e had sent his former colleagues
from ISU an email asking if he could be in the hypertext of the Unknown with
them. He had been real nice about it, too,
considering that he knew how to use computers and they
didnt. Their response had been unsatisfactory.
Enough was enough. He wrote a two-line, web-client PERL script that read the hypertext and edited all the scenes together so that they were linear and the plot made sense, and authors of color were represented in proportion to Caucasian experimentalists, and replaced the words Scott, William, Dirk, and Frank with the word Will.
Norton had already made him an offer on the manuscript.
He had spent countless hours reading the works of Thomas Pynchon, six
times through. The gravity of it, over and over, he read Rainbow six
times. He had copious notes. There was an expanse of paper spread about
the filth of his apartment floor, devoted exclusively to his loneliness,
and the projects he manufactured to combat it. Bleakley followed obscure
facts, even casual mentions, to their antecedents, and he followed them
from there again to their own, and deeper. He had reason to believe
the thing should be his. He had milk crates full of books. He had vodka.
He had ambition and resentments. He knew that there were paths that
could follow, and he did, indeed, he did indeed follow those paths.
And then he, too, would win the Mr. Amerika Hypertext Novelist Bodybuilding Competition.
Because Bleakely was pumped, ripped, and cut. He had beaten Mark Leyner in a 20-round arm wrestling match. Bleakelys biceps were as taut as the cables on the Golden Gate Bridge, and far surpassed the cables in tensile strength. His pecs were like two 1968 Volkswagon Beetles.
He had beaten Krass-Mueller in tennis and arm wrestling at the same time, and had also won the rights to all of Krass-Muellers works, in what had proven to be an extremely bizarre and weirdly successful thesis defense.
Bleakely had found his voice. He was ready.
Unknown, Im your daddy now.