Sure, but this is stupid. Why don’t you just type it yourself?
Typing is for people with dexterity. Look at my hands when I take the typing position . . . they are like claws. Undextrous claws. Look.
OK, so you ready? I made some notes.
Are those typewritten notes?
What’s your point?
First chapter title: Cheese Kate.
You mean Cheesecake?
First page, first line: Once upon a time when I was mentally ill.
Wait . . . once upon a time when you were mentally ill?
Seriously? You are going to give me shit about my very first line?
Fine. Once upon a time when you were mentally ill.
This is never going to work. You are so fucking annoying. Now I am second-guessing the first line of the story and I will never get to the second line. I hate you.
Listen, I said I would type the story as you dictated it. I’ll behave. Carry on.
OK, you know what might be better?
Once upon a time I was mentally ill. That’s a whole sentence. That’s better.
Yeah, but that suggests you are no longer mentally ill.
Just type what I said and shut up.
Do not hmmm at me.
It’s just that I am not sure you want to open as though everything is fine now.
Everything is fine now.
Do not sing-song the word awkward at me.
Yeah, well . . . how about you do not sludge up my personal space with awkwardness.
I swear, if I ever get this book done, I am going to be fabulously wealthy what with the movie deals and all and I am going to hire a man to drive around your neighborhood in an ice-cream truck. He will sell ice cream in a variety of flavors to all the children in the neighborhood and everyone will love him and he will play that ice cream song that everyone adores and he will wear a white ice-cream-man suit and an ice-cream-man hat and he will have a mustache and a devilish look in his eye and he will flirt with all the women and advise the men on their lawn issues and hint sadly and evasively at lost loves and a possible military past and then one day he will be driving through the neighborhood and he will spot his opportunity and he will run you down in the street and you will be all flat and bleeding and as the life of you leaks out onto the street like melted ice cream the giddy childish treat-music will play and the devilish mustachioed man will look at me and say . . . Oops, look what I have done. I have been a very naughty boy.
Wait, why would he be looking at you?
As I leak my melted lifeblood out into the street . . . why would he be looking at you?
Because we are lovers.
Wow. OK, but why would he be looking at you in that moment? Are you in the ice-cream truck? What are you doing in the ice-cream truck?
That is none of your concern.
Seriously? In this fantasy of yours, I die as you are blowing the mustachioed ice-cream hit-man?
OK, so read back what you’ve got so far.
Once upon a time I was mentally ill.
What do you mean? That’s it.
But you didn’t type the part about the ice-cold killer and his milky sweetness.
Seriously? How was I to know that was part of the story? I thought you were just threatening me in futuristic homoerotic orally-fixated fashion. Also? If you make me type ice-cold killer and his milky sweetness, I will vomit.
Do you have any ice cream? I am suddenly craving ice cream.
No. Let me just make a note to put in the part about milky sweetness and blowjobs and assassins and melted ice-cream blood later . . . OK, go.
Once upon a time I was mentally ill, and then I met Katharine Hepburn while eating a grilled-cheese sandwich.
Well, that’s simply not true at all.
You are not equipped to address what may or may not have happened during my brief foray into mental illness, so just type that down. Type down also that there is a grilled-cheese sandwich available for free viewing on the internet on which appears a quite fabulous toasted image of Katharine Hepburn, and she and I had a fine chuckle together about the irony of melted cheese regality.
Oh for god’s sake.
Make a note to find that image, as my readers will want to know about the featured cheese.
Featured cheese? Are you kidding me?
You are going to need to work at being a better minion, typer-woman. Less insolence, please. OK, so around the time Miss Kate and I shared this chuckle, I had begun to suspect that she was, in fact, an assassin, this all being due, of course, to her autobiography, which I happened to be reading at the time of our encounter.
We may have to come back to that whole “Once upon a time” thing.
In the book, there is this photo of Miss Kate in water. A pond perhaps, or a pool . . . hard to tell because the photo was black and white, and so I could not fully discern the quality of the water. Color is important when judging water, with the total absence of color being required for potability, as I am sure you know. Although a drop of food coloring doesn’t make water any less water except it sort of does. If I am handed a glass of yellow water, there is no way my mind marches past the urine associations and while I know that one can drink one’s own urine in an emergency, I would rather just dump out the water and get a fresh glass thank you very much. Anyway, Miss Kate had one hand resting on what may have been a pool’s lane-marker; you know those floating rubber-tube things? But it could just as easily have been a cement edging of some sort. Or the side of a low boat. Anyway, she was holding onto this rounded edge, and she was submerged in water all the way to her shoulders. You could see that she was wearing a striped bathing suit.
Did you ask her about the photo? When you met her, I mean.
There was a zebra-toothed zippered quality to her visage that suggested such a question would have been unwise.
You know that makes no sense, right?
Analysis of the book’s photo was left to the viewer-slash-reader, as Kate intended. In the photo, she was wearing one of those old-fashioned rubber bathing caps, and she was looking away from the camera and her lips were darkened and tight and her eyes were intense and she just looked fierce. Menacing. Like an assassin with a sharpened dagger beneath the grainy water, and even though I couldn’t see who it was that she was looking at in such predatory fashion, I could see how the blood would bloom in the water and be hidden by the black and white nature of the image. After the bloom, it would just look like water again, perhaps a bit murkier.
But the blood would be red . . .
That was the time in which to be a criminal, don’t you agree? The time before color. Water, blood, urine . . . who’s to know the difference when it’s all just black and white?
So I was staring at this photo of Miss Kate and I started wondering about whether there was color in Hitler’s time. The limitations of black and white photography would explain a lot about the world’s failure to stop the flow of blood. And then I started wondering about whether or not Miss Kate had ever been a watery assassin, perhaps even for Hitler. She grew up in that time period, you know. I think Hitler would have liked her. I think he would have seen a certain hungry malice in her eyes, and I think he would have liked her very much.
I just want to be sure I understand . . . your book is a world before color, grilled-cheese sandwiches, Hitler, and a dead movie star who was maybe a mermaid murderer?
The book is about me, silly goose. You’ll see. Just keep typing. So I was researching who Katharine Hepburn might have killed for Hitler and coming up with nothing because those records have all been expunged, and then I got hungry and you know my rule that autobiographies align with cheese on the bibliophile food-wheel, and so I did a little searching to see if Miss Kate had a favorite kind of cheese but those records have been apparently expunged as well for no reason I can imagine, but then there was a link to a cheese sandwich that looked like a young Katharine Hepburn, which seemed a good sign.
Exactly how long ago was this foray into mental illness, as you put it?
I’ll cover that in Chapter Two, entitled “Bandying About the Rubber of Time.”
Bandying About the Rubber of Time . . . really?
And your position is that you are no longer mentally ill?
Look about yourself. Look all around at everything that surrounds you in this moment.
DOES THIS LOOK LIKE MOTHERFUCKING ONCE UPON A TIME?