Something Something Something Murder

The most excellent Damon Lindelof (Creator of Lost and Watchmen) has kindly offered to share a serialized story with NextDraft readers to help us, and him, through the quarantine. The first 13 chapters are here.

Chapter 14: Only a Hack Writes Himself Into The Story

The Rosenbergs, like all of us, were trapped.

Elizabeth Rosenberg was bouncing around timespace, making summer love with John Travolta and harassing Kenny Loggins mid-woodchuck. Neither of these visitations seemed to have anything whatsoever to do with installing Hillary Rodham as President of the United States, but they were the subjects of entire interludes nonetheless. Elizabeth was thusly trapped.

Greg Rosenberg was getting into fistfights under the auspices of carrying out charitable acts in his neighborhood and arriving home to find a bearded man in his bedroom. This cliffhanger has been dangling for so long that you probably forgot his name is not Greg, but George. And George was trapped.

Abby, Emma and Leo Rosenberg were all trapped too, but they hadn’t done or said anything interesting and with only six chapters to go, it was becoming more and more apparent they were insignificant.

Alden Rosenberg, however, was incredibly significant. Unaware that his mother had already rewritten history , Alden was attempting to rewrite it himself with the help of the aforementioned bearded man, whose name was Brad. Only in America could the architect of our ultimate ruin be named “Brad.” And Brad, who was simultaneously fictional and non-fictional, was also trapped.

And Hillary, who was two-eyed in one timeline and patched, in the other was trapped in both.

They were all trapped. Brad and Hillary and Elizabeth and Greg (George!) and Abby and Emma and Leo and Alden were confined within the walls of a story that was simply not moving forwards. Time both extended and compressed around them. Their lives were a ping pong ball, bouncing off a series of carefully angled pots and pans and juuuust missing a red solo cup, over and over and over and over again.

“Can we just get on with it?” said Alden.

I’m trying.

“Not very hard, apparently.” said Abby.

“Why don’t you tell them how I got this eyepatch?” said Hillary.

Because that’s just more exposition. I want to move things forward.

“Do you even know how I got the eyepatch?” said Hillary.

… Yeah.

“Jesus, you don’t know.”

I do… I just… I don’t want to give it away yet because…

“Oh fuck,” said Elizabeth, “He’s breaking the fourth wall.”

No… I’m not – I’m just having a hard time focusing right n—

“It’s not like you’re busy.” said Emma.

“Yeah, it’s not like you’re busy!” said Abby, who was more or less interchangeable with Emma.

“I am NOT interchangeable!” said Emma, “‘I’m just underwritten!”

“Can I leave?” said Brad.

“Can I do something important? Like, something that would really matter?” said George.

Sometimes not doing anything is doing something important, George.

“Ooh boy” said Elizabeth, “It’s getting meta in here.”

“Leave him alone,” said Leo, who was an oaf. “I don’t even care that you think I’m an oaf. Everyone loves a good oaf because the oaf is always the one who says something simple and important and sweet, so here goes…”

“Cue the violins.” said Elizabeth.

“I believe in you.” said Leo.

“Jesus fuck, Leo.” said Alden.

“I know you’re worried that you’re just doing the same time travel stuff again and you don’t even know what’s gonna happen in the real world so how’re you supposed to know what’s gonna happen in here? And you’re worried about the ending, but you have to get over that, that was like, ten years ago and you’re stronger now so even if you don’t get it just right, that’s okay because the best endings are a little messy and that’s kinda the point right now because this thing isn’t really gonna end end… it’s just gonna kinda go on for awhile and that sucks, but I believe in you. I really do. So just, y’know, put your head down and write, okay?”

… Okay.

“And cut the fourth wall shit.” said Elizabeth.

I will.

Wonderful. Can we get on with it now?” said Alden.

Yes, Alden.

We can.

To be continued…

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