Cormac McCarthy turned up to John Milton’s house. I want to write something about greed and pride and the evil in man’s heart. I heard you wrote a great poem about that.

“I’m not sure if that’s such a good idea. The methods and stylistic techniques I used in Paradise Lost were new in their time but a modern reader might find them archaic and needlessly difficult.”

McCarthy pulled back the hammer on his nineteenth-century replica shotgun, aimed and fired high above Milton’s head. Then the reader shall be tested and those that survive will be found justified by this test and those that fail shall be found wanting. I think you understand you blind, old, fool. You cannot see but you surely heard that noise and know what it means. Either you help me write about American violence or you become an example of it.

McCarthy then took all of Milton’s stuff.

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Stephen Buggy