Now you've got the chance to do it!
I have purloined an ARC of YOU by Charles Benoit from the not-ever-vigilant-and-boy-is-she-going-to-be-sorry-when-she-has-to-explain-the-inventory-shortage-to-her-flinty-eyed-boss Molly O'Neill.
Rather than keep the ARC (and evidence of the crime) I hid it.
Your challenge? 100 words that says where I hid it and how you'd get your mitts on it.
100 words or fewer.
Answers/entries must be posted to the comment column of this post.
You may lie, cheat, steal and bribe to get info.
You may collaborate and collude.
You may work in groups or alone.
Points are awarded for originality and correct use of second person POV.
Prize (and here's the best part): the winner gets the ARC of YOU.
I don't need to tell you these are in VERY short supply and guarded by
ferocious creatures such as asssssistants!
YOU will be crazy not to enter.
And if you don't win, you still have the chance to actually buy it. (My order is already in.)
Deadline: Sunday May 23. High noon. (Eastern time zone naturally)
Don't dawdle. The contest starts NOW.
First twitter hint: Yes, it is in the 212.
Second twitter hint: while never MY godsend, she is
You hid it with a whip of your tail. You slapped the lid of that pirate’s treasure chest shut, tied that knot you learned in Girl Scouts (all those years ago when you were a girl, before the transformation began). You hauled it through the silty water with a whip of your mighty caudal fin. Your teeth glittered as you smiled, plunging into the deep – down, down to the base of Lady Liberty, to the cave that is your private lair, where you keep all the best books concealed, also known as Janet Reid’s Locker.
You think it wise, Ms. Reid, to hide YOU beneath the New York skies? As if a plane never flies to the place where a query dies? Well look into my eyes, and tell to YOU your saddest goodbyes.
For I shall come to claim your prize! I have the supplies and plans devised, and know not YOU what they comprise.
So hand YOU over and end this guise, and from me to YOU should YOU comply?
A surprise from Five Guys Burger and Fries.
You don’t know much about Janet Reid, other than what she posts on Twitter scares the hell out of you. You’re not even sure if you give a crap where she hid the book, you just want to try something fun. You point out to Ms. Reid you are aware that you will more than likely end up stabbed with her penknife in the entry, next to the umbrella rack, in which you will realize she has hidden the book much too late. You will sit up before you die to point out that you know your punctuation stinks.
You see yourself in a predicament. You hold the book; you feel its weight, its texture. You can smell it. That’s the moment you realize you cannot give it up.
You wonder if you can actually do this. You decide you can. You decide you have to.
Moments later, you’re standing in front of the assssitants desk, where you place the book in the bottom drawer under a file labelled unique rejections of the year.
You know it’s a “unique” spot. That file is rarely accessed. You smile. Your work is done here.
You know where it is. The only place that it could be, the only place that she would ever think to hide such a thing. You know Janet Reid, and her mind, sharp as the serrated tooth of a shark. It wouldn’t be just any hiding place. No, she’d look for a scapegoat. And not just any scapegoat. No, Janet Reid would kill two gulls with one chomp.
You turn on your flashlight and listen for the distinctive hiss that indicates you’ve been caught, then through the room, to the desk with the placard on top reading Barbara Poelle.
You approach the blog slowly, your gaze moving side to side, looking for traps. Clues. You sense the danger, the thrill of imminent discovery. You notice the graphic and pause. Could it be? Your opponent is clever, would she hide it in plain sight? Your hand reaches out, tentatively, touching the edge of the cover, brushing trembling fingers over the lettering: YOU
You subdue the rush of victory, look over your shoulder. No, they haven't noticed your discovery. Yet. You let your empty hand fall to your side, turn and walk away. You found it. Normally, that's enough. For you.
You place the book in the hollow space that you razored out of the middle of a 2 year-old copy of the Manhattan phone book. You place it on the shelf with all the other phone books of large metropolitan areas across the USA. Hiding it in plain sight will assure that the ms will NOT be purloined.
You open your jaws and lunge forward, swallowing the book.
Mmmm… Tastes like chips and YALSA.
You’re about to glide on when over your shoulder you notice a Me-shaped shadow treading water nearby. You swim forward, just a little, and the shadow follows. A little further this time, but still the shadow keeps pace.
That’s when you notice the shadow has one of those bags the doggy-walkers use.
Mission ‘FTB’: Objective hidden in dark recesses of Fineprint Literary. Few have entered and lived. 1- steal Picasso from Musée de Paris. 2-Exchange. 3- Fly into JFK. 3-Obtain awaiting ‘Janet Reid’ mask and finger print files. 4-Bypass ninja guards. 5-Use x ray vision. 6-Flee with objective in hand.
The fang inched closer to Sutpen's neck, and you hissed with joy. Then your alarm buzzed, shattering your dream mash-up, Absalom, Absalom, and Adders.
You rolled your eyes in annoyance, and that's when you noticed it.
An enormous spider.
So you grabbed the closest thing-- a book, obviously-- and reduced the arachnid invader to a dribble of hairy Jell-o. Then you realized the book was YOU, and Suzie was going to kill YOU.
So you pulled a Law and Order. You hid it in your closet with the dead bodies. I can clean that up for you.
"Okay, Poelle, hand it over." Who knew a shark could hold a gun.
"But you asked me to hide it." Barbara Poelle glanced quickly at you. "This is all your fault."
"Blaming the victim?" you said. "Very old school."
The shark's tiara slipped over one eye. Distracted, she grabbed at it. Barbara Poelle reached behind her. "Here," she said, tossing you the book. "Now run."
"Stop right there, Contest Winner." The shark clutched her tiara and pointed her clue gun at you. "You think you're going to get away with this?"
"Good. Snappy ending. Send your query."
You spin the knob on your custom made combination lock, then turn it in alternating directions spelling out H-I-S-S-S-S. You open the safe door and lift out the folder labeled "Queries I Have Loved." You place the ARC in between the two queries in the folder, close the door, and spin the lock. You pat your assssssistant on the head as she slithers into her place in front of the safe.
"Guard it well," you say. "But watch out for the octopus. You saw the photos from last weekend--she can't be trusted."
You know where it is. You laugh.
The clues are all there, just vague enough to make it a mystery. It all comes down to the numbers: 212.
That's one degree over hot, when things start to boil. You're really cooking now - cooking up a little classic noir for the shark. Her "Charade" falls apart.
No one thinks of the stamps, not in this crazy, e-mail dominated world we live in. She left it where you'd find it, mailed from the 212, delivered by a fed in blue shorts, and tucked safely away in your mailbox at home where she was sure it'd be safe.
You close your eyes and imagine it. The smell of its pages. The sound of the spine cracking the first time you open it. And the feel – oh, the feel of it, clasped in your hands as you curl into your favorite nook to read – No! Consume. Devour.
You must have it.
You think you know Janet Reid. The chum bucket, you wonder? You instantly dismiss the thought.
You imagine yourself in her… fins. For maximum deviousness, she’d frame the hapless Jeff Somers and hide the tome beneath the pants he wears only when nominated for an award.
You want this.
You make three wishes, each the same, at the fountain and then casually fall in step with the woman in the sharkskin suit. She appears to meander. You follow her past some rather languid chess matches and an intense game of Scrabble, where someone has just played QUERY for a triple word score.
You are often annoyed by the sounds of dogs barking and children squealing, but today you do not mind. Saluting a visage of George Washington, you turn. You knew where you were going all along.
And there it is:
Oh, you know precisely where the ARC is. It is hidden away from the eyes of readers for the next 96 days to publication, just as instructed by your flinty-eyed boss. And it is hidden where you hide all your precious things. In the Conservatory. With Colonel Mustard.
But what is this? As you approach the Conservatory, there is a damp trail. Puddles, even. And a smell in the air, a suspicious scent of saltwater and plankton. And then you see: Colonel Mustard sprawled on the floor, unconscious. The ARC he guarded is, of course, gone.
Instantly, you understand. The devious, double-crossing, dastardly Janet Reid has been here. And she has won this round.
You shake your fist to the sky, wail your woe, and begin to plot your own Ocean's Eleven-like caper to steal the ARC back. You will go to The Shark's lair. Monday. Surely, Monday will not be too late? Because first, you must wake for Colonel Mustard to wake up. As soon as he regains consciousness, you are SO demoting him, all the way back to Private!
With your hands shaking nervously you hesitate mailing the stolen book. Then you remember her licking the icing from her upper lip. Her smiling while she denied taking the cupcake from your desk, the cupcake that you waited all day to eat as a reward for slogging through a mile high query pile. Taking this last and best query of the day and mailing YOU to the Cleveland YA writer would be untraceable. Finally remembering the way her eyes rolled back slightly tasting the last bite of your cupcake, you feed it through the mail slot thinking, “Eat this Molly.”
There IT was in the grasp of a million sticky preschool fingers--a mosh pit of tykes passing the book from one snotty nosed kid to the next as if it were hopping on a live electrical wire. No way were you getting into that pit. Who would have thought “the terrible twos and horrible threes” could become an exploitable group? Dive or not, you were shark bait to a school of fish marking their territory like piranhas. Whipping out your best Snark, you let 'em have it. Element of surprise: zero. Level of accomplishment: accoutrement to literature—yours.
You hid YOU somewhere safe, somewhere clever, somewhere no one else would think to look for it. You congratulated yourself as you did so, smug in the knowledge you'd found the perfect hiding spot. And if you are anything like me, that means you will never find it again.
You resent being treated like a fugitive. How dare She do this to You? Your papers rustle at the memory of her clammy fingers pressing down on your spine, her steely smile as She pulled the covers over You and then black. You, who have only seen the lights of success, can now see nothing. The darkness hurts. This could be your grave. You don’t yet know it but I will rescue You. I will take on your captor. You see, I am the only other person who knows where You are and I am on my way.
The recruits enter first causing commotion. Whooshing from her office Ms. Reid says, “Call security.” Pluto lifts his leg over the unread slush pile. Tink waves her wand and sprinkles fairy dust over Ms. Reid as you tip toe passed to her office. Twitter, 212? Hell you are only on facebook, the only 212 you know is Mr. Worzbyt’s science class. That was, uh, 1970. Returning to the entry, Goofy’s arms around Ms. Reid, “I love you,” he says in his sing-song voice. Lowering your head you run for the elevator. Pre-order seems like a good idea.
Your leg muscles protest your position. Crouched amongst the swag, the twitch of your muscles, a remnant of the internship, threatens to give you away.
She leaves smiling and you wonder how many dreams she crushed. Shaking the thought from your head, you begin to move. Your muscles scream in protest, and so you crawl.
Countless times you’d seen her turn to that cabinet. Those who knew her wrath would never dare to get this close to her treasures. The knob is in your hand. Behind the Godiva chocolates and scotch is the prize. YOU, and, it is yours.
You dragged it out on the fastest company lighter and headed into the Golfo Placido. A steamer full of O’Neill’s troops entered the gulf and collided with the lighter. The collision went unnoticed by the larger ship, but tore out your sail and a chunk of your deck. You grounded the sinking lighter on the largest of the three Isabels and rowed halfway to shore on the lifeboat, then swam the rest of the way. Now you are waiting, relying on your reputation as incorruptible to keep you safe until you can reclaim the prize.
It was Janet Reid in the dining room with the candlestick.
And yet, it will be me, sneaking in from the kitchen with the wrench that ends up with YOU.
You know the Shark is smart, but her clue about the 212 area code gave it away. After that, the rest was easy for you. Especially when you have an advantage the other searchers don't.
No one knows you exist.
Though you see them every day, they never see you. It will work to your advantage this time.
It's easy to slip past security. They don't see you. No one sees you.
You know what you want and you intend to get it. It won't even be stealing. The ARC was meant for you. You've lived its story.
You Ms Reid, are sneaky but not sneaky enough for me. You thought about hiding the book in the financial district but then realized that someone might actually pay you for it. You did not want to be tempted. You were about to hide it in central park but took it back fearing a bird would dissect it for its nest. You thought you were brilliant by putting it backstage of a Broadway show but you had no idea I was the star of the show. The book is mine. I will be holding it when the curtains go up.
You fools. There is only ONE place where your prize could be hidden. ONLY ONE place where few dare to tread without Rihanna's jams to cast a thug-esque cone of invisibility. Where asssssistants slink, slinging soiled linens into sub-compact washer/dryers on a whim...WAIT!
Where that lauded machine once leaked, there lays the prize y'all seek! YOOOOOOOOOO, the asssssistant wails. YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
You can't fool me. Most people don't know you are one of the few American Parselmouths, or that Voldemort isn't the only one with a basilisk. Your lair at Grand Central is easily infiltrated when I open the wall near The Campbell Apartment with the password "the shark wants in," and I navigate the abandoned subway tunnels to battle your slithery brethren. When I leave triumphant, prize in my possession, there is a note: "Take your snake to the vet. He's looking rather dead."
Deep within the mind of every author, there lies a realm of literary genius that struggles to make it to the printed page. Fortunately for most authors, there exists a league of literati capable of plumbing even the most resistant authorial mindscapes in order to elicit the most poignant writing possible. These are the agents.
As underlord of so many authors’ mental realms, you, Agent Reid, have most likely hidden your ARC deeply within one of these secret worlds; a place where unrepresented authors cannot follow to seek it out. We are at your mercy for a copy.
So you hid her pancake behind the toilet,
And now the shark has hidden your ARC.
They’re over rated anyway. The ending? They spoil it.
You would much rather be left in the dark.
It seems at times, the worst of crimes to read a book before its release.
And so you laugh at the pesky Shark.
Her plan, you’ve learned, is so full of fail.
It turns out that the Shark has hid it so well
That she too can’t find her advanced copy of YOU.
Follow the post-it notes. One by one, a colored brick road, teasing, taunting, they lead the way. The notes are replaced by a slosh of rejected queries, sliced apart, bleeding. The shark is near. You feel it. Don't forget to breath.
Inside your pocket is a letter, polished and proofread. Your query does not begin with a rhetorical question. Your query mentions the protagonist's choice. Here's mine: step aside or dive into the shark's tank. At the bottom, lies the book, YOU.
I take the plunge. You watch.
After reading 7 author blurbs by a crazy “almost” client who recently spoke at 7 writers’ conferences on how to get published, YOU marched to her house where YOU witnessed her showing her agent contract to 7 of her closest friends, her psychic, and her 7th husband, who clearly makes all business decisions. An argument ensued where she called YOU 7 unflattering names and made 7 twitter status updates badmouthing YOU and your agency. YOU is now hidden in the middle of your growing slush pile of 212 queries under your soft bed at the Manhattan Psychiatric Centre. I'll visit.
You stashed the prize in your secret shark lair beneath the offices of FinePrint Literary, in the heart of Manhattan, trusting only one person with this information. You did not realize how great my need was to have the arc of ‘You’, so I may once again understand my moody teenager, who aspires to major in the art of PS3.
If only you had known my mother was once a jazz groupie and a member of the Rubie Roadies. To stop his checkered past from being splashed across the blogosphere, your boss would be willing to give up anything…even you.
Just when you think you know a girl from her blog, she pulls something like this. Ah well, she's a crafy one, baiting you this way with free stuff. You know you'll never be able to guess where she's hidden this book. But you're doing it anyway, because you love free stuff and you haven't written in the second person in ages. You have a feeling she's probably sitting on the book right now, holding her asterisk with one hand and wiping her keyboard dry with the other. Or else it's hiding beneath that slithering assistant.
You hid it in that desk drawer. You know, the one where you keep the chocolate you think no-one knows about. I watched as you slid the drawer way, way out and placed YOU at the back under some long-forgotten love letters. I saw your stealthy glance as you broke off one small square and placed it in your mouth, closing your eyes in momentary bliss. You didn't see me as I snuck into the closing drawer to feast on your chocolate with my damp proboscis. Sometimes, being the fly on the wall has its advantages.
You were right about flying into Newark. Terrible. Safe in my hotel room I gazed out at Convent Station. My stomach rumbled. You never showed.
You were on my mind as I wandered into the burger place, bleary-eyed and exhausted. I could've sworn I saw a shark swim by. Jet lag, I thought.
From the bathroom stall I heard a scratchy, ripping sound. Then I saw your incriminating fin, hovering as you inspected your handiwork.
YOU was Velcroed under the women’s restroom sink at the Friendly's on Madison Avenue.
You’ll never see it again. You don’t fly out of Newark.
Hmmm. Whatever could this be in this unmarked package hidden behind the wet bar in my tipi?
Hiding You was so easy. You check in with the assistant to the assistant to the associate editor, and slip it in the piles and piles and PILES of slush.
You never thought this assistant would fall for the oldest trick in the book: she receives a bright, pink letter on flowery-smelling paper addressed to "Dear Sir" with a long-winded explanation about how my EXTREMELY RARE Arc of You somehow got mixed up with my query and sent to your address.
You can only smack your forehead and shake your head when the assistant overnights said copy postage paid!
You see you have to think like Janet Reid in order to do as she did. Everyone thinks of her as a “Shark”. Why wouldn’t they, she portrays herself as ruthless and cunning just like a real shark would. However, the truth of the matter is, she has a slight case of OSD(obsessive shark disorder). Meaning she loves sharks to the degree of obsession. Over to her shark tank in the Manhattan office I went, and underneath the tank I felt it, peeled it from under the tank and inside the manila envelope there was the “Arc”. I found it.
You hid it in the freezer. Because everyone hides stuff in the freezer. So no one with a brain hides anything important in the freezer. No one will look for it there.
The fact that it’s only one trip to retrieve the book AND the ice cream is merely a bonus.
You might move it, if you get nervous, or just want to be kooky. You’ll put it under the mattress. Because what kind of moron would hide something important under the mattress?
Too bad you didn’t realize I’m not above breaking and entering in pursuit of a book.
YOu charmed the geek god. He magically transformed it into an ebook. I slept with him. He whispered in my ear, "Google the ARC of YOU." I did. I found it. Never trust the geek god.
You think you’re bad ass? Huh? Well answer me this, friend, have you ever broken into the Museum of Natural History at night? Ever slipped your hand into a tank containing three snakes so poisonous that you’re surely dead if you even dare to look at them the wrong way? I didn’t think so. But then again, I doubt YOU could understand why I did it.
Professor Plum. Under the Slush Pile. In the closet.
She has YOU. You want to have YOU, too. You have a plan to make YOU yours. You saw her hiding YOU. She was too focused on YOU to notice you noticing her. But a shark in Central Park doesn't blend well, even in the dark.
She put YOU in a box beneath some rocks. Wearing socks, you sneak like a fox after that box under the rocks. You grab YOU, but freeze when hearing hissing. You fool! Of course the shark left a guard to turn you into chum. But wait – it’s just some passing bum! YOU is yours!
The book is in your hands, a godsent gift. But you know you must hide it, least the gods want it back.
You crouch in the corner of the New York office, in the shadows of bookcases. The tapping of keyboards is like the chirping of the rainforest in your ears, and the office mascot - an oversized toy snake - stares down at you from its perch.
Tasssste it, it hisses with the same voice that enticed Eve.
Yes. Of course. Where better to hide YOU than deep inside YOURSELF.
You tear the pages out, one by one. You munch and swallow them, one by one.
YOU is YOU.
You hid it, inside. Inside what? Inside everything.
Inside the concrete of a building that stretches up from a hot gray crowded sidewalk toward a free blue open sky.
Inside the drawer of a desk in a room where dreams die and live, mutate and evolve, sink and soar.
Inside the heart of a shark, the last place anyone would look.
You hid it, but not to hide it.
You hid it to be found.
Anyone who loves books would covet You. Anyone who loves books would not actually hide You away. It only makes sense that you would want to display, touch, and hold You whenever possible. You is no doubt hiding in plain sight, on a bookshelf. But not just on any bookshelf. You can’t have be sitting on your bookcase in the living or dining room. Nope. Only you can see it. So, it must be on the bookshelf in your bedroom. How would I steal it? Well, how does one get into another’s bedroom? Do you need a maid?
If you are interested in finding Janet Reid’s copy of ARC of YOU by Charles Benoit, the very first thing you must do is purchase coffee, chocolate, and whiskey. Instead of wasting too much time trying to get into her mind to figure out her perfect hiding place, ask if you can have a few minutes of her time. Janet is, after all, not the damn queen of England (even if she’s been throwing herself at Prince Andrew for years). She is polite and reasonable. Give her the coffee, the chocolate and flask of whiskey. Ask her for it, nicely.
You probably put it in the past. That's what I would have done. I'm always there on account of this ongoing list I have of people I gotta go back in time to sleep with. Once you're there though a body realizes a lot of getting to that special someone involves train travel or heaven preserve us carridges. You'd better bring a book. I mean, that's what I would do.
"For dog's sake, Janet! Marvin has enough of those paper teething toys you keep giving him."
Your email holds a dozen queries. The first confronts you with the dread question: Dear Agent, may I send you my book?
A wordless grumble, a quick delete. Another unknown writes, “Dear Ms. Reid,” followed by rambling without synopsis, chapters or contact information. You delete. More fruitless missives render you jumpy, irritable. Such is my aim: the last says, “Dear Janet, I am ripping your ARC page by page!”
Frantic, you pounce on your messenger satchel, assuring yourself the book lies whole and safe.
I watch, knowing my target now. A pity you will be mugged on the way home.
It's right next to the sign that says, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
My plan to get it? That's easy. I'll have a baby...Wait, I think shrinking my feet is the better option.
Lots of people come to Alaska to hide evidence.
Bartending at your hotel, I will befriend the staff with keys to the liquor cabinet. My forty-niner shots will have you drooling on the bar by 11 pm. You will then be escorted to your all night pitch party. The press release promised free booze and the famed agent. You will never get away from those deranged writers while I steal the book.
I will agree to return Miss Pink Octopus re-sewn minus the book, if you agree not to press charges after receiving your Amex bill for the party's tab.
You calculating Shark, you knew just what to do. That slithery Barbara Poelle is coming for you and YOU. So you hid it with the Asssssistant and the Godsend too, so it’ll be out of your fins when we start picketing 212.
Made it. Quick step left, back to the wall, breathe—your first since the snatch. Glance skyward. It’s the nonstop rain, temporary insanity, the mountain of waiting queries. You’re no thief. And yet… The stolen ARC clutched under your arm, under your trench. Forbidden fruit. A hasty turn almost lands an umbrella to the face. Townsend. Two quick blocks and you’re home, striding down the hall, the end is in sight. Freeze. Sirens? Breathe again, Assistant’s on Google Pacman. Mindless eating machine. Abandoned office—Evans is far away, triathlon. They’ll never suspect… her desk, second drawer from the left. Waiting.
We have a problem, you and I. The book is mine. No, rum won’t remediate our situation. But have a glass, my six fingered friend. By the stench of you, I’d say you purloined that two year chip on your key ring. What? Yes you arrived first, subdued the assistant and slew the serpent.
But I have the gun.
I cleaned and oiled it this morning. It’s in fine working order, I assure you. I’d rather not make a mess. Brain matter is impossible to get out of carpet. What? No, Scotchgard doesn’t make a difference. Give over the book.
Your first inkling that you are alive is the pain behind the eyes. You wonder if someone has hammered a knitting needle through your head during the stupor.
Then the pervasive scent of ‘piss-puck’ reminds you. A waterfront dive. The purloined ARC. One eye opens and surveys the gloom of the gin-mill. Another disheveled figure is slumped in the corner.
You wonder, “Is that Poelle?”
Worse. It’s Godsend. And you promised her parents...
Then you become aware of another presence in the room.
“Ms. Leeds, right? I’m auditioning agents for a fiction-novel I’ve wrote...”
The book comes flying. Got it.
It’s a city of millions who gaze at nothing as they ride the subway home. There’s a dullness in their eyes, and when you speak, nobody responds.
So you talk to the air, because nobody else will listen. It’s in here, inside me, you say, pulsing in my mind like the blood in my heart, and I’d share it, too, if they’d only pay attention.
But me, I’ll lift my eyes and meet yours. It’ll only be a moment and then my blood will throb with story, from my heart to my mind and back again.
You never hid YOU. As a shark, your instincts led you to strike. But hide? No. Such a prize would be circled, once picked from your teeth. You taunt us. Oh, you dare us to be your game.
So I’d place a life-size cutout of Barbara Poelle beside the tank with some shark-shaped cupcakes that you’ll take as bait. No doubt you’ll only see that tricky lure for a minute or so. That’s all I’d need—you see.
YOU and I will be up on Review Street.
The shark in you could be content with a cutout and cakes.
You sit on your comfy chair and felt something padding your chair. You frowned and placed your hand underneath yourself, groping for that thing hoping to find gold. You give it a tug and it torn off the chair.
With eyes wide, you look at it.
"Oh there you are!"
You stop and think about what you’re about to do. The door was wide open, and you walked right in. It isn’t like you’ve broken any laws. But you will. You think about where she would hide the ARC.
While you’re standing there looking for clues, your legs begin to weaken. The chair behind the desk invites you. You sit, empowered, imagining making deals with MacMillan or Pinguin. And then it hits you, right on top of the head. It fell off of the top shelf, and now it’s yours, the ARC and the headache that came with it.
Your invention awaits. "I will find YOU," you whisper as you make the final adjustments and strap in for the Einsteinian ride to come. Other temptations insinuate --lotteries, stocks, telepsychic fame--but you don't want any of those things. You have one goal -- surf to the final blog entry of the saga and discover the hidden location of YOU.
While your competition flounders in a sea of educated guesses, eyes watchful for the shark that cruises, you set the date dial of your time travel machine to May 23rd, one minute past high noon, Eastern time zone naturally.
You know I've never been to the 212, yet you slap me in the face with my ignorance. I crouch over my laptop, my gaze crawling the alien corridors of a city seen from space. I think how you must be laughing to know you've reduced me to this. A blurred shadow strides the ribbon of a sidewalk; is it you? Frozen in innocence months before this ARC, and its freight of resentment and longing, came between us?
I decide you've hidden the ARC in a mailbox, headed for someone else's address. The bitterness of your betrayal dries my mouth.
You know a pair of fake fake boobs when you see one, even without your reading glasses. So you're thinking, why would J.R. suddenly opt to sport such a thing? Is she out to impress her interns with her classically pert mock externs? Or is that reinforced bra of hers like a Bible book safe? A hidey hole for preciouses, tit bits?
Mad for the ARC, you contrive schemes involving magnets, fishing rods, and distracting bodybuilder dance troupes — even a magpie reared on Mission Impossible.
But it’s best to be up front about these things.
So you smile, ask politely.
Psst wise one. It arrived in Cyprus, no problems. Have fed the postal shark with rival agents. She arrives back around midnight, your time.
So you gonna make them guess where it is, or have you changed your mind on that one?
I found You and I hid You from you but not from You.
You've never set foot in the Bourough of Manhattan, the 212. You're from Miami, never even seen snow. You ask yourself, "What's a shark doing with the Arc in the 212?" It's time you get some answers. You embark on a journey that lands you at Grand Central Station where your feline informant awaits. He tells you, "You didn't hear this from me, but I tell ya this, the Arc is near by, closer than you think. And remember, use the cupcakes wisely." He hands you a baker's dozen with a note, "Get that shark, from the Rental Cat."
The sibilant sounds of Janet's Emerald Tree Boa reach your ears as you simultaneously spy him slithering over the wooden bookshelf. You spot the prize and reach toward it only to brush against the cool silkiness of the snake’s skin. You freeze. Being bitten isn’t on your agenda. He moves along, his glittering eyes watching you with a cold predatory stare. He is silently daring you to reach out and attempt to take the purloined book he guards. The black and red cover of the book is so very tempting. Holding your breath, you snatch it from the shelf!
Godsend? Assssistant? The 212? You know just where to find YOU, oh yes you do.
You slide your way over to where the Rejectionist works, a godsend of a blogger, an assistant to god knows who. You sneak soundly past reception, to the Rejectionist's little cube and distract her with a precioussss golden circle while you abscond with YOU.
You open the door to let Janet Reid in.
“A new book?” you say, glancing at the ARC in Reid’s clenched fist.
“Nobody gets this.” Her words burn like acid rain but you catch the title before it disappears into the bag with Maker’s Mark.
The cab stops. If Reid doesn’t want anyone to have this book, why is she here?
She seems to read your mind. But then, she reads a lot.
“Hide the best stuff in plain sight,” she yells as she storms past Patience and Fortitude.
You smirk. You are a librarian. You can find her book.
You and Kyle, chase the assssistent clutching YOU. Into YOUr E-reader it goes, hidden until YOUr gentle fingers release its text for only YOUr eyes to see. Kyle smiles at YOU or were those tears of sadness Mr.Chase shed because of Mr. Benoit. Only YOU know because YOU have the E-reader.
Oh where, oh where is the ARC of YOU?
You search and search for the right clue.
You monitor Janet's excellent blog,
Until your poor brain is lost in a fog.
Then you are on the edge of your seat,
When you notice a really good tweet.
YOU's on the desk of Suzie Townsend,
Somewhere near her deft mouse hand.
How to get it I'll tell you,
I'll say please and, of course, thank you.
Many years ago on a cold and rainy night, I dined with Sam Spade at the Oak Room in the Algonquin. Before dinner, as I relaxed and sipped on my Sloe Gin Fizz, he told me that the best hiding place is the underside of a chair.
Today, on a sunny May afternoon decades later... his tip came back to haunt me. I declared, "One more thing. I need to check the underside of SUZIE'S chair!"
Sam Spade's hiding tips were a godsend and my very own memories of a night so long ago solved the mystery.
You’re surprised at all the blood.
Your heart stops. Your hands sweat. Your skin goes cold. You realize.
Your 6000 followers are going to be pissed because that troublesome godsend/minion/friend in the 212 is a saboteur. She’s highjacked YOU and your contest.
You have one hour. Go. Stop at Hudson’s Yards Café, have a Bloody Mary to get you going. Now run. You may stop at the NY Public Library and search, but you want find it, even if the librarian helps you. Quick. Run to the Community Church of NY. Pray. Anything? No? Run. Stop. You are way wrong. Find 6th Ave. 24th street. Did I tell you to eat Thai? Look around. Inside the office, dummy. It’s on a black coat hanger. Beware the guard. Wait. I said 35th street, right? No? My bad. Time’s over.
You Janet have decided to resort to something so childishly disgusting, something more akin to what would be executed by a Jackass fan than your elegant, sharkly self. You decide to hide the book in plain sight but make sure no one will go near it.
By farting on it. 212 times.
You consume oodles of chili, boiled eggs, apple cider and every gaseous-engendering foodstuff you can think of, place the book under your lovely derriere, and explode away. 212 malodorous times. Then you just put it in a bag on your desk. No one dares to touch it!
You jump as the bike messenger whips by and you see the snake tattoo slithering sinously across his ripped shoulders. He gives you a half smile over his shoulder and you drown in his emerald eyes. You see the bulge, in his saddlebag. It is suddenly clear to you.
Scything through the 212 crowd, you follow. Six blocks later, he waits with a bottle of scotch and that same maddening smile.
"She told me you’d come for it," he said, opening the door. "But you have to get past me first."
Smiling, you follow, ready for the challenge.
You sit back in your chair and cackle as desperate, slopped together comments come streaming in. There is no book. In fact, there is no competition. This is just your sick idea of a joke, like a cat toying with a mouse. Or perhaps a shark and a minnow…
You haven’t scuba dived since Grand Cayman; the soft pressure of the wetsuit and the hiss of breath in your ears bring back blue water and bright cocktails. But the East River ain’t the Caribbean.
Your flashlight beam slices the swirling murk as you search. It's so close you can taste it.
A sudden rush of cold water buffets you, and you cut the lamp sideways. Light slides across a grey-finned form. Your stomach lurches. You backpaddle wildly, heartbeats drowning the sound of your breathing, and then you see her: sleek skin, razor-edged grin, ice-chip eyes. Her mouth gapes wide.
YOU with Susie, the interloper, never. YOU in the dark waiting for the movie to come out...to start. Janet is real one, Susie is...
Hey...ah...does anybody know what's really going on?
My head hurts.
And did Suzie's fiance really say no, after she said yes to the dress?
YOU sad...YOU mad.
I'M STARTING MY OWN CONTEST
Rules - none
Word count - who cares
Prize - a $6000.00 wedding dress.
The scene plays out in your head.
Last call for Delta flight 1027 to Rio de janeiro. You try and picture her, pacing, nails gnawed to the quick, checking the handheld...waiting for him.
Got news for you Medusa, he's banging in today and banging me tonight.
What's that? Graham promised you?. News flash, never mix business with pleasure. Sorry to black rain all over your parade.
You want to read the "Arc of You" and can't wait until he brings it to you.
You shoulder through the crowd on Mott and push open the door plastered with cheesy paper decorations. Ignore the tourists slurping noodles and the hipsters smirking at the tourists. Elbow aside the skinny waiter who tries to keep you out of the kitchen. The woks and pots clang and the Cantonese consonants clang louder. There, hanging from a meathook above the bubbling soup pots – the unmistakable shape of a shark’s fin. You grab a slimy fillet knife and hack away a sinewy slab of tofu. The book’s inside, right where you stashed it, at Wen Jiao’s* Vegan Chinese.
*A final clue, if the characters show up for you: the name in Chinese is 文鮫. As if you hadn’t guessed.
You’re surprised at all the blood
Your hijack attempt, a dud.
Your blue jeans and your little black shoes
Just last weekend made all the news.
Janet Reid needed a fighter
So she called on a Pennwriter
Who appeared on a lark:
“Victim of Query Shark.”
“Minion,” she said
“I want Suzie’s head.”
“Consider it done,
You’ve called the right one.”
VQS jumped in her car
212 wasn’t too far.
You don’t stand a chance
I will make you blanch.
There’s already a log
On the Working Stiffs blog.
So go there to see
What happened to ST.
You are hiding in the shadows, lurking. You learn the meaning of 212.
The Shark's lair.
You move into position and wait. You close your eyes and imagine the words of YOU appearing in front of you.
Your eyes snap open. YOU is close. Too close. It's on the move - without the Shark.
Kidnapped. Your prize is being kidnapped.
You smile. There is still time. You can wait for the Shark's triumphant return from the recovery mission. She will be euphoric, wanting more action.
You fill water guns with drug-laced blood.
YOU will be yours.
How you got into this mess is a worry for another time. First you have to convince her not to kill you. She could shoot you and not do a lick of jail time. Your act of home invasion makes it her legal right. Suddenly, you no longer want the book you're holding. Five minutes ago, before you were caught, when you were still trying to find where she hid it, nothing else mattered. Now you are about to beg for her compassion. A far cry from the blackmailing you planned to do on her once you got the ARC.
Post a Comment