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Byline

In the living room of the old man's Hollywood hills mansion, I looked at a bookcase containing Hugo's of years gone by and a signed photograph of A. E. van Vogt.

My studio head had told me: "Says he's written his best story. When readers think the guy's dead, he writes another story! Go see what the old fakir's got. Might be something for Tarantino."

I was one of those who thought the legend was dead as... dead. When he returned to the room, I sat up straighter, and pulled reading glasses from their case.

He handed me a heavy folder. "Open it."

I hesitated, looking up into the wizened old fart's face.

Filling the awkward silence, he said: "It's better than that 'shortest science fiction story ever published' that I did back in... back... whenever."

I opened the folder close to my face. A small mirror was pasted to a single 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. Shocked, I saw me! Real life stories from the past that I wanted to forget, began zooming through my mind! My mouth flew open.

Still standing, my host leaned down with his face closer to mine. "You see? Each reader writes his or her own story! It just has my byline at the top of the page! After it's in Analog, could make it into a movie! Can you imagine theatres filled with mad people?"

I imagined all of those stories that people wanted to forget. And, this was right up Quentin's alley.

Story by:

Henry Brasater

21 October 2013