Halycon Sage was wallowing in self-pity over in the darkest corner of the Canis Fidelis Juice Bar and Grill (formerly the Dirty Dog Bar). It was a good thing there was no more alcohol, either here or anywhere else, or he might have been tempted.
The cause of his sad swamp of self pity was the fact that pretty much nobody had read his autobiography. After all the hell he had been through to write it, putting the best of his genius into something that went on for pages and pages and pages! His forehead broke out in a sweat just thinking about it. Even his best friends, with all their encouragement and good intentions, were just too busy hunting, canning vegetables, setting up the new drip system for watering, and on and on in a boring litany of excuses. He suspected that even Preisczech had not read the thing, though Sage had typed out several copies on the old Smith-Corona and lovingly decorated the capitals that began the chapters. Of course Priesczech’s English was quirky and variable–it was even barely possible that he did not read the language.
Sage turned from contemplating the problem to deciding what to do about it. The problem was the title. And the cover. Leave that for later: concentrate on the title, he told himself. The title was stupid. Who would want to read a book called The Life and Times of Halycon Sage? It was long and boring and two thirds of the people who glanced at it would think his name was a misprint. Why he wouldn’t read it himself if he didn’t know who he was! (Well, he still didn’t quite know who he was, but that touches on another topic too complex to address here.)
So, a new title. Horse! thought Halycon Sage. He vaguely remembered plays in the late 20th century with such titles, one word followed by an exclamation point. Punchy! People had wanted to see them; they had done well on Broadway. He was getting excited now. He could rename One Hundred and One Cows: A Novel and just call it Cow! It could be a series, a kind of farm animal theme. The third one would obviously be Pig! His enthusiasm deflated. No one would want to readPig!