NEWS ITEM: Land Rover sponsors the novella “The Vanishing Game” by William Boyd, a travel adventure that features a Land Rover. Links to videos allow you to see the vehicle in action.
Chapter 1. Native Son
Call me Ishares.
This is a thinly veiled autobiographical tale of universal malevolence and the struggle against it by a monomaniacal hero -- yours truly. There will be heartbreak, danger, toil and the world’s largest family of exchange-traded funds, a wholly owned subsidiary of BlackRock, offering not just a diversified investment instrument but low fees and significant tax advantages over equities.
It is the story of one man -- a man with business interests, yes, but also an artist of sensitivity, depth and an entrepreneurial streak as wide as the Canon EF 24 mm Prime, which is perfect for capturing landscapes or architecture. This is my art, my activation and my Skymall, one poignant, ROI-rich chapter at a time.
The adventure began on a Monday hand-delivered by Faust. Slumber had come too late. The Patron Silver was silk in a glass, but after only three hours of rest, I was in no state to be dislodged from my bed. The 100% agave cloud was a pleasant, a sweet fog, but then it was pierced by something rude and ugly. That pulsing beep tone was suddenly crawling in my ear, insistent like a heart-rate monitor, but steadily louder and louder. Torture. My phone alarm. Ugh, 6:15. I jerked awake, panting. The showdown was in two hours. What a thing to have to drag yourself out of bed for. My role is to plumb the depths of the human condition, to strike universal themes at the core of our mortal conundrum, not negotiate underwriting contracts.
It was hyperlink day. And my publisher was sure to sit on his cowardly hands. There would just be me and my integrity, plus my agent. Would my story survive the branding that underwrites it? Would commercial interests contaminate the timeless themes? Would the Keurig deal finally come through?
I slouched across the apartment to the kitchen and put on the coffee. I’m a man who needs his java, brewed to perfection by my Keurig 2.0 K550 Brewing System, which is designed to read the lid of the K-Cup or the K-Carafe pack and brew the perfect beverage every time. I’ll tell you why I love Keurig. Not only because of the convenience and dependability, but because it is a partner that permits me to weave its brand organically into a scene. This story is driven by character, and narrative, not the 250+ varieties and 50+ brands of K-Cup.
By 8:30. I was saying as much to the lawyers.
“What are you up to here, Ishares?” inquired a fetching 6th-year-associate called Margot. Her eyes glistened like a pair of aquamarine studs, available at clearance prices at Overstock.com.
“Look,” I replied. “it’s all about the eternal struggle, isn’t it? Take this morning. I wouldn’t have enjoyed a steaming-hot French Roast now if my daughter’s wedding weren’t coming up at the magnificent Shutters at the Beach, in charming Santa Monica, California. Those filet mignons don’t cook themselves, do they?”
She flipped her hair, letting it fall across her J. Crew gilded chevron mixed shell top. “But is it art?” she asked. “If your prose is serving commercial masters, is the true fiction the story…or the pretense?”“Perhaps, Margot, “you might consult John Singer Sargent. Was his commissioned portrait of Mrs. Henry White not art? Was “Skyfall” not cinema? Is BuzzFeed’s “Dear Kitten: Regarding the Dog” video sponsored by Friskies not cutting-edge journalism?”
I had her at kitten. Later she and I would fall in bed, a Tempur-Cloud Luxe Breeze, with extra-soft deep cushioning and responsive support. Just Margot, me and Tempur-Pedic. Our love was destined to grow, like an EFT account, or just plain desperation.