Well, kid, you’re back. Naw, it’s fine. If you’re willin’ to pay. Here, let me put down my cigarette and show off the wares.
They sure are something, ain’t they? All those little worlds, blank and just waitin’ for someone to take them home.
Sure, sure, it’ll take lots of time. But every world’s a little different. Maybe a few hours to rough out something nice and small. Or maybe decades. Depends on the size of the idea you want to plant on this nice new little earth I sell you.
You can’t afford it. You have any idea how much work it takes to deal with one of ’em? Trust me, it ain’t worth your time, your money, your energy.
No, I ain’t blowin’ smoke in your face. Well, I am, but that’s cause my cigarette smoke’s gotta go somewhere, and your face is just such a nice target. Wouldn’t want to waste the smoke on the nice cracked linoleum floor, would I? But I ain’t lyin’. You can’t afford dealin’ with a new earth.
Now that guy, over there? See him? Big shot. He’s got all the time in the world to take care of a new earth like this one. He can sit on his tookus all day, dreaming up ways to mess with that blank world and put on all sorts of interesting people and situations. Authors. Real authors I mean, like that guy? He’s got what you ain’t. Continue reading “The Shopkeeper Mutters, “You Gotta Pay.””
Step right up! See the horror of horrors! See the one thing in the universe that will make you realize how small you stand in the cosmic order! There is nothing on the midway as terrifying as this! Ladies, please make sure you have a strong arm to lean on. No one with heart conditions! You’ll need to sign this waver!
Kid, not you. Get away. You bother me.
Thank you, ma’am. Sir. Kid, get away. You can’t come in.
Now, everyone has paid up! Now enter at your own risk! Now…. Behold!
The beast that has slain a thousand writers! The creature as thin as an anorexic manta ray and yet able to destroy a man’s career without ever touching him! The monster that causes many to stay inside and never venture outside, and we have brought it here for you, tamed so it can’t touch you! Step right up ma’am – this one’s not aimed at you. This one can’t hurt you. Now… look! Continue reading “View the Horror!”
Take your chances! You can pick any world you see here. Any one! And I guarantee it won’t be this old, worn-out world you’re in now. It’ll be a brand-new worn-out world! But something different, and really, different is never bad, is it?
Move along, wise acre. We don’t need your kind here.
But you! You look like a good kid. A wise kid! You know that a new world is worth it. So take your pick. What’ll it be? What world would you like to visit?
What makes a world worth visiting? What makes a fiction worth experiencing?
No no, don’t tell me. I can tell by the tone of your rolling eyes. You don’t want one of my worlds. You think you’ve seen it all! You want to make your own!
Your old world getting a little tired there, son? I can see the holes in it! Why, it’s hardly worth calling it a world anymore. It’s barely a planet at all! Where’s the sense of wonder? The grand vistas? The ideas bigger than people? Where’s the sense of charm? That little something that just makes you smile?
I know what you need! One new earth, right here, right for the taking – just one small price! Sure, sure, I see that you think it’s too much to pay, but come here! Come see! This is no bauble, no showman’s trick! Yes, son, I am a showman, and yes, I know many tricks, but this is not one of them, as sure as my hat is tall!
See how it shimmers and shines? It’s what you’ve always wanted, isn’t it? A chance to start over? A chance to load the cosmic dice and have a place that fulfills your fantasies of revenge or lust or – oh, I see! You’re such an innocent boy, aren’t you? Ah, you want a place where the good guys always win and the bad guys twirl their mustaches! Well, we can do that, too!