The Kansas City Star has this timely business article on the slow death of the independent bookstore. Timely, because I finally got all my various payday loans and car title loans paid off, thanks to God and the Amazon Kindle. With my new clean slate and slightly better credit rating, I'm planning to take out a loan for a huge truck. The dealer says I'll be able to make the payments easy, so I'm not too worried about that whole thing. Like the free second Snuggie that comes with your order of the first Snuggie, paying off that rapidly accumulating debt and getting approved for a Ford F-250 also came with the free bonus of winning a bet with Justin Kendall and Peter Rugg.
"Ain't no way you ever gonna get out from under that huge mountain of bills," Justin said last week through the thick bolus of Li'l Debbie's snack cakes and Cool Ranch Doritos paste he filters all of his words through. "Bitch," he added with an emphatic plume of yellow Doritos crumbs.
"Justin's right," said Peter from behind one of his many pipe smoker's magazine subscriptions. "Simple compound interest mitigates against the possibility that you're ever going to be able to move out of that bus station men's room you've been living in."
"HEY! I live in a house," I said.
"What?" said Peter, puffing on his favorite meerschaum pipe, which was carved to look like the head of the second British Prime Minister, The Earl of Wilmington. "Really? Because I've been to your house. It smells like urine and minty toilet cakes. I could distinctly hear the announcements of departure times. But if you want to call it a 'house,' I'll play along," he said, making little air-quotes around the word 'house.' "Do the police make a lot of vice arrests in your 'house?' Is your 'house' still out of paper towels?"
"You know what?" said Justin, pulling a fistful of dry Trix cereal straight from a Sam's Club-sized box and cramming it into his mouth. "I will bet you one thousand dollars that you can't have a zero balance with the King of Kash." He pulled out the fat bale of $2 bills he carries to impress girls, looked at it in a slightly worried way and added, "By next week."
"Hey, can I get in on this?" said Peter.
"There is no way I'm making a cash bet with you guys. Because if I lose, I'll have to steal my week's supply of nicotine patches. And I already have two shoplifting arrests on my record from not being so hot at shoplifting."
"Okay," said Peter. "How about this: If we win, you have to be our butler for a week!" Peter's always bragging about how someday he's going to be such a big-shot fancy that he'll have a big mansion "with a butler and a coachman," from which we always inferred that Peter had also been pricing coaches. We went back and forth over the whole "wager" issue, and finally agreed that I would be Justin and Peter's butler for a week. Somehow, probably owing to their extreme confidence that I couldn't earn $150,000 in a single week, I convinced them to agree that if they lost the bet, Justin would have to give Peter a pedicure while the whole office watched.
"I'm totally going to win this bet!" I said.
"Poppycock!" said Peter. In addition to his lateral lisp, he's really prone to linguistic metathesis errors, and it actually came out "Cockypop!"
I got out a legal pad and crunched some numbers. It's a pretty basic principle of efficiency that a large task should be broken up into smaller tasks. The large task was earning $150 large. But if I thought of it as earning one single dollar 150,000 times, it became way more manageable. With that in mind, I set about writing a book which I would sell for the Amazon Kindle for $1 a copy. I've been practicing my writer's craft for some time, now, and within two days, I had hammered out my first book, the King Chris Comic Sans Bible.
Basically, I took the King James Bible and used Microsoft Word's Search/Replace feature to change all the names of biblical characters I could actually remember into different and more interesting names. Elijah became William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Noah became Conklin Fangman. To God's plagues on the Egyptians I added having dinner with the Comic Relief triumvirate of Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal. The Book of Isaiah was removed altogether and replaced with Shane Black's screenplay for The Long Kiss Goodnight. I figured that nobody remembered that movie anyway, but to be extra-careful, all of the character names were search/replaced with some names I found in a long list of "begats," which made it sound more Bible-y. Then, to finish the whole thing off, I selected the entire document and changed the font to Comic Sans.
In five days, I sold over 150,000 e-copies of the King Chris Comic Sans Bible. Now, thanks to our gentlemen's agreement, Justin is going to give Peter a pedicure today, and they're both horrified by the entire prospect. Plus, I can pick up my new truck just as soon as the dealership finishes installing my "La Cucaracha" horn. The only cloud on the horizon is the cease and desist letter I got from the Precious Moments porcelain bisque sweatshop for all those Precious Moments images I added to my bible for some color.