Get the Blood: The Scar on My Pinky

By | June 23, 2014 | 0 Comments
Almost lost the finger.

Almost lost the finger.

SO, to recap: I’m publishing books this year (Fixer, We Are not Good People) that involve a magic system that requires blood sacrifice, so my main characters (a lot of the characters, actually) are covered in scars. So I thought I’d write a bit about my own scars and invite others to join in (which they have; I’m making videos of some of the responses). Then I’m posting everything with the hashtag #gettheblood, because I am hip and modern and with it.

Last time out, it was the scar on the back of my head, which had not one but three origin stories. This time, it’s the scar on the little finger of my left hand.

THE BURNING QUESTION

Before we go any further – is it pinky or pinkie? I must know before I write the rest of this — aw, too late.

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Plotting and Lifers

By | June 16, 2014 | 2 Comments

Lifers_coverIn August I’m giving a seminar on plotting novels at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference (as mentioned the first of infinite times here; let me tell you, promoting things like that is exhausting) so I’ve been thinking a bit about how I’ve plotted novels. I’ve written a lot of novels — more than thirty, actually, about twelve of which are worth looking at and eight of which I’ve published so far — so I suppose I have something halfway intelligent to say about the process.

While the secret sauce of my awesomeness will only be revealed in coherent form at the conference, I thought a good place to start would be examining past novels and my approach to plot. Last time out I looked fondly at Chum, and today I thought I’d look at my first published novel, Lifers.

I wrote Lifers in 1997, and submitted it to a tiny small press in 1999 without an agent or a clue, and they wrote back and told me they would love to publish my novel if i would send them a check for about $12,000. Vanity Presses did shit like that – they pretended to be a regular royalties publisher and then they sent you a letter detailing the sad state of the economy and how we all had to contribute.

I told them to please burn the manuscript and considered flying to California to burn down their offices as well. The last thing a largely-unpublished author needs is someone trying to scam them out of twelve thousand goddamn dollars.

Then, something odd happened: They called me back 6 months later and said, we’ll give you a $1,000 advance and standard royalties, because we want to publish it for reals.

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Brooklyn Book Festival

By | June 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

BBFSo, looks like I’ll be at this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival at the Mystery Writers of America‘s table – precise time to be determined. I’ll be selling books (hopefully I’ll have some early copies of We Are Not Good People to sell) and shaking hands and dancing for nickels, as usual. Bring a lot of nickels, because my dances don’t last long.

WHEN: September 21, 2014, Time TBD

WHERE: Brooklyn Book festival, Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201

WHY: The aforementioned dancing.

See y’all there!

Get the Blood

By | June 12, 2014 | 5 Comments

eyeSo, in less than a month the novella Fixer will be released into the wild, for free at first. Anyone can read it! It’s THUNDERDOME!

It’s also supposed to be a way to introduce yourself to the universe and characters of We Are Not Good People before that novel comes out in October. As such, it’s a prequel, so despite having the same setting and the same main chaacters you don’t need to have read WANGP or Trickster in order to understand and enjoy Fixer. Clever, aren’t we?

I’ve been thinking about the magic system I devised for The Ustari Cycle. I’ve never been a fan of magic systems in books that have no consequences – stories where a “chosen one” is just born with some innate ability to cast spells, and where there are virtually no limitations to their capabilities. Power should require sacrifice, I’ve always thought, and that led to the logical conclusion: What if magic literally did require sacrifice? So in the world of The Ustari Cycle, to cast magic spells you need two things: A knowledge of the mystical Words that act as a grammar and vocabulary for expressing the intention of the magic, and blood, fresh and gushing from a wound. The more blood, the more powerful the spell.

The moment this came together I knew my main character would refuse to bleed anyone but himself. Bleeding someone else — possibly to death — to cast a spell is a pretty evil thing to do, after all, and only the worst sort of people would do that. So Lem Vonnegan, the main character an narrator of We Are Not Good People only bleeds himself, and as a result of years of casting spells is latticed with thousands of scars on his arms and elsewhere.

This got me to thinking about my own scars. I’ve had a relatively lucky life: No broken bones, no serious illnesses. Even I have a few scars, though. I’ll be writing the stories behind my various scars in the coming weeks – because every scar has a story.

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Watch the World Die

By | June 9, 2014 | 2 Comments

This story was published by From the Asylum many, many moons ago – in fact, the webzine no longer exists. I got paid $25, which I immediately spent on whiskey and regret.

Watch the World Die

HE sat on the hood of his car with an unlit cigarette in his mouth, a waxy, unkempt youth in Jeans and flannel, grinning. It was cold and crisp but not windy, a photograph to walk around in. Closer to the wreckage, it was warmer.

The highway had become still as well, a stretch of frozen motion. Behind him cars lined up in quiet rows, in front they were smoldering in quiet, jangled piles. Amongst them, people picked their way carefully, small and tender, some with dazed and jellied expressions, some with cool, detached demeanors. He watched them calmly, the familiar fines of the old Malibu slowly rusting beneath him.

Someone approached from behind and paused to stand next to him, but he didn’t turn to look at the newcomer, a bland young man in loose, easy clothes. His eyes, however, turned slightly, and then flicked back again.

“Did you see it happen?” the young man asked.

“Yep,” he replied.

There was a quick, elastic silence.

“Got a light?”

He smiled around his unlit cigarette and shook his head. After a moment, the bland young man shuffled away.

Abruptly, the end of his cigarette flared and caught fire, a jolly red coal glittering in the night. He took a deep drag and let a great gust of white smoke out into the air. He watched a tall State Trooper approach, his face nothing but vacant disinterest.

The trooper was tall and lean, dark and grim. Be held an open pad in one hand and a pen in the other.

“I’ll need to take a statement.”

The man sitting on the car nodded. “The red car, the Mazda, exploded,” he said with blank enunciation. “Just burst into flames. I’ve seen it before.”

“You have?” the cop asked.

“Many times.” A smile filled his face.

The cop nodded and pretended to write this down on his pad. “Could I have your name, sir?”

“The Mazda,” the man continued, “was driving like an asshole, weaving around, high-beaming everyone. It was really irritating. The asshole refused to see that there was nowhere to go, no one had anywhere to go.”

The cop pursed his lips. “Your name, sir?”

The man turned his bloodshot eyes up to the cop. “Sorry. Daniel. Daniel Eggert.”

Writing this down dutifully, the trooper didn’t glance up. “Did you see what caused the accident, Mr. Eggert?”

Eggert smiled around his cigarette. “I just told you: it burst into flames. The Mazda. The red one.”

This time the cop did look up. “Just like that?”

Eggert nodded cheerfully. “Just like that.” He shrugged. “That’s the way it always happens; once the gas tank catches, it’s too late.”

“I’ll bet.” The trooper had a bad feeling about this guy, but couldn’t put a finger on it. His eyes slid down. “This your car?”

Eggert glanced over the cop’s shoulder. “1973 and it runs like new,” he agreed.

The trooper glanced at his pad as he wrote the tag down. “Thanks for your help, Mr. Eggert.”

Eggert nodded, once. “Not a bit of it,” he said.

####

Driving home, Daniel Eggert studied himself in the rear-view with an unflinching gaze. The road was empty and dark and he drove by instinct, thumbs nudging the wheel carefully. His pale face shone in the glass, bright and smooth and framed by dark hair that blended into the dark, leaving him a moon in a constantly shifting night.

After a moment, he reached over and shut off the headlights. Dark snapped in, but his face still shone.

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Plotting and Chum

By | June 6, 2014 | 0 Comments
BUY ME

BUY ME

So, as mentioned previously,  in August I’ll be presenting a seminar on plotting a novel, much to the horror of many, many teachers, scoutmasters, and other authority figures I’ve known throughout my long-departed youth. To say that many people expressed doubt about my abilities to succeed in life would be an understatement. That happens when you discover alcohol at the age of thirteen and immediately take up residence on street corners for lengthy periods of time.

Still, I showed them! I am on the agenda of a major writing conference. Of course, this makes me sweat: As we all know, I take a certain, shall we say, casual approach to life in general. How do you teach something when your process involves getting blackout drunk and then being vaguely surprised at what you find in the morning?

ENTER CHUM

Well, I’ve been looking back on my mighty works and considering how I actually plotted them out. Chum was written (in its original form) in 2003, taken on by my might agent in 2004, re-written a few times along the way, and sold to Tyrus Books in 2013. With a story like that, it can’t be surprising to hear that the plot process on this book was complicated, mainly because I never really considered plot at all.

Chum is, I think, an unusual book: It has a transforming event buried in there, the Big Moment that everything revolves around, but it doesn’t really follow any recognizable model for plot at all. There’s really no rising action, no denouement. It’s told from various points of view and various moments in time, and the points of view vary wildly in states of inebriation and information.

So how did I plot this? I didn’t.

I started off, as usual, with a vision: The opening scene, which is fairly innocuous and humorous, with a slight spice of ominous — and then I saw what the Big Event was. From there, I simply slipped into the heads of my characters and explored what they might have seen, inferred, or eavesdropped, and what would happen to their relationships as a result.

It’s actually an approach to writing that I attempted once before, when I was much younger, in a novella titled “Shadow Born” (let’s not mock me and my titles; I will stipulate that my love for faux-poetic titles is awful and horrible and I am trying to be better about it, promise). The older novella was the story of a rape at a college party and explored how people hear about it, suspect it’s happened, and react to certain knowledge of it. It wasn’t entirely successful, and today feels like Juvenilia, but it felt like there was power in that engine.

Results May Not Be Verifiable

I don’t employ this kind of narrative trick often, because it’s more likely to collapse into a heap of chaos than yield a tight, interesting novel. Chum works because the characters came to life – at least to me, although I now have a few other people, some of whom paid me money, who seem to agree. If the characters had seemed flat or boring, we would have been in a lot of trouble. As a result, this isn’t really an approach I can recommend to newcomers to the novel game – although hey, you never know.

Other novels I’ve plotted differently, including a lot of “Pantsing” and a bit of “Plotting,” though the latter is usually only when I’m forced to. Both have worked for me, but I have to say: Plotting Chum was probably the most fun I’ve ever had plotting a novel out.

These days my plot technique involves alcohol and guesswork. And cats. Cat butts on my keyboard seem to be the secret sauce for my recent novels, actually.

The Inner Swine Summer 2014

By | June 4, 2014 | 6 Comments

TIS 20-12As I sit here madly rapping Fancy by Iggy Azalea, I am very conscious of no longer being the hip young demographic that advertises love. Yet I still have things to say! Or, write. Many of these ideas are ill-advised and poorly formed, and so I keep them in a ghetto of my own choosing: My zine, The Inner Swine, established in 1993 and still going. For some reason.

As it is Summer time, it’s time for the Summer issue! And it has been released to Barnes and Noble and Amazon for your e-reading pleasure:

Nook

Kindle

Go and buy it. It’s just a DOLLAR for god’s sake, what are you, fancy?

(see what I did there? GENIUS.)

Categories: BAM!, The Inner Swine

Reasons Why You Should Join the WANGP Street Team

By | June 1, 2014 | 33 Comments
Street Team

Street Team

SO, on October 7, 2014, the world will change forever. Well, not really. What’s actually going to happen is my next novel, We Are Not Good People, will be released. Whether or not I spend 2015 dancing on street corners for nickels or ordering rounds of drinks for strangers as I blaze, briefly, in alcoholic splendor before doctors arrive to harvest my ruined body for parts, depends entirely on what happens in the bookstores and online venues in the days and weeks afterwards.

In the past, with the Avery Cates novels, I organized a Street Team (organized may be a strong word here) to help with promotion, and we had a lot of fun, so I’m doing the same, gathering blackguards and bravos from around the world to help make it seem like a passably good idea to spend money on my book. And I want you to join the Street Team. It will be ever so much fun.

We have a forum: http://wearenotgoodpeople.freeforums.net/

The book has a website: www.wearenotgoodpeople.com

I understand your hesitation. I am a notably unreliable author who is easily distracted by glasses of booze and things like videos of kittens acting surprised. So, here are

REASONS TO BE ON THE WANGP STREET TEAM

  1. You love me. You may not realize it, but you do.
  2. You fear me and know if my writering career goes south I will start showing up at your door, begging for a couch to sleep on.
  3. There will be swag — free books, signed things, T-shirts, bookmarks, anything else we cook up to give away or what have you, Street Team members will get first dibs. In the past every member got a T-shirt or a hat and some other stuff just for being awesome.
  4. Meet new people! Who are not me pretending to be other people just to make my Street Team seem huge and imposing, promise.
  5. All Street Team members pat and present earn the Right of Cocktails, which means they can march up to me at any time under any circumstances and, once they’ve identified themselves, demand that I buy them a drink, and I will.
  6. Did I mention the swag?
  7. The forum is there to exchange ideas and suggestions, so if you’ve ever wanted to humiliate and destroy me publicly (and who hasn’t) here is your chance. Why not suggest I dress up in a pig outfit and dance on your lawn? Because if everyone on the Street Team votes for it, I will totally do that.
  8. The abbreviation of We Are Not Good People is WANGP, so you get to throw around the word “Wang” a lot and no one can complain.

    The Pork Avenger (Artist's Conception)

    The Pork Avenger (Artist’s Conception)

  9. Someday, when they decide to make a documentary about me (most probably because I snap mentally in 2016 and start showing up in public in a pig outfit and dancing, eventually becoming known as The Pork Avenger) they will totally come to interview you about it.
  10. Because I am dancing for right now, even though you can’t see it. And also weeping. How can you be so cruel?

So there you have it. There’s no official sign up or anything — just participate. Send me your contact info via email or message, let me know you’re interested, join the forum and say hello and suggest things. What can you suggest? Well, anything:

  • If you know of a bookstore that would love to have me come read, let me know.
  • Ideas for swag or giveaways
  • Ideas for digital graphics that I could create and distribute
  • Forums or other sites that people could post on
  • Ways to tweet and post about the books (or my other books), write reviews, or otherwise spread the word

Or, just lurk until something gets suggested that appeals to you. Literally, anything you want to do is appreciated and I’ll be extremely grateful for.

Onward! I’ve just discovered I will have to have my Pork Avenger outfit let out a little. I’m … not a young man any more.

X Men: Days of Future Past

By | May 29, 2014 | 3 Comments
Kitty Pride Indeed

Kitty Pride Indeed

Let’s say you have a time machine. What would you change? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you would go back in time and buy me a drink that one time when you refused to buy me a drink because I kept mispronouncing your name and then braying like a donkey, clearly implying that I knew I was mispronouncing your name. But looking back you realize I deserved that drink, and because I was sober I went on a rampage of writing novels and you hate to see me successful, so you figure: I’ll go back and buy him a drink and he’ll get drunk and step in front of a bus and die.

Don’t worry. It’s a common desire. I get that a lot.

So, you acquire a time machine via Dark Arts or Black Ops or what have you. How do you go about putting this plan into motion? Do you

A. Set the controls for the evening we were together, walk into the place just as Past You heads for the bathroom, and do the deed? or

B. Set the controls for the day I was conceived and totally cock-block my Dad? or

C. Set the controls for a week earlier and spend your time moving objects and leaving notes for friends and family, subtly arranging them like pieces on a board to ensure that Past You doesn’t make it to the bar that evening so you can impersonate yourself, and then put more work hours into making certain that my favorite liquor is stocked behind the bar, and then even more work into several side projects, including releasing a dangerous gorilla from the zoo to terrorize the neighborhood so the bar won’t be too crowded, except I have a deadly fear of gorillas and so now Past Me isn’t coming to the bar, and you have to reveal yourself to Past You and team up to kidnap me and literally pour booze down my throat, accidentally burning down Hoboken, NJ in the process?

If you chose “C,” you may be Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg, or Matthew Vaughn, the people who wrote X-Men: Days of Future Past. SPOILERS HO.

Sweet Jesus, I’m an Asshole

So, time travel movies tend to be ridiculous. Here’s a Pro Tip: Time Travel is not magic. It’s not supposed to be magic, at least – it’s supposed to be a manipulation of a measurable aspect of our physical world. As a result, they should have what we professional thinkers call “internal logic.” The rest of the world calls this making any damn sense.

XMDOFP Makes a valiant attempt to make some damn sense. The method of time travel is the typical mumbo-jumbo, but at least avoids someone actually building a time machine in favor of mental gymnastics, which has a nice simplicity to it, in my opinion. The basic premise is this: In 1973 Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) assassinates a scientist/industrialist, setting in motion a present-day where the world has been destroyed by “Sentinels” that hunt anyone with even a single mutant gene. On the verge of being exterminated, the final remaining mutants gather to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, whose arms and chest are a special effect that made me doubt my sexual orientation) back to his body in 1973 to stop her. To do so, they decide he must find Professor X (Patrick Stewart/James McAvoy) and Magneto (Ian McKellan/Michale Fassbender) to persuade her not to kill her target.

So, let’s run this through the insanity machine: On the one hand, you have the entire world destroyed an enslaved by horrible Sentinels. Weighed against that is the single mutant who causes the chain reaction in the first place. Solution: Kill Mystique, preferably a few years before 1973. Film over within ten minutes, the rest of the running time is Jackman doing one-handed push-ups while the rest of the cast cheers.

But no, they decide that despite the fact that the entire world destroyed an enslaved by horrible Sentinels Mystique, the woman who unknowingly caused this awful future, is far too important to kill. So they decide to spend a few days trying to track her down and convince her to not exact vengeance on this man. And for some reason, for some unknowable reason, they send Wolverine back to just a few days before her terrible act.

Wait. Why?

You are sending him back in time. For fuck’s sake, send him a few months back, give him some room to operate. Okay, to be fair, the implication is that he’s only back in his 1973 body for as long as Kitty Pride is actively manipulating him with her mutant powers, so the idea that she could do that for months is probably crazy. Except of course that she does do it for several days, because in 1973 Wolverine travels around quite a bit, and a lot of plot happens, and so we must assume Kitty pride knelt there holding her hands over Wolverine’s head for two, maybe four days. Without eating or drinking. Or bathroom breaks. Sure. Why not.

Okay! So maybe they had to send him back with just days to spare. Stipulated. I may have been drunk while watching this movie anyway. But! Here is the next complicating factor: Despite having just a few days to accomplish this goal, they spend a great deal of time breaking young Magneto out of his plastic prison. Because Old Magneto, despite knowing for a fact that he was a complete asshole back in 1973, insisted he would be necessary to convince Mystique. Which proves to be completely untrue, and it doesn’t matter anyway because Magneto immediately begins acting like the complete asshole he was in 1973.

In other words, if Old Magneto had said: Hey, listen, I was kind of a jerk back then and probably wouldn’t help you, better leave me out of it, the movie’s forty minutes long and the rest of the running time is spent giving Halle Berry a reason to be in the movie in the first place.

Man, I’m not, you know, Magneto-old. He appears to be 40 in 1973, so that makes Sir Ian McKellan 80 years old, which is … about right. In 1973 I was 2. But I can remember, for example, what kind of jerkass I was when I was 18. If you time-traveled back to when I was 18 and asked me to do anything that inconvenienced me in the least, I would yawn and pretend to be asleep. I know this. So if we were hatching plans to save the world that involved time-traveling back to me at 18 and getting my help, I would raise my hand and say guys – bad idea. I was kind of an asshole back then.

You know, instead of producing a plot thread that exists solely to expand the story to an appropriate film-length.

We won’t even get into the fact that Wolverine drowns, except doesn’t, and then magically wakes up in a shiny new future with no memory of the previous 40 years … for some unknowable reason. The metaphysics in this movie? not so hot. Sure, the movie’s fun. It also takes itself a little too seriously, and has an enormous number of continuity problems just with the other films. But Quicksilver was fun. I love that guy.

The Inner Swine Guide to Ignorance Episode 7

By | May 27, 2014 | 0 Comments
(This originally appeared in Brutarian Quarterly #53; for a while I wrote a column there about ignorance in general and my ignorance in specific. It was a lot of fun and I figure I’ll post them here now and again.)

Episode Seven: Monetizing Ignorance

Use As Instructed.

Use As Instructed.

FRIENDS, lord knows there are plenty of things I wish I could forget. Like the time in High School when I got really drunk and. . .well, actually, that covers most of High School, so it might be best to delete those seven years entirely. Or the time in college when I got really drunk and. . .well, actually, those are eight sloshy years that are best forgotten altogether as well, filled with bitterness and heartache, unrequited love and poor diet choices.

The point is, there’s plenty of terrible, hurtful memories I’d like to get rid of, most of which involve large groups of people laughing and pointing while I weep. This is where you realize that ignorance, often relegated to insult-comedy and character assassination, can actually have a beneficial affect on your life. Ignorance is not always a Bad Thing, in other words. Properly channeled, it could be one of the greatest medical advances ever.

Consider, if you will, the debilitating effect knowledge has on all of us. Terrible knowledge. Knowledge of pain and suffering, of humiliations and consequences, of evil and of pain. It’s a wonder any of us attempt anything after the age of twenty-five. The fact that any adult is in any way functional I put down to the glory of alcohol abuse, although I freely admit the negative affects of such a lifestyle often cancel out whatever false courage The Drink gives you. If we could simply delete unwanted memories whenever we liked, think of how much extra courage you would have on a daily basis? I mean, I wonder to myself what kind of superman would I be if I didn’t have this memory of being promoted to Senior Patrol Leader of my Boy Scout Troop when I was fourteen and entering into a six month slide of Epic Fail that resulted in me shying away from any hint of authority or responsibility ever since. Man, if I didn’t have that terrible memory—which involved the scorn and derisive humor of not only the former SPL whose position I inherited, but of the adult Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters as well—I might have actually become ambitious in my life. I’d probably already be ruling the world, except for that panic-inducing experience.

Now, because of my ill-fated attempt to be a teenaged authority figure, I flee any sort of responsibility, and I live in Hoboken with four cats instead of in some secret underground base with an army of mercenaries ready to die for my cause.

Imagine, though, if I could erase that memory and start fresh. Wake up tomorrow and no longer have any idea that taking on a leadership position might lead to humiliation and horror! Sort of like in that movie The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, except instead of erasing bad relationships, erasing any kind of bad experience that now makes you think twice before doing something. In other words, not so much erasing a memory as inserting ignorance. Ignorance which then acts to protect you from fear.

After all, why do most of us refuse to do things—say, mainline heroin, or jump out of a plane without a parachute? Simple: We know the consequences and choose to avoid them. But what if we didn’t know the consequences? That’s right: We’d be superman. And, yes, most likely dead within a very short period of time. But like the Replicants in Blade Runner, we’d be gods for that very short period of time, wouldn’t we? Unstoppable, completely without any common sense or fear of dismemberment.

####

Of course, I am old and dissipated by Drink. The world has likely passed me by, and it’s too late to save me—besides, my list of humiliations which have scarred me into terminal passivity is far too long. You’d pretty much have to delete my personality entirely and reboot me as a thirty-seven year-old infant. Which no one wants. So I must instead bend my intelligence and severe lack of restraint on helping the world altruistically, using my immense fortune and bottomless resources to invent The Inner Swine Bad Memory Redactor.

THE INNER SWINE BAD MEMORY REDACTOR (BMR)

The design of the Implement is, of course, pretty simple, and some might say that I’ll never get a patent as there is ubiquitous prior art. That doesn’t matter—the important part about the Bad Memory Redactor is in its proper use. If you learn where to apply the BMR and with what amount of force, you can surgically remove specific memories with complete accuracy and almost no negative side effects. For the purposes of this essay we are not counting the memory loss as a negative side effect, of course.

The procedure is simple: Based on detailed phrenologic diagrams supplied wit the the BMR, you simply select the spot on the head which will delete the appropriate memory. Then have your subject concentrate on that memory until it is all they are thinking of, filling all of their thoughts. Then you rear back and give an accurate but forceful smack with the implement. Like magic, the memory is deleted.

Think about what you could do if you didn’t know everything you know! Have trust issues? Burn out a few traumatic experiences from your childhood and ta-da! You’ll be a trusting, secure person. Fall out of a tree when you were five and get the heebies every time you’re up high? One expert swing of the BMR and you might realize your secret dream of being an acrobat. Haunted by dreams of being naked in front of crowds? One quick, slightly excruciating application of the BMR in expert hands and you’ll be break-dancing on stage in front of thousands in no time.

####

Ignorance does not have to be solely an affliction—it can be used as a tool as well, the same way debilitating alcohol consumption can help you through trauma even as it rots your brain and destroys your liver. Certainly you don’t want to be deleting every single bad memory you have—aside from making you incredibly dull and probably doomed to an early death due to your complete and impenetrable ignorance, the repeated head traumas would probably result in some semiserious and somewhat permanent brain damage. But for dealing with the occasional phobia-inducing searing hell of a memory, it’s genius. I’ll start the rates at $1500 per treatment, medical bills not included, though I will throw in a free ride-and-dump to the local Emergency Room if you fail to regain consciousness within an hour. Which hardly ever happens, trust me.

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