Chapter Eleven

   (Editor's Note: He's not back. This is the second time a chapter's started without him, and we're losing our patience. It's not like we're ready to call the airports and throw a net around the city -- we only gave him a $7500 advance -- but he does have a responsibility to his readers, as well as to his publisher, to deliver on his promise of a novel based on the hallucinogenic ramblings of a confused, disoriented, deluded -- )
   I'm back! And you know what? I'm not going to worry about the money anymore. Why should I? It's gone! It's more important to just write and see where it goes, see what happens, see where it takes me, see who I meet along the way. Oh, hello, how are you? You're new here, aren't you?
   "You talkin' to me?"
   Very funny. Was that an impression?
   "No. And, who are you?"
   Me? I'm just the writer. The author. And who are you? as if I didn't know.
   "Well, if you know, why'd you ask?"
   Actually, I don't know. I don't work out all the details before I write. I leave a lot to chance, a lot of little things like names, the smaller elements -- I'll let them develop naturally, within the rhythm of the piece. I really hadn't thought about you yet.
   "Sounds like experimental writing to me."
   It is, sort of.
   "Experimental writing is the reason they invented shredding machines."
   Great, another wise guy.
   "You should give the money back. You should be ashamed of yourself. This is insulting. Anyone who reads this should demand their money back."
   Okay, okay, I respect your right to have a repellant opinion. When did you buy this book?
   "Oh, uh, today -- I mean I haven't bought it yet, I'm just thumbing through it to see if I want to buy it."
   Thumbing through it? But you're going to buy it, right? Because now you're in it. Right?
   "I may just take myself out of it."
   Oh yeah? How?
   "I'm certainly not going to tell you."
   Listen up -- I can take you out of the book anytime I want to, but you can't do anything without my thinking of it in the first place. Nothing.
   "We'll see."
   Yeah, we'll see.
   "Excuse me, Jim."
   Yes, Maureen?
   "Do you need me anymore? Can I go?"
   Go? Where are you going?
   "I don't know, I have a few errands to run."
   You do? What kind of errands?
   "Oh, a little shopping, I need some keys copied, that sort of thing."
   Go ahead. What can I say? What are the legal and civil rights of fictional characters? (I'll check -- Ed.) Go ahead, Maureen.
   She's gone. She's got a right to go, I guess. Doesn't she? Is that the phone? Why am I asking you?
   "Uh yeah, hi, remember me? I talked to you earlier."
   You sound familiar. The aspiring writer? How are you able to call me on the phone? That's conceptually impossible.
   "So what else is new? Take the call, at least."
   Okay. What is it?
   "I had a hunch, just a hunch now, I don't know what made me think of it, but -- is this being written backwards?"
   What do you mean, backwards? Am I writing in a backwards motion? Is my back to the computer screen?
   "No. Is the structure, the plot, being written in reverse order? Did you write the ending first?"
   I wish I had.
   "So, this is being written in sequence?"
   What kind of a stupid question is that?
   "It's not stupid. Most stories are constructed in reverse. The ending is decided upon, and then the story that leads up to it is filled in."
   Who told you that, Professor Backwards? This is ridiculous. I don't know why I waste my time with these things. It just proves that the brain is filled with lots of meaningless, extraneous trivia, insignificant effluvia, not worth the time I just took to describe it.
   "Do you have an agent?"
   An agent? Help! I'm hanging up on you, pal. There, I hung up. Now I'll -- hey! Are you still here?
   "None of this makes sense. None of it."
   So, leave. No one's forcing you to stay. Go on, get out. Scram.
   "This door?"
   No, the one next to it.

(This ends Chapter Eleven, and just in time.)

Chapter Twelve