I got a phone call the other evening from Leo Tolstoy. I guess restraining orders only go one way.
"Heard anything new about the Arizona Young Readers Award?" he asked.
"Not yet," I said. "Why?"
"Because it doesn't exist!" he proclaimed, in that pre-Russian Revolution way of his. "It was replaced by the Grand Canyon Reader Award, and your stinkin' book wasn't even nominated!"
Although devastated, I wasn't about to let him have the last word. "Life As We Knew It is still nominated for five statewide awards," I said. "You're just jealous because you never won the Nobel Prize For Literature."
"Like you have," he said.
"Maybe I haven't," I said, saving my zinger for last. "But I'm still alive. You're dead, so you'll never win."
Either that made him really mad or his cell phone connection conked out. I stood still for a moment, holding my now silent phone in one hand, while wiping away tears of anguish with the other. If I'd had a third hand, I would have gotten some chocolate.
What if Tolstoy was right? Only the dead know Brooklyn, but that doesn't mean that's all they know.
I put the phone down, wiped away the last of my tears, rammed some medicinal chocolate chips into my brave and courageous mouth, then went online to see how this terrible mistake had been made (and to find someone to blame while I was at it).
The first thing I did was confirm that there really had been a link saying that LAWKI was nominated for the Arizona Young Readers Award. And there was. I was deceived, not deceptive.
Then I checked out the Grand Canyon Reader Award. Sure enough, it had replaced the Arizona Young Readers Award, and indeed, LAWKI, masterpiece though it is, wasn't nominated.
A fresh bout of tears and chocolate chips ensued. But I soldiered on, and after hours on line, devoted exclusively to resarch and Sudoku, I discovered what had happened.
The Amphitheater school system, in Arizona, had most generously nominated LAWKI for their own award, the Amphitheater Young Readers Award. And Yahoo (curse you Yahoo) had decided to label this the Arizona Young Readers Award, no doubt for the nefarious purpose of embarrassing me and increasing the value of their Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip stock.
So it is with great sadness (and a smear of chocolate on my upper lip), that I erase from the left side of my blog the Arizona Young Readers Award listing.
Lucky for me, I still have a shot at the Nobel.