[Chalotte sits hunched over her desk at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by empty bottles of Diet Coke. Her laptop gleams icily, and a cursor blinks upon an empty page. The situation seems hopeless—the book review’s due tomorrow, and yet our dear writer can muster up no coherent opinion on “IAPF54: Allegory of an Ornamental Hermit.” As she huffs in caffeinated despair, we zoom slowly into her forehead until Joy, Sadness, Disgust, and Anger become visible. Sadness—puffy, blue, turtlenecked—is spread-eagled across the control panel and staring at the ceiling. The other emotions hover behind her.]
SADNESS: Why is it so hard to make words, and why can’t humans hibernate like bears?
FEAR: We’re going to turn in the worst piece of writing ever written, and then Victoria will hate us and we’ll have to become an Ec concentrator!
JOY: Come on now, let’s focus. Can we say the book was…postmodern? That usually works, right?
DISGUST: No. You don’t know what that means. No one knows what that means.
JOY: Shh, it doesn’t matter. I’m pretty sure that one chapter about the possessed unicorn who learns how to speak Swahili was pretty postmodern. Okay, here we go…
[Joy shoves Sadness off the control board and pushes a couple buttons. Zoom out: Charlotte sits up straight and starts to type. A minute later, there’s a paragraph on her screen.]
DISGUST: Wait, why did we just compare the book to Vietnamese take-out noodles? Is that a good thing?
JOY: It’s creative! Because, like, the noodles are a little soggy but still salty and delicious, which is sort of how it felt to read the book.
DISGUST: The book was soggy? Seriously?
ANGER: Screw it, we’re starting over!
JOY: Hang on—
[Before Joy can stop him, though, Anger leaps to the control panel—head aflame—and slams some buttons. Zoom out to Charlotte deleting everything while making unintelligible animal noises at her computer.]
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