V'ho ingannato. Colpevole fui.*
Via, carina, confessate--
son disposto a perdonar.**
--Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia
I have a confession to make. Are you ready?
Good. Then, here goes:
There is no Howard Glassman. Well, there might be, somewhere out there, but there isn't one here. I am...well, how shall I put this?
"Howard Glassman" has been an April Fool's joke, brought to you by the number 1 (as in April 1), and the letters V, K, S & M. Huh. VKSM. Sounds like a moderately lethal sexual fetish. But it's just Virgil Keys and Socar Myles, naffing it up again. We've been doing this for a few years, now, playing April Fool's jokes on the Internet, but this is the first one that's scored us a guest spot on another blog. Thanks, Susan Henderson. Howard would have appreciated that. He'd have loved all the little notes of encouragement he got, as well as the various expressions of bafflement. He would have been especially stoked to discover, in the very last moments of his existence, that even Neil had sat up and taken notice:
I just worry vaguely about someone needing to eat the things that are only on the hard disk, that I'll come downstairs one day to see my laptop broken open and stuffed with fennel and herring.
No worries, Neil. We'd never do that, any more than we'd really eat a book. (Unless, of course, it was an edible one, specially prepared for that purpose.)
Happy April 1, Mr. Gaiman. Happy April 1, Gaiman fans. Happy April 1, O Internet of Gullibility. We love you all!
I'm not sure whether to be pleased or disturbed that there were folks out there who found me credible in the role of a fifty-eight-year-old American office drone. Virge, sure, but me? Young, beautiful me? Oh, I'm creeping up on thirty. Snap. And I'd probably work in an office, if I could.
In real life, I, Socar, am nobody at all, and Virge is an engineer. (He works in an office.)
Howard was originally conceived as an unsuccessful insurance salesman, but I don't even have insurance, let alone understand how it works. Thus, he ended up getting an indeterminate office job. I don't really know how offices work, either, but they can't be too different from...from other places that have people in them (which I also find somewhat confusing).
Jim was based on me. When I was a teenager, I stole more than 1,000 books from the school library. Once, I got caught trying to sneak some back in. I never intended to KEEP all those books, but that was what happened, all the same. After graduation, I stopped stealing things.
Howard, I think, was more like Virge: quietly personable, with an impish side.
Neither of us has ever ingested any paper product. Not on purpose, anyhow. I think I may have sucked down a candy-wrapper or two, but who hasn't?
Someone wanted to know if this was inspired by the paper-eating sphinxes in Mirrormask. I'd like to say it was, but I haven't seen it yet. Just a coincidence, there.
How it might all have ended, had it been real:
Three weeks after the last entry in his online journal, Howard accepted a senior management position, and moved out of state. He kept eating Gaiman for a couple of weeks after that, but then his hectic schedule got away with him. He has shelved the project (and the books) for the time being.
Jim was never seen or heard from again. A week before Howard's promotion, forensic accountants discovered his biggest heist: he had been embezzling company funds for years. Office speculation suggests that he is in Mexico, Hawaii, or the Cayman Islands, living the good life. Mike's youngest son, Lawrence, has taken over his job.
Mike and Sharon are still powerwalking, and still enjoying fine local dining, although both agree it was more fun when Howard was around. Joy, Mike's assistant, is rounding out the group in his place.
Jackie the copy boy (whose name is really James Harland) finished his internship and went to work at the office across the street. He became fast friends with Frank, the guy who used to steal Howard's parking space.
Nobody at the office ever found out about Howard's short-lived book binge.
* I've deceived you. I was guilty.
** Go on, confess. I'll forgive you.
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