“What the hell is this?” Thomas asked, tossing the manuscript onto his desk in a heap.

Bob shrugged.  “You said you wanted something upbeat.”

“I did,” Thomas admitted.  “But I was hardly expecting this.”

Bob leaned back in his chair and shrugged again.  “I tried to warn you.  Happy isn’t my forte.”

Thomas began pacing behind his desk in agitation, buzzing back and forth like a bumble-bee stapled to a metronome.  “Are you under the impression that I don’t like it?”

“How could you?” Bob asked with a look of utter incredulity.  “It’s complete trash.”

“Exactly,” Thomas said, waving his arms in excitement.  “You nailed it, man.  It couldn’t be more perfectly shitty!”

“Perfectly what?”

“Shitty!“ Thomas cried, a grin slowly spreading from one ear to the other.  “It’s three hundred and fifty pages of predictable, run-of-the-mill garbage.  Its plot is slightly less complex than your average cardboard box, the protagonist is bland and generic, and except for twirling a black mustache, the villain hits every hackneyed bad-guy stereotype there is.  I bet there’s already a mouth-breather camping outside a Barnes & Noble somewhere waiting to buy a copy.”

“Well fuck me running,” Bob muttered, stunned.  “I’ve become Stephenie Meyer.”


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