Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Virtually Vindicated

by Aniko Rankine

Maximilian Shriebbesser flunked out of everything his father’s influence could secure—law, medicine, politics—with admirable reliability and sang-froid. In other words, he didn’t give a damn. What he did care about was his novel, a 2442-page-long masterpiece synthesizing (and transcending) everything from ancient mythology to post-post-modernism, which he had finally completed.

The rejection letter (“Confused. Needs focus and substantial cuts.”) broke his heart but finally made him realize what was wrong with his approach to life: he was trying to do things instead of criticizing what others did. He had to make a change.

He became a literary critic. He developed an unmistakable style--the Scoff, Dismiss and Condescend Method—and a faithful following.

Alma Silvestre was the perfect target: beautiful, exotic, an eloquent and charmingly Brazilian-accented defender of the rain forest and of indigenous magic realism. Whilst captivating, Schriebbesser wrote with gusto, Silvestre’s world hardly. One wonders if romanticized projections can. Baroquely ornate. Ultimately, fails at. The word reactionary comes to.

He sent the review off and imagined her reaction: dark eyes filling with tears, lips quivering with humiliation. Sleep came easily with that fantasy, and he shifted off next to his keyboard, vaguely aware that the webpages he’d used to check the accuracy of every detail in her book were not shutting down. They were stuck in a loop that kept opening even more of them: a growing, pulsating, exhuberating forest of pages on the Forest.

He was found on the floor the next morning, the victim of an apparent heart attack. The small mark on the arm and the traces of curare were left out of the autopsy report—they made no sense, and, well, you could never tell what freakish vices these literary types indulged in on lonely nights.

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