Opinion » Bill Cope

In the Interim

Idle chatter outside real time


"An' another thing ..."

"Forget it, Red. It's over."

"Whatchew mean? What's over?"

"The election. That was yesterday. There's nothing more to say about it."

"You gone dotty, Cope? This here's Friday. We got maybe six 'r eight days left. There's plen'y of time to get a few more licks in."

"Make that four days, Red. Three, if you don't count Tuesday. But the point is, anything we say today doesn't get heard until Wednesday. And by then, what you think, what I think, none of it will mean squat."

"Dang, Cope. You's givin' me moose bumps. What y'r sayin' makes me feel like I'm in that one movie where what's-'is-name goes back in time to do somethin'-'r-other and ever'thing gets all boogered up."

"Back to the Future?"

"Quit talkin' like that, would ya'? It's creeping me up."

"Fine. Last thing I want, Red, is to creep you up. Let's change the subject. I have to start thinking ahead, anyway. Now that the election is over, it's time to write about other things. You know ... things that don't have anything to do with politics or the lying, sneaky, ignorant, racist, honorless sacks of sh ..."

"So's you got any ideas yet on what y'r gonna write about?"

"Sort of. I'm considering a column on the new print policies in some newspapers that have done away with the italics on book and movie titles. It bugs the bejesus out of me, Red. The way it is now, readers can't tell if a person means Gone With the Wind, or if he's just saying something is 'gone with the wind.' Isn't that stupid?"

"Cope, I ain't got no notion whate'er o' what y'r talkin' about."

"It's just like now, when I said 'back to the future,' I had to say it that way instead of Back to the Future. See the difference?"

"Uuuuuuuhhh ... not that I notice."

"See, for decades and decades, we've been italicizing major titles. And now, some genius has come up with new guidelines and we can't do it any more. So if for some reason I write the line 'I just re-read On the Road,' people won't know if I'm saying I read On the Road again, or if I was on the road the last time I read something. Get it?"

"Uh, you mean it's like what Willie Nelson said in that song o' his."


"You said 'On the Road Agin,' I heard ya'."

"No. That's not what I meant, I ... um ... let's see, where was I?"

"Anyhows, Cope, if'n you want my honest 'pinion, whate'er it is y'r tryin' to say is the gull durn dumbest idea f'r a column I ever heard. If you put somethin' like that in y'r paper, folks'll be thinkin' you done flew over the cuckoo's nest."

"Now see? That's exactly what I'm getting at. Do you mean to say I 'done flew over the cuckoo's nest?' Or do you mean One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?"

"Hows 'bout we change the subject again, Cope. Let's talk about somethin' wheres I know what y'r talkin' about. Like hows 'bout that Sandy. That was some storm, huh?"

"You're right, Red. That was some storm. Makes me wonder how many Libertarians are left in New Jersey."

"Is that s'posed t' be funny? You sayin' how Libratarians are such light-weight dust bunnies, they get blown away in a big wind?"

"Ah, never mind. I don't feel like having anything political in my brain right now."

"Cope, y'knows what I think? I think you need to find y'rself a vampire f'r y'r column."

"A vampire?"

"Yassir! Ain'tcha noticed? There's vampires in about ever'thing y'see anymore. Tells you what, if'n you want the kids to keep reading y'r writin', y'r gonna need a vampire."

"Red, what on Earth would I do with a vampire?"

"All I knows is, if'n they can stick vampires in a story about ol' Abe Lincoln, there's got o' be some way you can stick a vampire in that newspaper what you write for. An' it's somethin' you don't see in none o' the other newspapers here'bouts, so you'd be the first."

"I will take it under advisement, Red. But no zombies. I can picture having a semi-intelligent conversation with a vampire but talking to a zombie would be like trying to make sense to one of Rush Lim ..."

"Say, Cope, I meant t' tell ya'. Y'know that buddy o' mine what I go duck shootin' with?"

"You mean that Tom guy?"

"Yup, Tom. He was in a bookstore lookin' f'r a hows-to manual on makin' mallard quackers, an' he spots a spooky story you wrote for one o' them ... what they call ... anthraploogies."

"I think you mean 'anthology,' Red. And yes, I and about 30 other Idaho writers have stories in a new one."

"Wull, what I'm sayin' is that ol' Tom saw y'r story in that bookstore."

"Now, Red, listen carefully. Are you saying 'Tom saw my story in the bookstore?' Or do you mean Tom Sawyer story in the bookstore?"

"Garn blastit, Cope! I'm athinkin' maybe that there president's race knocked a few dings in y'r noodle."

"That hurts, Red ... especially coming from a guy who thinks I should have a vampire in my column."