Who Is The Fish?
"Buckle in for this riotous roller-coaster ride through a landscape of dreams, alien teaching machines, and characters who never, once, turn out to be quite what they seem... Philip K Dick would love this book! And if you don't recognize PKD, the master himself, lurking behind King's character H. F. Kurtz, as this book so eloquently recommends, "pay attention, you fool!" – Vincent Casspriano, Jr More
"I had one of your dreams," she said. She looked up, met Bertram's worried gaze."Screw you, Bertram. You're infecting me with this stuff."
"Kurtz is dead," Bertram insisted, as much to himself as to Christy. "And he's nuts, too. None of this is happening. Let it go."
"Kurtz..." A bitter laugh. "This isn't about Kurtz. It's about you."
She'd dreamed about a fish - a whale, technically, a gigantic white whale - that washed up on the shore as she strolled alone down a gray, stony beach. It had decided, it told her, that the ocean was just too big; it was tired of struggling to comprehend such enormity. The whale wanted, it claimed, to die on dry land, where it could at least see a stable horizon. It wanted to enjoy the comforting illusion of a small, comprehensible world - at least until the sun baked its skin to a crisp. It preferred a happy, limited death to an agonizing life in the borderless sea...
But now that it had reached land, the whale had a problem. It had noticed the sky - and that, too, was mighty big. Too big for comfort. Could she, please, turn him over, so his eyes faced the sand, so the illusion of a small world could be maintained for the few hours he had left...
"So I start pushing this enormous whale..." She clenched hers hands together on the table and mimicked the giant fish, slowly rolling over. "I've got it about half turned. I'm facing its huge, white stomach, when the thing suddenly splits wide open, guts and water everywhere..."
She spread her hands wide, then balled one up into a fist, raised it toward Bertram.
"Then you, you bastard, stepped out like Jesus Christ Almighty, glowing robes and all."
"Me?" Bertram repeated, his eyes on her trembling fist. It's Jonah, not Jesus, he thought - then Damn you, damn you, damn you, Kurtz! The second dream, the second book, now this...
His teeth hurt. He closed his eyes and saw a shark tracing circles around a lone swimmer. The man paddled frantically for shore.
"Yes, you." Christy's voice was thin, controlled. Her chair squeaked back from the table. "You told me to forget it. You said it was meaningless. It was just a dream."
Gaping jaws. Teeth. The swimmer tiring, slowing...
"Then you laughed. You laughed at me for caring."
"I'm sorry," Bertram started, "but..."
Churning water. Slow swirling waves... He opened his eyes.
"Well, I don't care," Christy said. She stood, gathered her coat. "Go ahead and laugh. Laugh at yourself, fish boy. Goodbye."
Dreams... Bertram watched his fiancée wavering, clutching the chair, on the brink of tears...
But not leaving. Waiting for him to stop her. He stood and offered his hand.
"I care," he said softly. "Come on. I want to show you something."
He took her to his apartment and showed her the transcript of the Jonah dream, the wine stained book. She wouldn't have believed him if he'd just told her. She'd have said he'd made it up, on the spot, to save his own butt.
And she might have been right. He'd had to see it all again himself - to touch the ruined book, to recognize his own handwriting, to let the Lit-World picture pull him gently forward one more time - to accept that it was all really happening. That he was awake. That the alarm wasn't moments from sounding and he'd have to write it all down...
"Where's the third book?" Christy asked finally, after reviewing the evidence, after shoving Cosmogenesis and Voice of the Beloved into her purse for "safe keeping."
Bertram frowned. "There isn't one," he said. "Barnes and Noble says the publisher got bought out. The Kurtz reissues got canceled before Reconciliato hit the presses. I was lucky to get those two." He nodded toward her purse.
"What about the original hardback?"