Fire up your keyboards, you satirists and lampooners. Calling all mockers and parodists. Do we have a contest for you!
The movie version of the blockbuster novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” opens Valentine’s Day weekend. Now we can’t just ignore such a thing, can we? That’s not the FYI way. But we can and will make fun.
Good, clean fun. But we need your help.
Below is the first chapter of “Fifty Shades of Hay,” a stirring tale starring Tristan Hay and Fantasia Irons (our versions of the book’s Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele). It’s set right here in the sunny, wholesome Midwest rather than the rainy, dark and apparently kinky Northwest.
Jumping off from the Chapter 1 character descriptions and plot points, such that they are, you who dare to test your sarcastic mettle will pen Chapter 2: Fantasia and Tristan Are an Item.
Keep it to around 600 words, no more than 800, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Fifty Shades, Chapter 2” in the subject line. Please include your name, hometown and daytime telephone number in case we need to contact you. Your deadline is 8 a.m. Thursday.
A team of FYI judges will choose the entry we deem the “best.” How? We think we’ll know it when we see it.
We’ll publish Chapter 2 in FYI and KansasCity.com next Saturday with a call for Chapter 3. It’s important the episode advances the story and gives writers of the following chapters someplace to go. Where that is, nobody knows, but we’ll give you general guidelines. (Hint: We expect our couple to break up around Chapter 3 or 4 and, perhaps, get back together by the end.)
The contest will continue each Saturday, with entry deadlines on Thursdays, through Chapters 4, 5 and 6 — the finale before the movie comes out Feb. 13. And voila, a new “Fifty Shades” will be born. If you don’t feel inspired this week, maybe the next chapter will trigger your creative mockery.
Prizes? Of course. Each week’s winner will receive a $20 AMC Theatres gift certificate and “Fifty Shades” movie memorabilia.
In E.L. James’ book, which itself was fan fiction based on Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series, Christian Grey has certain erotic proclivities that can’t be explored in our potentially innuendo-laced but ultimately family-friendly version. So while you, the writer, might saddle Tristan Hay with an obsession, think PG, even goofy as heck, but don’t think about those Grey areas.
Many a satire has sprung from the trilogy, including “50 Shades! The Musical Parody” coming to Starlight Theatre Feb. 10 to 15. It’s Starlight’s first winter show at Swope Park (don’t worry, it’s indoors) and its first with a “not recommended for those under the age of 18” warning.
Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but parody is something else. Send us your send-up and make us laugh.
Chapter 1: Fantasia Meets Tristan
Jeez. My big, bouncy, cocoa-brown hair just won’t behave. Oh, I know I’m nothing to look at with these saucer-like blue eyes. And I’m as clumsy as an ox. Just awful, I admit it.
No wonder I’m 21 years old and have never had a hint of a boyfriend, although the boys do seem to lavish me with attention. Jeez.
I look in the mirror one more time and figure I’ll just gather up all this luxurious, unruly hair into a giant ponytail. I’ll play the part of the pert coed I wish I was — and get on with this.
“This” is something my gorgeous best friend and roommate got me into. Thanks, Kassidy.
She pointed “him” out to me at the American Royal in Kansas City last week — Tristan Hay — the sinewy, scruffy-looking guy tying down a calf with ropes to the delight of rodeo fans. I was there to help Kassidy with her “research.”
I’m a pre-veterinary student, but that doesn’t mean I know anything about rodeos. And why is this billionaire guy acting like a common cowboy?
Because he’s Tristan Hay, Kassidy says. With his unfathomable wealth, amassed by age 27, he can do anything he wants.
“He has his fingers in lots of places,” she explains.
Including international restaurant chains, apparently. Kassidy planned to interview him for the Kansas State University Gazette. She’s the editor. Hay recently coughed up a gazillion-dollar donation to our school, and Kassidy planned a massive profile for the school paper.
But now she’s sick as a dog. She says it took months to set up the interview, so I have to do it.
Seems like she could have assigned an actual reporter. I’ve never done anything like this before. But off I go into the sunset, driving my beater out of Manhattan, down a bunch of two-lane blacktops to his fabulous cattle ranch.
By the way, I’m a vegan. There, I said it. Which makes me so very not right for this Tristan Hay and his meat-tastic restaurant empire, including the Big Saucy, which I suspect is a reference to barbecue, and the Harness Room, a reference to I don’t know what.
GPS doesn’t fail me, and soon I’m here, stopped at a white wrought-iron gate that could withstand a medieval invasion. It opens slowly, and I’m waved through by a series of cowboys and cowgirls, Western-wear fashion models, it seems.
Inside the arena-sized ranch house, headquarters for Tristan Hay Inc., the ceilings soar and polished wood abounds. One last cowboy-host opens one more door. I fall through it, tripping on … nothing.
I’m practically on the floor, and somehow there’s Tristan Hay. He nimbly grabs me by the waist, saving me from a full-on meeting with the hardwood, and pulls me up, past his thighs, past his waist.
“Oh my, that’s a big silver buckle you have,” I say.
“My eyes are up here, honey,” he says.
Yes they are, and they’re drilling holes right through mine. “Intense” hardly does his gaze justice.
I introduce myself — “Fantasia Irons. Most people call me Fanny” — and explain why I’m here and not Kassidy. I set up the digital recorder and pull Kassidy’s notes from my backpack. So far, so good.
Thank goodness Kassidy wrote out these insightful questions so I don’t have to do much thinking.
I start at the top with “Why are you so successful?” and work down to “Are you gay?” The answers: “I’m really good at reading people, most notably by staring at them for long periods of time,” and “No.”
Hay cocks his head at a question, then cocks it to the other side at the next. In fact, he does a lot of head-cocking. I wonder if there’s something wrong with his cervical vertebrae.
As I finish the interview, I realize my face has been aflame the whole time. Jeez. Why am I blushing so? Maybe it’s because his eyes never stop blazing. Did I mention that he is drop-dead, oh-my-gosh, holy-moly, off-the-charts, very, very good-looking? And tall?
“Did you notice, Miss Irons, that I like to stare intently at you and cock my head a lot and that I’m extremely good-looking?” he says.
“Not exactly,” I say, making my way to the door. Apparently, he’s going to lead me back to my car.
I do notice that he never calls me Fanny. For the life of me, I don’t know why. What a mystery he is!
“Fantasia,” he says in a deeeep-voiced, husky farewell. He opens the car door for me, and I brush away a few Skittles from the driver’s seat.
“Tristan,” I respond, cool as a cucumber. I kill the car engine twice before taking off in a cloud of Flint Hills dust and gravel.