Imagine that an intern on HBO's hit show "The Newsroom" discovers a cache of unpublished pages while sifting through Aaron Sorkin's desk drawers in search of a cease-and-desist form letter. Who knew that the man behind "The West Wing" and "The Social Network" had such wells of passion for classic Russian novels—and prescription drug literature?
Big Mouse and Small Mouse!
A Children's Story by Aaron Sorkin
There was a little house on a little hill that belonged to Little Mouse. One day Big Mouse rode right up that hill on a big bulldozer and knocked down Little Mouse's house.
"Why are you knocking down my house?" asked Little Mouse.
"Your house?" said Big Mouse.
"My house," said Little Mouse. "Why are you knocking it down?"
"So this is your house?" said Big Mouse.
"You're driving a bulldozer and half of my house is knocked down," said Little Mouse.
"Half knocked down or half built? It's all about perception," replied Big Mouse.
"I'm calling the cops," said Little Mouse.
"Do people really do that?" asked Big Mouse.
"Do what?" asked Little Mouse.
"Call the cops. I thought they only did that on TV," said Big Mouse.
Little Mouse ignored this and went into his house and looked around for his Blackberry. He looked and looked and looked, but half of his house was knocked down! He couldn't find it!
"Do the cops even come to this neighborhood? I mean, when you call?" asked Big Mouse, following Little Mouse around his half-collapsed (or half-built) house.
"I wouldn't— I mean, I haven't—" said Little Mouse.
"Seems more effective just to keep a gun in your sock drawer," said Big Mouse.
"I don't believe in—" replied Little Mouse.
"You don't believe that guns exist?" said Big Mouse.
"Don't do that," said Little Mouse. "Don't purposefully—"
"Which is it?" asked Big Mouse.
"I don't believe that it's right to pack heat, or to drive a giant bulldozer around, knocking people's houses down, for that matter," said Little Mouse, his voice growing louder. "Big Mice like you blame Little Mice like me for everything from high taxes to the moral degradation of our country to the sorry state of the economy, turning a blind eye to reckless Wall Street bigwigs who can't tell a credit default swap from a wart on their… How dare you?! You're the ones tearing everything down! How dare you?!"
At this, Big Mouse felt ashamed of himself, so ashamed that he pulled a semi-automatic from his bulldozer and pointed it at Little Mouse's head.
"Guns do exist, homes," said Big Mouse.
"I'm willing to retract at least part of what I just said," said Little Mouse.
Before Big Mouse could shoot his gun, which would probably be racist now that he's addressed someone as "homes," sirens were heard. Cops on the way, even in this neighborhood. (This is a fantasy, in other words.) Big Mouse ran, looking slightly deranged. Little Mouse cried a big, salty tear, and said, "America has changed. It has really, really changed."
Then he got into his little bed, to rest his weary head. "And not for the better, either," he said.
Crime and Punishment
Reimagined by Aaron Sorkin
Raskolnikov stirred his martini and sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose between his strong fingers. He was so frazzled by the old woman—or maybe she was his age, she should wear her hair down and meditate more. His handsome face looked weary and moist, but refined. Why must St. Petersburg smell so bad? The room was packed with preening radicals, casting suspicious glances at each other. They're sick inside, he thought. Hypocrites. No better than the Tsar. They were probably thinking the same thing about him. Or thinking that he was thinking that they were thinking the same thing about him. Neurotic idiots!
At last he turned to Sonia, looking straight into her beautiful face, although her nose was a little too pointy. That had always bothered him. And she went to Vanderbilt. Is that really a good school? She didn't speak, but color rushed to her face. Her unabashed passion for him disgusted him, but then he thought of the really good medicinal pot she kept in her bedside table at home, next to her Bible. The madness of it, not having his own stash! Plus, all the suffering of humanity! His hands shook, his eyes glittered. All at once he grabbed her purse, fumbling for a cigarette. Damn big tobacco. Just one!
Zoloft Side Effects
Written by Aaron Sorkin
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have minor side effects or they pretend they don't have side effects because they don't want their favorite prescription dope to be taken off the market (and by "the market" I mean the legalized corporate drug market, which is every bit as corrupt as illegal drug trafficking, in case you were wondering; Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline may as well be run by a Colombian guerilla group, for all of the unethical tactics they engage in). Anyway. Check with your doctor if any of these side effects persist or become bothersome when using Zoloft (although I wouldn't necessarily trust anyone who was indoctrinated—see, the word says it all—by the stodgy precepts of traditional, institutional medicine, which is essentially an old boy's club bankrolled by big pharma and therefore openly hostile to a more flexible, whole-body approach to wellness). So: Tightness In Chest (Beyond the usual level), Bizarre Behavior (When not drinking to excess or under tons of stress), Swirling-Room-Feeling (Like when Cheney said that stuff about bombing Iran), Trouble Sleeping (That just means you have a conscience), Confusion (Not while watching Fox News), Severe Ringing In Ears (And your cell phone is off, for sure this time), Unusual or Severe Mental or Mood Changes (Unless you just read something ill-conceived by that smug guy from that online magazine that only halfwits read), Worsening of Depression (Although, with the state of the world today, I'd be worried if you weren't more depressed).
Performed by Katy Perry
Lyrics by Aaron Sorkin
Sometimes I think I'm the girl you always wanted
Champion of facts, mortal enemy of speculation
Other times I think that I work for you
And I have to do whatever you want me to.
What did you say?
I don't know, even though you repeated yourself.
What is this meeting about?
I can't tell. You knocked me off my feet, so why do I feel like hell?
Oh baby, this sexual tension, it never goes without mention, no no.
Oh baby, your condescension, it triggers my apprehension. Sometimes I don't know!
Take the high moral ground, and I'll go even higher.
Let's take on obese children and Holocaust deniers.
Oh baby, you know I can't hide
I've got to live my life as if I am alive!
Apple Blossom Heating Instructions
Written by Aaron Sorkin
CONVENTIONAL OVEN: HEAT FROM FROZEN Preheat oven to 400ish, whatever you feel. Why should I care? Remove apple blossoms from wrapping, while averting your gaze sheepishly. They look so frozen. Are they supposed to look this frozen? Place on a baking sheet in the moral center of the oven. Yes, the moral center. Define that? It's a hyperbole. Or a metaphor or an idiom or something. Did you really go to Harvard? Heat 15 to 20 minutes or until their soft, vulnerable interiors ooze all over the place and make a huge, embarrassing scene.
ALTERNATIVE/MICROWAVE OVEN: Give one of them an arrogant tic, like a nervous habit of looking at his watch. Make the cute one slightly stupid, or at least twitchy and hysterical. Place in a microwave safe fishbowl, like a crowded, hip bar or a big, open office or maybe the Oval office. Agitate their molecules for several minutes, until they shout, flail their arms around, pound their hands on the table, cite the Constitution, weep and tear their hair, rend their clothing, wail to the gods for mercy, and then go back to flashing each other furtive glances to the strains of Coldplay, just like none of that other stuff ever happened.
Oven temperatures may vary. Nothing is baked by committee. These are only guidelines, and I don't feel qualified to… I have no idea what day it is. Go away.
A contributor to the New York Times Magazine, Heather Havrilesky was Salon.com's TV critic for seven years and cocreated Suck.com's Filler before that. She's the author of the memoir Disaster Preparedness. She has dispensed misguided advice at the rabbit blog since 2001. Photo by s_bukley, via Shutterstock.com.