Mark's Story
Chapter 1

Once upon a time there was an average Joe named Jim.  After the bagel
incident, Jim had gone on to accrue obscene amounts of money, power,
and fame, but still he lacked the one thing that could make him truly
happy: an electronic copy of Woolf's "The Mark on the Wall," digitally
signed by the author.  And so, for more years than he could have
counted on his severed left hand, Jim suffered in silence--until that
fateful day when he remembered his alphanumeric pals.

Jim: e?

e: I'm here, Jim.

Jim: Oh, good.  I was afraid you'd abandoned me.

e: I would never do that.  Silly boy.

Jim: Thanks, e.  Let's dispense with the usual small talk so's this
  story don't get outta hand.  I need Virginia Woolf's .sig and I need
  it bad.

e: That shouldn't be a problemo.  We need but a convenient temporal
  anomaly; I hear they're pretty common this time of year.

Alice: Temporal anomaly detected at (12,63,5).

Jim: Ah, the laundry chute.  I'll allow it.  Well, let's go, then.


Jim: Ow! Oh, e, that hurt!  When are we?

Alice: Current date is [be]51.Dec.02.  It is cloudy, with a 3% chance 
  of large hail.

3: Hey, Jim.

Jim: Hey, 3.  Woolf was still alive in 1940, correct?

Alice: [p1613] -> "In 1941, ..., drowned herself in the nearby river

Jim: Okay, good.  Let's form search parties--e and 3, you go west.  8, 
  Alice, and I will go

Mark: Excuse me.  Looking for someone are you?

Jim: Uh, yes.  We're looking for a woman named Virginia Woolf,
  [gesturing] about this tall, born in 1882?

Mark: Woolf!  You seek Woolf!

8: Pure genius.

Mark: Guy I am not.  Wolf I am.

Jim: Wolf?

Woolf: No, Woolf.  Please get your spoken homophones correct.

Jim: Sorry, Alice usually fixes those.  Anyway, I've come to get your
  autograph.  If you could just use Alice's external keyboard here...

Woolf: Certainly.  [It takes Ms. Woolf a few minutes to sign the
  document, as she is a hunt-and-peck typist.]

3: Well, that was eazy.

Alice: Spelling correction: eazy -> e.z.

Jim: Thank you, Ms. Woolf, and may I say it was an honour to meat you.

Woolf: Will there be anything else, gentlemen and computer?

Jim: Hold on, let me think.

e: Jim, was there a Freudian intention in the word meat you used in
  place of meet a few sentences ago?

Jim: Ah, yes, I've always meant to ask you one question.  Do you think 
  your stream-of-consciousness writing style and its emphasis on
  "reflections" has any sort of connection to Flaubert's use of the
  external to describe the internal?

Flaubert: Summon me, and here I yam! potato/leek wa

Woolf: Flaubert.  Flaubert.  No, never heard of him.  Though the word
  does have a nice woody quality to it.  Caribou.  Not like mint.

8: Lord, no, mint is much too tinny.

Flaubert: My God, it can't be Virginia Woolf!  Author of "To the
  Lighthouse" (1927)?!  Famed guardian of the feminist spirit?  I love 
  your work!  It was an inspiration to me, and to many other Realist
  authors of the mid-1800's.

Woolf: Okay, thanks, I guess.

Flaubert: Let me just say, Virginia--can I call you Virginia--that
  were it not for your stream-of-consciousness writing style and its
  emphasis on reflections, I never would have hit upon the concept of
  using the external to describe the internal.  Though I do hate writing 
  like that anyway.  Myself, I'm a Romantic at heart.

Woolf: Really.  <scratches nose impatiently>

Jim:  As I thought.  So, Gustave, Ms. Woolf's idea that people can only
  see the surface of others, the ripples on the pond of the soul as it
  were, is directly reflected [pun intended] in your work.  Id est,
  you make no pretense of being able to understand the mind, and instead 
  ask the reader to derive a person's inner feelings and thoughts from
  the external appearance.

3: Ice-cream!  Where the hell is that resonating bass coming from?

8: The barbarians next door in Loft 3, I think.  They're not human.

e: I don't understand how this relates to Woolf.  She uses thoughts in 
  her work, something which Flaubert does not.

Woolf: Yeah.  Flaubert's work is thoughtless.

Flaubert: Consider a three-tiered model: the soul, surface thoughts,
  and the external (including outward appearances).  Neither of us put
  the "reality" of the soul in our works.  I use the external to
  substitute or hint at internal processes of the soul, invoking surface 
  thoughts occasionally.  She uses the surface thoughts in place of
  the internal soul, invoking objects occasionally.

Alice: Logic flaw: Woolf "pared the 'description of reality' down to a 
  minimum" [1614] only in a few works, not in all works.

Flaubert: Oh.  Sorry about that.

Jim: There's still a definite parallel in "The Mark on the Wall," though.

Woolf: I kind of see what you're saying.

3: But Woolf uses objects as touchpoints in her stream-of-
  consciousness narrative, seeds from which her surface thoughts
  germinate and branch.  And stuff.  But Flaubert uses objects only.
  He doesn't use thoughts as touchpoints.

Jim: I didn't say it was an *exact* parallel, just a close one.  3, I
  would appreciate it if you didn't undermine my arguments; I'm trying 
  to get a good grade here.

3: Grades, grades, grades.  All you're ever interested is grades.
  What about us?

Jim: Us?

3: It's always "Not tonight, I have a headache, 3" or "I'm tired, 3"
  or "I don't have enough akira points, 3".  How do you think _I_

8: Gustave, Virginia, it was nice meating you both.

3: If you keep this up, I'm going to have to go seek solace in R!

8: throw(R); // pre-emptive strike

e: You two need to see a counselor, I think.

I am the psychotherapist.  Please, describe your problems.

[From here it goes downhill.  The psychotherapist is of no help.  Jim
and 3 go to sleep angry.  Woolf and Flaubert have a brief love affair.
8 and Alice become bored.  As does the writer.]