You can take your story arc and shove it, Madeline. You’re just a book agent who hasn’t had a sale in decades. You don’t even have an MFA. When I was at that prestigious, hard-to-get-into writers workshop out in the cornfields, no one mentioned story arcs. “Beginning, middle, end” came up, but we were encouraged to stop in the middle. Let the reader do a little work.

And you, George, I prefer your early works, full of dithering, daydreaming, and semi-conscious masturbatory gestures. Now Madeline’s convinced you that if you start with a murder, Hollywood will snap you up. And you’ll be able to afford a much better senior home than this one. No, I won’t call it “Assisted Living for Artists.” This is not living. Don’t know how they let you in here, George. You’re not even artsy.

Oh, hi, Petra, bring your walker over here with us in the shade of the apple tree. You all know Petra. She’s won several most-depressing-novel-of-the-year awards and had the worst childhood ever.

Yes, Petra, I am still working on the novel about the middle-aged writing professor who falls fatally in love with a lithesome coed who soon tires of him and writes a best-selling exposé novel about a girthy writing professor who falls fatally in love and gets what he deserves — and it isn’t nookie.

Oh, you’ve read that story before, have you, George? You call it the “Writers Workshop Special”? Listen, I will punch you if you say that again, George. Don’t think that I won’t. I’ll burn your manuscripts! I’ll throw your hard drive in the toilet! I’ll turn off your Google and you won’t even remember your own name! Hey, don’t shake my wheelchair so hard…

Madeline, will you please wheel me back over there? George and I have been feuding since 7th grade. I barely touched him; his nose bleeds easily. I don’t understand why you bother with George, Madeline. He hasn’t finished a book in years, and he dried up completely when he saw your pithy advice on his manuscript: “Don’t overcook, don’t overwater, don’t overedit.” Yes, I memorized it.

Now that we’re alone, Madeline, I can tell you that I’m seeking representation. I was thinking that for a story arc, my writing professor might actually murder the duplicitous coed before she can publish…

Oh. You think she should murder him? It would be good for your career to work with me, Madeline. I was once voted professor-of-the-year.