I don’t remember when precisely the plan got hatched. It was at one of our dinners. At Antico or Le Bouchon or Rootstock. We don’t go many other places. We’ve been meeting up to break bread and catch up for years at this point.

When my cabbie book came out John optioned it. First it was going to be a movie, then a TV show. Now, who knows? A hologram? A chip implanted directly into the frontal lobe? There’ll have to be a paragraph up top so the viewer/reader/scanner/imbiber/swallower of the future understands what a taxicab was.

A few years into the occasional meetings to talk about the project a real friendship developed.

I don’t about know you but I don’t make new friends that often. Especially in my sunset years. Friendship is typically a childhood thing. What people do before they start families, become adults, let their dreams wither and die.

That’s why I value the ones that happen so much. Would’ve been nice if Hack went Hollywood but having John to shoot the shit with counts for a lot more to me.

Anyways, he’d been telling me about this Carny Kill thing for six or seven years before he floated the idea of making a book. It was serendipity. If he wasn’t talking to a guy who makes books, it might not have occurred to him.

John’s a film director and that’s the ultimate goal of this thing. Some kind of movie. But the thing him and his friend Tony have dreamed up presents special challenges. Chief among them is the use of so many dead stars. Luke Perry, Kim Novak, Vampira, Elisha Cook, Tom Towles, and many more. There’s no way to get the rights to their likenesses. Not until new laws and new technologies are in place. But something like this is where a lot of filmed media is headed. Long-dead eminences reanimated and made to dance to an ever-changing array of new tunes.

I said yes before thinking through how much work it might be. There are over eight hundred images that needed to be resized, formatted, and laid out some way that would work in a book. I’ve never spent so much time designing a thing for anyone but myself. But who doesn’t like a challenge?

I’m not really a technology guy. The only way I can get the programs to do what I need them to is by banging my head against them enough times to shape things into the forms I’m after. It’s a messy, bruising process but it’s mine and it works. It took the time it took but I got it done and it was sent to the printer.

I got my copy just before Christmas. John started numbering, stamping, signing, and sending out copies shortly after. They are now in Europe, Asia, and all over the US.

I can’t offer you one as there are only a hundred and they’re not for sale.

But you can see and read it on your very own screen.

I was a guest on Nick Digilio’s show and talked to Jason Sanford on mine and also with Mallory about The Menu.

Preorder Claire Hopple’s Echo Chamber. I made the cover. Also, made a page where you can read/download digital versions of my books for free.