I began the day, this first day of being a Nobel Prize winner, by eating an extra bowl of Grape Nuts at approximately 8:03 a.m. Indulgent, I know, especially for an 82-year-old woman—but I’ve just won the Nobel Prize in Literature! After enjoying my fiber-rich breakfast, I walked into the study and slowly ran my hand against copies of my short story collections that by now, to you, are household names—
Once the clock struck nine, I ventured to the nearest grocer to purchase seven cans of Fancy Feast—one for each of my darling felines, and two for me.
With extra time to spare and the desire to further observe the October winds whipping up just-fallen leaves, I decided to visit one of my dead husband’s graves. Oh, Richard, how happy you would be for me today, had you not fallen down so many stairs after that unfortunate and mysterious molasses spill.
Once noon approached, I drove toward home and contemplated what life might be like now that I’m a Nobel Prize–winning author. Would I continue to write, to delight my readers? Would I retire for a few years, perhaps returning to literature after hitting age 90? Would I die soon, my body giving in after my soul realized its lifelong purpose? But my thoughts were interrupted by each cat marching dutifully up to me, demanding to be fed.
“Fancy Feast!” they seemed to be screaming. “We must eat our feasts, you wretched ogre!”
After hand-feeding Rex, Archie, Minx, Janie, and Coop, I poured myself a cup of coffee and ate Fancy Feast flavors tuna and turkey giblets. The meat shavings sprinkled down the bib my daughter bought me last year, and I felt my hunger finally was satiated.
“This is heaven!” I said quietly to myself, giggling.
I walked with purpose to my plastic-covered velvet furniture. It was time for that “Murder She Wrote” marathon I’d been daydreaming about. But it wasn’t long until I fell into a nap. Waking up dazed in the mid-afternoon, I realized I still had plenty of time to put in my VHS of old “The Price is Right” episodes and masturbate to Bob Barker until dinnertime. “This day is mine,” I thought naughtily as I rocked myself back and forth, the tick of the spinning wheel being drowned out by my gratuitous moans.
By the time I left the living room, it was not yet five o’clock. I realized I still had plenty of time for silly indulgences. I again went to my study, again ran my hands against my old short story compilations, and used the inkjet printer my son got me to print out an image of Joyce Carol Oates I’d found on the internet.
I adhered the printout to the wall, then crossed the room to pick up my pencil holder full of darts. As I chucked the brass tips at Mrs. Oates loathsome face, I smiled generously. “Today! Today is my day. And no one will have it but me.”
Bulls-eye. Bulls-eye. Bulls-eye. I have won, Joyce.
I have won.