American Airlines sends its frequent flyers ‘YOU’RE SOMEONE SPECIAL’ coupons to hand flight attendants and others who’ve gone above and beyond the call. If they get enough such coupons, I think they get something nice.

With that in mind, our novel begins:

The Longest Book Review Ever Written

The Longest Book Review Ever Written (TLBREW) is, first and foremost, a gimmick – deserving of the shortest book review ever written. (That first sentence says it all.) The author’s intent is to find some way to draw attention to an otherwise pedestrian tale.

It begins in the first class cabin of an American Airlines Boeing 757.

‘You can’t put that in here, Sir, I’m sorry,’ the male flight attendant is saying to a coach passenger hoping to put something in that roll-up ‘closet’ behind the galley. Not the big flat closet you see to your right directly as you’re boarding the plane, but the next one, as you turn right and approach the first row of seats. If you’re in 1C – the righthand aisle seat as you face forward, and if you brace your feet up against the carpeted wall in front of you, as I like to do – shoes off, generally, to show respect – your feet are pressing on the back wall of that roll-up closet.

(I call it a roll-up, because that’s how the flight attendant opens it. He leans down, grabs the handle, and rolls it up and over, like one of those wonderful old fashioned desks that had the curved wooden roll-up covers.)

‘But the overheads are all full!’ protests the passenger, who’s been told he will have to gate-check his bag.

‘I’m sorry sir,’ says John, the flight attendant. ‘This closet is reserved for first class only.’

‘But everyone’s on board and it’s still empty! Can’t you — ‘

‘No,’ John cut him off, taking the bag and handing him a claim check. ‘Your bag will be waiting for you when we land. It will be safe. I am afraid you will have to take your seat now. We are ready to close the doors.’

Whereupon the complaining passenger – steamed – stomped back toward coach, and John, the flight attendant, stepped into the empty first-class closet, stooping to fit, and then rolled it shut behind him – from the inside – and was never seen or heard from again.


So now, if this intrigues you, all you have to do is send me an outline of the characters and plot from here, and/or Chapter 2 – what happens next.


Did you see Paul Krugman’s June 11 column on the protectionist Republicans?


‘There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them.’ – William Jenning Bryan in the famous ‘Cross of Gold’ speech to get the 1896 Democratic Presidential nomination. He was a nut, but not entirely.

Tomorrow: Dick Davis #22: The Insignificance of News


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