by Lisa Scottoline
I write fiction for a living.
But the news is putting me out of business.
Current events are so wild, wacky, and unbelievable that they’re making my job impossible.
In other words, life isn’t fair.
Do you know the expression, can you top this?
Well every day, the world is topping me.
Have you heard the expression, you can’t make this up?
Well, I’m trying to.
And if I wrote a novel that included half of the things that are actually happening, I would get fired.
Nobody would believe it.
There’s so many examples, I don’t know where to start.
For example, billionaires are building their own rockets.
Not only one billionaire, more than one billionaire.
So many billionaires are building rockets, I can’t even keep track.
Soon there will be billions of billionaires building rockets.
Also, can you believe we live in a world where you can build your own rocket?
You can’t make that up.
I remember when making model airplanes was a thing.
I couldn’t even do that.
Once I made a box out of popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue.
Also a red-and-white checked potholder out of loops.
The trick is to alternate the color of the loops.
That’s what gives you the checkerboard pattern.
Simple physics, my friend.
I don’t know why a billionaire would go anywhere in a rocket anyway.
I mean, if you’re a billionaire, what’s better than life on Earth?
I would imagine things are going pretty well for you on terra firma.
If you have all the money in the world, just stay in the world.
Like, you should live on Easy Street.
In fact, you should own Easy Street.
Also Electric Avenue.
And Thunder Road.
If you’re a billionaire who craves thrills, you could hang-glide, parachute out of a plane, water-ski, jet-ski, normal-ski, snowboard, and bungee-jump off a bridge.
You can even eat a Creamsicle really fast and hope you don’t get brain freeze.
I’m not going in the rocket.
I’m not even going to the movies.
We also live in a world where you can drive an electric car.
And recharge it with a big plug in your garage.
Yet your holiday lights still never work.
And recently, Russian hackers cut off oil to the southern half of the United States.
Could you make that plot up?
Nobody would believe a word.
Then the hackers demanded a ransom in bitcoin.
Let’s pause at bitcoin.
Who would believe bitcoin?
We used to call that play money.
It comes in white, pink, yellow, green, and blue.
But nowadays, you can use play money to make real money.
You can’t make that up.
At least I can’t.
I’ve been making up stories for thirty years and I got nothing like that.
You know what’s wackiest of all?
The Pulitzer Prizes were announced, and they did not award one for editorial cartooning.
I’m aware this is a niche concern.
But I love editorial cartoons, because I love anybody who tries to make me laugh, and making somebody laugh about current events is almost impossible.
Like I’m trying to, right now.
How’m I doing?
And not only that, these people can draw.
I can’t draw.
And you should see my signature.
I’ve seen a million editorial cartoons this year, and each one was better than the last.
Editorial cartoonists are geniuses.
They should be billionaires.
They deserve their own rockets.
They kept us laughing during a global pandemic and the fact that I’m celibate yet another year.
Do you think that’s funny?
The Pulitzer Committee for Editorial Cartooning named three finalists, but could not award the prize to any one of them.
They did not explain their reasoning.
Could they not agree?
This is governance that makes Congress look efficient.
I demand an investigation.
Until the Pulitzer Committee for Editorial Cartooning, I thought Russian hackers were the most cartoony villains on the planet.
Meanwhile, editorial cartoonists got so mad that they demanded their entry fees back.
I hope they get it.
Just not in bitcoin.
The only good thing about these wacky times is that the conspiracy theories are getting better and better.
The more outlandish the conspiracy, the more people believe it.
So I’m jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon.
I’m going to write a novel about a conspiracy between the Pulitzer Prize Committee for Editorial Cartooning, a Russian hacker, a billionaire who flies his own rocket and bungee-jumps out the window, and Mother Mary.
Also my dog Boone, a tree in my front yard, and a slice of pizza.
Plus a napkin with a secret.
What a great conspiracy!
It’s absolutely incredible.
Yet it’s the only way to save my credibility.
And my career.
Copyright 2021 Lisa Scottoline
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Ghosts of Harvard, which The Washington Post called “a sweeping and beguiling novel” as well as “a rich, intricately plotted thriller,” is Francesca Serritella’s debut novel.
Best First Novel Finalist– International Thriller Writers