New Flash Fic – Writer’s Tour

Part of my flash fic initiative, here’s a tour of the near future. Thank you, Simone!


“Welcome everyone to the Writer’s Virtual Walking Tour. Make sure your visors are secure before we begin. The miracle of new TruView technology allows us a glimpse into the minds of fellow wearers, especially those who have onerous contracts with the company. You can look through their eyes, and see what their lives are all about. If you’re secure, we will begin. Follow me.”

A brief moment of blackness is followed by a title card, reading “Elliott Kavitski, the “it boy” of the moment, known for his award winning book Everything is Negotiable, a book about an upper middle class white family torn apart by the patriarch’s affair with a friend of his teenage daughter.”

After a minute, the title card fades out to a neatly appointed apartment, that looks like it has been professionally cleaned. The point of view seems to be a man sitting on his couch, with a muted TV silently playing Shawshank Redemption. There is a laptop on his coffee table, open to a blank text document. He sounds like he’s on the phone. “No, I said extra pepperoni. Why would I order a pepperoni pizza without pepperoni? Who does that?”

“As you can see, Elliott is taking a break. Writers take a lot of breaks. Some take breaks lasting years. They can be vital for a writer to recharge the imaginative and psychic batteries. They can also be lazy bastards. It’s hard to tell the difference, especially for the writers themselves. One way you can tell the difference is … well, I’ll get back to you on that one.”

The scene fades to black as Elliott continues fighting with the pizza place. A new title card comes up. “Amanda Swope, writer of Amazon’s most popular romance novel this year, The Highlander’s Bride’s Secret Inheritance.”

The title card fades out, and reveals a drab waiting room, full of people slumped in plastic chairs. No one looks especially happy to be there. Amanda is looking between the people and her many years out of date Windows computer. “Ah, here we find Amanda at her day job, working for the DMV. Many of your favorite authors still have day jobs, because Amazon sucks and publishers suck, and contracts suck, and pirates suck, and basically everybody wants content without having to pay for it. Which reminds me, we already have all of your details, and you have all been charged for this tour. Thank you very much.”

The scene fades to black as Amanda helps a person renew their license, and a new title card pops up. “Richard Honeycutt, best selling author of many well known titles, including the Jack Brent series, the David Vincent mysteries, and the Hank Bryan CIA Assassin series.”

The card disappears, revealing someone’s feet bobbing in a sort of jacuzzi bathtub, while, in the immediate foreground, someone plays a game on their phone, which seems to be safe inside a waterproof bag. “We often find Mr. Honeycutt here. You may be wondering, since he seems to have a dozen books out in a year, how this is possible. Well, sorry fans, but Mr. Honeycutt is a brand. Which means his books are often ghostwritten, or written in conjunction with another author, who is the true author of the book. Honeycutt is just letting them use his characters. Before you ask, yes, this is essentially approved fan fiction, but because these are mainstream fiction and “men’s fiction”, it’s okay. There are unwritten rules for who is allowed to do what and under what rules, and most of it, much like life, is bullshit.”

There is an extended sequence of watching Honeycutt play a game on his phone. Eventually, over the burbling of the water, soft jazz can be faintly heard. It adds to the tedium. Mercifully, the scene finally fades to black.

“Thank you very much for coming on the tour today, and remember our motto : no refunds. And next week, we hope to check in with best selling self-help author Doctor Michael Frelling, author of Grow A Pair and Stop Blaming Others For Your Problems, as he is expected to be released from rehab at that time. There will be an extra charge if you’d like to see how he’s doing in divorce court. Please rate us highly on Yelp.”


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