I was in my freshman year of high school when I learned about the concept of the "senior prank." I heard some good stories, but my favorite was the one about how someone took three pigs and spray-painted a number on each one: 1, 2 and 4. Then, this sadistic motherfucker set these pigs loose on school grounds. The authorities found all three pigs, but they went batshit crazy trying to find #3, which didn't exist.
Hold that thought. I want to tell you about something else first.
Writers are all arrogant fucks. I include myself in that category. None of us would ever publicly say it, because we are also incredibly fragile people. It's very zen, in a way. We all think the world of ourselves when we're doing the things we do, but when we open ourselves up to criticism, we become these shy creatures. Hell, we start degrading our own work before someone else has a chance to.
I'm guilty of this, too. It pains me to say it, but it's true. We all think we're geniuses, but very few of us really are geniuses. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that 80% of us are trend-followers instead of trend-setters.
In my own false-modesty, I was about to say that I don't know where I fit into that equation. But . . . well, one of the things I pride myself on when it comes to GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS is off-the-cuff honesty. So, confession time: I really don't know where I fit when it comes to that percentage. I know I strive for that other 20%. If I think I'm goldbricking it, or if I'm telling savage lies, I try to back away from that work, like I recently did with my Vietnam slasher novel. But I don't really know for sure if I'm making it into that august category.
When I first started this thing, I fully intended to reveal the identity of the third genius I met through StrangeHouse Books. But then . . . an imp took me over, as an imp sometimes does. About 75% of my life, I think I'm a Trickster God. (There's that arrogance again.)
For one, if I named the person in question, I would have a dozen others angry at me for not saying their name. But that's not nearly as interesting as my other reason: because most SHB writers reading this will think I'm talking about them, even if I'm not. If I were among them, I'd be thinking it, too.
You see, it's a lot like that senior prank I mentioned earlier, except it seems to be the opposite. The third SHB genius really does exist, you see. But I think it's funnier to keep my mouth shut on who it is.
Fair warning: if you ask me in person who this third genius is, I'll say it's you. So . . . if you flaunt it later, you might run into someone else who says, well, you get the idea.
K.M. Tepe and Jesse Wheeler will know. But for everyone else? I'm OK with keeping them guessing . . .
Yes, I know I'm a fucker. Sorry. But these days, I have to get my laughs where I can find them. Rest assured, though, that there is a third. This person is a genius in a different way from Tepe and Wheeler, but this person is a genius nonetheless.
I can't help it. The feeling I get in my head and heart is the same kind of euphoric feeling I got from when I heard about the pigs.