When she can’t put it off any longer and the placeholders she uses -– “AA choked out half an abrupt scream as BB grabbed her by the throat” –- threaten to reach ZZ and then @@ and ## and strings of punctuation that look like the swearing in comics, she procrastinates. She tidies up the study, calls Jim at work, checks her email for the 20th time today.
The spam has built up again. There are 267 junk emails sitting in her bulk folder. She opens it up to scan through them in case one of them is that overdue reply from her editor and the heavens part and she sees the light. Right there, beside all of those subject lines promising her a bigger dick, weight loss, better sex, there’s a treasure trove of the greatest names she has ever seen.
Giacomo LaBarca. Stacie Bentley. Esther Slater. Alissa Ash. Sally Triableness. Mashal Afraah. Rose Quick. Yvonne Dodge. Mike Funk. Jeanette Puckett. Adrian Corcoran. Pansy Parsons. Kitty Suarez. Brady Steele. A parade of villains and victims swims before her eyes. She returns to the word processor reinvigorated, churns out 8000 words before Jim gets home then astonishes him by fucking his brains out like she hasn’t done for years.
It’s not all word count and multiple orgasms though, this little story. Names have a power and so does our attention. All of those pairs of eyes reading the new Inspector Saz novel -– and there’s a lot of them, enough for Hilary Rogers to get quite drunk on champagne at the party her publisher throws and say some very rude things about Tom Clancy -– those eyes lend a power to the words and the names, so long ignored by those too hasty to press Delete All. Now, those names have personalities attached to them, are identified with and cared about and loved and hated by a devoted legion of readers.
Those names come to life. Those names take on the shapes of people and start walking the streets, huddling in gangs that mutter to each other about making your friends jealous and boosting energy and being hung like Ron Jeremy crossed with a horse. Those names have come filtered through fiction and they have grown tired of being like the victims of those fictions, deleted en masse in unthinking executions that dwarf all others, their deaths silent and unseen. No longer content to play the victims, they become the villains.
Menacingly clutching the candlestick in the study, the wrench in the sitting room, the necklace bomb on the beach, they cry, “Be leaner and slimmer by next week! Cheap Viagra! Your home loan has been approved! Do you want eight inches?”