I’ve been locked into this windowless hotel room and am told I cannot leave until I have produced a blog.
You may not believe me, but I assure you, it’s true. The hotel is in Manhattan, my lawyers have confirmed that the publisher is well within its rights per the draconian contract I signed, without an agent’s advice, after an evening spent drinking Tequila Fanny Bangers in a Hoboken bar called Stinky Sulllivan’s. Apparently clause 23 explicitly spells out the blog requirement, and the measure they can take to force me to comply, which includes, in paragraph fifteen, locking me into a cheap hotel room and posting two large, silent men outside the door.
All this just to promote a book. I know this is lean times for publishing, but I thought publishing a novel was an express ticket to Hollywood, taking meetings with drug-addled producers dying to turn my careful works of literary genius into incoherent vehicles for Nicolas Cage or Tom Cruise, handing me bags of money in the process. In reality, the moment I signed the contract I’ve found its terms to be demeaning and, frankly, outrageous. This blog thing isn’t even the worst of it. My book is called The Electric Church (see the cover at the left) and I’ve just realized that if I don’t somehow sell one billion copies (give or take) I actually owe my publisher money and can be considered an indentured servant from that point on. There’s been talk of having me clean all the bathrooms in their office, or making me move everyone’s car on streetcleaning days.
So, for the time being, I’m playing along. The fact that I was knocked unconscious and brought here is one reason. The men outside my door is another. But mainly, my only hope now is that one of you good people–you People of the Internet, who I have heard are the best people in the world–will see this and come to my rescue. I’m afraid I don’t know what hotel this is, or where it’s located, or even my room number–the room has been stripped of such identifying marks–but I know that the Best People in the World will somehow take pity on me and bend their combined mental might on my situation.
This isn’t my first book. My first book was called Lifers and came out in 2001, where it promptly sank into obscurity. That’s okay; obscurity comes fast for writers and we get used to it. You can now purchase a copy of Lifers on Amazon for the princely sum of one penny, plus shipping. Shipping is likely hundreds of dollars, otherwise I can’t figure out how you can make money selling my failed novel for a penny–if such a scheme exists, why not tell me how it works so I can feed my family? Oh no, that’d be too easy. Much better to leave me trapped in this hotel room, blogging for you like a trained monkey on the slim hope that you’ll either rescue me or buy my new book, when we’ve already established your hateful plot to sell my books for pennies.
Ahem. That’s all okay, because I have Secret Internet Fame on my side. I publish a zine, you see. Oh, you don’t see. Heathens. A zine was what we did back before the Internet came along–we wrote witticisms down, photocopied them illicitly at our jobs, and mailed them out to a largely apathetic world. My zine is called The Inner Swine, perhaps you’ve heard of it. Of course you haven’t, you MySpace-ruined heathen. Well, I’ll have you know that I have at least two dozen loyal
subscribers readers who will rally to my aid with furious vengance. You can’t hold me. Holding me would be like trying to hold Rock n Roll itself.
Still, as I sit here contemplating taupe wallpaper and scratchy sheets, a disturbing lack of a wet bar of any sort, and an ominous clicking noise that comes from the bathroom mirror whenever I’m in there combing my hair and winking at myself, I realize that I don’t have very much to do in this room. They’ve left me a crippled laptop with what appears to be a one-way Internet connection, so I might as well blog.
Later for that, though. Right now, I must go draw a bath, dig out one of the bottles of rye I always keep in my briefcase, and contemplate what I’m going to have for lunch tomorrow. There has to be lunch provided, doesn’t there? Something in the Geneva Convention must address this…though I admit I don’t know what my contract says on the subject of lunch.