Conversations with Marcus: Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star
September 28, 2010 § 4 Comments
I would like to preface this dialogue by saying that my brother Marcus is smart. I mean, really smart. He’s also nuts.
Marc: Not mu-
Me: What pressure should my tires be at?
Marc: Oh, that’s nice. I’m fine Patty, to answer your question.
Me: I’m sorry. How are you?
Marc: I’m fine, just working. Hey, have you figured out a way to get us famous yet?
Me: Yeah, we just have to write something.
Marc: Okay, I was thinking about it last night, and I have an idea.
Me: What’s that?
Marc: We’re going to write a book of short stories. I think a collection of short stories written by twins would be really marketable.
Me: Well, usually you get the short stories published in a magazine or something. Then you make an anthology.
Marc: Well, what magazine publishes zombie stories?
Me: I don’t know- a science fiction mag, maybe? You have to look it up.
Marc: Okay, here’s the plan. I’m setting a deadline for us, so that we really write.
Me: What’s the deadline?
Marc: Together we’ll write six short stories by the end of the month.
Me: That’s crazy! Six by the end of the month?!
Marc: No, it’s only three each!
Me: Do you know how long it takes to write a good short story? It can take months.
Marc: A month to write two to four pages?
Me: Two to four pages? Short stories can be over twenty pages!
Marc: What magazine is going to publish a twenty page story?
Me: Any magazine that publishes short stories!
Marc: Really? I guess I want to write “super short stories.”
Me: You’re talking about doing flash fiction.
Marc: What’s flash fiction?
Me: Super short stories.
Marc: Okay. That, then.
Me: You might be able to publish flash fiction online. You should look it up.
Marc: I’m totally on it.
Me: So are you going to revise my deadline?
Marc: Yeah. Have one good, super short story by the end of the month.
Me: Okay, but you’re going to have to give me a plot. I’m pretty drained.
Marc: Your plot is zombies.
Me: No, “zombies” is a topic.
Marc: Zombies are coming, and you have to survive.
Me: What’s the plot twist?
Marc: Okay, here’s your story. You and the family, including Maureen, Jeff and the kids, are all in Mom and Dad’s basement, hiding from the zombies.
Me: That’s not a plot, that’s a setting.
Marc: You’re all in a Michigan basement, crowded together, trying to be silent. It’s like Anne Frank, but with zombies.
Me: Like Anne Frank but with zombies? Marcus, do you listen to what you say?
Marc: Ooh, I just came up with something good! Because the basement has to be silent, you turn the sump pump off. So sometimes the basement floods with water.
Me: Like, up to your knees?
Marc: Yeah, when it rains.
Me: So we’re sometimes up to our knees in sewage.
Marc: No, it’s just rain water. Although it’s close to a sewage line, so the sump pump could have backed-up human waste come in. That’s entirely up to you.
Me: And how does it end?
Marc: At the end, you’re about to make a break for it.
Me: It ends with us trying to escape?
Marc: Yeah. Then people will want to read part two.
Me: Part two? I thought we were writing a short story.
Marc: Yeah… maybe that should be chapter one. We’ll write a book instead.
Me: A book?
Marc: How much money would a bestseller earn us?
Me: Well, first books take a long time to publish and aren’t usually that successful.
Marc: But there’s a chance we’d be rich?
Me: There’s a chance, but it’s pretty remote. Plus I think a book is too much right now. We need to think of all our ideas for publishing something, then choose one and make goals. Otherwise this is going to be Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star* all over again.
Marc: Yeah, I forgot how to play that song.
Me: I figured.
Marc: All I know is that I picture us sitting on David Letterman’s couch, explaining our madness to the audience.
Me: That would be awesome.
Marc: Yeah. [hears a horn honking] Hey, where are you?
Me: I’m in the parking lot at my apartment. I was going to call you about tire pressure before I took my doughnut upstairs and ate breakfast.
Marc: Oh yeah. 35 psi.
Marc: Yeah, that’s optimum.
Me: Okay. I went to the gas station and overfilled my tires. I figured I would come back and just release the excess pressure if I needed to.
Marc: Why didn’t you just gauge the tires correctly while you were there?
Me: Because they never give you enough time to fill all your tires plus check their pressures. I always have to go ask them to turn the air back on. It makes me panic while I’m filling them up.
Marc: So you overfilled them.
Me: I mean, I can just release the excess pressure.
Marc: Yeah. Just make sure the tires are even.
Me: Cool. Okay, I’m going to go do that. You have an awesome day at work.
Marc: Okay. And don’t forget about the deadline and Zombie Anne Frank.
Me: Got it.
*Marcus once heard Billy Joel play the piano and decided he wanted to learn to play just like him. With no prior music experience of any kind, he bought an expensive keyboard and a how-to book. The first song he learned was Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star. It was also the last song he learned.