FakeAPStyleBook: The True Story
Now that our book Write More Good is in stores, we’ve decided to kidnap several cub reporters, lock them in a basement, and shout our next book at them: an oral history of the true story behind the creation of the Fake AP Stylebook.
Here are a few selections we’ve managed to salvage from their urine-soaked notes and cigarette-charred laptops.
FakeApStylebook: The True Story: A stunning real life account of desperation, perspiration, and grammar advice
The orgy had been underway for about an hour when Mark suddenly stops, stands up, and shouts ‘we should totally do a grammar guide!’ That put a huge damper on the proceedings right there.
Ken told me we’d hit on the greatest idea since Facebook. When I told him I had no idea what that was he slammed his fists on the table, threw his head back laughing and shouted “We are going to be millionaires, you fucking dinosaur!” I grabbed him by the side of the head and told him if he knocked my drink over one more time I was going to introduce him, personally, to the dinosaurs. He slapped my hand away and ran out of the room crying something about how I’m not his real dad.
And that’s how the idea came. Right then, that moment. Not for Fake AP Stylebook, but that’s definitely where Ken and Mark got the idea for the monthly human sacrifices. Kevin… well, he never saw it coming. Um… turn it off. Turn it off. [Long pause.] Okay. Okay. So, um. On the other hand, we’ve learned lots of useful new skills. Skinning, hide tanning, editing marks, the works. Soap manufacture. You name it.
Dr. Andrew Kunka
Ken walked into the Tijuana nightclub, where I could usually be found under my favorite table. Ken made his pitch, “So, you want in, or what?” I stood up, wiped the sick–some of which was mine– off of my tweed jacket, and said, “Sounds better than the .357 cocktail I was planning on drinking tonight.” Of course, Ken didn’t know he was going to have to cash in his last favor with the State Department to get me back in the States.
FAPS had just started, and I was taking one of my regular hunting vacations in Seattle to sort out my thoughts about the project, and also to track down Bigfoot. And there he was, in my sights…a giant creature, about 90% covered in hair…I was about to pull the trigger, when I realized “wait, this could be just what FAPS needs to put us over the top.”
And that’s how Dave Campbell joined our group.
I found Anna when she was operating a bar in Nepal. It was said that she filled her cereal with whiskey and ate bullets like they were peanuts. I figured she was exactly what we needed in an enforcer for the group: ruthless, calculating, and savage like a wounded wolverine. At her first meeting, she smashed a bottle over Birdie’s head and shanked RJ with the shards “just for the hell of it,” and I knew we’d made the right decision.
The Early Years
It wasn’t until several weeks into writing the book that we discovered “Chris Sims” was actually about a dozen Korean boys slaving over decades-old typewriters in a sweatshop. But they were doing a good job, so we kept them on, after firing Ken so we could afford to pay them living wages.
Ken insisted we model ourselves after the Rat Pack. I was picked to be its Sammy Davis Jr. Boy, I sure miss my sense of depth perception and foreskin.
I was there when THEY started the Twitter feed, and was honored to get a CUT of the fame and glory. As I dash OFF each new entry, I feel the spirits of past satirical writers surround MY chair, giving me a big THUMBS up!
First Flush of Success
We decided early on that we’d have to take on pen names. I picked the first two words that came into my head, “Matt Wilson,” only to discover it is basically ungoogleable much too late. If only I had stuck with my real name, William Shakespeare.
Getting laid because you wrote a joke about how a colon is both a punctuation mark and a part of the bowels is pretty awesome. The paternity suits, less so.
When Gary Busey offered to teach me how to turn ordinary futon pieces into deadly Kung Fu weapons, I knew we’d hit the big time. I turned him down, of course.
The filming of the FAPS swimsuit edition in Peru was canceled under mysterious circumstances due to the inexplicable disappearance of the local marmoset population.
There was nothing inexplicable about those disappearances.
The Perils of Fame
“Yes, I know ‘fart’ rhymes with ‘art,’ but that’s not really a joke, is it?” It was the last we saw of George Will, apart from that one uncomfortable moment in Bill Safire’s hot tub.
I’m not sure what possessed him, but after a few weeks Mark called us all into the boardroom (that’s what we called the 7-Eleven where we mostly met by the Dumpster — the very Dumpster that inspired our famous Dumpster joke). He told us, “Now you’ve got to all pick an arch-rival in the group. Competition makes for good work.” I liked pretty much everyone, so I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, Josh Krach did the deciding for me and brained me with a piece from an old futon he found in the Dumpster. Let me tell you something: I will kill that motherfucker.
Ken actually died two years ago. We hired an impostor to pretend to be him at public events. Then he started to want more money or else he’d let the secret slip, so we had to kill him. It was just like the time we killed Ken. Funny how history can repeat on you like that.
She wanted to know where we sharpened our pencils. I had no idea when I pointed to the Boston on the wall she’d run over, pop the thing open, and snort the shavings.
Knife fights are a pretty regular thing. I don’t think many people realize that. They think “oh, how cute, funny little jokes about exclamation points” and don’t stop to consider losing an eye because you got between Sterling and a pile of blow.
As the only female Bureau Chief, I am logging every hetero-normative offense that these guys commit. They are going to be first against the wall when the revolution comes.
At night, we all draw straws, and whoever draws the short straw gets beaten with a pillowcase full of soap bars. We each get at least one swing in, and whoever draws the longest straw gets the first head shot. Mark and I feel that this teaches the group two essential truths: that life is fundamentally unfair, and that I have an uncanny knack for drawing the long straw.
I knew it was getting to me when I tried to smuggle a sniper rifle and a bullet with Lowery’s name inscribed on it into ROFLcon. Luckily for Ken, the gun was confiscated under the con’s “steampunk-only” weapons policy.
Sins of the Past
Mark’s glasses are literally Coke bottles. Like, he murdered the first guy who sold him cocaine and thought bags were too conspicuous so he filled a bunch of coke bottles with the stuff, this was in Mexico, and smuggled them out. He had his glasses made from them. He told us it was ‘his first successful business enterprise,’ and that he wanted to remember it.
They say success changes you and brother, they are right. For fifty-seven non-consecutive minutes in 2010, DiBello was principessa of a small town in Idaho. Mark Hale spent one Christmas as some sort of carnivorous butterfly thing. I did some things I’m ashamed of—awesome things—but in the end, it was my love of Vietnamese street slang and vintage Warsaw Pact small arms that saved me.
So, I can’t really remember who was driving that night, Mark, Ken or me, but in any case that bum just came out of nowhere. Like, BAM! Just there. There really wasn’t anything we could do about it. And, besides, we were in Bakersfield. I mean, who was going to notice another dead bum, right?
Dr. Andrew Kunka:
Trust me, you do not want to know how Ken got Ebert to do the intro. I’m taking that to my grave.
We don’t have toilet paper in any of the FAPS office bathrooms. Instead, we keep stacks of Chicago Manuals of Style to serve the same purpose.
The Downward Spiral
Dr. Andrew Kunka:
Mark had never tried bourbon before. “I’ll just order whatever you get,” he told me. “Really?” I responded. “If it were your first time in the pool, would you try to keep up with Michael Phelps?” Mark learned a hard lesson that evening.
I’m not going to apologize for Dave Campbell’s murder, which was as hilarious as it was inevitable. He was making big talk about unionizing the others, and even Anna “Bullet Tooth” Neatrour was coming around to his way of thinking. Mark and I had a long pow wow, and we knew an example had to be made of him. Dave was trouble, Dorian wanted to curry favor and a sliver of a percentage point on the back end, so we put the two together and let things unfold naturally. Mailing every Chief a piece of Campbell, first class express, was a nice touch on Dorian’s part.
Once the money started rolling in, Andrew absconded with his share of the profits and opened a theme park called “Cocaine Mountain.” Cocaine Mountain was actually just a big pile of uncut Bolivian cocaine. It was at that point that I thought, maybe, things had gotten slightly out of hand.
In the end, I have to say creative differences brought us down. Because I am legally enjoined from saying which thieving motherfucker brought us down. She knows who she is.
Redemption and Rehab
Oh, you know, we’ve all sobered up now, picked ourselves up off the ground and we’re starting to work on solo projects. I happen to know that Ben Birdie has a jazz fusion album he’s mastering now. RJ’s doing great with his live ice carving shows. And I’m elbows deep in a really great new Ponzi scheme.
Mark finally got tired of living in a mansion made of pizza boxes and decided to embark on a new age healing course with a guru from southern California named Brandee Storm. I’m not sure what he’s doing with those crystals, but he seems to be somewhat sober now.
I think Eugene is the one who came out of this whole ordeal the worst. (Well, except for Sterling, who got stabbed to death with samurai swords.) In order to stop us spreading what he calls “the brain poison,” he’s taken to arson. You may know him as the Library Firebug.
DIDI MAU! DIDI MAU, YOU MOTHERS! STEP ONE FOOT ACROSS THAT LINE AND I WILL SHOW YOU MY GUN AND ALSO MY RIFLE
Is it possible to fly to Narnia in a rocketship made of empty juice boxes and legos? I don’t know, but I wish Lartigue the best in his latest endeavor.
Even now I have a hard time expressing myself in more than 140 characters. It’s a tricky habit to break, especially when composing an compl