Angela Slatter is an Australian writer trapped in Brisbane, Queensland (not California, dude) by a malfunctioning vortex manipulator. Here she recounts how she got into the guest blogging business and talks about herself in third person. She also blogs over here about shiny objects that catch her attention.
Jeff: Pssst. You. Wanna blog-sit for a while? There are a few people here already, but I kinda need someone to take care of the memory cathedral; someone not too fond of sunlight. Maybe youâ€™d like a holiday?
Angela: Sure! A free blogiday? Why not.
Jeff: You just need to blog a bit, write something smart and funny.
Angela: Sure, no problem, Smart and funny is my default.
Jeff: *grabs bags and heads out door* Cool! Bye.
Angela: Bye! Donâ€™t worry about anything. *Brain immediately goes blank, not one funny or smart thought appears, not even when she taps the top of the food tin. However, three large cats do appear as does one Evil Monkey (wearing a fez). Oy.
Angela wanders along the corridors of the Ecstatic Days Memory Cathedral, where Jeff stores his brain. The ceilings are high and a lace of cobwebs hangs there, moved gently by a breeze that seemingly has no source. Wall sconces provide the only source of lighting. There are no windows. There are tapestries, sometimes on the walls, sometimes draped over boxes and chairs â€“ some of the hangings look suspiciously like the recently stolen La Dame Ã la licorne series from the Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris. Mmmm. There are avenues of bookshelves (all crammed full), collections of pinned butterflies and beetles, stuffed giraffes, discarded Rubikâ€™s Cubes, myriad scattered tins of cat food, and, instead of tumbleweeds, the occasional squid rolls by, curled in a ball, a tentacle or two raised in greeting. Colourful patches of mushrooms dot the floor. Angela is followed by the three cats, who ooze in and out of the darkness like furry ninjas. Evil Monkey lollops at her side, lighting up a suspicious-smelling cigarillo.
Angela: Thatâ€™s bad for you, stunts your growth.
Evil Monkey: Really?
Angela: Yeah, you have the potential to be a 6ft2â€ Evil Monkey of Doom.
Evil Monkey: *stubs out cigarillo*
Angela: So, those cats. Theyâ€™re probably going to try and eat me, right?
Evil Monkey: Thereâ€™s a chance, but essentially theyâ€™re lazy. Oh, sure, they plot, but if you exercise your opposable thumb talents and open a couple of those cans, you should be fine.
Angela: Good plan. I can see why the VanderBrains keep you around. *Opens three tins of random memory cathedral cat food with her trusty Swiss Army Knife can-openery attachment. Three sets of gleaming green eyes blink from the shadows in catly contentment.*
Evil Monkey: Bravo, Homo Erectus.
Angela: Hey! Watch it, lower order primate.
Evil Monkey: Okay, okay, truce.
Angela: Youâ€™re not gonna try and eat me, are you?
Evil Monkey: *reaches out and does a fat test* Nah. I got cholesterol issues.
Angela: *imagines Evil Monkey as a taxidermy project*
Evil Monkey: Sooooo, who are you? Why are you here?
Angela: Your boss said I could have a blogiday. Yâ€™know, spin some words, water the plants, not get eaten by the felines, donâ€™t mention the stolen tapestries. The tapestries â€“ that was you, right?
Evil Monkey: *refuses to dignify question with an answer* What are your qualifications for word-spinning?
Angela: What is this, a job interview? Two short story collections out this year? That good enough for ya, furball?
Evil Monkey: Well, okay then. You like coffee?
Angela: Iâ€™m a writer.
Evil Monkey: Sure, sorry, stupid question.
Angela: But where are we gonna get coffee around here? I mean, itâ€™s a memory cathedral, not a location notorious for espresso bars.
Evil Monkey: True, but itâ€™s VanderMeerâ€™s memory cathedral.
*From up ahead comes a gentle golden glow and the sound of boiling milk being forced at high pressure into a shiny metal jug. The smell of coffee wafts along the breeze, the scent solidifies into a kind of smoke, shaped like a hand; its fingers beckon. Angela realises the barista is a squid wearing a beret.*
Angela: Danishes. Do you think there might be danishes? Or donuts?
Evil Monkey: Itâ€™s VanderMeerâ€™s â€“ there will be danuts, a hybrid pastry. Câ€™mon, letâ€™s talk.
Angela: Well, okay then.
TO BE CONTINUED (ii)
(i)Â May not have happened.
(ii)Â If not eaten by cats.