Monday, February 15, 2010

Volume 5, Number 5: A Novel Approach to Getting Rich

It's been a slow month, blogging-wise. I am watching certain shows on TV (Past Life, Life After People, Hoarders, Operation Repo, and Kitchen Nightmares). My car needed a new alternator and I just bought one today (haven't installed it yet). It's been snowing (but it's never gotten bad enough for me to break out that snowblower I fixed last August 1). The Pistons are struggling, and the Red Wings, with 19 games left in the season, are presently fighting it out with a few other teams for the last two spots in the Western Conference playoffs (and it's looking like the Western finals will be San Jose vs. Chicago--between those two, I'd root for the Blackhawks because I think Joel Quenneville is one of the NHL's best coaches).

So I thought I'd repost a column from one of my favorite writers, Dave Barry. Dave writes for the Miami Herald, and the first time I heard of him came through this column. (Knight-Ridder Newspapers, owners of the Herald, also owned the Detroit Free Press at that time, and this column appeared in a December 1986 edition of the Free Press' weekend magazine.) Barry, along with Freep columnist Mitch Albom and Los Angeles Times columnist Mike Downey, inspired me to take Journalism in high school.
MIAMI - I figured out why I'm not getting seriously rich. I write newspaper columns. nobody ever makes newspaper columns into Major Motion Pictures starring Tom Cruise. The best you can hope for, with a newspaper column, is that people will like it enough to attach it to their refrigerators with magnets shaped like fruit.

So I have written a suspense novel. It has everything. Sex. Violence. Sex. Death. Russians. Dead Russians. Here's what the newspaper critics are saying:

"A very short novel." - The Waco, Texas, Chronic Vegetable
"This is it? This is the entire novel?" - The Arkansas Dependent-Statesperson
"Not enough sex." - The Evening Gonad

No doubt you motion picture producers out there would love to see the novel these critics are raving about, so you can send me lucrative film offers. Here it is:

Carter Crater strode into the Oval Office. He looked like Tom Cruise, or, if he is available, Al Pacino.
Behind the desk sat the President of the United States. To his left, in the corner, stood the Secretary of State. Crater sensed that something was wrong.
"Unless we act quickly," the President said, "within the next few hours the entire world will be blown to pieces the size of Smith Brothers cough lozenges."
Crater frowned. "We had better act quickly," he said.
The President looked thoughtful. "That just might work," he said. "Use whatever means you consider necessary, including frequent casual sex."

In the Kremlin, General Rasputin Smirnov frowned at Colonel Joyce Brothers Karamazov Popov.
"It is absolutely essential that the Americans do not suspect anything," Smirnov said.
"Yes," agreed Popov.
"Shouldn't we be speaking Russian?" he asked.
Popov looked thoughtful.
"We should at least have accents," he said.

Suddenly, it struck Crater: The Oval Office doesn't HAVE corners.

Some 2,347 miles away in East Berlin, a man and a woman walked briskly eastward on Volkswagenkindergartenpumpernikelstrasse. Talking intently, they did not notice the sleek black Mercedes sedan, its windows tinted almost black, as it turned off Hamburgerfrankfurterwienerschnitzelstrasse and came toward them from behind, picking up speed until, travelling at 130 kilometers per microgram, it roared into a parked garbage truck.
"Too much window tint," the woman said.

Some 452.6 miles away, Crater had sex.

"Ach," said General Smirnov. "Zees American agent, we must keel heem."
"Dat's de troof," agreed Popov. "'Less we do, he gon' mess up de plan to blow up de worl'."

Crater handed the microfilm to crack intelligence expert Lieutenant Ensign Sergeant Commander Monica Melon.
She studied it carefully for about 15 minutes. Finally she spoke.
"There's something written on here," she said, frowning, "but it's really teensy."

Smirnov frowned at Popov. "Blimey, he said."

In the darkened room, Crater could see the shadowy figure who threatened to destroy the world, who had led Crater on this desperate chase across nine continents, a race filled with terror and death and women whose thighs could have been the basis for a major world religion, and all of it leading to this moment, Crater and the shadowy figure, alone in the gloom. Slowly, almost reluctantly, Crater reached for the light switch. He flicked it on. The shadowy figure turned, slowly, slowly. At last, Crater could see the figure's face.
It was a big surprise.

"Good job of saving the entire world," the President said. "But I have one question: How did you know Miss Prendergast never heard the cathedral bell?"
"Easy, sir," answered Crater. "You see, Lord Copperbottom is LEFT-HANDED, so the gardener couldn't possibly have taken the key from the nightstand."
"I never thought of that," said the President. He frowned at the names coming up out of the floor and drifting toward the ceiling so the audience would know who had played what parts.
"Hey," the President said. "These names are BACKWARDS."
The preceding column is probably still © 1986 by Knight-Ridder Newspapers. (But it's been over 23 years, so I don't know if Knight-Ridder or Dave Barry will raise a stink.)

Bye for now. Safe to say, next time I blog, I'll have a new alternator in my car, the Winter Olympics will be over and I'll be catching the last few episodes of Ben 10: Alien Force.

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