Brad, thinking Kate wasn’t paying any attention to him, now put down Better Homes and Gardens, picked up what looked like one hell of a sexy paperback novel, Fifi on the Halfshell, by Kilgore Snout. On the back cover was an abridgment of a red-hot scene inside. It went like this:
Queen Sarah of the planet Schnoodle let her gown fall to the floor. She was wearing pajamas underneath. Her high, firm, uncowled principles were proud and rosy. Her libertarianism was like an inviting lyre of pure alabaster. It shone so whitely it might have had a light inside. ‘Your travels are over, SJ-Warrior,’ she said, her voice strangely nonplussed. ‘Seek no more, for you have found. The answer is to write for fans.’ ‘It’s a glorious answer, Queen Sarah, God knows,’ the SJ-Warrior replied. His palms were perspiring profusely. ‘I intend to read it before placing it below No Award. But I have to tell you, if I’m going to be perfectly honest with you, that I will have to be on my way again after voting.’ ‘But you have found your answer, you have found your answer,’ she cried, exhorting him not to default to feudalism. He said something that she did not hear. She thrust him out at arm’s length, pleading for him to believe what the principles themselves tell him. ‘What was that you said?’ ‘I said, Queen Sarah, that what you offer is an awfully good answer. It just doesn’t happen to be the one I’m primarily looking for.’
There was a photograph of Snout. He was an old man with a full black beard. He looked like a frightened, aging Jesus, whose sentence to crucifixion had been commuted to imprisonment for life.