By Meghann Hart
Have you recently spent several hours—more than two, fewer than five—drunk-searching (yes, this is a verb) the Internet for something worthy of your abysmally short attention span? It’s about 2:00 AM, and you know you could be doing something more productive with your life, but you don’t or you can’t—but, really, you won’t. You’ve read at least ten BuzzFeed posts about the infinite health benefits available to those who quaff lemon water intravenously, sleep in the buff, or go paleo. In your darker moments, you’ve watched ten consecutive slide shows that document the thirty-five worst celebrity boob jobs in history, but celebs are doing far more than getting bad boob jobs, folks. A couple of them are writing short stories—that you should read. Good ones. Really. Here they are:
“Alan Bean Plus Four” by Tom Hanks (The New Yorker)
This is a tongue-in-cheek, magical real story of four pseudo-astronauts’ brief rub with space—or the moon, to be more precise, in a slap-dash space shuttle named for the fourth man to walk on the moon: Alan Bean. Since the end of his moon-walking days, Bean has become, in the words of the story’s narrator, “as anonymous as a balding orthopedist,” but after the trek of this dynamic dos-duo, and an unexpected crash landing in the Pacific Ocean within snorkeling distance of “the Kahala Hilton,” Alan Bean the space craft will not be soon forgotten, certainly not by the New Yorker’s stellar readership, anyway.
“Bungalow 89” by James Franco(Vice)
Franco depicts his real, or not so real, or hyperreal, encounter with a troubled starlet, let’s call her Lindsey Lohan, during his stay at “Chateau Marmont,” which Fran-co, the narrator, huskily calls “the old hotel where the stars stay.” In this multi-threaded narrative that winds and re-winds, that backs up one foot, then ten; it’s difficult to say where the story de-picted in the tabloids—Lohan sleeps with Franco; Franco denies sleeping with Lohan—ends, and the actual story begins, which, I suppose, is the point. Though Franco perhaps uses this story as a device to staunchly deny any rumored sexual dalliance with Lohan, Franco the narrator—story Franco—treats this damaged Hollywood darling with notable tenderness; he does the exact thing that every man should do for a world-weary girl-woman. In “Bungalow 89,” story Franco reads story Lindsey “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” “Instead of fucking her,” the narrator says, “ I read her a short story about a neglected daughter.”
Okay. Admittedly the list is brief, but this is the start of something good. A few tabs over, you’ll find the smut that your looking for.
Here’s to the many, countless, wasted hours of drunken Internet adventures to come!