The river sang to itself. It sang its summer song, of fish below, reeds waving in the current, the dip of a bird’s bill as it flashed down and skimmed over the surface. The song kept time against the shore and against the raft as it floated down the Mississippi

- Must it be the Mississippi? Why not someplace more exotic—the Nile or Ganges, perhaps?

- Could run up the costs, but we’ll check it out.

Huck dangled his feet into the water. He lay on his back, watching the last lace filigree of cloud pull aside to reveal a night full of stars. Jim stood at the stern, pole in hand, watching the dark surface of the river rise and move in its slow dance.

“What do you think, Jim?” said Huck. “Were the stars born or just made?”

- Which one is black?

- Jim.

- Okay, is he more a Morgan, or a Denzel?

- The focus group suggested Will.

- Will! Yes. Very bankable. And Huck is a woman, right?

- Um… we didn’t test that possibility.

- Like a Scarlett, maybe. With cleavage, a halter top, something plaid, for that MaryAnn from Gilligan’s Island look.

- It’d make a great poster.

- I’m thinking Zoe.

- Yes! Two slaves in love, fleeing for the freedom they have only dreamt of.

- While robots pursue them from the riverbank.

- Robots?

- Yeah. Will’s been in movies with robots. He and Zoe will have lasers that they stole from Simon Legree. They pilot their raft out of the hellscape that is future New York…

- New York is on the Mississippi?

- The Mississippi is out. Nothing ever happens there. No, we’ll make it a river of molten lava. Huck’s raft hovers over it. Think of the lighting! And when the robots are defeated the exhausted couple lie back in each other’s arms and screw like mad.

- I don’t recall any sex in Huck Finn.

- That’s because Twain didn’t have me working with him.

- True.

- But we’re just teasing the audience. Some heavy breathing, a nipple or two, then a robot climbs over the side and Jim has to dispatch it with the pole.

- Martial arts stuff.

- Exactly. You can take it from there. Just make sure there are spaceship crashes, and some guy with a bionic arm. The kids go crazy for that. What’s the other story you got for me?

- It’s, uh… Little Women.

- Hmm. A lesbian love story? Or are these really little women?

- I’ll have to get back to you on that.

The river sang its song to itself. It sang of heat, sulfuric fumes. The air danced in waves over the river’s angry red-black surface. The raft hovered above, scarred from laser blasts, but still gleaming silver in the lava light.

Huck dangled her feet over the edge until they grew too warm. Jim stood in the stern, cradling a laser rifle in his arms. Huck sighed, and dabbed sweat from her bosom with a lace handkerchief.

“What do you think, Jim?” Huck said in her sultry voice. “Are blockbusters born or just made?”