Your time-travel remote zaps you back into my parallel-world copywriting lab … where you find me smiling warmly.
“Congratulations — you passed the snowflake test!”
(I turn away and chuckle knowingly to myself.)
“In other words,” I add …
“It looks like you don’t need
to die a gruesome death today.”
“Huh?” you ask.
Oh, you didn’t know?
That first time I kidnapped you, I injected a tracking chip that attracts the monsters on this island. The moment you step out the door it’s, you know …
(I make a throat-cutting gesture with my thumb.)
So anyway. Glad you had the common sense to stick around even if you disagree with my views or ways of expressing them. I’ll win you over eventually.
But whatever happens from here …
This will be your last visit
to this parallel dimension.
You’ve done well to make it this far.
Beyond this, the Parallel Welcome Sequence ends.
But before I give you the gift I teased in the last email … I want to show you something.
“Come with me,” I say.
I walk over to a bookshelf on the wall … and slide it away to reveal a door.
“Hall Of Heroes”
I pull out my “Narrator Power” remote … and tap a button.
The door slides open to reveal a dark corridor.
We step inside … and come to a set of double doors.
I push them open …
… to reveal a dozen or so figures sitting around a large boardroom table.
They all look up at you simultaneously.
You see their faces … and do a double take. “Is that …”
“Welcome to my personal Hall of Heroes … the writers past and present who’ve had the most influence on my style.”
Your eyes run around the table.
You recognise most of the people there (at least, the ones who are copywriters).
There are several who you thought were dead:
David Ogilvy. Claude Hopkins. Gary Halbert. John Caples. Gene Schwartz. Victor Schwab.
Others you recognise as still living:
John Carlton. Ben Settle. Gary Bencivenga.
There are a few more you don’t immediately recognise, because they aren’t “copywriters” per se:
Scott Pape. Matthew Reilly. Paul Antony Jones.
And some who you can’t really see clearly at all.
For a moment, they all stare at you in silence.
Then John Carlton breaks the tension:
“Hey, you’re the one who lost an arm to that big hamster, right? Reminds me of a legendary headline I once wrote about a one-legged golfer—”
At this boast, several of the other copywriters let out annoyed grumbles.
“Oh, zip it, Carlton!” snaps Ben Settle. “We’ve all heard it enough.”
“At sixty miles an hour the loudest noise in this room is your ego, old boy,” adds Ogilvy, with a puff of his pipe.
“Most ripped off and respected copywriter alive?” says Caples. “You’re just lucky I’m dead!”
“YOU?” scoffs Hopkins. “I literally wrote the book on this industry! If you want to go a few rounds to settle this like I did with Ogilvy, just say the word …”
(At the banter, John Carlton winks and nudges Gary Halbert in the ribs with his elbow. They exchange a snigger.)
Yes … because of you, the greatest copywriters of the last 100 years have all started bickering between themselves.
I clear my throat and shout for attention:
A hush falls over the room.
Once everyone is still, I gesture towards you. “This one shows promise. They’ve made it through my entire Parallel Welcome Sequence. I believe they are worthy of …”
But before I can finish, you cut me off by blurting out:
“How come all of these people are men? Why isn’t your list of influences more diverse?”
The room lets out a groan.
Gary Halbert rolls his eyes.
Ben Settle scowls.
And then —
“Do I LOOK like a man to you?” huffs Joanna Wiebe from the back of the room.
(Oh. You must have missed her.)
And then she adds:
“Although … I agree. A very disappointing lack of diversity,” she says, folding her arms. “The real me would never approve of something like this.”
Matthew Reilly gives her a small nod of support (at least, I get the feeling from his books that he’s a bit more of a liberal than me).
“Ah, but this is my hall of fame,” I add with a smile. “I simply pick who I want to pick, based on merit and who I actually learned from … not whether they have a Y chromosome.”
Jo rolls her eyes but says nothing.
I slap you over the head.
“DON’T interrupt me again,” I say crossly. “Now, as I was saying …”
I turn to the council.
“I request council’s approval
to make this person the offer.”
The … offer?
Must have something to do with my next email, you decide.
“Well, the fact that they’re still reading here is a good proof element for the marketing,” says Gary Bencivenga, with a chuckle.
“What? You want to make the offer to THIS blue-light special?!?” snarls Ben Settle, incredulous.
“Gentlemen, we clearly need to put a time limit on this debate,” says Gene Schwartz, pulling out a timer and setting it for 33:33.
But the council decides to put it to a vote …
… and the motion passes.
And so I am entitled to make you the offer:
I have a valuable
gift for you.
But to earn it …
You must pass a test.
“W-w-what sort of test?” you stammer.
I step back and grin:
“Oh, nothing but a fight … to the death.”
Thunk! Thunk! Thunk!
Suddenly, steel bars shoot up from the floor all around you, enclosing you.
The lights outside the bars go dark. You can’t see a thing beyond them.
You grab the bars. “Daniel?”
But … there’s no answer.
You rattle the bars. “What’s going on?” you cry. “Let me out—”
Behind you, some doors swing open.
You turn around slowly …
… and your heart stops.
Because standing in the doorway is …
… a giant hamster.
And … he looks mad.
He steps towards you.
“Is that … the giga-hamster I shot?!?” you ask, horrified.
You turn to the bars again and start yanking them violently. “Let me out! Let me OUT of here!”
But your cries are drowned out by the council of copywriters, who (somewhere in the dark, you can’t see) have begun chanting:
“Fight! Fight! Fight!”
There’s no way out.
The hamster looms over you.
It steps forward.
You drop to the ground and curl up into a ball.
“EEEEEEK!” you squeal. “PLEASE DON’T HURT MEEEEEE!”
The hamster bends down …
And then …
It reaches out its arms …
And pulls its own head off.
What the …?
And there … inside the giga-hamster suit …
… is me.
HAHAHAHAHA YOU WERE
TOTALLY TRIPPIN’ 😂
The lights flick back on … and the council of copywriters erupts with laughter and cries of delight:
“Duuuuuuude was that new kid freaking out or what!”
“Oh boy, that was the best one yet!”
“That prank gets me every time!”
Wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes, I offer you a hand up.
I do have something for you … but that wasn’t what you need to do to get it.
And thankfully …
It’s actually way easier than that.
Your actual instructions are waiting for you in your inbox.
Thanks for playing along with the Parallel Welcome Sequence.