the reason Dad died."
"It was a heart attack!"
"Yeah. Brought on by your cowardice and how fat you are, DOB suspects. He's great." A few minutes passed, silent but for Joe's soft weeping, tears dropping down his face like rain, which was also dropping, and also on Joe's face.
Finally, the Hardy Boys decided to get out of the truck to investigate. As they slowly approached the body, the thunder started its crescendo. Frank's heart beat with no discernible consistency, no rhythm. Joe screamed a minor chord. The whole ordeal was very atonal and dissonant, come to think of it.
"It's a body," Joe yelled.
"Yeah, I got that," Frank said. "God, I am so sick of your shit." But who wouldn't be, am I right?
"I wonder where DOB is," Joe wondered. He was nowhere in sight. "And... hey, is it just me or does this corpse smell like it was doused in my urine?" That's a weird thing to notice.
"Hey, you're right, Joe!" What?
"And look- he's holding a picture of me. Is... Yeah, it looks like there's a lock of my hair in his teeth, too. Golly, if some cop stopped by, with my DNA and picture all over this corpse, they just might think I had something to-" The boys turned, startled by the sound of the old Ford Pickup starting up and immediately speeding away. The otherwise deafening thunder seemed to cease briefly, leaving only enough time for the boys to hear DOB yell "Eat shit!" out the window as he sped on by.
As Joe, still not totally up to speed on what was happening, watched the truck drive off, Frank sprinted away into the woods. A stream of lightning got struck by lightning in the distance. The fog was deafening. Then more lightning happened. Or did it? It was all so thundery, out here, Joe wasn't certain. Maybe he'd never be certain of anything in his life again, ever.
What an asshole.
#2. My Flavor-of-the-Month Coffee Table Bullshit Book
There is a book of random tweets. A book about cats with stuff misspelled. A book about that F My Life Trend. AND there's going to be a Look At This Fucking Hipster book (which I'm actually OK with). If you go to a bookstore and see one book based on a quick-hitting, viral blog, you'll see a hundred books based on quick-hitting, viral blogs. And I'm not whining, or lamenting the downfall of literature or anything. I want in. All I need is a hook. So, America, you like weird animal stuff and making fun of hipsters. Alright. I'm on this.
Really, this one's so self-explanatory I don't even need to show any sample chapters.
#1. My Novelization of a Popular Movie
Walk into any bookstore right now. Go ahead, pick up your computer, continue reading this and walk into a bookstore. I guarantee that you'll find a table just loaded with the word versions of movies. Sometimes it's a re-release of a book upon which a new movie has been based, and sometimes it's a brand new novelization of an about-to-be-released movie. It's like there's an entire publishing house dedicated to making novelized versions of every movie that comes out. To speak to the demand, I've taken to writing the novelization of one of the most popular movies of all time.
Lost Love, Serendipity and TittiesCancun, Mexico. 1997 Spring Break.
Joe Francis sat alone in the dark, a cigarette dangling unenthusiastically from his lips. The cigarette was more ash than cigarette at this point, but Joe Francis didn't have the energy or spirit to give it the simple flick required to send the ash sinking to the floor of his van. It was like a last-man-standing match now; the ash was building up and building up, waiting for Joe to give up and snap it away, and Joe Francis, with his stoic, bitter indifference, was content to sit and wait for the ash to abandon the cigarette as a result of its own weight. Whether the ash fell of its own accord or if Joe Francis actively flicked it away, sooner or later, someone had to win. Regardless of the outcome, Joe Francis knew he certainly wouldn't feel like a winner.
If anyone ever thought to put words to it, and if he'd ever allow anyone to see him in this state, people might say that Joe Francis most closely resembled a broken down carousel: It was clear that, at one point, he was capable of great joy and energy and light, but all that remained now was the shell, and the memory, the idea that, once upon a time, Joe Francis had within himself the potential for brilliance.
The van of the door slid open, the Mexican air warming everything in the van except Joe. Joe's cameraman, Randy, stood in the open doorway, his hands full of camera equipment, his pockets full of contracts and his eyes full of concern.
"Joe, man, you OK? We're ready to shoot out here." Randy indicated the scene behind him: thumping bass, tiki torch fires and dancing twentysomethings, the ink on their tattoos still fresh, practically dripping. Joe thought it looked more like some kind of ancient ritual than a party. And, he supposed, in a way it was.
Spring Break, that is.
"I'll be ready in a second," Joe said into the floor of the van.
"You know, Joe... We don't have to do this..."Joe let out a soft, empty chuckle. Yes we do, he thought, and you know it. He took one last drag, not concerning himself with the fact that he was down to the filter at this point. Let it burn, he thought. Let me feel something.
Joe raised his eyes to Randy for the first time and stood up.
"Let's do this."
The ash floated lazily down to the floor.
The Joe Francis that strutted down the beach was a different animal from the Joe Francis who sat borderline catatonic in the official Girls Gone Wild minivan. Confident, cocky, he had a presence that demanded your attention. If the Joe Francis in the van was a broken down carousel, the Joe Francis that stormed the sand was a new rollercoaster; you knew at a look that he was dangerous, but you also knew that maybe you liked it. This was how Joe Francis found his participants.
At the sound of some not-too-distant nervous and excited giggling, Joe Francis turned to Randy, who, professional that he is, already had his camera at the ready. The gentlemen nodded to each other and, by the time he'd turned to face the source of the giggling, Joe Francis was already armed with his charming, Cheshire Cat Grin.
Caption: Joe Francis, concealing years of inner turmoil.
It used to surprise him how quickly and effortlessly he could "turn it on." Nothing surprises him anymore. Joe licked his lips, flipped on his microphone and made a silent prayer to coax the lump in his throat back from whence it came. Had to be a quick prayer. The victims were approaching. Time to go to work.
"Ladies, ladies, ladies," Joe called to the excitable young women. "I must be in Anaheim or heaven; either way, all I see are angels!" The girls laughed enthusiastically and Joe Francis felt sick to his stomach. "What are you ladies here for?" He already knew the answer he was just trying to gauge their level of intoxication.
"Sprling Breeaaak," the girls slurred in unison.
"Oh yeah? You girls lookin' to have some fun?" Say 'no,' Joe Francis willed silently, say 'no,' and leave. End the cycle.
"Whooooo," they answered, a universal and resounding 'yes.'
"Alright, now that's what I'm talking about. We've been looking for some party girls, we were wondering where they were hiding."
"Right here," the tallest of the three said. She tried adjusting the already crooked tiara in her knotted hair. She just made it worse. Her eyes were familiar. She reminded Joe Francis of Noelle.
But, then, everything reminded Joe Francis of Noelle.
"Where are you girls from," Randy asked.
"Glassboro University," the brunette answered. Her breath was thick with tequila, she wore a too-tight shirt that read 'Yo quiero BEER!' and featured a little Chihuahua with exaggerated features. Noelle loved dogs.
"Glassboro," Joe Francis said derisively. "Forget it, Randy, turn the camera off. Glassboro girls don't know how to party." The three girls simultaneously attempted to slur an argument to the contrary. Randy, knowing his part, lowered the camera.
"Nah, you girls got nothing on some of the other chicks out here. We're looking for some real party girls. Some..." He paused to let Joe finish. Joe obliged.
"Some wild girls."
"We're wild," said the tall one. She was the most sober but that was by no means an endorsement. It simply meant that, if there was a bonfire, she was the least likely of the three to burst into flames as a result of her blood alcohol level.
"How wild," Joe Francis asked, his eyes narrowing as his grin spread.
"So wild," the girls said. Randy's camera was already back on his shoulder. Such a professional. Noelle would've really liked Randy.
"Oh yeah? Prove it." The girls looked to one another, brilliantly playing the part of the sorority sisters who didn't know. As if they didn't know what the camera was for. As if they hadn't seen the unmistakable Girls Gone Wild van pull up. As if this wasn't the moment they'd been waiting for all night. We all have a part to play, Joe thought.
"How about you show us a little skin," Joe asked. When the girls responded according to the unwritten, unofficial script, which is to say, with mock shock and exaggerated outrage, Joe Francis a veteran performer in this particular play, shrugged his shoulders.
"I told you they weren't party girls, Randy. They weren't ready to go wild. I guess... " Joe paused before going on. He knew what was going to come next, what had to come next. He knew that the events had already been set in motion, that the outcome of this night had already been decided, and that he couldn't stop it. That didn't mean he couldn't delay it. Several seconds passed. "I guess these girls don't want some free t-shirts."
The sorority sisters shrieked and drunkenly lifted their tops before Joe Francis had even finished speaking. Cameras flashed, any bystanders still sober enough to see straight cheered, the rhythm of the flopping titties syncing up with the rhythm of the distant dance music. The sorority sisters wiggled their young bodies like seasoned professionals, like they were born for this exact purpose and, in a way, they were. It was serendipity that brought them here, serendipity that arranged conditions so perfectly such that these women were destined to end up shaking their breasts on camera, for a VHS tape to be sold to millions of men across America for $12.99. Serendipity that put these women in front of Joe Francis and Randy's camera at this exact moment. The same serendipity that felt it necessary to separate Joe Francis and Noelle forever.
With the focus of a sniper, Joe Francis quickly scanned the exposed bodies of the young women. He clapped his hands and screamed "Wild!" but, make no mistake, Joe Francis was studying and looking for a unique birthmark. Noelle's birthmark. He didn't find it.
On some level, he knew he never would.
"Oh my God, so wild," Joe said as he tossed three t-shirts to the still-shrieking women. Joe looked up briefly. There wasn't a cloud in the sky but, to Joe Francis, it was always raining.
"Let's keep going," Randy said. "It's going to be a long night."
They all are, thought Joe. They all are.
"No doubt," Joe Francis replied. "Waazzzzzuuuuuuppppp?!"