ANTAGONY or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Prologue

Status: 2nd Draft

ANTAGONY or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Prologue

Status: 2nd Draft

Content Summary


Yes, this entire novel is basically one big book-length prologue to a story that may or may not ever get written. Deal with it. :)

Author Chapter Note


I think we all know what a query letter is. This one is quite long, though. For satirical purposes. I apologize in advance. :)

Chapter Content - ver.0

Submitted: January 24, 2019

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Chapter Content - ver.0

Submitted: January 24, 2019

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Dear Literary Agent (or whomever else this confabulation might concern, confound, or constipate)

 

Listen... In order for me to properly relate this severed-headed/seven-tailed whale of a tale, I'm gonna hafta delve deep. And I mean DEEP inside of a language we all kinda/sorta understand but can never really seem to properly punctuate, utilize, italicize, or Capitalize correctly.

We're talking starving artist diving in a dumpster fire deep.

We're talking Metatron singing Old Man River as He tunnels under the tenement walls of Jherico deep.

We're talking about going balls deep inside the artificially-intelligent/slippery-sloped synthetic vagina-dentata of technological singularity and being willing to live and let die with the consequences deep.

In too DEEP already, we're talking about shmoozing our way in and out of some deep cooze, shit, and shinola here, my friend. Lest we lose ourselves entirely, we're gonna wind up wanting to pull up our culottes, put on a prophylactic, and wear a cup before wading in. If you know what I'm talking about.

But don't fret just yet, friend-o. It's gonna be okay. For I'll start this gratuitous narrative out slow and steady (as not to startle or disgustipate anybody) and then gradually build up the speed and intensity until I'm in the kind of onanistic auto-zone only world-class athletes and musicians can relate to. Totally focused on my technique --gunning it with all the snarling determination of an Olympic pole vaulter sprinting towards the pit, my carpal tunneled wrists oscillating like a circus harlequin pulling a bevy of multi-colored babushkas from his bottomless clown pocket-- I plan on proving myself, through mordacious endeavor, your princely paragon of prose, poetry, profanity, and profound hilarity. As you like it.

Then, just as I reach critical mass, that irrepressible hot water bottle about-to-burst edge of ecstasy, I will (and this needs to be precisely timed, mind you) swiftly tourniquet my well-oiled vas deferens with a length of checkered shoelace. For only in such a painful pre-ejaculatory state of self-induced proprietary priapism will I be able to elucidate the entirety of my soul and wit, put pen to paper, and produce for you some commercially viable literature.

Indeed. The intense bout of shock and awful stupefaction I'm bound to sustain from suppressing my potentially festive testicular orgasm will soon give way to a purely intellectual and epiphanous sensation of exponential mental clarity and spectral illumination not unlike the crest of the first wave to hit a maiden seaship following a champagne christening. I'm talking about the sort of cheesy cheesecloth-filtered determination that inspires seemingly ordinary men and women to testify to their weaknesses, test their limits, and then manifest the kinds of feats of strength, spirit, skill, courage, and ingenuity that not only impress but impel the rest of us mere mortals to enact policies, build monuments, sing ballads, and sew the names and faces of our heroes and villains into the world-spanning tapestry of perpetual posterity that I believe (nay insist) we should from now on and for evermore call: ANTAGONY.

Now that's what I call DEEP, yo... What say you, dear Agent?

(Actually, if you don't mind, I'd rather you didn't say anything at all from here on out. Kindly shut the fuck up and reckon my pitch, bitch. If you will, that is.) 

Incidentally, perhaps providentially, I try and make it a point of contention, with nearly every breath I take, to suck up some potent potables and illicit narcotic vapor along with the freshly deodorized, ionized, and simonized atmosphere of this creepy windowless van I've strategically parked down by the river running through whatever provincial little cow town you call a hometown. So what if my own personal CO2 emissions more than double the carbon footprint of your typically blithe American consumer? You can go ahead and fugghedabout the desertification (or permafrostification) of this physical planet, bruh. What you oughta be more concerned about is the run-away greenhouse effect our insipid/partisan culture is definitively having on your arable (yet woefully labile) and everlasting nous.

Our sibilant reptile brains --the triune and limbic dichotomy of our passive-aggressive reality-- are gonna carry on, you see. In the form of stardust. Because stardust is the one and only thing we've all got in common that will most certainly survive whatever apocalypse we deserve. Plus, we most certainly share it (in the form of lint, grime, detritus, and feelings) with every other intelligent form of life in this godforsaken galaxy.

That's science, pal. The essence of the mathematically absurd universe according to scholars and scriveners and dentists alike. The whole of human history --from our fortunate firestarting fabrication, to our fickle and fubared firefighting folly-- is encoded in the DNA-rich necrotic slough that drifts into the atmosphere everytime we brush our teeth. Or masturbate. Or whenever we sneeze while trying to brush our teeth and masturbate at the same time.

(I can't be the only one who's tried that, right?)

Anyway, those infinitesimal particles will inevitably slip the surly bonds and hitch a ride across the cosmos on a supernova. Carrying Earth's Curriculum Vitae far beyond the parsecs and right up to the edge of the pale. Presently, this unintended biological consequence is the only mode of communicado we, as a species, can categorically transmit to our interstellar neighbors. Be they angelic dieties, space-trucking ancient alien astronauts, or fifth dimensional/time-travelling Marty McFly-bots.

In other words: Don't be a bozo, yo!

Don't broadcast a sloven and unsophisticated party invitation encouraging The Gods to send another flood or The Greys to send a fleet. You are what you eat, so eat right. Stick to a steady diet of wholesome food and credentialed information. Nurture yourself mind, body, and soul, and rise above the ignoble strife of the madding crowd to represent this planet on the empyrean scale with hygienic pride and prejudice so we can collectively send whoever it may concern out there a formal declaration of autonomous agency in noble pursuit of a dignified eschaton at the hands of whatever heavenly minister vouschafed us with fallible consciousness and fatal cognition in the first fucking place.

Which brings us back to our out-of-African faith and prophetic tendencies. I don't know about you, dear Agent, but I would personally adore nothing more than to be haunted, hexed, hallowed, or swallowed by the Bermuda effing Triangle. I yearn for nothing less than to bear superstition-affirming/afterlife-furthering witness to a UFO, ghost, or crypto-zoological messenger of mayhem/charity. To witness a blessed miracle or be accursed with witchcraft. To meet Satan jumped up on a hickory stump or the Virgin Mary in my bowl of sermonizing Alpha-Bits. To...

To achieve such open ends, I visited a medium once. To see what I couldn't actually see, you see. And whatever else might bewilder me. The garnet-adornedcharlatan told me she felt a presence in the room and then went on to depict my dearly-departed, pious, hard-nosed, Irish grandmother as an indulgent Jewish demimonde with delusions of grandeur.

My grandeur, that is.

Seeing that I'm neither Hibernian or Hebrew but was rather born and raised an anti-semitic/mick-hating descendent of black African slaves and sharecroppers... Well, not for nothing and not for lack of trying, dear Agent, but nothing empirically metaphysical or paranormal has ever happened to me, on any level of my five senses or beyond, and I can't "see" such a thing ever happening, either.

Therefore, and in lieu of being profoundly and pleasantly deranged, I've found that debunking such myth and misinformation is the next bestest thing to being successful. Much like being relieved of stress is the next bestest thing to being the one applying the stress.

It's been said that the Gospels contain nary a word in praise of intelligence and yet some people (too many people, to be honest) continue to wave the Good Book around as if that asinine, overwrought, hastily-compiled, holier-than-thou little nostrum wasn't carved into clay back when all the little boys believed the earth was flat as a flapjack and all the flat-as-a-flapjack little girls didn't know a good goddamned thing about battery-operated vibrating dildos replete with feathered G-spot attachments and three different speeds.

(Speaking of dicks and chicks --and just for fun-- why don't you go ahead and take a gander at Ezekial 23:20. It's okay. I'll wait.)

You done? Good. Now tell me again how the Word of God is so much more sophisticated and elevated than the mind of, say... An unemployed forklift driver queuing up at a bikini barista stand at three in the afternoon?

Anyway, that's only the mushroom tip of the Fruedian/Hitlerian/Wagnerian/Titanic iceberg the Bible has to offer. I'm convinced the various Scriptures were written by the Devil Himself for it's obvious, to me anyway, that Judeo-Christian-Islamic monotheism has been an unnecessarily scornful and pestiferous ideology. A virulent airborne pathogen causing mass psychosis at its most elemental level. Sure, the Bible inspired some grand art and architecture, beautiful musical movements and amusing pastimes, but... Big fucking whoop. So did the Bhagavad Gita. So did Ivanhoe and Star Wars and The Lord of The Rings, for that matter.

The Rock of Ages hasn't aged all that gracefully, is what I'm saying. And the Good Book only proves that God is man-made. That He resides in the architecture as opposed to the landscape. Ever wonder how differently the state of nature, of Mother Earth, might look these days had we simply been worshiping Her all this time? She oughta be the one on the cosmic catwalk, for Christ's sake, illuminated by the stars as she graces us with her fashion sense and sense of empathy. Instead of some dread emperor made in man's image but sporting unmanly Birkenstocks and a primitive lab coat.

If we're talking about the heavens, then what about the Sun? Whatever went wrong with worshiping that benevolent and terrifying force of nature? After all, the Sun has the empirically proven ability to genuinely giveth or taketh life. To grant us vision or smite us with blindness. To keep on burning to keep us warm --or-- burn itself out to deep-freeze our chattering mandibles and tightly-clenched sphincters. Seems to me that El Sol is infinitely more worthy of our fear and humility, our prayers and avidity, than any one bastard Son of Man named Elohim. 

Enough is enough and enough said already. A new and better book needs to be written, is what I'm saying. A kind of intellectual antibiotic in gospel form. Biblical in scale, Shakesperean in scope, with the power to enlight the imagination of humanity entire while immunizing the essence of the eschaton and the individual reader against the douchebag demagoguery put forth by our political, religious, and cultural clergy.

Because if cultists, psychics, hypnotists, and holistic nutritionists can do very well (socially, financially) by exploiting this credulous culture of ours... Then why can't we skeptical atheists and progressive hepcats find a way to usurp and transmogrify credulity and censure and put an end to socio-economic inequality and the criminalization of consensual behavior? Why can't I write a treatise that will inoculate the people's collective soul against philosophical zealotry, religious dogma, inscrutable science, government conspiracy, and sexual hypocrisy? Why can't I help the American masses cope with mechanization, microchips, and Mexicans messing with their livelihoods? Febrile plague, mass surveillance, deadweight taxation --the purchase price of this novel could be written off as an educational expense, by the way-- the discordant post-Ottoman regional order of the Middle East, and how to apply the Socratic method to overcome fear of bumps in the darkness, heights, clowns, public speaking, and even Death itself?

It's not people, per se, that are the problem. People are people, after all, and whaddaya gonna do about it? Wage more war? It's not even the people's fanatical faith in a vengeful God that bothers me so much. It's the people's faith in other people. People other than themselves. Because, as we all know, Hell is other people.

True Story: Over the course of history, we the people have been ugly and stupid for a helluva lot longer than we've pretty and witty. We the people used to prosecute our pets and pests in jury trials and literally blow smoke up each other's butts (in the form of tobacco enemas) in an attempt to cure our bad humors. I'm trying not to be that guy, but...

Look. This book has been written for all the grown men out there who think, by virture of their masculine birth, that they're justified in establishing a pecking order based on physical strength and Darwinian banality with a dumbell-laden shoulder shrug and a stiff upper lip.

This book is being written for all the big girls out there who think to cry before looking askance at all the other girls looking to empower themselves by ostensibly owning the terms of their own sexual objectification before turning over, tits up, to fawn for attention in a misguided quest for validation that actually invigorates the patriarchal hegemony and normalizes mankind's oppression of muliebrity.

Anyway, more importantly, and just last week... I met a squirrel. Outside my van, chirping on a low branch and generating an unnaturally loud and eminently strange din, the furry little bastard sounded just like a smoke detecter on a low battery installed inside the belly of a jolly but jealous green giant looming over my roof as he pooped on it. Seriously. That's what it sounded like.

As you can imagine, and because the heavy-metal noise was making me nuts to the point of wanting to Van Gogh my own ears off and mail them to The Hague, I eventually endeavored to discover that it was nothing but a squirrel. Walking around outside, investigating the spandrels of time and space, I finally found the culprit, the biological source of the sound, in the spandrels of a tree. His tree. Just an itsy-bitsy squirrel trying to stake his claim and ward off predators, competitors, and woo himself some squirrely trim.

And good for him. That discordant squirrel is now my bestest friend and his name is Joe. Joe the Squirrel. We talk all the time nowadays. Touching on a plethora of subjects, both salient and trivial, whilst debating the hot topics of fate and mortality, faith and morality, with verbal amity and astute aplomb. Delusional or not, I'll take my measured and intellectually stimulating conversations with Joe the Squirrel over the agonizing antagony of a Burning Bush any ol' fucking fucked-up day, is what I'm saying.

To that end, I urge you to behold and comprehend THE CURSE OF THE BIG MONSTER. The first installment in the Brobdingnagian epic known as ANTAGONY. As my bold and fresh, new and intrepid, literary agent; I'm hoping you can convince the industry that healthy skepticism and Euclidean reasoning can be just as lucrative and alluring as holy-rolling flim-flammery. For I guarantee that reading this treatise will innoculate your own personal soul against philosophical zealotry, religious dogma, inscrutable science, government conspiracy, sexual hypocrisy, and nuclear chicanery. I promise that once you've read and ruminated upon THE CURSE OF THE BIG MONSTER nothing you go on to see, hear, or ingest in this lifetime will strike you as trite, absurd, or indulgent ever again.

Now... In light of my crusading moxie and unearthing enterprise, to purge yourself from those aforementioned bad humors and whatnot, and truly appreciate the high-caloric/post-modern magnificence of THE CURSE OF THE BIG MONSTER? Well, I'd like to suggest undergoing some Hippocratic bloodletting of your own, dear Agent.

Or, perhaps, you'd rather half-heartedly nibble upon this tragi-comic enchilada whilst basking in the radioactive teleglow of some inane syndicated sitcom rerun? One listless eye on my liminal and lapidary prose, your other cataract fixed upon the high-definition de-humanizing boob tube? Either way is fine with me, you see, because... Regardless of how you approach this book, I'm just glad you're with me.

But! If you want to be more like me --more than a mere dilettante, punk, paladin, or shameless pædomorph; bigger than life and better than death, bedizened, enigmatic, and positively dripping with the sort of brio and bonhomie that flys in the face of what it means to be alive in this rarefied age of techno-grandiloquence and subjective neo-nihilism, this dress rehearsal for the afterlife-- please allow me to impart a useful methodology. A few simple preparatory exercises designed to further enhance your rudimentary reading experience.*

1) Remove your every last shred of clothing and find a nice quiet room you can comfortably inhabit as an uninhibited Godiva. Then, once you're perfectly naked and irrationally afraid, invite a lover, close friend, or estranged relative to gently coat your entire epidermis with a thin film of deep-heating topical athletic ointment.

(Ben Gay is ideal, of course, but I would never endorse it over the generic equivalent. Not without an exclusive/lucrative business contract, that is.)

As soon as you've been slathered neck to heels in icy/hot menthol grease, kindly ask your comrade to gently mummify your legs and torso in a pink sheath of fiberglass home insulation. Simply pick your favorite piece of furniture (a chaise lounge or weight lifting bench work for me) and have your friend help you into a supine position. Use whatever means necessary in order to relax (jazz music, chewing tobacco, heroin injection) but by all other means concentrate on ANTAGONY. Focus on the words you are reading and whatever else you gotta do, do not scream! The BDSM suppression of your itchy and constricted discomfort will at once heighten and skew your other senses. Ultimately contributing to a more profound and rewarding literary ordeal.

Don't tase me, bro, I'm being serious here. Every morning I get out of bed in a hypnopompic state of hunger and eye-boogered discombobulation before stumbling like a newborn bovine into the commode where I ceremoniously collapse (like a house of Deal-A-Meal cards) into a pristine ivory bathtub carved into the shape of a pelican's beak and filled with exactly one hundred-and-eleven gallons of highly-caffeinated/genital-condensing iced mocha frappe. Right on cue, like an orchestra cymbalist, my HMO's preferred periodontist bursts into the room singing I'm Too Sexy For My Hat and immediately begins removing the hardened nocturnal plaque from my gums with a galvanized/gold-plated fishgig. For the next grueling half-hour I lie perfectly still, clenching my buttocks together, while a hairless and half-nude female automaton scours my corrugated epiderm with an aluminum loofah whilst dictating the Major League Baseball box scores through a WWI-era gas mask that seemlessly reconfigures her feminine vocal frequencies to mimic the Hindi-flavored English accent of the Mahatma as played by Sir Ben Kingsley in his Oscar winning role.

Why, you ask, do I subject myself to such eccentrical anguish? Well, I happen to believe that everyone needs, and should therefore want to create, streamline, and endure their own invigorating quotidian ritual. Mine is a kind of physical, mental, and emotional masochism engineered to promote internal resiliency, perseverance, and moral discipline while at the same time turning my skin so goddamned cold to the touch that the Devil Himself couldn't possibly melt me down and plunder the ore of my everlasting core. Only through sufferance can one breed exo-strength, bruh. It's why I emaciate myself with psycho-stimulating drugs, deprive myself of sleep, and Prince Albert my nipples, tongue, and penis. The blazing contradictions between my mind, muscles, heart, and halo serve to stoke my interior pilot light and varnish my exterior parlour.

A variation on just such a routine just might work for you, as well.

2) Take THE CURSE OF THE BIG MONSTER down to the tattoo parlor and have the man there recreate the entire manuscript on your naked torso. Then, maybe a week later (or whenever you've managed to recover from the emblematic trauma) have your spouse or unlawful lover recite your skin out loud utilizing his or hers sultriest narrative modulation. I guarantee this will add a spicy new dimension to your undoubtedly banal sex life.

For instance; my own extremely erogenous epidermis is embroidered head to toe with short stories, fables, epigrams, bawdy jokes, story problems, mathematical equations, scientific nomenclature, and sexually implicit terms of endearment like: Cum Relax Upon The Axis Of A Divine Scepter --a suggestive phrase I've had stenciled in a pretentious Olde English style font across the supple folds of my bare-shaven scrotum. I am indubitably irresistible. And I cannot stress enough the erotic power of language. Or the power of erotic language. Or the erotic language of power. Or, for that matter, molten cheese...

3) Speaking of cheese and other viscous condiments... Find a six year old Chinese boy --any ethnic six year old will do, actually-- and tell him to run circles around you while he waves a stick and shouts: Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky over and over and over again until the word finally loses its meaning altogether and no longer relates to the Bluegrass State but mimics the sound of a million Teutonic termites chewing the woodwork out of a quaint Flemish cottage in faraway Flanders.

Trust me. For some odd reason this inexplicable ritual will cause the grotesque typefaced letters of THE CURSE OF THE BIG MONSTER to literally extract themselves from the recycled paper pages and enter your brain through your pores in ecclesiastical waves of eloquent oratorio so electric, cogent, and inspirational they could stir an audience of totem poles to cabalistic rapture. Once this dithyrambic phenomenon manifests itself, calmly instruct the Chinese kid to pour artificially-flavored fruit juice all over himself while he picks his nose and impersonates a slice of stuffed crust pizza. While the latter won't actually do anything to enhance the reading experience, it is pretty damned funny.

4) Let's say you happen to be a more reserved "type-D" type of individual, though. You're not entirely averse to tip-toeing that extra step for the augmented literary experience, but you're unwilling to partake in pagan ritual or self-administered/self-fullfilling corporal prophecy.

In that case...

Available on eight cassette tapes, three compact discs, or two gigabytes of compressed digital data --the soundtrack to THE CURSE OF THE BIG MONSTER contains approximately thirteen hours of crude but tasteful homemade sound effects and microphone feedback spliced with an eclectic/esoteric sampling of popular music ranging from classical to opera to gangsta-rap to heavy-metal to blues to swing to soul to bluegrass to inaccessible jazz and punk to --finally-- a liturgical interpretation of the infamous eighteen-minutes of Watergate lacunae re-arranged and performed by the Saint John's Parish order of the Knights of Columbus barbershop quartet. Each track has been digitally re-mastered to satisfy the stereophonic expectations of even the most discerning audiophile and the playlist itself has been painstakingly organized to accompany the sweeping range of emotions you'll experience as you become immersed in the overwhelming literary vortex of THE CURSE OF THE BIG MONSTER.

All that (and Juice Newton, too!) for only $49.95. A small price to pay for such foudroyant entertainment, would you not agree?

5) Lastly, but not leastly, I urge you to experiment with your own ideas (and barbiturates) esteemed Agent. Always keeping in mind the tremendous amount of affection and respect this author has for you. So don't hesitate, just capitulate. I'll be waiting for you on the next page. If and when you decide to turn this one over. Charmed, I'm sure...

 

Yours truly

(and truly the only author you're ever gonna want or need to represent)

John Hamler

 

***

 

End of Query Letter

 

*Keep in mind that the Biblical Jesus H. Christ Himself always prayed in private. Absolved of banal responsibility, immune from scrutiny, He would walk off into the woods, or climb up on a roof, or duck under a muthafucking boardwalk whenever He wanted to commune with His galactic Father Figure and garner the inimitable insight necessary to advocate and disseminate The Lord's high-and-mighty but largely misanthropic sermon to the masses. Naturally, and liturgically, the Son of Man knew Himself (like any Good German/Useful Jew/Stage Magician-Medium doth knoweth thyself) but was very rarely known, if ever even seen, to be wise and pious and courageous for the sake of said masses. Instead, and quite wisely, He made sure He was believed to be courageous and wise and just and piously preternatural before He could ever be seen to be believed and thusly, and unjustly, crucified.

I'm just saying, esteemed Agent. If, that is, you know what I'm saying.*

 

 

 


© Copyright 2019 John Hamler. All rights reserved.

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