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Spoofs & Satire

Daniel Rozin, Circles Mirror, 2006. Photo courtesy bitforms gallery nyc.

Kafka’s Kickstarter

The latest works from the author will be given with pleasure, and received with thanks, but we need your support.

Pledge $10 or more

On completion—and contingent on the continuance of my existence—you will receive a copy of the new stories.

Pledge $50 or more

Limited (100 left of 100)

You will awake from uneasy dreams to find in your postbox a Gregor Samsa action figure. Beneath an exterior of crude synthetic resin, incomplete matte finishing, and carelessly painted details, a rigid, insectoid nervous system of perfect scale and exceptional craft will provide the underlying structure. These nervous systems are to be created by an unpaid prisoner soon to be executed, whose work is always, always exemplary. Despite knowing that his creations will be tarnished, that his ganglia and ventral cords will remain forever invisible beneath opaque irradiated plastics, he is compelled toward perfectionism, an effect of, or rebellion against, his terminal sentence.

Pledge $500 or more

A team of weary bureaucrats will transcribe your sins. Once filed away in an obscure sub-basement of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, the records will remain inaccessible, protected by insurmountable regulatory hurdles and a well-traveled parable, which states that he who gains access to his file will not be allowed to leave with his eyes intact. This may happen whether or not you pledge.

You will need to provide both the stones and the land on which to build the monument. The story will be long enough that procuring such an amount of land will be nearly impossible.

Pledge $1,000 or more

Limited (2 left of 2)

You will receive, eventually, a new work. More specifically, what you will be receiving is a set of instructions revealing, only slowly and only over time, how to build a massive stone structure, which, on completion, will tell—in letters 300 feet high—a story that will be written only for you. The instructions will be delivered in nonlinear pieces so that the meaning of the writing cannot be construed until the structure is complete. You will need to provide both the stones and the land on which to build the monument. The story will be long enough that procuring such an amount of land will be nearly impossible. Even if you could manage such a feat, the task of placing the stones into position would take you several lifetimes. And even if you could organize the stones in a single lifetime—which can never, never happen—you would then be tasked with finding a way to view the whole of the work. One might as easily take in the entire Great Wall of China in one glimpse, and anyway, perhaps you would find more meaning in the Wall.

Pledge $5,000 or more

The reward at this level will go unstated. For now, know that this donation tier necessitates a waiver that is 300 pages in length and will require that you visit at least five different offices of record, compile extensive details on your consumption of indecent pictures, and complete an interview with two indistinguishable agents from an unnamed government bureau, wherein you will be required to prove, with no evidence beyond your own memories and senses, that you are not, in fact, a large and rather talkative dog.

Pledge $10,000 or more

I will meet you in an attic of your choosing for a brief chat over unpasteurized milk. You will tell me of your sad single lifestyle, of bringing home your dinner in a plastic bag, of lusting for your divorced landlord, of endless goodnights in doorways, and of your terror that your repulsivity will keep you always alone. When we part ways, I’ll offer my judgments. They may or may not be in a language you understand.

Pledge $50,000 or more

The thing that sits inside of me—and compels me toward a life of isolation, repetition, and the cold embrace of futility—is a monstrous, pointed contortion of bones. By intervals, it grows and demands ever greater quantities of physical attention, threatening to overtake those elements of me that I thought, perhaps naively, were indestructible. You can have it.

Pledge $100,000 or more

If, as contemporary fashion holds, the one thing necessary to the survival of an artist is the constant positive reinforcement of tedious self-promotion, there must be concern that I would wither under the weight of such riches and the freedoms they imply. Nevertheless, I would like to have this much money. To ensure continued work, the first portion of the funds will go toward purchasing a cage and one year’s supply of straw. In return you are welcome to the output of my labor. And if you want you can have all the action figures too.

Roger Taylor writes short-form humor, long-form journalism, and screenplays. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Bygone Bureau, Splitsider, The Escapist, CollegeHumor, The Impersonals, and Citizen Culture Magazine. More by Roger Taylor