[The following is the transcript of a recording smuggled out on the person of half-orc/goblin J.J. Smith. Mr. Smith did not intend to record the proceedings. He had a new phone and thought he was playing Peggle, but actually activated a recording application. Some of the recording is garbled due to Mr. Smith’s unfortunate habits of humming to himself, prolonged burping, and atonal flatulence.]
G. Derek Adams: Okay, everyone take a seat so we can — so we can get started.
[milling around noises, wooden chair legs scraping on floor]
GDA: Okay, are we all settled?
Izus Torrossian: I don’t want to sit down. It’s too far away from the doughnuts.
GDA: Goddamn it, Izus. Would you please just sit the fuck down?
IT: Here? Or here? Is here good?
GDA: Just sit. Sit. Sit! NO. In the chair, don’t spin it around like you’re Fonzie.
Rime Korvanus: I don’t think Fonzie ever sat that way.
GDA: Not … literally. Okay. Okay, fine. Sit however you want.
IT: Thank you, m’lord.
Brian Cactus: Heh, heh.
Jonas: That guy is cool.
IT: I am, like, so cool.
Sideways: Ironic high-five!
[A loud smack of palms. Various laughter and groans from the assembly.]
GDA: This is it. This is my nightmare. It’s like teaching high school all over again. I’m going to take a breath and then we’re going to get started.
Linus: I hope [XXXXgarbledhummingXXXXX] the severity of this meeting. It has been a long year. I have concerns. I know the rest of you do as well.
[Awkward coughs. Shifting of wooden chair legs. Mr. Smith burps.]
GDA: Thanks you, Linus. Okay. I’ve called you all together here to talk about the past year. Things we accomplished, problems we encountered, and goals for the next year.
J: Rime, c’mon.
GDA: AND there will be time where you can just piss and moan at me, but now is not that time. I would especially expect those of you who’ve had a big launch this year to [XXXXXXXXXXXX] back and at least hear me out.
Mallora Crandall: We are listening. You are waving your arms around a lot. This is not a witch hunt—
[Sudden uproar of voices raised in alarm. Heavy feet pound across the room.]
MC: What? What?
BC: Oh yeah, you’re new here.
J: Never ever say – you know – the ‘w’ word.
S: [from a distance] Door’s still locked. I think we’re okay.
IT: Yeah, I think we’re good. She must be occupied elsewhere. We caught a break.
GDA:…[audible gulp]…okay. Okay, good. Don’t stress out about it, Mallora. I can explain a little better after the meeting.
J: Or I can explain it! I’m..uh…really good at explaining. Things.
RK: [audible facepalm]
GDA: Moving on. Look, I think I already know what some of your concerns are. I really didn’t put many of you to work this year. We bought a house, I was really focused on editing ‘The Riddle Box’.
RK: You bought a PlayStation 4.
RK: You also spent how many hours at your desk? Just scrolling through the internet? How many hours on your couch watching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer?
GDA: I hadn’t seen it before! It was, uh, ‘cultural research’.
RK: You also watched Angel at the same time.
RK: You found a site on the internet that told you how to watch them in the ‘correct’ order. You made a chart to make sure you did it correctly. A chart.
RK: [scrape of chair leg, presumably the speaker stood up] And even worse? How many nights did you lay in your bed, just staring at your phone? Just numbly scrolling. Not interacting or communicating, just moving your thumb? How many?
J: Rime. Ease up, okay?
RK: No. It’s not okay. We have one avenue, one port of entry into this world. And it’s this guy’s head.
S: Not the best head. 6/10. There are better heads out there.
RK: This one breaks a lot. It gets distracted. It always crammed full of sleep and noise. It’s always right on the point of fucking dissolving.
IT: And the drinking! The drinking! Have you given any thought to the drinking? WHY ISN’T THERE MORE OF IT?!?
RK: And don’t think I don’t know why my head is like it is. It’s because you used this dump as a model. This twisty, useless place that–[XXXXXXgarbledflatulenceXXXXXX]..only way. He owes us more.
GDA: Okay. Okay. Point made. I don’t know why I kept expecting someone to have some sympathy or take my side.
L: You only make villains, son. We have our own weight to bear.
GDA: Fair. Look. You are right. I could have done better. I can do better.
[awkward silence followed by snickers and hoots]
GDA: Uh, thanks. All that is fair, and I hear you. I will try to do better. But let’s not wallow in it, okay? We’ve done some good work together this year. We’re chipping away at that wall! I know it’s hard when we only have a few hammers working from this side – but there are more and more people working on it Earth-side. You are in people’s heads! As weird as it sounds, people other than me know about you. Well, most of you.
GDA: That’s how it works. Each person on the other side is like a tiny point of light. Each light a beacon. And slowly as we find new readers, more and more light.
J: Wait, are they hammers or beacons? Because–
All: Shut up, Jonas!
GDA: And just think, if we keep plugging away. One day you all could be as real as Harry Potter, or Kvothe, or Bilbo Baggins!
X: Or..some goddamn female characters?
GDA: Hermione, Aerin, Arya, Lyra, Lisbeth Salander! Look, I’m working with the same head that you all are. The fact that we made it this far is pretty goddamn amazing. So. Get off my nuts about it is what I’m saying. Rime.
GDA: Most of you are going to work on ‘Asteroid Made of Dragons’ – well except you guys who are technically dead. I’ll throw you some work, but you’ll have to disguise yourselves. The rest of you I can at least work on some short stories – give you all a test drive.
Sasparilla O’Shaugnessy: What about me?
GDA: Oh Sasparilla. I think you know that you’re going to be riding the pine a long, long time. Oh Sasparilla!
[Sarcastic laughter from assembly]
GDA: Okay, I think we’re all on the same page now. I know you are the best characters for the job. Which brings us to the last question: Is it weird that I talk to you guys like this? I mean, it can’t—
[sudden knock at the door]
GDA: Shit! She’s here. Sideways, you get the door. Be polite.
S: Why do I have to do it?
GDA: She likes you!
S:That is a fucking lie. Fine.
[pained silence, the almost silent pad of feet towards the door]
S: Yes? Who is it?
S: Are you shitting me?
[sounds of door being unlocked]
Dayjen Moore: Oh, hi guys! I thought this meeting was at 2. So! What are we talking about? Hmmm? Oh, I brought sandwiches..but, not enough to share. Unless someone has a knife? We can cut them into tiny sandwich-slivers!
GDA: Jesus Christ, we are fucking doomed.
JingaJang Smith: *BUUURP*.
End of Transcription