By Shane Gericke
This week's question: How would you modernize a classic book?
At first, I was gonna make Dick and Jane a porno. You know, change the title of the classic reading series to Dick in Jane. To prove how powerfully a classic can be changed with just one single altered word. Instead of the wholesome sweetness of Dick and Jane, you get the smelly raunch-ness of Dick In Jane.
Then I searched the Net for some illustrations. Found out a whole buncha folks had already beaten me to it. Not just porno, but everything--Dick and Jane is one of the most parodied books in history!
It's no wonder it's so parodied. The series is a brain worm, it's so . . . cloying. Like "The Family Circus," that cartoon family I want to sell into slavery I hate them so goddamn much.
Anyway. There seemed little point to redoing what others had done so well.
So, I thought: Hey! Rewrite one of your own scenes into the classic Dick and Jane style. It'd be fun. And, it might trick readers into buying my book. Lord knows I can use the sales.
Here's a small scene from the first page of TORN APART:
A gasoline tanker roared by in the fast lane, throwing up a hurricane of water. The van’s wipers sputtered across the windshield like a failing heart, trying to keep up. A wolf pack of semis pursued the gas man, throwing their own hurricanes. The van jittered and jigged, then skittered and slid.
The teenager screamed from the back.
“Shut up,” Gemini snapped, feeling his nuts tighten as he white-knuckled the van through the exploding water.
“Please,” the girl whimpered. “Let me out. I won’t tell, I swear, just don’t hurt me any more—”
Vicious slaps from Aquarius, Cancer, and Virgo. Yips and cries from the girl. A rat-a-tat of thunder, followed by rain so intense it felt like the inside of a fire hose . . .
And here's the Dick and Jane version. Mom probably wouldn't have let you read this version back in the '50s. Though she might have read it herself later that night after a martini and a shot of Laudanum . . .
See Dick. See Dick drive. Drive, Dick, Drive!
See Sally. See Sally nag. Nag, nag, nag, direct from the passenger seat.
See lightning. See sky. See bottle green sky. See rough jagged lightning. See death sword of lightning spitting Hell onto Earth--
"Ow!" Sally said, clapping her hands to her ears. "Ow, ow, ow! That is loud, Dick, that is so loud, did you hear how loud, Dick, now did you? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?!"
See Dick's nuts tighten.
"Shut up," Dick said.
"Make me, pretty boy," Jane said.
"Arf," Spot agreed.
"Boys?" Dick said.
Vicious slaps from Aquarius, Cancer, and Virgo. Slap, slap, slap!
"Yum," Sally said. "Yum, yum, yum!"
"Not workin', boss!" Cancer said. "She likes it too much!"
"Harder, sissy bitch!" Sally panted, eyes bright, face flushed. Flushed, flushed, flushed!
"Dames," Dick said, shaking his head.
"Can't live with them," Sally said. "Can't kill them."
"Can't?" Dick said.
"Can't," Sally said, crossing her arms and pouting. Pout, pout, pout!
"Spot?" Dick said.
"Arf?" Spot said.
"Kill," Dick said.
"GrrrrraAARRFFF," Spot said, slavering yellow teeth ripping Sally's throat so hard her head and spit curls and ribbons bounced sideways into the cargo hold. Bounce, bounce, bounce!
"Ow!" Sally said as thick hot gush flooded the van.
"Told ya," Dick said.
"Look," Sally's head said. "Look, look, look. Blood. Pretty blood. Pretty, pretty blood."
See Dick stare. Stare, stare, stare! At the head that's there . . no, there!
"You cannot kill you after all," Dick said.
"No," Sally said. "No, no, no."
See Dick shake his head.
As Spot licked Jane's. Lick, lick, lick!
And the van's wipers sputtered like a failing heart.
Oh dear lord not again. Not another artist exercising her Constitutional right to mock authority. Not another blinky-eyed Islamic fascist who sees evil under every toadstool and stones young women to death just because he can.
But it’s true.
Another Westerner is on a death list.
By yet another fatwa.
And yet another artist sent into hiding to save her own life.
From the Associated Press:
SEATTLE — A Seattle cartoonist who became the target of a death threat with a satirical piece called "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" has gone into hiding on the advice of the FBI.
Seattle Weekly editor-in-chief Mark D. Fefer announced in Wednesday's issue that Molly Norris' comic would no longer appear in the paper.
Fefer wrote that the FBI advised Norris to move, change her name and wipe away her identity because of a religious edict issued this summer that threatened her life.
"She is, in effect, being put in a witness-protection program — except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab," Fefer wrote. He told the Associated Press on Thursday that he had nothing further to say because it's a sensitive situation.
The FBI also declined to comment Thursday. David Gomez, the FBI's special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Seattle, told the New York Daily News in July that the agency was doing everything it could to protect individuals on a fatwa list issued by Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
Awlaki said in the June issue of English-language Muslim youth magazine "Inspire" that Norris is a "prime target" who should reside in "Hellfire."
Shane's take: Who should be killed here is Sheik Awlaki. I am a man of peace. But when perfectly innocent people are threatened by these kinds of 12th Century killers?
Well, let’s just say I hope some CIA guys with access to laser-guided missiles are reading this and noddin’ in agreement . . .
AND WE'RE IN MOURNING
If you didn't see it on our home page today, here's the sad news in full:
The Criminal Minds and the crime fiction community have lost a cherished friend and passionate book advocate. Dave Thompson, manager of Murder by the Book in Houston for 21 years--and publisher of the wonderful imprint Busted Flush Press--passed away suddenly on Tuesday at the age of 38. We extend our deepest sympathies to his beloved wife McKenna and his family. David was a much-loved member of the crime fiction family, and we are mourning his loss. Alafair Burke has created a memorial fund to help honor David and his tireless championing of writers and books. Checks should be written to "In Memory of David Thompson" and mailed to: 7 E. 14th Street #1206 New York, NY 10003 Thank you.
Rest in peace, my friend. Rest in peace.
When Shane Gericke isn't all pissy about sheiks issuing fatwas against American citizens who have done NOTHING wrong, he's writing the national bestselling cops-vs.-killers series starring police detectives Emily Thompson and Martin Benedetti. The latest is TORN APART, and you can read a free excerpt at his website: www.shanegericke.com. He thanks you for reading today, especially considering the mere act of reading and writing anything can bring you death threats from assholes.