Bad Cliff Notes Volume 1: The Great Gatsby by Jon Wesick

Nick Carraway goes AWOL from the French Foreign Legion to learn who killed his twin brother, Rick, an undercover narcotics agent. Nick impersonates his brother at an underground MMA tournament run by Jay Gatsby at his estate called Xanadu. Tom Buchanan is the guy to beat. He weighs 260 pounds and has two cobras tattooed on his pecs. He tosses his first opponent out of the octagon and ends up putting him in a wheelchair.

None of this bothers Nick Carraway who calmly watches from the sidelines while doing full splits. Now, Myrtle Wilson is smokin’ hot. Tom Buchanan overhears her mention how sexy she thinks Nick Carraway is. This makes Tom jealous because in spite of being married to Daisy, he’s been carrying on with Myrtle for over a year. To get Nick out of the picture, Tom gives Myrtle’s husband, George Wilson, some hallucinogenic powder to put inside Nick’s mouthguard.

During his first match against George Wilson, Nick begins to feel woozy. Unable to see where George’s punches are coming from, Nick takes a beating. When George gets Nick in a chokehold, Nick flashes back to a playground fight when his brother yelled, “Use the head butt, Nick.” Nick head butts George to get out of the choke hold and then wins the match with a spinning back kick to George’s face.

Daisy Buchanan mistakes Nick for his brother and slips him a note saying the drug buy will take place at midnight. When she learned about her husband’s affair with Myrtle, she became Rick’s informant. That night, Nick sneaks out of the dormitory and runs to the pier where the deal goes down. After Tom buys the drugs, he hears Daisy’s cell phone ring from the shadows. He, Myrtle, and his henchmen capture her and discuss how to make her death look like an accident. Nick Carraway comes to the rescue, dispatching Tom’s henchmen with cartwheels, somersaults, and kicks to the face. Armed with a grappling hook, Tom attacks Nick who uses a two-by-four as a makeshift weapon. While the two slug it out, Daisy Buchanan defeats Myrtle using her superior BJJ moves. Just when Tom is about to win, he slips on a salted anchovy and impales himself on his own grappling hook.

Jay Gatsby emerges from the inky shadows and reveals that he is an MI-6 agent who’s been trying to bust the drug ring for years. After thanking Nick, Gatsby loads the drugs into a speedboat along with Daisy and says he’ll take it from there. Too late, Nick realizes Gatsby can’t be British because of the way he pronounces schedule. Nick steals a bicycle to chase Gatsby’s boat through Amsterdam’s canals. Nick jumps from a bridge but misjudges the distance so he lands in the water and clings to the speedboat’s gunwales. Gatsby goes after Nick with a gaffing hook but Daisy distracts him by throwing a hundred-thousand-dollars-worth of drugs into the canal. This allows Nick to climb on board and dispatch Gatsby with a half-dozen kicks to the head.

Daisy confesses her love for Nick’s twin brother but says she can never live with a man who doesn’t eat bok choy due to her vegan diet. Nick explains that he’s Rick’s twin brother and that he never had a problem with bok choy or oyster mushrooms, for that matter. The two move to Akron, Ohio and open a karate dojo.

Jon Wesick is a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published hundreds of poems and stories in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, New Verse News, Paterson Literary Review, Pearl, Pirene’s Fountain, Slipstream, Space and Time, and Tales of the Talisman. The editors of Knot Magazine nominated his stories “The Visitor” and “A Story for the Rest of Us” for Pushcart Prizes. His poem “Meditation Instruction” won the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2016 Spirit First Contest. Another poem “Bread and Circuses” won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists Contest. “Richard Feynman’s Commute” shared third place in the 2017 Rhysling Award’s short poem category. Jon is the author of the poetry collections Words of Power, Dances of Freedom and A Foreigner Wherever I Go as well as several novels and short story collections. His most recent novel is The Prague Deception