November 21, 2005
Week 30 - Hero Worship 2
Harry sits in a bar in with a slightly glassy eyed William Kagen.
"Jesus!" Harry says. "When I was a kid, I ate your stuff up!"
Kagen takes a gulp from his drink. "So stupid! I couldn't wait till the temple was closed! I had to indulge during lunch! And now Doreen's gone!"
"'Perils of a Purple Planet', 'Galactic Fire Patrol', 'Brown of Space Ranger Squad 9'! That stuff was like crack to me when I was twelve! I couldn't get enough. Read 'em over and over..."
"It's just like Rachel with that faith healing gig in Cleveland. How many women'll I drive away cause I can't exercise a bit of self control?"
"I used to hide your old paperbacks inside my textbooks during class. I got yelled at all the time..."
Kagen drains his drink and holds it out to Harry. "Can I get another of these, friend?"
"Sure." Harry beckons to the waitress and points to the empty glass. "Why aren't you writing, man? What are you doing wasting time with that Thermal Variance Therapy crap?"
"All I can write is ray guns and rocket ships. No one wants that anymore. Nowadays it's all cyber this and post apocalyptic that." Kagen shakes his head. "The New Age nonsense keeps me eating."
"But you're one of the giants, man! You're right up there with Heinlein and Asimov!"
"I haven't seen a royalty check since 1975. But in L. A., couple years back? I earned about eighty thousand, convincing rich old biddies I could get them messages from their dead husbands from beyond the grave. 'Course I lost it all at the track a few days later..."
"People really believe that junk?"
"You'd be amazed." The waitress rests a new cup in front of Kagen. He salutes her with it and tips it to his mouth.
"I'm getting an idea, here!" Harry rubs his hands together. "My magazine... We're looking for something new, something to boost circulation. If this fringe stuff is so popular, maybe we should start focusing there... But if I add a new section, I'll need an editor, an expert on crackpots..." He looks at Kagen. "What do you say?"
Kagen shrugs. "My pot is as cracked as they come..."