LX Commentary #15: So Well

The setup for this chapter came to me with the clarity of a message from my future self: Benji & L, on a date at a hardware store, chaperoned by Frank, coveting an unidentified handcrafted object for mysterious reasons.

“You’ve got it made, because you’re made so well.”

Early on the hardware store was called “Ellum & Op”—a dumb play on LMNOP and a Jon Mack in-joke. But with no real Benji Hughes connection I dropped it, intending to leave the store unnamed. (Baller Hardware in Los Feliz was my inspiration, but displaying a hammer in a locked case on a velvet pedestal is based on the original Hammacher & Co store of the mid 1800s.)

During the final leadup to release day I was talking to Benji about something completely unrelated (and, to be honest, unremembered) when our conversation thread arrived at the phrases “will occur” and “did occur.”

Benji stopped and said “That sounds like a hardware store. Didicur’s.”

Baller Hardware in Silver Lake–featured in this Eleni Mandell video for the song Benji Hughes covers on her tribute album–was my mental model for what became Didicur’s / Wilicur’s

As luck would have it, I had a hardware store in need of a name. By this point Frank was already narrating the flashback with a twist that follows. Gee wilicurs! I realized I could use both names and still have it make sense.

Sometimes what will occur did occur…and shall occur again when your future self reminds you.

Other tidbits:

  • “I bet it was a custom order” = “You got it made…” (sic)
  • “Hand forged by an expert with a penchant for perfection” = “…because you’re made so well.”
  • “How long has it been here, locked up in this case?” is a paraphrasing of the LILILIL line “How long have I been here, locked up in this cage?” (That’s also why the next line of narration is “Was she being literal or allegorical?”)
  • “She eyed both ends of the aisle to make sure they were alone” = “‘Cause I like it so much better when we’re alone.”
  • The Woot! Woot! of the alarm mimics the siren-type sound that repeats throughout this song.
  • A lyric from “So Well” that encouraged me to write L EXTREME, done up in a Benji Hughes handwriting font created with Calligraphr.com
    Minor spoiler from a note written in an old draft: “They’ll need the hammer later to break the fourth wall and rescue the narrator.”
  • Frank was modeled after Frankenstein’s monster in my original short story based on “The Mummy” that became the full length L Extreme novel. He reads a different Mary Shelley book here as a nod to his origins plus a more legitimate in-world reason for his name/appearance vs. just playing it for laughs.
  • “Relativity gets unbound when the future is behind you and the past is what you can see” mashes up LILILIL with Mary’s husband Percy Shelley.
  • “All seven digits” is the punchline to an old joke, referenced here for Nate Pepper’s benefit.
  • Renderings of chocolate cake from an abandoned LILILIL video game by Maxim Kolbowski-Frampton
    The chapter ending segue underwent many iterations. Originally Frank wrote a letter to Evilon in the style of Victor’s letter to Elizabeth in Frankenstein. Later it became a cryptic note to the mysterious Space People from LILILIL. Eventually I figured out that the Halloween party flashback needed to be Frank-centric to work effectively, leading to the final phone call version. (Quoting the “totally long space message” line Frank’s LILILIL character uses was icing on the Space People’s chocolate cake.)
  • The closing reveal sets up Frank as a major character for the rest of the book and pulls LILILIL firmly into the mythology alongside A Love Extreme.

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