Everyone thought she or he had finished the blog novel, but apparently another chapter remained. Everyone was uncertain what to do with it. After all, everyone was dead, at least as she or he had last left off.
That is when everyone’s former coworker J. D. leaned against the doorframe to everyone’s office, everyone’s dog on a leash in her or his hand, everyone her- or himself literally tied to her or his desk.
Everyone had not seen J. D. since J. D.’s expulsion from a window on another side of the floor, save inside other people. “J. D., you’re alive,” everyone expostulated.
“Every bit as much as you,” J. D. said. “Thanks, everyone, for writing the book and reading.”
“You read my book?” everyone asked, both surprised and ecstatic.
“In a manner of speaking,” J. D. said, “yes. That is, I wrote it.”
Everyone was confused. Everyone’s friend the Internet had talked about how readers were writers, but everyone rarely listened when the Internet went off on theoretical tangents. Everyone had wanted to find her or his identity, and instead the Internet had speculated on how everyone could be multiple people at once. The Internet had been little help throughout the course of writing the novel.
“You wrote it?” everyone asked J. D.
“With others,” J. D. said. “Thanks.”
Everyone asked J. D. who she or he was thanking.
“The other readers, of course,” J. D. said. “This is the end of the novel, so it’s traditional that we acknowledge the participants at this point.”
“I thought we were dead,” everyone observed.
“Not as long as we are in this book,” said J. D. “As long as we are here, the story continues for as long as anyone wants to read it.”
“But Sam, the nurse, the germs, the window,” everyone protested, listing off recent events and characters.
“All part of the book,” J. D. said.
“Hello,” said Sam, coming into the frame. “How was I?” Sam asked. Sam was out of the scrubs everyone had last seen her or him in and was now wearing the plaid jacket that everyone had seen in the bushes at the base of their office building nearly a year ago.
“A bit inconsistent,” J. D. said, “but don’t worry. You’ll grow on people in subsequent readings.”
“You hope,” said Harvey, vacuum cleaner in hand. Harvey was a part-time janitor.
Everyone examined the straps across her or his body that kept everyone wedded to the desk. “You mean, I--” Everyone tore them off and stood. “I can go anywhere.”
“Within the trajectory of the book, yes,” said J. D.
Just then, everyone saw the meaning of life. The meaning of life was walking down the hall behind J. D. and Sam and Harvey at the door, cap in hand, sunglasses over eyes. Then everyone’s spouse passed. They were together.
“Was that?” everyone asked.
J. D. and Sam and Harvey nodded.
Everyone ran into the hall, but the meaning of life had already disappeared. Everyone ran after them.
And then, everyone saw it. It was the beginning of the novel. It was leaning against the window frame looking out, the window whose glass was missing. The beginning of the novel was smoking, the entire city before it. Everyone slowed, crouched. She or he wasn’t going to let the beginning of the novel get away. Everyone got down on her or his hands and knees, crawled. The beginning of the novel turned toward the hall, saw everyone. Everyone jumped.
Everyone wants you to read the book on which he or she is working, a novel everyone is writing in order to find the meaning of life, with which everyone’s spouse ran off. But everyone has to finish the novel before everyone can know where the novel begins. In the meantime, there are all these distractions, such as the twelfth-floor window at the office building where everyone works out of which people or maybe just one person keeps jumping or falling--everyone isn’t sure--or everyone’s sexy coworker Sam, whom everyone is struggling valiantly against to keep from becoming a paramour. It’s kind of pitiful, actually, the way everyone keeps begging you to read, sending you e-mails, dropping it into conversation (“I have a book, you know?”), posting links to it on social-networking sites. Everyone figures that if he or she begs enough, you will break down and try it. Everyone is like a dog that way, watching you eat your dinner. The way you handle the dog is to push it away from the table, lock it outside the room. Sometimes, of course, you hand the dog a bite, an inch-sized bit of beef, and that is all everyone is asking for--a bite, that you read just the first line of his or her book. The problem is that you know everyone too well. If you read one line, everyone will beg you to read another. Just one more.
To start from the beginning of the novel, go here.