I got called into my publisher’s office, which felt about like getting called into the principal’s office. They told me they wanted to do a book trailer for my memoir.
“What is that? Like a food truck for books?”
“A book trailer,” the intern’s assistant’s intern said. “It’s like a movie trailer but for books. You know, ‘In a world . . . where blah blah blah.’”
“That sounds horrible. I’m not doing that.”
“It’s in the contract. This is your chance to have some input. Otherwise I’ll have my indentured servant write the script.”
So I went home and knocked out a script for the book trailer:
EXT. INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION – SPACE
A shot of space. Now the Earth. We HEAR ominous piano MUSIC.
In a world.
Zoom in to the United States.
Where serious authors.
Zoom in to New York.
Have to make movie trailers for their books.
Zoom in to a Barnes & Noble and a poster for Barn Again: A Memoir on the window. A gorgeous woman, tastefully but revealingly dressed, and a sickeningly handsome man are staring at it in awe and nodding their heads. They hold hands and skip into the bookstore.
Green MPAA rating screen that appears before movie trailers. It looks just like the normal screen but announces that the book advertised has been rated V for VOCABULARY.
And satire is impossible because everything is already a parody of itself.
EXT. DESERT – DAY
A gruff-looking man stands in the desert. This is JOHNNY BARNARD. He is disheveled with a scraggly beard. He wears a brown corduroy jacket and holds a bazooka.
He aims the bazooka at the camera. We HEAR screechy high notes from the piano MUSIC. We see a succession of the BARNARD’s mug shots.
Will find a way.
Crashing dramatic MUSIC.
To sell books.
INT. BOOKSTORE – DAY
The man with the bazooka, without the bazooka now, signs books for a horde of hungry readers.
EXT. ANYWHERE – DAY
EXT. CLIFF – DAY
A random person hangs from a cliff.
A bald eagle flies past SCREECHING. We follow it through the sky.
The bird defecates and we follow its excretion down, down, down, to:
EXT. STADIUM – DAY
A deaf person SINGS the national anthem over a
– A raging wildfire.
– An F-5 tornado destroying a town.
– A great white shark coughing up a shin.
From America’s second-most dangerous writer. Comes the third-most anticipated memoir. Of the millennium.
– A sea star with its guts out digesting a crab.
Barn Again-gain-gain-gain. A Memoir-oir-oir-oir.
– An island of plastic in the ocean. Extremely dissonant MUSIC.
– A giant fish kill.
– Snow-capped mountains.
FADE TO BLACK INSIDE A DOG’S WINKING ASSHOLE
I don’t think they ever did anything with it.
Alan Good’s writing has appeared in Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Bookslut, The Legendary, Atticus Review, and Word Riot. This piece is an excerpt from his novel Barn Again: A Memoir, a historical fantasy set in a parallel section of the multiverse in which agents still represent, publishers still publish, and readers still read literary fiction. You can follow Alan on Twitter, or check out his website.