I received correspondence today from the vanity press that keeps contacting me. You remember this from such escapades as Nathan’s going to publish my manifesto and Suggestions for Nathan regarding my manifesto and A Mouthful of Marbles and Nathan’s gone missing.
A woman called “Cherie [REDACTED] a Publishing Consultant from [REDACTED]” contacted me today. Below is my reply to her request for information as to whether I am still interested the publishing services provided by the vanity press for which she works.
Dear Cherie a Publishing Consultant with [vanity press],
That sure is a long name.
I knew a girl in University called Cherie, except she spelled it Cherrie, which always made me want to pronounce her name “cherry”, and that’s pretty much a stripper name, don’t you think? Not that there’s anything wrong with strippers, although I do wonder sometimes if they actually use their real names or if they dance under some kind of nom de plume. I guess it wouldn’t be called a “pen name” if you’re a stripper. It’d be more like a nom du bâton, I guess. It just seems weird to say “pole name”, kind of like you’re making fun of Polish people. Then again, if you’re like me, every time you see the word “Polish”, you pronounce it “polish”, like shoe polish. My friend had this cruddy old car and he had a bumper sticker on it that said “Polish Mercedes”, and his family really is Polish, but I didn’t get the joke until he sold the car because I kept reading “polish”. It’s weird how words can look one way but then say something completely different.
Cherie, I’m going to choose to pronounce your name “Sherry” and not “Sha-REE”, like the Cajun woman on Bones says “cherie”, which is actually the right way to say it if you’re French, which I’m not, and since you didn’t send a pronunciation guide with your letter, I think I’ll just go with “sherry” like the drink. I’m not even going to try your whole name because that’s an awful lot of letters and I’m the sort of person who always errs on the side of brevity. If I’m doing that wrong, I guess that’ll just be my cross to bear. Which reminds me, Easter’s coming up so if you’re one of those people who does the live crucifixion things, let me be the first to wish you a good hang. And if you’re, like, Jewish or whatever, let me be the first to agree that Christians are wacked. And by ‘wacked’ here, I mean ‘crazy’, and not ‘the bomb’ or whatever. You know what I mean. With a hipster name like “Cherie”, you’re probably seven steps ahead of me already.
I have a bit of a sensitive question for you, Cherie. Do you know Nathan? If you don’t, you should ask that bitch Jan about him. Nathan was working on my manifesto, and then all of a sudden he sent me this weird garbled message about some kind of super important information and then I never heard from him again. Then JAN called me. That’s a little strange, wouldn’t you say? I mean, if this were one of those crime dramas on television or whatever, you’d be getting ready to start accusing the butler or the little blonde kid down the street, wouldn’t you? Everyone always blames the little blonde kid down the street, although usually that’s because those little buggers are up to no good. I can say this with conviction because I was a little blonde kid down the street and although I never threw rocks through anyone’s window or anything, there were times when I peed on their lawns when they weren’t looking.
You’re probably thinking that’s impossible, but I assure you, Cherie, with enough root beer and determination, you can take over the world. Pop rocks help too, although don’t mix the pop rocks with the root beer because that’ll make your stomach explode. I didn’t see it happen but my friend’s cousin’s neighbour’s dog’s former owner had a kid who ate, like, a whole packet of pop rocks and then guzzled some cola and the next thing you know it was all Hellraiser all up in that kid’s kitchen. My friend’s cousin said they were cleaning bits of that kid out of the microwave hood for weeks. They should probably put warning labels on pop rocks so that kids stop exploding all over the place.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure JAN did something to Nathan, and I suspect the reason you’re contacting me now is that JAN skipped town with her Portuguese lap dancer who bears a striking resemblance to Tommy Smothers. I don’t know this for sure of course; it just seems like JAN is the sort of person who’d have a Portuguese lap dancer who looks like Tommy Smothers for a lover. Personally, I don’t care who JAN sleeps with as long as I get Nathan back. He was working really hard on my manifesto. We talked about editors and how to come up with a title and who he was going to get to play in the movie adaptation of my book. But that’s old news. Probably I’m just going to have to accept that Nathan’s never coming back. That he’s probably lying in the bottom of some dirt-strewn hole somewhere in JAN’s condo complex, trying to sustain himself by eating his own fingernails and singing the Little Engine that Could, you know, just to keep his spirits up.
I’m going to miss that guy. He was a really good publisher, Cherie. I was really excited when he first contacted me too. But I guess I’m going to have to start over at the beginning now that you’re my publisher. Which is actually okay because things have kind of changed focus since Nathan got in touch with me earlier this winter.
Originally I was going to do this, like, manifesto or whatever? Like a kind of how-to book for people looking to establish fascist dictatorships and take over the world? Kind of like Stephen Harper? Or, you know, Vladimir Poutine? I think that’s his name – the guy who wants to force everyone in Quebec to dress like Russians when they’re at church? I actually don’t pay any attention to politics because the last time I voted, there was this old lady in queue and I think she had bladder problems or something because she kind of smelled like wee, and that really just ruined the whole experience for me. Voting should be fun, like a big party or whatever, with free drinks and bandages for everyone, but if you’re just going to go around smelling like wee all the time, maybe you should just stay home. I was going to put that in my manifesto, Cherie. The bit about if you smell like wee you shouldn’t vote? But then my mom said that what if there are people in wheelchairs who can’t get to the loo and I said “you mean WEEchairs?”, which I thought was pretty funny but my mom said it was actually kind of mean so I guess I just won’t put anything about cripples or old people in my manifesto at all in order to make sure that nobody gets picked on.
It’s not like I was going to pick on cripples. I was just going to make a joke at their expense. Everyone does that so it’s not like I’m some kind of hater or anything. I mean, I love fags, even though you’re not supposed to call them fags anymore unless you live in Arizona or whatever, but that’s just a really fun word, don’t you think? My new book is going to be called “Dan the Fag” and it’s going to be about this guy who thinks he’s gay but he’s not sure even though he only ever has sex with other men. Oh, and Dan totally is gay, by the way, but it’s not going to be all schmaltzy and romancey; it’s going to be a serious book about how difficult it is to be gay in today’s world of fast-paced insider trading and left-wing fanatics trying to force everyone to like everyone else even though there are perfectly legitimate reasons to hate lots of people, like BO for instance. I don’t think there’s anything in the charter of rights and freedoms that says you can’t hate someone if they have really, really bad BO.
So anyway, yeah. The focus of my book has totally changed; I hope that’s not a problem for you. Your email says that you’ve published more than 45,000 titles, and I have a question about that actually. My question isn’t about your brazen use of a comma splice (although that was *very* brave), but more technical. When you say you’ve published more than 45,000 titles, do you mean just the titles, or do you mean the actual books too? Because I’m not sure how lucrative the title publishing business is. I don’t know much about this business at all, to be honest with you, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a title store, so if you can just tell me how much I can expect to make off of selling my titles, that’ll be awesome. I mean, it’s way less work to just write a title than it is to write a book, and really who wants to sit in the basement up to their ankles in raw sewage for two weeks writing a novel if they don’t have to? Me, that’s who.
You also mentioned something about your marking services, and I’m just wondering if you actually use a red pen or if you do that really annoying thing where you write down all of the errors in like an email or whatever and then send me the email? I’d rather you use a red pen because I get lost sometimes when I read email. I admit, I’m a skimmer. I’m not as bad as Dorothy, though. You can send that woman an email and she won’t even read past the first line unless you throw a whole bunch of pictures of cats in there and then put the important thing you wanted to tell her right at the bottom below “share this if you want something good to happen to you within five days”.
Oh, my bad. You said ‘marketing’, not marking. That’s a little embarrassing. I don’t even know what marketing is. I mean, you hear about it all the time on CBC, and they have that dude on that show about the dragons, and he’s also on CBC talking about markets and that kind of stuff, but all I can think about when I see him is how much he looks like the blue Muppet who always goes in to Grover’s diner and then Grover mixes up his order and he starts yelling. Those were some of my favourite skits on Sesame Street. That blue dude was so uptight, and Grover was just trying to be helpful, and it always ended up backwards somehow.
I’m guessing that marketing makes you really uptight because I just can’t get over how that business and marketing dude from the dragon show is always really uptight. He talks about himself a lot too, so I guess when you do marketing you kind of have to be really full of yourself. I’m not really comfortable talking about myself, as you can tell, so I’m glad that you are going to do all the marketing for me. I’m not sure if the book signings are part of that or not, or if I should bring this up in another email, but since Nathan never got back to me about my Australian book tour, I kind of had to cancel it and now it’s autumn over there because everything that happens in Australia is either poisonous or upside-down and I don’t want to leave here in winter to go there in winter.
Actually, I can never remember the difference between poisonous and venomous, just like I can never remember whether lay is transitive or intransitive and really who makes up these stupid rules anyway? I’m sure when you get Neil Gaiman to be my editor, he’ll help you figure those things out. I don’t think he’s Australian or anything but his wife doesn’t shave her armpits and she tours in Australia all the time so I suspect between the two of them they know a lot about that sort of thing. It’s going to be exciting to have someone who doesn’t shave their armpits editing my manuscript.
I’ve decided I’m going to start calling it a manuscript because that whole manifesto thing was more of a thing I had with Nathan, and now that we’re moving on to a more professional relationship, it just makes sense that we’d use more professional language like “manuscript” instead of manifesto and “stool” instead of poop. Did you ever wonder why “manuscript” and “manscaping” are such similar words? I think I’ll include a chapter about that in my new book “Dan the Fag”.
Does it matter if you’re not gay if you want to write a book about gay people? I’m pretty sure I’m more than capable of doing it because I have a gay friend and he tells me shit all the time like how he actually DOESN’T want to have sex with every guy he meets. Can you imagine? We’ve been wrong about that all this time. Anyway, my book isn’t going to be about BEING gay. It’s going to be about how difficult it IS to be gay. There’s a subtle difference there, Cherie, but I know you caught on right away.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of my new book idea. I guess since JAN murdered Nathan or whatever, you probably haven’t processed my advance, so let’s talk about that okay? Nathan said you were going to give me $500,000, and I totally need that right away because Uncle Danny’s second last two fingers are starting to give him some real trouble and I still need that operation on my foot. Although I banged it against the couch leg the other day and that seems to have really helped, so I don’t know; maybe I can get away with $300,000 for now.
Thanks, Cherie! I look forward to hearing from you!