1.) To Kill A Mockingbird: After being hypnotized by her ghoulish neighbor, Boo Radley, a troubled young girl named Scout develops an obsession with songbirds even stronger than Jonathan Franzen’s. Under Boo’s tutelage, Scout begins capturing mockingbirds to hold captive in Boo’s cellar and forcing them to whistle Justin Bieber covers in the hopes of going viral. At first, Scout’s sexy lawyer father, Atticus, is relieved that he is no longer being awakened by birdsong before his alarm, but when he learns that Boo is a vengeful antebellum ghost with a very on the nose name that definitely does not share his passion for social justice, he launches a furious bid to save Scout’s soul before she moves on to bigger prey or starts supporting All Lives Matter.
2.) The Great Gatsby: Jay Gatsby is a mysterious billionaire constantly searching for the biggest thrills that money can buy. When he begins hosting nightly super-spreader parties at his stately mansion, Gatsby finds himself surrounded by powerful new friends looking to supplement the psychopathy of their careers in politics and finance. But are they really his friends or are they just using him for the bacchanalian germ-spreading sprees that he offers them? When Gatsby reconnects with his former love, Daisy, and they begin a torrid affair, brazenly reenacting scenes from Emily in Paris, loyalties are tested with tragic consequences.
3.) Great Expectations: Estella, beautiful and cold, has been enlisted by her adoptive mother, the nasty Miss Havisham, to recruit love-sick young men who optimistically swiped right to be tortured with glorified stories of Miss Havisham’s youth interspersed with audio of election debates played on repeat. When Estella impulsively rescues Pip from Miss Havisham’s chamber of horrors, she must decide whether to keep him around or give in to her murderous impulses after he won’t stop interrupting her. Can she train Pip to stop cutting her off without having to continually repeat, “I’m speaking”? And can she trust him at all given that he is constantly visiting a convicted felon and bringing him what he claims to be pork pie?
4.) Little Women: The March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are inseparable, supporting each other through everything from difficult needlepoint patterns to the anxiety of wondering whether Roe v. Wade will be overturned to the nightly kidnapping sprees the girls must undertake so that Beth can consume the blood of mediocre males she needs to stay alive. When ambitious Jo writes a memoir about their escapades that threatens to expose them all, Amy uses her pyrokinetic abilities to destroy it, creating a rift that threatens to destroy the sisterhood. The rift becomes a chasm when these littlest of women must decide whether to bring their handsome but basic neighbor, Laurie, into the fold as a partner and ally or strap him down like the others so that poor Beth can consume his iron-rich blood.
5.) Lolita: A middle-aged pervert kidnaps the former stepdaughter he has arbitrarily nicknamed Lolita for nefarious purposes, unaware of her supernatural powers. Before he can act on his predatory instincts, Lolita uses her pyrokinetic abilities to teach him what it means to have literal loins of fire, filming and posting the encounter on Tik Tok as a warning to other would-be predators. Can Lolita move on and find happiness as a brand ambassador for the baking soda she uses to put out the flames of her victims or is she destined to be as unhappy as everyone else in 2020?
Karen Gilmore has contributed to Robot Butt, Little Old Lady Comedy, and The Feathertale Review. For the record, she doesn’t like her name any more than you do.