What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?
Illustration for article titled On Pandering

It had been a year now since I installed myself as the new editor of a monthly adventure serial magazine. I beamed with pride as I put my mirror-polished wingtips on the mahogany desk and puffed on one of the vintage cigars left behind by my predecessor. Life was good.


My reverie came to a sharp end when my accountant burst into the room.

“Mr. Switch, Mr. Switch,” he screamed, near-hysteria, his knees knocking even as he ran. He carried in his hand the latest issue of Bad Ideas In Cars Monthly.


I looked over the cover. It was dominated by a pastel illustration of some young boys coming across an AMC Eagle abandoned in the New England forest. The caption: “I WAS A TEENAGE SPICER CUSTOMER.” It was a little schlocky, but I was proud of it regardless. I eyed the accountant, Mr. Timmins, and I asked him what the problem was.

“Circulation is way down,” he yelped, “kids these days only want to read about drift cars and Facebook-integrated Italian-made Dodge Darts. They have no fucking idea what you are talking about.”


I rose from my desk, turned and faced out the massive floor-to-ceiling window that dominated my office. I could see the entire world out there, I imagined, bustling away to serve the demands that I, a titan of industry, would make. We were silent for a long time, before Timmins finally spoke up.

“Sir,” he squeaked, “what should we do?”

“I have an idea,” I said in a grave tone. “Bring me the Kijiji machine.”

Months later, we were back in the black, making hundreds of millions of dollars per minute. Publishing isn’t too hard, I thought.


I laughed and cheered as Timmins re-entered the room, the latest issue held aloft above his head. The cover blazed: “I WAS A HELLCAT-POWERED 180SX.” A smaller version of the magazine dangled from the cover, emblazoned with the words “READING DRIFT CHARM” and “SAVE THE MANUALS.”

Give the people what they want, I thought.

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