(On Saturday, I participated in an evening of Say Anything fan fiction as part of Lit Crawl NYC. Here is my contribution, an attempt at double fan fiction. It is best read as I read it Saturday – with the Game of Thrones theme playing in the background.)
“I am Eddark Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Hand of the King,” Lloyd Dobler said loudly, his voice carrying across the entire restaurant, “and I come before you to confess my treason in the sight of gods and men.”
A dinner roll came sailing out of the crowd. More rolls – and the occasional balled up napkin – followed. A hundred voices were screaming. King Joffrey stepped out from behind the shields of his Kingsguard.
“My mother bids me let Lord Eddard take the black, and Lady Sansa has begged mercy for her father. But they have the soft hearts of women. So long as I am your king, treason shall never go unpunished. Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!”
Ser Ilyn Payne gestured and the knight in black-and-gold gave a command. The gold cloaks flung Lloyd Dobler to the marble, with his head and chest out over the edge. Ser Ilyn drew a two-handed greatsword from the scabbard on his back. As he lifted the blade above his head, the harsh fluorescent lighting seemed to ripple and dance down the dark metal, glinting off an edge sharper than any razor.
So concluded Lloyd’s appearance as Ned Stark, at Winterfellow’s, Gatlinburg’s only Game of Thrones theme restaurant and medieval dinner theater. The lights went out and Lloyd felt around for the styrofoam replica of his head, which was removed from his shoulders twice nightly before modest – but enthusiastic – crowds of landlocked tourists. Finding it, he tucked it under his arm like a basketball and exited the arena.
He rarely bothered to remove his makeup or to unbundle his hair before leaving for the night. It was drawn back somewhat effeminately, like Katherine Ross’s in The Graduate. He did not even change clothes. He drove home – and stopped off to buy beer – looking like the bass player from Krokus.
The recent removal of Corey and her things from Lloyd’s rented brick bungalow had caused the house to list forward, or so it seemed. The floors sloped perceptibly toward the small front yard, and maybe always had, although the effect was undeniable now with no throw rugs or rock posters or guitars to distract from what was really a very steep grade. A pencil, or even a quarter, dropped at the right angle between the couch and the coffee table might roll, unimpeded, to the front of the house, and disappear forever in the warped gaps between the floor and the baseboards, which flared as wide as two inches in places – something Lloyd had never noticed until Corey was all the way gone.
He put the beer in the refrigerator, took two bottles for himself, and sunk into the living room couch. He turned on his laptop.
He had resisted Facebook for as long as he could. Everything about it screamed bought, sold, and processed. But it helped him keep up with Connie and Jason, who had become quite a mixed martial artist, although he was a better grappler than a striker.
And it was how he had reconnected with Corey, a voice from the past. She had moved down from Chicago and it seemed so right. What he should have done all along. But even that didn’t work out. She was still too angry. Still at Joe. Still at everyone, really.
Lloyd logged in. A little red square appeared by the icon of two people – a man and a woman – very close together. The Facebook symbol for friends – and possibly more.
He clicked and the menu dropped down.
“Diane Court,” it said. “15 mutual friends.”
His heart raced. He looked at the tiny picture but could not bring himself to click it. He tossed his laptop aside and stood up. He paced and finished his beer. He sat back down on the couch and stared at the screen, considering his options.
The choice couldn’t have been simpler, or more difficult. His mouse hovered across them both.
“Confirm” or “Not Now.”