The world of imagines fiction is making the leap from digital to print with a new book from Wattpad, in partnership with Gallery Books. Imagines: Celebrity Encounters Starring You, out this month, is an anthology of second-person tales where the reader can insert him or herself into an adventure with their favorite star.
Imagines have been popular for some time with the teen writer set. In 2012 the practice was widespread on Twitter, with #imagine taking the form of 140-character storytelling. Eventually tales got more details, moving to other social platforms before finding a longform opportunity on Wattpad, the social storytelling platform home to everything from fanfiction to original prose.
Imagine situations can range from the mundane of a quiet date with our favorite popstar, to an adventure in a world where selfies have been outlawed and Kim Kardashian is a freedom fighter in need of your help. The anthology features 33 Wattpad writers, including Anna Todd whose story After became a published book and is in film development.
In advance of the book’s publication, Wattpad has shared an exclusive excerpt from one of the imagines: Kevin Fanning’s story, “Taking Selfies and Overthrowing the Patriarchy with Kim Kardashian.” If she can’t save us, no one can.
LATER, THE LAST CRABBY CUSTOMER has finally wandered out of the store, your team members are gone, the store is locked up, and you are alone in the storeroom, finishing up some inventory work your manager gave you.
You are rushing to get everything put away in its proper place when you hear a voice coming from somewhere back past the shelves of printers. You look at the rows and rows of towering metal shelves, each packed tightly and chaotically with different boxes and bins of consumer electronics. You peer into the place where the storeroom recedes into shadows.
“Um, hello?” you call. There definitely should not be anyone here. You’re probably imagining it. You go back to sorting boxes of SD cards.
Then you hear another noise. A box being slid along a shelf. And humming? Maybe?
So you are definitely not imagining it.
You start walking, stepping quietly toward the back in your standard-issue black sneakers. It does occur to you to wonder why you care so much whether there’s someone else in the store with you. Honestly, you should probably run in the other direction; the company doesn’t pay you enough to risk your life for consumer electronics. But after that interaction with your boss . . . ugh. One more thing and you are definitely going to get fired, and then you’ll have to tell your boyfriend, and he’ll look at you all pitiably because you know he thinks it’s dumb you work at Best Buy, anyway. And it is, maybe! But also you suspect that he imagines this life where you’re married and you don’t have to work, you get to just stay home and take care of his babies, and what if getting fired was the trigger that shot the bullet of the rest of your life coming at you? These are things you think you want? Maybe? But having this job is a way of having more time to think about it. Not that you think about it. You actively do not think about it.
But getting murdered in the storeroom of the Best Buy in the next five minutes would definitely prevent that decision from getting made. It would solve a lot of problems, actually. You wouldn’t have to work this job anymore. You wouldn’t have to wonder whether the feelings you think you feel for your boyfriend are real or not. You wouldn’t have to feel insane for wanting things you can’t even name.
You get to the back of the storeroom, and it’s totally empty and dead and quiet. So great, another sign that you’re completely insane. And maybe your boyfriend was right; maybe meds would be a good idea. It’s time to get out of here. Time to go home and crawl into bed with your probably already-asleep-and-snoring boyfriend, and lie there unable to fall asleep, and then move to the couch and watch that TV show you always watch, about the man who experiences difficulty but it causes him to learn something about the world and also about himself.
So you turn around to leave, and standing there in the shadows in front of you is a dark, hooded figure.
You shriek in surprise and the gure reaches out, plaintively, saying, “Sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you! Bible.”
“Well, you did, though!” you say, trying to catch your breath. The figure steps forward into the light, and you recognize her as the woman from earlier, in the store.
“Hey, what the heck,” you say. “What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be back here.”
“Pssh, I’m not supposed to be anywhere,” the woman says. “I need to talk to you, but we have to hurry. We have three minutes before mall security does a sweep of this area.”
She pulls back her hood and reveals the glossiest, sleekest bun you have ever seen in your life. Then she removes her sunglasses and looks at you, smiling. It’s Kim Kardashian. Kim Kardashian is standing in front of you, exuding pure radiance and perfection in the messy, dusty storeroom of the after-hours Best Buy.
You are confident you’re about to faint as she starts walking toward you.
“I’m Kim,” she says. “And I really need your help.”
Text copyright © 2016 by Kevin Fanning. Published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Printed with permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Whew, well, we’re hooked.