Brad sat in the palatial office of the Throgbottle Literary Agency. Milton Throgbottle, sole proprietor, examined the manuscript on his desk, then glared at Brad.
“What is this?” demanded Milton.
“It’s just what the title suggests,” replied Brad.
“‘The Extraordinary History of the K-noon’? What’s a k-noon, and why do I care?”
Brad swallowed hard. “It’s a culinary utensil that’s a combination of a knife and a spoon. Kinda like a spork.”
Milton Throgbottle raised a skeptical eyebrow. “So?”
“It’s an incredible piece of history.”
“You have five minutes,” said Milton.
A bead off sweat rolled down Brad’s spine and made him shiver. “In the early days of the last century, the eastern European country of Ukrandia was under a brutal dictatorship. Food was scarce. People were forced to make due with government supplies of hard tack and root vegetables.”
“Fascinating,” yawned Milton.
“The tack and veg were brutal to eat, so a blacksmith named Milos Bourgish took a spoon and ground one side of the bowl into a knife.”
Milton blinked. “That’s it?”
“Well,” defended Brad, “it’s a story of ingenuity and survival. People were starving.”
“Yadda, yadda, yada,” scoffed Milton. “What about issues that matter to today’s public?”
“Besides life and death?” asked Brad.
“Nobody cares about a guy who turned a spoon into a knife,” said Milton.
Brad shifted to the edge of his seat. “The government outlawed knives. He was arrested by the secret police and was executed for it. Milos Bourgish and his k-noon became symbols of a revolution that brought freedom to Ukrandia. He’s a national hero.”
“Patriotism and nationalism are dead,” concluded Milton.
Brad was flabbergasted. “What?”
“Absolutely. Write a story about a guy who stands up for his alternative lifestyle or some social justice issue, then we can talk,” said Milton. He pointed to for Brad to leave.
Brad grabbed his manuscript and turned for the door. Before he left, he turned to Milton. “I didn’t realize modern heroes were so self-absorbed.”
Milton smiled, revealing a row of gold-filled teeth. “Welcome to the twenty-first century.”