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What A Hack! ~ April Fool’s Contest #12 March 26, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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A writing buddy of mine, let’s call him Jack Grisham, is a computer geek by trade and a writer at night. 

He told me this story in complete and utter confidence . . .

Mum’s the word. 

Jack works mindlessly at Best Buy during the day and spends his off hours writing what he knows will be the next Great American Novel at night.

* A novel that will blow J.K.Rowling’s commission checks out of the water.

* A novel that will cause Dickens’s Marley, dead as a doornail these many years, to turn over in his grave.

* A novel that will rival John Barth’s The Sot-Weed Factor in breadth, scope, and popular appeal. 

* A novel that will slide easily into the “number one” slot on Time’s “100 Best American Novels” list the next time it’s published. 

Certain of his ultimate entitlement to this esteemed recognition, on the rare occasion that his muse disappears, Jack idly reviews the last such list, wondering which of the 100 novels previously bestowed with the honor will be nudged (or shoved) off the list to make room for his own.

A firm believer in the power of positive intention, Jack affirms into his mirror every morning, “I am Jack Grisham, a great American novelist who plucks plausible plots from thin air the way Little Jack Horner used his grubby little thumb to pluck plums from his Christmas pie.” 

For good measure, time permitting, Jack adds Horner’s signature phrase (with a wink and a blink and a nonchalant nod), “Oh, what a good boy, am I!”  

Thus buoyed, he heads off to the work-a-day world, all the while twirling themes, and schemes, and dreams round his head.  

Of course, other inhabitants of the planet do not find his plots nearly as plausible as he, as evidenced by the ponderous pile of rejection slips which litter the top of his writing credenza, constantly threatening to cascade to the carpet under his feet.

Undeterred by the obvious elitism demonstrated by editors and agents who have thus far failed to recognize the brilliance behind his words, Jack stoically  moves forward, word by word, sentence by sentence, and page by page, toward that brass ring of publication and literary acclaim which he knows will one day be his to grasp, claim, and hold for eternity. 

Last year, on a warm August afternoon, Jack arrived home from work, absent-mindedly grabbed the mail from its box, and headed into his study.

Glancing through the stack of envelopes, he recognized the familiar logo of the Great White Publishing Company ~ a publishing house which had recently received a copy of his latest and greatest effort. 

Smiling to himself, he slit open the envelope with characteristic optimistic flourish and fervor, only to have his hopes dashed by its contents.  

Stamped across Jack’s carefully worded query letter, in enormous blood-red letters, a single word, REJECTED, taunted him with its finality.   

For a moment, he recoiled in disbelief from the stark missive, as harsh as that infamous Chance card, Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.  

Quickly recovering his optimistic bent, he returned his attention to the envelope, convinced that the editor-in-question’s words of encouragement would be found therein.  

Grabbing the envelope from the edge of his desk, he found it empty, of course, and tossed it on top of the towering pile of rejection slips, causing them to lose their tenuous grip with the surface of the credenza.

Positively petulant at this punishing blow to his previously patient psyche, Jack decided to put his computer skills, and love of words, to the test.

On his way out, he gave a sly glance at his reflection in the hall mirror before intoning, in an uncharacteristic monotone, “Oh . . . what . . . a . . . good . . . boy . . . am . . . I.” 

Moments later, Jack logged on to one of the computers at the local library, where his anonymity as an author would allow him to hack into the Great White Publishing Company’s computers ~ unnoticed, undetected, and undisturbed.

Once in, he maneuvered his way through its computer corridors with stealth and cunning.

He visited the profiles of several editors, changing passwords as he went ~ ensuring that their entry on the morrow would be as challenging a passage as he had experienced thus far on his journey to become a famous novelist.

He made a pit stop behind the scenes of the Great White Web Site, switching links, so that literati looking for literary links would instead be led to lurid pornographic scenes.

Before logging out, he made a quick visit to the Great White Accounting Department, where he hastily unbalanced the books, all the while wearing the Grinchiest of grins on his face and mumbling under his breath, “They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming.”      

Finally, he logged off, heaved a sigh of relief, and headed home, happily humming to himself.  

* * * * *

OK, guys . . .

Fact or Fiction . . . the absolute Truth or a Tall Tale for April Fool’s Day?

Post your best guess in the Comment Box below and stay tuned for the next installment in our April Fool’s Day Contest.