ME: Hey, thanks for being patient, Mori. It’s just been really crazy—
MORI: You kept me waiting in your creepy black room for 48 hours! “New Feature! A Conversation with Exit Vector’s Heroine Every Week!” Yeah, took you long enough to fucking get to it! Everything sorted out, now?! You got your precious dark chocolate M&Ms and Gatorade?! The right oldies on the damn stereo?! Six packs of cigs? All the planets in fucking alignment?!
ME: Oldies. Ha. Um, yeah. Sorry about that… I, uh…
MORI: Duh, duh, duh…
ME: Stop it. Jesus, you can be nasty!
MORI [with eyes of faux wonder]: You wrote it, Jack. What did you expect?
ME: Seriously? I didn’t think you’d be like this, so.. abrasive. Caustic. That’s not the way I imagined you at all!
MORI: What, that story about you getting all moon-eyed over a stupid pencil drawing?
ME: Yes! I thought you’d be… sweet! Innocent! Really! But then you opened your mouth in that first scene…
MORI: Hey, wake up Hemingway. You didn’t exactly paint me a rose garden. Here I am. Bad attitude and all. Your move, Shakespeare.
ME: Well, I…
MORI: Duh, duh, duh…
[counting to five, I light a cigarette]
ME: You, uh, need anything?
MORI: A happy ending. A billion euros. Bigger tits. No, I’m fine, mighty master Drax. Just keep the spring water of Mother Russia coming. [Mori sips her vodka, chilled the way she likes it] Want some?
ME: No, thank you. So… Let’s just reiterate that this is a new feature on the site—
MORI: Probably doomed to failure…
ME: —and it’s called The Weekly Rap w/ Mori Kim Marr—
MORI: You just like saying my name.
ME: I do. And IN THIS FEATURE—shut up—you and I can talk about pretty much anything: thoughts about a given week’s Exit Vector installment, origins of the story, influences, what worked, what didn’t, you know—anything. Whatever we want.
MORI: And you think readers of the… what is it? Wovel?
ME: Yes, wovel.
MORI: And you think the wovel readers will find this even remotely interesting?
ME: Yes. I do. For a couple of reasons. 1: If they like you as a character, if they find you entertaining, it’s a chance to “get more,” so to speak. 2: A lot of readers will be interested in the creative process… no pretensions of peeling back the curtain or any of that sort of thing, but just kicking it around, you know? A lot of these readers are writers, too. So if nothing else they might be amused as I flail around going, “Help!”
MORI: Ha. And what if that happens?
[sucking the vodka down with a wicked grin]
MORI: What if you botch the whole operation? The story, the weekly deadline. What if the whole thing turns to total clusterfuck?
ME: Then I will spin a lovely fantasy in which you hold me tenderly and stroke my hair and whisper “Drax, you’re still my hero.”
MORI [after an explosion of mildly evil laughter]: I bet you would, you feeb! Ha ha ha!
ME: No, I wouldn’t. I promise. Really. [pause] At any rate, we’ll all find out soon enough, won’t we.
MORI: Yeah, that’s right, we will. The first episode will be up for another week, right? Then it’s the new installment, and a new one every week after that.
ME: Every Monday, babe.
MORI: Frankly man, I can’t wait to see what happens… then again, I have a vested interest. Hey, you know, right? How far out have you written it?
ME: As of this writing… not a single word past the first episode.
MORI: Oh, you are shitting me.
ME: I shit you not. Not a word.
MORI: But you had all that time after the Admiral Blake lady approved the first episode!
ME: I know. I thought about cranking out a rough draft of the whole damn thing. But I didn’t. I want to play this real, a new installment every week, to employ opening it up to the readers, I want to sweat. I want—
MORI: Wait, is this that MANIFESTO thing you were going to write? “I, Simon Drax, pledge to—”
ME: It is not. Fuck the MANIFESTO. The only thing I’m going to pledge is a new installment every week, that it’ll be “good,” and that I’m really going to allow the vote to matter, to influence the course of the story. Not simply a choice between “Weapon A” or “Weapon B.” For example: in the original options I wrote, you could have been dead.
MORI: Gee, thanks. I thought you liked me. Bad attitude and all.
ME: We have to wrap this up…
MORI: Yeah, you warned me: people don’t like long posts.
ME:…but I just want to interject why these weekly “talks” will be important: because there’s so much I don’t know about you, Mori.
MORI: Creee-pee… You’re a creep!
ME: I’m not! But we gotta wrap this up! So! It’s your first week on the job. How do you like being a Draxian heroine?!
[she thinks about it, smiles indulgently]
MORI: Just keep the spring water of Mother Russia coming, you hack.