Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"A Scattering of Rhinos" by Dr. Ace T. Jericho, Rogue Journalist

The doors of the Lair swung open and my Trusty Companion, Anne, stepped inside. "More dead weasels nailed to the door," she said.

"Nevermind that," I said from my desk. "There are more important things afoot in the world."

"Who did you piss off this time?" she asked, heading into the kitchen.

"I haven't pissed anyone off," I said. "It's a conspiracy."

"Is it the gun control weirdos again?"

"Possible," I said. "I did call them childish that one time."

"No, you didn't. You called them, and I quote, colicky infants who cry and shit themselves at every loud noise."

"Toughen up, Old Girl. It's a dog eat dog world out there and I'm low on tranq darts. Those wily bastards creep around like flashers in oily raincoats."

Anne poured herself a cup of coffee and took a swig. "What're you gonna do about the weasels?"

"Nothing for now. They can be our battle standard for the moment."

"Battle standard?" she asked. "Are we going to war?"

"According to your voicemail earlier, we are."

"What?"

"Something about rhinos. Then a lot of gibberish. Like confused baboons trying to assemble a VCR from an instruction manual written in Urdu."

"Rhinos? What are you talking about? Have you been sniffing Liquid Paper again?"

"The classic containers are getting hard to find now, you know. But yes. Rhinos. I'd stay away from them. Politically dangerous. Highly unstable. Been known to explode at any given moment." I mimed an explosion. "Boom! Just like that. All over the walls. There've been studies. I've seen the PDFs. But if you're eager to tangle with them, we'll need assistance. And weapons. Especially against those techno ones you were going on about."

"Techno rhinos?"

"No," I said. "Nano rhinos."

Anne sputtered. "No no. NaNoWriMo."

"That's what I said. Nano rhionos. I bet they're tiny fuckers. Nano and all that." I stood and pulled the whaling harpoon from the wall. "This might be overkill but it's a start."

"No no, Jericho," said Anne. "It's NaNoWriMo. Short for National Novel Writing Month."

I lowered the harpoon. "Novels?"

"Yes. Novels. The idea is to write a fifty-thousand word novel in thirty days."

Novels. This was something new. This was something not standard. But I, as a Professional Writer, was agile in that respect. I could bend like the proverbial reed in the proverbial wind.

"Then what the hell do rhinos have to do with that?" I said.

"Nothing at all. I think you misheard 'NaNoWriMo' as 'nano rhino.' "

"Impossible," I said. "I never mishear anything. I'll bet that's precisely what they want you to think. And hear." I set the harpoon down and drew the cutlass I always wore. "We'll need to be ready when the time comes." I pointed to the bookshelf next to the desk. "Get that shotgun."

She gestured at the cutlass with her cup of coffee. "You're gonna hurt yourself with that."

"I'm a Professional Writer," I reminded her. "We're trained in a variety of weapons. Our primary weapon being words. The gun with which we blow the kneecaps off the Establishment."

"You stole that line."

"Not stole. Ingrained it. Deep into my frontal lobe." I took a swig of coffee from the mug at my desk. "Fifty thousand words in thirty days, eh?"

"That's the idea," said Anne.

"It's the middle of November now. How much have you written?"

"I'm not participating."

"That's a relief," I said, sitting back down in my chair. "Because if you haven't started by now, you're probably screwed. Unless you take some meth."

Come back next week for another entry of The Jericho Files!

Read previous Jericho Files entries here.

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