The fallout was even worse than they had imagined. For years, it had been a closely guarded secret, well, not a secret exactly, but close to it. It was common knowledge that devices like the one in question existed and even that they were utilized by a few people in the trade, but it was also conveniently forgotten; like the crazy uncle everyone knows about but no one mentions. “Ok Marcie, damage control- go,” Nathaniel, a craggy-faced man with greying temples and a few too many wrinkles for his 48 years looked to his junior partner, a young but highly capable young woman with nothing but potential. Her career was on the fast track in the highly competitive world of publishing… but all that might change in the next 18 hours.
“Plausible denial, sir. We provide J.P. with a statement, one that he can ad lib a little, and redirect the focus. Place the blame on the corporation,” Marcie held up her hand, when she saw Nathaniel’s’ violent reaction to her last suggestion. “Now just hear me out, sir. We divert all attention away from J.P., he can claim he submitted an original manuscript to the corporation and then claim that beyond that step he would have had no idea of a ‘switch’ until it was published and on bookshelves. Instantly he is transformed from a soulless sellout to the victimized dreamer. We’ll line up a slew of interviews, Regis & Kelly, Piers Morgan, Dave, the Today Show, all of the usual suspects. They’ll cart him out and he’ll sit there, appropriately wounded and crestfallen. He’ll pander to the sympathetic hosts, feign outrage and disgust as one more artist misused by a faceless corporation, the whole bit. They’ll be eating out of his hands in no time and the public will be quick to follow,” Marcie looked at her boss and tried to hide the look of triumph on her face. She was unsuccessful.
“OK smart guy, what do we do about keeping the big boys happy in all this? They are not going to like the attention being turned in their direction,” Nathaniel had a tendency to refer to Marcie in masculine terms, due partly to his history of hiring only men, but also as a result of Marcie’s fondness for menswear and her habit of keeping the thick mass of her chestnut hair buzzed short around the ears, leaving it only a little longer on top. She had a striking resemblance to a young Patrick Swayze.
“That’s the best part, boss,” Marcie didn’t miss a beat (she secretly liked that Nathaniel thoughts of her as ‘one of the guys’) “The bait and switch routine with J.P. will buy us a little time. While J.P. is on the interview circuit we’ll have time to bury the ‘real’ culprit in legalese and send anyone wanting to dig on a wild goose chase. Of course a villain will have to be produced eventually, the media needs someone to crucify and we need something to take the heat. So…” Marcie paused for a dramatic effect (something she had picked up from her years around story-tellers, authors and politicians alike), “we hand them a low-level copy editor determined to get his story to the masses at any cost. He’ll be fictitious of course, but as long as we throw the media a juicy-enough bone, they’ll be satisfied and point their noses towards the next story… no one will ever need to know the villain doesn’t actually exist,” Marcie crossed her arms across her chest and waited for a reaction.
Several silent minutes passed. In the darkness of the dimmed office, Marcie began to wonder if her boss had drifted off. Leaning forward a little, careful not to slide off the top of the desk she had been sitting on, Marcie was just about to tap Nathaniel on the shoulder when he leapt out of his chair. “Kid, I think you may be on to something there… now there are a few holes I can see, but by God I think we could pull this off!” He almost yelled in relief. “Ok, first things first, grab some markers and pull that dry-erase board over here. We have to hammer out all the details, come up with a believable script for J.P., schedule the interviews and create our scapegoat. Ring up Mike and Jackson and tell them to get their asses up here, we’ve got work to do!” Nathaniel was practically giddy; Marcie had never seen him so enthused.
“And tell them boys to pick up some grub on the way, and lots of coffee. Creating a cover-up for a cover-up is gonna take all night,” Nathaniel was already beginning to scratch out some things on the dry-erase board. Marcie couldn’t help smile to herself. “Who knew that her participation in the massive scandal of the forgery of the most beloved series of young-adult fiction novels in a century might actually lead to something other than absolute ruination,” she thought to herself.
And we return now, to our top story. Now this story has fascinated the nation since it first broke last Tuesday, when the beloved Unicorn Travels series author was accused of fraud when it appeared that the outrageously successful, best-seller books supposedly written by J.P. Newcastle were actually being written by specially-designed computers. Well, now sources are reporting that this story gets even more bizarre when Newcastle appeared on The Today Show and revealed that he was as surprised by this realization as the rest of us. We go now to that clip…
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Writers block stinks. I had it bad today. I blame it on the weather (that’s always convenient) as it was a pretty nasty day today here in good ol Flor-i-da. Getting drenched on my frantic run which quickly turned into a defeated fastwalk to my car (the ONE day I forget my umbrella!) I thought I would snuggle on the couch and contentedly write about… well, I figured it would come to me.
Fast-forward four hours later and still nothing. My usual decorum (haha!) began to wear thin… “I want this story to write itself!” I pouted, tossing my head back dramatically on the couch. And that’s when inspiration struck. What if a story could write itself? What if world-renowned authors, once they got a few best-sellers under their belt, just sort of… phoned it in? What if they could upload their past work, a few themes they’ve been knocking around, some character names and descriptions, maybe a possible ending or two and KA-POW!!! fiction is created! Genius… someone get on this right away (I have almost 300 days left of this craziness, I’m going to need the help).
TWO: This idea was partially inspired by an article I read today on FOX News about the president using an autopen to sign into law an extension of the Patriot Act that was about to expire (he being of the country at the time couldn’t physically be there to sign before the act expired). It struck me as pretty interesting that Presidents (yes, other presidents have been using this technology for years) and other big-wigs have an actual machine that does the heavy-lifting when it comes to providing their John Hancock (I don’t believe Hancock used an autopen for his famous signature, but don’t quote me on that). Anywho, if you’re interested here’s a link to the article: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/26/white-house-remains-mum-on-use-autopen-to-sign-legislation/
Love & Squirrels.