Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Biggest Jail in the Whole World . . .

Why did you decide to become a writer?

Me? I’m not sure. Still figuring that one out. Seems like a good thing to be, as I’m having fun writing my own novels over at the Targhee Writers Blog (invitation only; drop me an email at misterfweem(at) for an invite).

Howard Maier knows exactly why he became a writer. And until I figure out exactly why I’m going down the same path, I’m sticking with what Mr. Maier says.

To set this up: The author is on trial for something or other, and the prosecutor/editor is interrogating him. The author said as a child he wanted to become a policeman so he could lock his family members up. See what happens:

UNTERMEYER: And you became a writer?

MAIER: Yes, I guess so . . . (then quickly) . . . But I never gave up the other idea.

UNTERMEYER: What other idea?

MAIER: Of locking them up.

UNTERMEYER: (very impatiently) But that was when you wanted to be a policeman . . . You just told us you became a writer.

MAIER: But I only became a writer so I could pretend I was a policeman. In that way, you see, I could lock up –

UNTERMEYER: (wearily) I know, I know . . . You could lock up your parents, your brothers, your sisters . . . your whole family, in fact.

MAIER: (excited) That’s it! But that’s not the best . . . It’s even better now.

UNTERMEYER: (a bit dazed) How better?

MAIER: Well, now that I’m a writer and therefore a policeman, I’ve built a big jail, the biggest jail in the whole world.


MAIER: And that’s wonderful. You understand that, of course.


MAIER: (exultantly) Because now – now I can lock up everybody!

UNTERMEYER: (quite dazed) But—

MAIER:Yes, everybody—everybody in the whole world. (Leans out of witness chair . . . and whispers dreamily) I could even put you in my jail, Mr. Untermeyer. Yes, I can almost see you sitting there now, in a tiny cell . . . (as if just remembering where he is . . . sits back and resumes normal tone) But I beg your pardon—I will talk about myself. You were asking me about how I became a writer, I believe?

UNTERMEYER: (hurriedly) Ho, no, it’s quite all right, Mr. Maier . . . There are no further questions . . . you may step down.

This blog’s part of my big jail, folks. Welcome home.

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