Chapter Thirty-eight

   Call me Ishmael. Call me crazy. Call me irresponsible. Just don't call me late for dinner. I stole that from Joyce. Joyce Kilmer. Let's start again, okay?
   It was getting late -- maybe it was nine-thirty, maybe it was a quarter-to-ten, maybe it was ten of -- anyway, I was closing up shop. When you're in the business of making things up, like I am, the hours can be long, and hard, and lonely. They say there's no one lonelier than the man who has to describe how there's no one lonelier than the man who has to figure out how to end this sentence.
   So, it was getting late as I lowered the shades, locked the door, walked out -- no, that should be -- walked out, then locked the door, then pressed the button for the elevator -- the down button -- and noticed, to my extreme disappointment, that I was not alone.
   "Mr. Reynolds?" someone asked.
   "Call me Ishmael," I joked, but --
   "Mr. Reynolds? This is for you."
   I turned around and there, staring me right in the face -- a subpoena. And then...
   (Yes? And then... what? -- Ed.)
   (And then? And then? Hey! What gives? -- Ed.)
   "Jim? Jim?"
   (He's gone -- Ed.)
   (Editor's Note: He's gone? Where did he go?)
   "Jim? He'll be back, I'm positive, I'm positive. Jim?"
   (Editor's Note: Look, if he's gone and refuses to write, then let's find someone who will. Whatever it takes. This book must get written so that we can get it out of our inventory!)
   "Jim? Jim? It's Maureen, Jim. Aren't you going to say anything? Jim?"
   ("What's the matter, Jimmy Boy? Got the shakes? I had 'em plenty of times, my boy, plenty of times. But it's like hitting your way out of a slump in baseball, you just get back up to the plate and swing away" -- Kurt Vonnegut) (He's not talking. Or writing -- Ed.)
   (Editor's Note: Then let's bring someone in here who will! Understood?) (Understood -- Ed.)
   "You can't do that! This is Jim's book, or so we've been led to believe."
   (Editor's Note: What choice have we? Don't worry. We'll find someone who can write in his style.) (I've got a suggestion -- Ed.)
   (Editor's Note: Who?) (He's someone we all know -- Ed.)
   "Who, me?"
   (Editor's Note: Who, her?) (Nope -- Ed.)
   "Then who?"
   (Editor's Note: Yeah, who?) (Mr. Vonnegut -- Ed.)
   (Editor's Note: Kurt Vonnegut?)
   "Kurt Vonnegut?"
   ("I'll do it!" -- Kurt Vonnegut) (You will? -- Ed.)
   (Editor' Note: We'd be honored, but -- wouldn't you prefer to, uh, start from the beginning?)
   ("Not so fast -- I'm only going to simulate, emulate, the style of my good friend Jim Reynolds. Don't try to sneak any fast ones by me 'cause I'm not biting!" -- Kurt Vonnegut)
   "So, you mean you'll pick up where Jim left off and continue writing in his style?"
   ("I'll try -- at least until your boyfriend returns to his senses" -- Kurt Vonnegut)
   "Well, good luck."
   ("Thanks, I'll need it" -- Kurt Vonnegut)

(This ends Chapter Thirty-eight. Under a new helmsman, now, folks, so please bear with me while I get my sea legs.)

Chapter Thirty-nine