Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where's my Lexus?

A few months ago I got tapped for a interesting writing assignment. Lexus magazine had selected nine writers to create a serial story of a young couple, Julia and Terrence, as they drive cross country in a new Lexus. (literary heavyweights Jane Smiley, Mary Otis, Brian Antoni among others, and yes, I have no idea how I was included.) Guidelines were minimal. They just wanted to make sure there was no car crashes, which seemed reasonable. The idea was that each writer would pick up where the other left off, without any consultation. Just wing it. Like a long drive without a map. A great gig, with lots of randomness.

My selection, called "In the Belly of the Beast," was the seventh chapter. I set it in my favorite town, Las Vegas. All the other writers, focused on the two main characters. I decided to use the point of view of an angry, sweaty man in a gorilla suit, the greeter-mascot at Me Tarzan, You Jane Wedding Chapel. He's cursing his lot in life, snarling at the fat tourists staggering down the strip, when the Lexus pulls up to the chapel. Yes, Terrence and Julia are getting married.

A good time was had.