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Today's Story by Stuart Hopen

As badly as I need the money, this project feels too much like prostitution.

Serialization Sunday: The Flick – Chapter VI

Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel.  Our first novel, the taut thriller City of Human Remainscan be found in full here

Our second novel, Hoodoo, tells a story of visionaries, heretics and lunatics in Utah, centered on a 12-year-old girl who believes that God wants her to have an affair with her guidance counselor, can be found in full here.

Our current novel, The Flick, is the correspondence between a legendary porn star of the 90′s and the girl who got away – and kept going.  Read previous chapters here.

Letter VI

August 3, 1990

Dear Die:

I am not shocked.  I should have known.

They say that 90% of mental patients are either sexually or religiously preoccupied.  It seems you can go one of two ways when you go mad.  No wonder that we, who have danced so close to the edge of sanity, should thus diverge: me, to God; you, to “art” films.

The cockroaches in my apartment were drawn to your opening scene.  They nibbled at the corners.  They left brown pellets as a commentary.

Die, your screenplay proposition has tweaked my interest.  To be honest, the large amount of money you obliquely promised appeals more than anything else.  My Princeton education put a severe strain on what is left of my family’s inherited resources.  Law school tuition is an even greater strain, along with the sorry performance of certain investments selected by the trustee of my grandfather’s estate.

How much of our story are you planning to reveal?  Everything, absolutely everything?  And exactly as it was?  The truth?  Are you going to show what really killed Jay?  Would you actually show what happened to us the first time we made love?  Does your audience enjoy near fatal events?  Are you going to show everything?

I wonder what you are really trying to procure from me.  Is it really a literary contribution to your script?  After all the times you dismissed my writing as “introspective hysteria” or “prose so beyond purple it glows in the dark.”

Two cockroaches approach.  One mounts the other.  They are rutting on this letter.

The lovers in the haunted fun house serves passably as foreshadowing, but their gratuitous appearance bothers me.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps because it is a disagreeable convention in an unfamiliar genre.  Must we start out so soon with sex that does nothing to advance the plot?

As badly as I need the money, this project feels too much like prostitution.  We’ll find out if I am really the whore you believe me to be.  If I end up collaborating with you, I may withdraw before we reach our climax– literary coitus interruptus.

The brown squirted smear above my signature is all that remains of the rutting cockroaches.

I do not want to see you, Die.  Not now, not ever again.  I don’t want to hear your voice.  But I am willing to deal with you through the mail.  I offer this and nothing else.



Stuart Hopen’s writing has been published by various comic book companies, including D.C., Marvel, Eclipse, Amazing, and Fantagraphics. His science fiction novel, Warp Angel, originally published by Tor Books, will soon be reissued by the Misenchanted Press in a newly revised edition.  Cannibals, a series of six interrelated novellas, will be available online in 2014.   


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