When I threatened to kill a bunny by reading it EL James’ Grey until it ran headlong and arse-ways into traffic, some thought me callous. Some thought me justified, because the furry little gits give them nightmares. Someone else coined the phrase “Death by EL James”, which immediately sounded to me like a great story title.
So without further ado, here are not one, but five – count ’em! – five different versions, in five different genres, of Death By EL James. (I have yet to take action on the bunny – it all depends on whether you’ll vote for me in the 2015 Irish Blog Awards here and here before September 21st. Just sayin’)
Oh, my! she thought, as he came with the knife. Was he going to stab her? She’d never been stabbed before. But she was sure it would be delicious. It was a very large and magnificent knife. She was sure none of the other billionaires she knew had knives that big. And certainly not so beautifully sheathed.
He unsheathed it. It was even more beautiful for reasons she couldn’t quite explain, given her limited vocabulary and emotional range. She somehow knew that the very moment it touched her she would explode into inexplicable, unearned pleasure. She couldn’t wait to be defiled. She literally couldn’t wait to be killed until she was dead. Oh, my!
Sadie gasped, her face flushing scarlet. The contents of her purse pooled onto the boardroom table. Her first ever presentation as Junior Vice President Of Marketing Stuff, and she had to go and drop her brand-new Hermès tote (which cost her two month’s pre-promotion salary) upside down on the table, its polished walnut surface perfectly reflecting the horrified expressions of all sixteen board members, including Hornelius Hardon, the sinfully gorgeous Head of Everything.
Now everyone could see that she’d been reading all four parts of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy on the train. She would simply die of embarrassment. She gathered up the offending titles, stuffing them back into the Hermès along with the cucumbers and pots of petroleum jelly, fighting the urge to turn on her four-hundred dollar Manolos and run like hell. As she looked up again, she caught Horn’s eye. His mouth was open in shock, just like everyone else’s. But there was something else in his eyes. Was it… lust?
Gingerly, Susan lifted the false panel at the back of the headboard. Countless well-thumbed copies of Fifty Shades of Grey looked back at her from a shelf in the hollow wall. She extracted one from the middle of a pile and flicked through its pages. There were notes in every margin. Some underlined. Bloody ridiculous, read one note. He pulled out WHAT??? read another. She flicked quickly through to the end. Air fanned out from between the leaves, startling her fringe into a nervous dance in the otherwise still room.
She checked behind her before selecting another book, her ears straining to hear Jeremy’s razor-sharp shears clipping a rhythmic beat in the garden below. She pulled another, and then another. Each copy was the same. Festooned with angry notes in that familiar, chicken-scratching hand she thought she knew so well. Just when had Jeremy got the time to do this? What else didn’t she know about her husband? And what did it have to do with the corpses of erotica authors strewn all across London?
4. Young Adult
Suki prised the book from the dead boy’s grip and somersaulted over the ravine. She mentally thanked her dead father for five years of rigorous circus training. Along with a preternatural talent for martial arts and mathematics, acrobatic abilities had saved her skin more than once since the book burning had started.
Now fifteen-year-old Suki was the only one left: the only hope for mankind. Who could have guessed that the conservative backlash against humdrum erotica could have led to this ravaged landscape, this bookless polluted hell where sex was forbidden and children were illegal? The book – her explosive contraband – burned in her arms. But she would die for it if she had to. Suki was cool like that.
5. Literary Fiction
What was death? At one time it had been a euphemism for an orgasm; was it still? Or was it just this – this wasting, this existence in unwavering shades of greyness, each darkening and each lighting of the day signifying the inexorable struggle for belonging which would never reach its climax?
Jim felt he would never know. All Jim knew was the book in his hands, which was empty of meaning for him, even though everyone else seemed to get it. The choice was stark. Jim could end it all now, knowing he was utterly alone. Or he could write his own book.
Right, so. That’s just about enough of that. Normal silliness will resume in due course.