I have given up on book reviews.
This was my thinking on a blistery winter day after the launch of my famous work “Shakespeare Shmakespeare” which rocked the world and earned me an astonishing 45 views on my website. I knew that people worshiped me for my witty satire and creative genius, but I wanted to show the world I’m so much more than a pretty face and smart brain. So, I planned to branch out into a new genre: writing standup comedy using the heptapod language from Arrival.
But, that was before THE AVALANCHE. I was returning home from a visit to Denver when suddenly a winter snow storm crashed into my car and knocked me unconscious. I awoke to a rugged man towering over me, cutting open my totaled car with his bedazzled axe. Wearing Timberland boots, black skinny jeans, and a flannel shirt, it was clear to me he wasn’t your average serial killer in the woods.
In a weird combination of a lisp and a drawl, he introduced himself to me as Kenneth Jack the Lumberjack and invited me to come “kiki and recover in his winter wonderland realness cabin.” The pain of my injuries became too much and blacked out again, waking up in an exact replica of the first class cabins in James Cameron’s Titanic. My legs were broken, my heart was hurting, and there was glitter everywhere.
Suddenly, Kenneth burst in wearing a chinchilla coat over his rugged logging clothes. “It’s so chilly outside, but you make me hot boo” he said while adding extra logs to the fire. “I’m your website’s biggest fan, the one about Gatsby changed my life” he added seductively.
I became acutely aware of a sharp pain in my midsection, and asked this mysterious lumberjack what had happened to me. “Oh I took them out for you, for the same reason Marilyn Manson did ;)”
Despite this shocking disturbing revelation, I was living for the décor and appreciated being treated like Kate Winslet. I offered to show him my newest book review I had been working on before my “accident.” He immediately agreed and began eagerly reading, muttering “yes gawd” and “werk” under his breath while sipping his white chocolate mocha.
I saw a change go over his face as he realized I was insulting Romeo and Juliet. He slammed his glass on the desk spilling scalding hot Starbucks all over my broken arms. “I PLAYED OPHELIA AT SHAKEPEARE IN THE PARK LAST YEAR” he bellowed, unable to contain his rage, “DON’T YOU KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THE BARD IS TO ME!”
He grabbed two Pride flags and tied me to the bed with them, using a rainbow bowtie to gag my mouth and prevent me from screaming out. “I expect for you to write me a newer, gayer, better review for next week, something about the lesbians in Orange is the New Black. I’m going to make you listen to ‘Born This Way’ on repeat until you finish!” With this he stormed out, leaving Gaga’s anthem blaring behind him.
All there was to do in my ship cabin was write my book review and stare out the solitary window overlooking the frozen woodlands. Every so often, Hillary Clinton would run by, pursued by a pack of white women who “just wanted to take a selfie and say thank you!”
One day I managed to sneak out of the room and found my way into Kenneth’s study. In a lavender scented scrapbook, I found a playbill and pictures from an off-Broadway production of Into the Woods, in which Kenneth played the minor character of the Woodsman. Suddenly it made sense. What else would an exiled musical theater actor do when his career was up? Only become a gay lumberjack in the woodlands of Colorado!
When Kenneth came back, a change had come over him, and I knew he realized I had found out his secret. The fun, Gaga-loving host I’d seen before was gone, replaced by a complete maniac. He drugged my daily cappuccinos, and I woke up with my legs bound together and forced into a human sized mermaid tail, restricting my movements and cutting off circulation to my legs.
Luckily I had a had a guardian angel looking out for me: Santa Clause. When Kenneth Jack the Lumberjack’s “Naughty” meter reached all-time lows, he decided to make a visit and see what had caused this change in behavior.
Kenneth opened the door and immediately declared “yassss sleigh Santa!!!!,” acting as if he wasn’t holding a college student with too much free time and a little too much sarcasm in his spare bedroom. I couldn’t see anything else from my isolated prison, but all of a sudden “S&M” by Rhianna started playing and Santa began to scream, though out of pleasure or pain I couldn’t tell. He suddenly stopped making noise and has yet to be seen again, the real reason why Santa doesn’t exist.
When Kenneth final returned, all traces of sassiness had left his face. He insisted I finish the book review; after which he would kill me. I had no time to waste and needed to figure out a way to break free. My mind raced, what would a gay lumberjack like Mr. Jack the Lumberjack be weak to, what was his kryptonite? Before I knew it, I blurted out the only thing that came to mind, the refrain of Lady Gaga’s newest song “Perfect Illusion.”
“IT WASN’T LOOOOVE, IT WASN’T LOOOVE” I croaked, my throat dehydrated from days in captivity. Before I knew it, Kenneth had gone into a trance, jumping onto the bed and swinging his axe above his head like Gaga’s microphone.
I knew then exactly what to do. As he started the song from the beginning, I leaned back and slapped him with my mermaid tail, knocking him unconscious. I wriggled free of my constraints and waddled towards the door, never to see Kenneth ever again.
A year later and still two ribs short, I went to my editor’s office and set down my copy of the review that would change the world. The topic of this review? Misery by Steven King, and the rating a 10/10.
Alex has an honorary doctorate from the Kim Dan Institute of Higher Learning in Book Reviews. He is also working on becoming ordained as a minister online.