February 2006

ASK THE SMART GUY: Monthly column by Dennis Latham.

The Smart Guy rides to his writers' workshop group on a bicycle whose wheels are made of boots.

The Smart Guy riding a bicycle whose wheels are made of boots

At the writers' workship, the Smart Guy answers critics as they comment on his book that nobody will ever read.

Excerpt From A Book You’ll Never Read

I have written over 30 novels. Well, I call them novels; others might disagree. Being a smart guy can be frustrating. I have been told my novels do not fit any category. I have also been told I'm either too far ahead of my time or just a nut. Certain publishers have even demanded I type my novels instead of writing them in pencil or on a yellow legal pad. Most of all publishers complained because I didn't start my novels at the beginning.

Ed. Note: In ALL traditional U.S. crime fiction (pronounced NOO-AHHH) into the later 20th Century, it was obligatory to refer to the female lead as 'The Girl.' [JTC 2021}

My last submission started on Chapter 26. This is my artistic choice. If Chapters 1 through 25 sucked, then why can't I begin on Chapter 26? Artistic freedom too often suffers at the hands of the Establishment. I just eliminate the sucky parts and get to the good stuff. Some might argue that if the novels were good there wouldn't be sucky parts. But then again, I never argue because I'm always right. So this is a good chance to read an excerpt from a book you'll never read.

Chapter 6

She was sitting at the bar, her back to him. When Norman's eyes adjusted to the dark, he saw her long brown hair and a green dress slit up the side to display her sleek thighs. She was his contact for sure. As he approached, he saw several men watching him. He stood next to the girl and whispered.

Are you the shepherd?

"Only when flowers grow on white bread," she said.

"The sun is purple," Norman said.

So is your mama," she answered. She knew all the correct passwords.

Norman said: "I have your package."

As they rose, a stranger approached. "I am the police," he said. "Give me that package."

"Where is your badge?" the girl said.

"Badge? I don't need no stinkin' badge," the stranger said, then pulled a gun.

"Follow me," Norman told the girl, then pulled his own gun.

The lights went out and pistols blazed. Moments later, Norman stood outside with the girl. Sixty-three men were shot dead inside the bar.

"Good shooting for only six bullets," the girl said.

"The agency taught me well," Norman said.

"Make love to me now,"she panted.

And he did…


Moments later, Norman walked over to his bike and came back with a white package. "Here are the tacos you ordered," he said.

"Thank you, stud," the girl said, out of breath.

Then he leaped on his bicycle and was gone to make another delivery.

(Excerpt from the novel Norman Newkirk: The Fantasy Life of a Taco Delivery Man

Dramatization in VR: The Smart Guy riding a bicycle whose wheels are made of boots

Meet the real Norman Newkirk—Skeets McTurkey the taco delivery man on his rather unusual delivery vehicle.

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