Fort Hauser aka the new name for the East Randomtown Park/Rec Center, ran like a finely tuned precision race car.
Everyone had their job and despite the chaos brewing outside the fence, people worked hard to do what they could to make life on the inside better.
Doug and his squad went on daily scavenger missions. I wanted to help but I knew that Morganstern would, as promised, launch a cruise missile up my ass as soon as he spotted me through one of his surveillance drones.
Technically, that made no sense. Wouldn’t Morganstern, if anything, shove a missile “down my throat?” Because if a missile is coming from the sky, it would have to come downward to get me. It wouldn’t come down and then go up my ass.
You know what? Forget it. Let’s not quibble about semantics.
Besides, Doug insisted I stay on the premises to provide leadership as Deputy Mayor in his stead.
Since all the residents were so well disciplined, the job was mostly ceremonial, and thus I was left with plenty of time to write.
And that was good, since Alien Jones’ boss, the Mighty Potentate, had threatened to conquer the Earth in the event that I die before delivering a novel written well enough to inspire the masses to abandon reality television.
The Mighty Potentate – Earth’s new ruler if BQB doesn’t write the best novel ever before he dies. So yeah, sorry Earth.
Talk about pressure.
I sat in the computer lab and clicked away:
The Amazing Adventures of Johnny Gunhands
“No,” I said. “It needs to be catchier.”
Alien Jones, having nothing better to do, sat in a chair next to me and acted as an instant critic to every word I typed.
“The Mighty Potentate will demand more gusto.”
I retyped the title.
Johnny Gunhands: A Farewell to Hands
“I don’t get it,” Alien Jones said. “And I get everything as I hail from a genius species.”
“It’s a play on Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms,” I explained. “This will be the first part of the series, the origin story in which we learn how Johnny not only lost his hands, but how they were replaced with guns.”
“First part of a series?” AJ asked. “You mean you intend to write MORE of this schlock?”
“Every writer always intends to write more of their schlock now,” I said. “Build a good fanbase and you can keep your stories going on forever.”
“I just don’t see much of a market for Johnny Gunhands,” AJ replied.
“Well, if you have another idea for a book that will ween the masses off of reality television, I’m all ears,” I said.
“As a matter of fact, I do!”
Alien Jones pulled the keyboard away from me and typed out the following synopsis:
Ms. Humphrey’s Way
Riddled with disease, desperation and despair, drug addict Vanessa Humphrey wages an uphill battle to get clean and sober. Rather than continue to ignore the personal demons that drove her to such a lowly state, she faces them and in doing so, overcomes them.
Years later, Vanessa has turned her life around and is now well-respected English teacher, Ms. Humphrey, who uses lessons from Shakespeare’s plays to convince troubled inner city youth to better themselves.
Ms. Humphrey takes a particular interest in one of her pupils, the depressed yet talented Arnold Baker. Arnold’s short story has the potential to win him a four year college scholarship, but he’ll need Ms. Humphrey’s assistance to see the project through.
Along the way, Ms. Humphrey discovers that Arnold is in fact the child she gave up for adoption years before in her addict days.
Is the learning disability that makes it difficult for Arnold to record his ideas into written form Vanessa’s fault for hitting the crack pipe hard while she was pregnant?
Is it possible for a woman to change her life so dramatically so as to become completely unrecognizable to her former self? Should society blame people for past sins forever?
And will it ever be possible for Vanessa to forgive herself?
All these questions and more will be answered as Ms. Humphrey must make a crucial decision:
Should she reveal to Arnold that she is his real mother or should she leave well enough alone?
“That’s all yours if you want it,” Alien Jones said as he handed the keyboard back to me.
I read his synopsis.
The Esteemed Literary One
“This is poignant,” I said. “Breathtaking. Brilliant. It will win every major literary award and will surely be turned into an Academy Award winning film…”
“Why thank you,” Alien Jones said.
“…that only 3.5 people will bother to see! Get your head out of your ass!”
“I don’t have an ass!”
“Well get one and get your head out of it,” I said. “No more schmaltzy awards bait! Action and explosions are the only things that put asses into seats! Johnny Gunhands it is!”
“As if you’ll ever fling that turd past the traditional publishing goalie,” Alien Jones said. “The traditional publishing world is nothing if not a community of high standards.”
“Four words for you,” I said as I typed them out onto the screen:
Christian Grey flavored popsicle.
“OK you’ve got me there,” Alien Jones said. “Still, you shouldn’t cut off any options. Consider self-publishing your Johnny Gunhands nonsense if no one in the traditional world bites.”
“Good idea,” I said. “I better consult a zombie author about this.”