I usually love a day when I can look back at a totally improbable occurrence and sum it up in a sentence that I rarely utter.. most of these are pleasant, such as: I actually won money playing a card game, or What do you know? I lost ten pounds.. some of them aren’t as pleasant, such as “I got stuck behind a gun battle today” or “I stumbled into a crime scene tonight and was yelled at by the police” (all true, I might add) . So it was fun to end yesterday with:
“Today is the day that I became a literary character in a novel”
Background: my friend Howard Whitehouse is a successful author of young adult fiction, having penned THE STRICTEST SCHOOL IN THE WORLD, THE ISLAND OF MAD SCIENTISTS, THE FACELESS FIEND and BOGBRUSH THE BARBARIAN.
These are all great novels for the young set, and whaddya know, the adults like them too. Howard has a very light, funny and detached semi-Victorian style that showcases his dry English wit in many places. He has departed the “Strictest School” series for his latest novel, ZOMBIE ELEMENTARY: THE REAL STORY. Zombie Elementary tells the story of a zombie infestation from the vantage point of a fifth grader that can’t convince the adults of the gravity of the situation. Fortunately, he does convince a certain harassed and underfunded government functionary that the infestation is real, and to get working on a cure. That functionary is me. Not a character that is SORT of like me, or reminiscent of me, but me.
Agent Walter O’Hara of BURP enters the narrative on page 75 by laboriously sneaking into the POV character’s room via ladder, giving the children his card, and ninja-like (not!) departs to go do more secret skulking. He exits the novel several chapters later:
This wasn’t a big surprise arriving out of the blue. Howard did ask for permission to use the names of several of his friends in this book, so I knew it was coming, but that doesn’t hold a candle to actually seeing myself as a literary character for the first time. How improbable was that?