Arabella Brown sighted down the long barrel as the targets wavered under the blazing New Jersey sun. Arabella, commonly known as Arby, caressed the trigger that throbbed under her finger, and fired. Whap! Another book exploded in a flurry of shredded paper. Or maybe it was splat.' Or splutter.' Come on, Arby, you're a writer. What sound does a dying book make?
She took another swig of Paddy's Irish Whiskey. It had started so well: landing that top agent, the auction, the six-figure advance... The glowing plugs on galleycat and Bat Segundo. She'd been the media's darling, with Diane and Barbara and Katie and...what's-her-name, all clamoring for her. Arby had been reluctant, but it had been so tempting...the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd...
And it had gone swimmingly, until Diane... But Arby's bunions had been acting up that day--too much stiletto--and the pain in her feet put a damper on her banter. What had emerged from her mouth was an incoherent muddle.
"You said in your novel, Let Loose the Hogs, that your mother wears Army boots," Diane had probed, oozing blonde sympathy.
"Yes, Diane, that's true. You see, bunions run in our family, and they're the only shoes that fit Mom yet withstand the rigors of the Trenton pig farm."
"So you didn't mean..." Diane almost furrowed her brow.
Arby had no clue what Diane was talking about, but deduced that she expected a denial. "No, of course I didn't, Diane. I told only the truth, exactly as I lived it."
"Then of course," Diane had pressed gently, "this picture of your mother in last year's Jimmy Choos is a forgery?"
And then her mother had tottered onto the stage wearing the incriminating footwear. "Diane, I don't know how I could have raised such a fabricator. I am mortified by her mendacity."
As Arby gaped, Diane had gushed over Mom for the remaining thirty-seven seconds of the segment. Arby had exited the building in tears, ignoring the bellman at the door who gave her a thumbs-up and said, "Just the place for a Snark!" And Arby's literary career had evaporated like a will of the wisp.
So here she was, back on the pig farm, wallowing in swill and swilling Paddy's, as she blew away the copies of her book. She yelled to her illegitimate half-brother Bub, "drop everything and give me ten (uh, what the heck was the right word for those paper thingies? And was this the first or second bottle of Paddy's?)...books."
Bub dropped the slops he had intended for the his pet terrapin Smedley and retrieved ten more copies. Arby lurched to the fence and lined them up, then retreated and reloaded. She took aim, although it wasn't easy to see the books -- or even the fence --through the herd of promenading poodles. Pink ones, this time. Must check into rehab, just as soon as she'd finished trashing the book. Hey, maybe she could write a book about it.
Disqualified: word count 503 by my measure. Let me know if you come up with anything different.