Horatio Alger Versus The Doppelganger

By Jason Boog Comment

joesluck.jpgSubmissions for the World’s Longest Literary Remix contest are rolling in, including a piece by professional remixer Ben H. Winters. Over at Quirk Books, Winters has written Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and the upcoming Android Karenina.

Winters joined a brave crew of readers in rewriting one page from a Horatio Alger novel for fun and prizes–read his entry after the jump. 150 pre-registered GalleyCat Reviews readers have signed up to rewrite one page of Joe’s Luck: Always Wide Awake (cover pictured, via).

We will publish the remixed text as a free digital book. Each remix contributor will be eligible for a random drawing of special giveaway prizes. Three excellent sponsors have donated prizes:

1-Scribd.com and Blurb.com are donating 10 printed copies of the completely remixed novel, using the company’s new print-on-demand service.

2- The remixing experts at Quirk Books will give one lucky winner an assortment of Quirk Classics prizes, including: a signed copy of the deluxe Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ), the Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters audio book, the audio and print version of PPZ: Dawn of The Dreadfuls, an Android Karenina poster, an assortment of PPZ postcards and a PPZ journal. It’s a prize package worth over $100.

3-The multimedia literary journal Electric Literature will donate “Electric Literature: Year One”–a complete set of the first four issues of the journal–a $40 value.

“Horatio Alger Versus The Doppelgänger”

Joe, too, imitating the stealthy motion of the pursuer, swiftly gained upon him, overtaking him just as he had the sand-bag poised aloft, ready to be brought down upon the head of the traveler.

With a cry, Joe rushed upon the would-be assassin, causing him to stumble and fall. Something looked eerily familiar about this murderous stranger. But what it was precisely he could not yet say.

Joe sprang to the side of the gentleman in front.

“Have you a pistol?” he said quickly.

Scarcely knowing what he did, the gentleman drew out a pistol and put it in Joe’s hand. Joe cocked it, stood facing the ruffian, and gasped in shock.

“How can this be?” he murmured. For the man sneering back at Joe looked, in every particular, exactly like Joe himself.

“What are you?”

The doppelgänger’s answer was to swing the sand-bag aloft.

“Curse you!” he said in Joe’s own voice, sending a glissando of horror rolling down Joe’s spine. “I’ll make you pay for this!”

“One step forward,” said Joe, in a clear, distinct voice not betraying the chaos of confusion and fear in his gut. “And I will put a bullet through your brain!”

“And if you do?” replied the mirror-image man. “Who dies? Dare you to shoot lead into my skull, which is your skull as well?”

The assassin stepped back and laughed Joe’s laugh, confident and ringing. “Now put down that weapon, you whipper-snapper!”

“Not much!” answered Joe.

“Not much,” mocked the clone.

“Stop that!” hollered Joe.

“Stop that!” replied the other Joe.

“I’ve a great mind to kill you!”

“I’ve a great mind to kill you.”

“Oh, come on!” Joe demanded. “Turn round and leave us.”

The doppelgänger eyed him carefully. “Will you promise not to shoot?”

“Yes, if you go off quietly.”

“I will. Only remember, Joe, that the greatest obstacle a man may face is his own self: his own predilections, his own obstinance and foolishness haunting him like a demon.”

When the peculiar highwayman had concluded this warning and moved off, Joe said: “Well, that was weird. We’d better be moving, and pretty quickly, or the fellow may return, with more versions of me, and I’ll totally flip my lid. Where are you stopping?”

Ben H. Winters is a writer who lives in Brooklyn with all the other writers.

Want to read more? Check out these other amazing remix entries:
Horatio Alger and the Chocolate Factory
The Yiddish Version
Horatio Alger in Oz
What Would James Ellroy Do?