Whenever someone says that dead men tell no tales, it’s obvious that they haven’t ever been to Necropolis, Kenya.
Not only does Necropolis have a population boom problem, but they have a severe shortage of paper.
The ruling elite came up with a brilliant solution to both problems: write everything down on the skin of people who have starved to death.
Okay, so the dead really aren’t telling any tales, and it’s dead men and women.
Plus, they’re all black, so it’s kind of hard to read the ink, even on the light-skinned ones.
Let’s just ship them some Kindles.
Everybody loves The Edna Copperpot Mysteries.
Except the author: Dame Lilith Wilmington.
Sure, Edna had made her fabulously wealthy and famous. Books, movies, and television series kept the royalties rolling in.
Despite the success, Lilith was tired of Edna. She wanted to try something new.
She wrote poetry, and the critics brutally savaged her.
Lilith blamed Edna. So, Edna needed to die.
Lilith finished the final chapter and smiled. And as she hit “Send” her heart gave out.
After the funeral, the editor cleaned up the ending. The publisher loved it, and made the editor Edna’s new writer.
“A book can take you places,” my uncle said. “Wonderful places.”
You see a stack of fresh notepads and unused pens. I see stories that are waiting to be imagined and written.
So many places to discover and explore, then commit to the page. With each revision, the story becomes clearer, and the reader comes closer to actually being there.
I hold a notepad in my hand, pick up a pen, and remember my uncle trying to teach me to write.
But I couldn’t. I didn’t have the gift.
I close the rolltop desk and lock it.
Stories, lost forever.
Philip K. Dick wrote a book with the title “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?”
He never answered the question. So, I built a bunch of sleepy androids.
Most of the androids didn’t dream at all. They just went into their power-saving modes. A few ran some core system apps in the background, but nothing that could be considered a dream.
Then there was Beepy Seven. And he dreamed of sheep.
“Were they electric?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” said Beepy Seven. “I was too busy fucking it.”
Beepy Seven turned out to be a janitor in a robot costume.
The Lorax told The Onceler that he spoke for the trees.
A few months later, all the trees were gone, and The Lorax was out of a job.
He lifted himself into the sky, where he flew back to the PR firm he worked for in New York.
“Well, that ended badly,” said his boss. “And those trees haven’t paid any of our invoices, either.”
The Lorax was handed a “rehab” account to get him back on track, and he did well with it.
Then, a tobacco company.
“Shit,” said The Lorax.
“You again?” asked The Onceler, smoking a cigar.
What was the name of the Wicked Witch?
The West one was the one played by Margaret Hamilton, right?
They dropped the house on her sister from the East.
Well, they never said the name of the one from the West.
But The Wicked Witch of the East was named Ding Dong.
All those midgets sang “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” right?
The witch down the street is named Olivia.
She turns kids into frogs.
Especially those who throw buckets of water at her, or use the garden hose.
I once set off her lawn sprinklers.
After Encyclopedia Brown went off to college, the next kid to become the town know-it-all was Glossary Jones.
This kid knew a whole bunch of obscure terms and jargon, but he kept them to himself until the other kids would solve the mystery.
Then there was Footnote Martin. Every now and then, he’d make a comment about something, or provide some obscure reference that nobody had time to look up.
Finally, there was Almanac Lewis. He was always blithering useless trivia and weather tables.
“Just call the goddamned police,” people say now. “They’re incompetent, but at least they’re not annoying.”