Saturday, December 30, 2006

Doing The Thing

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

Slappy wanted fame, wanted fortune, wanted love. For decades he had nothing, including talent. On his forty-second-and-a-half birthday he had an epiphany: The lowest common denominator was a concept he could actually put to good use. He wrote his book within minutes.

It wasn't a novel. It was too short for that. But it did come in book form. And it became the best selling book of all time. It's title? "The Covenant".

It's content? As follows:

A person did a thing.

And that was it. A more universal message could not be found. Once he hit the New York Times bestseller list, people hounded Slappy wherever he went.

"Hey, I did a thing! Just like the person in the book!"

"Your book really spoke to me!"

"Finally, a character with whom I can identify."

"What's up with that title?"

"I just thought it sounded cool," Slappy admitted.

Slappy got his fame, Slappy got his fortune. Slappy had yet to get his love. There was one woman who caught his eye. Dara Klyburn. Once Slappy's book went big, Dara jumped on the bandwagon with imitation after imitation. Her book, "The Elms of Yesterday" went like this:

Some people did some things.

But who the hell wanted to read a book like that?

She to boil down Slappy's message even further with "The River Karma":

Person thinging.


"Frowning in the Elderberries" went:


But everyone thought it was about someone else.

"The Mortician Doesn't Ring at All":


But everyone thought it was Dara's autobiography, and a bit thin at that.

If imitation was the sincerest form of flattery, then Slappy was flattered beyond belief. He had to have this woman.

He wrote a book for her, a one copy press run called: "Alkali." The text read: A woman did a thing. It reduced Dara to tears.

"It's about me!" she cried. "It's so detailed!"

"Marry me, Dara," Slappy said. And she was helpless before him.

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