My name is Joseph Edward Crew. You may be aware of a recent novel that used the likeness of the Jack Daniel’s label as its cover, which resulted in a cease-and-desist letter from the company that went viral and catapulted the book up the bestseller lists. I would like to submit for your consideration Wendy’s Choice: Burgher King, or McDonald’s Love?, a novel about a young woman always referred to by way of a possessive or subject-verb contraction. Wendy’s in love with two suitors: Thomas King, a pathological teller of tall tales, who claims to be infatuated with her and who comes from a long line of aristocratic Burghers—hence his nickname, “Burgher King”—and “Big” Mac McDonald, a six-foot-six Scotsman known for his preparation of joyous repasts. What will Wendy’s choice be: Burgher King’s whoppers, or McDonald’s happy meals?
Casting a pall over their triangle is the fact that Burgher King’s cholesterol levels are dangerously high, as are Wendy’s and Big Mac’s.
Wendy’s roommate is her mother, Patricia Field, who is always on hand with tough love—and a plateful of baked treats. But Mrs. Field’s cookies aren’t the only matrilineal offerings; upstairs are Mrs. Field’s quirky sisters, Jemima and Anne (they have not had contact with their brother for decades). In contrast to Wendy’s no-nonsense mother, Aunt Jemima is syrupy, saccharine, and artificial. There’s never a dull moment between them and Auntie Anne’s gross-looking pretzels she twists herself into as a circus contortionist.
Mrs. Field’s cookies have made all three women morbidly obese, and Auntie Anne’s pretzels have given her chronic arthritis.
Wendy’s day is always the same: in the morning, she waves hello to her highly allergic neighbor, Robert Patrick Knutt, whom she addresses formally by his middle initial and last name: “Too bad about your life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, Mr. P. Knutt!” She hikes up a nearby monadnock and drinks its surface-level condensation, though she, like everyone, finds the taste of mountain dew cloyingly disgusting. Next is a standing lunch date with her best friend, Victoria, who is hiding something dark: despite her wealth, she owns low-quality brassieres and underwear. I repeat: Victoria’s secret—awful lingerie.
Wendy’s shaken out of her routine when the leader of her kickball team, Harold Crunch, drops her off at her doctor, Sarah Pepper; he is visiting the multispecialty medical practice because a previous examination found absolutely no nutrients or vitamins inside Captain Crunch. Wendy’s medical exam indicates cancer, but it is unclear if it is due to a mishandling of the test. The question lingers tensely: was the cancer caused by Dr. Pepper? Or was it chipped fingernails dropped onto the test by one of her two nurses named Dorit—Lamontagne or Oppenheimer, distinguished around the office for brevity by their first name and last initials?
She discovers that she is healthy: Dr. Pepper was, indeed, responsible for her cancer diagnosis, along with Dorit O.’s chips. I won’t ruin Wendy’s choice for you, but let’s just say that her mother’s brother, Benjamin, reunites with his long-lost sisters and has occasion to throw his home-cooked Asian cereal grain in Wendy’s direction, since Uncle Ben’s rice is inedible.
Although this is my first book, I have made a reputation for myself by producing a line of clothing that won an ironic fashion competition. I plan to use my first initial and last name, in a meta-fictional allusion to Mr. P. Knutt and Dorit O., so the cover should read: “By the maker of the world’s blandest attire for unimaginative yuppies stifled by bourgeois orthodoxies, J. Crew.”
If you like Wendy’s Choice, I will be happy to send you the sequel, titled Extensive Laboratory Testing Reveals That Uncle Ben’s Rice Definitively Causes Cancer.