The Fault in Looking for John Green

By Helen Porskova

As I walked down the rows of tables in the Student Center, attempting to make it to Breslin before classes began, a legion of various club members and sorority sisters lunged at me in a never-ending wave of 25 cent candies. I had a quarter in my bag, but I was too uncomfortable to go through with it. “No thanks. I’m late to class,” I lied politely, gluing my gaze to the ground. I’m not even a student here.

            That’s when I saw him. The crowd parted before me and I took a step forward, pondering the sudden serenity. My eyes met his through his thick, grimy lenses as I adjusted my Rick and Morty shirt. I made my way over. I couldn’t believe it.

            “Is...is it you?” I breathed, fingers trembling as I knelt forward and whispered in his ear. I rubbed the straps of my Steven Universe bag together in anticipation. “Are you really John Michael Green, the author of the books that became the movies?”

            A Homestuck pin popped off my backpack in my haste to get to him, but when I ducked down to pick it up, he was already extending a hand forward, cradling it in his spindly fingers.

            His pale, plump lips split into a loving grin as he answered in a soft voice, “Yes, my child. You are the first to recognize me. 72,546 have walked this path before you, but none have addressed me as you have.”

            “Me, your highness?” I returned, taken aback. Surely, I was not the first to notice such genius? How could I alone be graced with such a divine presence? After all, this man had been my spiritual guide since sophomore year of high school, when I, a sullen fool, unknowing of what true literature was, mistakenly stumbled upon a copy of The Fault In Our Stars in our school library after my thirty-third read through of the Harry Potter series. I had never understood what they meant by, “Read a different book!” until I found it… My new sacred scripture…

            That night I turned to Youtube, looking up to see the fully-flexed genius behind The Fault in Our Stars. You could only imagine my delight upon finding he had other novels. Movies, even. I didn’t even have to dress up for the premiere of Paper Towns considering I look exactly like the Naked Brothers Band guy. I sat alone in the theater, howling beneath the screen as I knew exactly what was going to happen yet wept anyway. It was then, six years ago, when I was about twenty-two years old, that my sexual awakening began with the help of the hit young-adult movie Looking for Alaska.

            “Whom else?” he replied, lowering his long, succulent lashes as they swept across my cheeks like small, forbidden hands.

            “Well, it’s…. such an honor, sir.” I was stammering now, attempting to control the profuse amounts of sweat spilling out of my glands and pouring out through my teeth. John Green, that guy who shares a YouTube channel with his brother where they explain science and the concept of virginity, kept his composure as he wiped a streak of sweat that had dripped down onto his chin. I reached down to wipe my face with my shirt, streaking Pickle Rick with my perspiration. 

            “No, there is no honor in this world,” John corrected me gravely, eyes focusing on something in the distance. “Only pain.”

            I flushed slightly. “Forgive me! That was silly of me to say. I’ve read all your works, after all. And I've long forgiven you for inadvertently giving us the "actor" Ansel Elgort. I know what you stand for.”

            “It’s all right, my boy,” he replied, reaching a finger out to stroke my cheek. “You see, I knew you were one of my followers. That’s why I summoned you over.”

            “Summoned?” Of course. There’s no way this meeting was a coincidence. “What for? What can I do for you, my lord?”

            “You see, my child,” John returned, glasses glinting. “I… am trying to spread my message once more. In a new volume. Yet, no one seems to heed my words. I…”

            He paused, face growing somber as his mouth twisted into a thin line.

            “Y-yes, king?” I huffed out, leaning forward even more until our foreheads nearly touched.

            “I need you…”

            “You need me to what, your majesty?”

            “To preorder my new novel…”

            “New novel?” I repeated, blinking back tears. Could it be? Was he truly…writing again? Even after everything that everyone had said?

            “Yes." John began with a sigh. "I won’t spoil much, but the opening scene is in an apartment in Brooklyn. A rose haired girl sits, watching as a scrawny boy in glasses hurriedly writes poetry. The year? Nineteen eighty-nine… The Soviet Union? On the brink of collapse. I-,”

            “Please stop, your magnificence!” I exclaimed before I could really even help it. My hands flapped over my ears to shield me from any more information. “All I want is the preorder form. I couldn’t take any spoilers.”

            “You’re right." John's tone of subtle condescension warmed me. It was the sound of a familiar friend,  snapping out of the daze he was in. The anger fled from his gaze, and he was, once more, the gentle, forgiving lord I always knew. “You’re absolutely right. How could I reveal my genius so abruptly?”

            “You needn’t say anymore, your holiness,” I told him. “Just hand me the preorder form.”

            “Wise child,” John acknowledged, nodding his head slowly as his fingers scuttled across the table to hand me a sheet. “You will be my messenger. And through you, I will bring salvation to the nerdfighters once more.”

            My lips trembled upon hearing this. I glanced down at the sheet, reading the instructions before searching for the nearest Barnes and Noble I could bring it to. When I glanced back up, the table was empty. Only a wisp of him remained, in the form of a page ripped out from a Moleskine on the tabletop. I narrowed my gaze, reading the few words left of him: “The female mind is like the night sky -- broad, an enigma.”

            However, when I got to the nearest Barnes and Noble, there was already an order under my name as well as an online purchase of The Mountain Goats’ 2002 studio album Tallahassee through one of my debit cards.

            “My lord,” I whispered, tears streaming down my cheek as the Barnes and Noble worker looked on with concern.

“Um, sir, I still need your signature on this receipt,” he murmured. I could have killed the idiot right there and then. He had no idea who I was, no clue that my signature was the one they needed the least.

            Therefore, I plead with you, dear reader. It is no coincidence that this wise and holy man graced my presence, if only for a moment. He gave me a mission. His words gave me strength. With this strength, I plead with you, dear reader, go out and order John Green’s new novel, An Endless Red Sky of Janets and Karens, coming out October 10th. Preorder forms are available online and at your local Barnes and Noble.