I got a phone message from Nathan! (The ‘consultant’ Ex Libris has assigned to my book.) It was the same voice mail that he’s left the past three or four times he’s called. He’s very persistent. Unfortunately for Nathan, I don’t answer telephone calls for which I do not recognize the phone number. Fortunately for us, it means I had a reason to ask him some more questions about my manifesto!
I talked to my mom last night and she said you left a message for me, but that all you said was that it was EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that I call you back because it was ABOUT MY BOOK. I didn’t think it was necessary to put quotation marks around the things you said because I was relating what my mother said you said and I don’t think that counts as a direct quote, but I’m not sure because my editor hasn’t got in touch with me yet. Also, I put things in all caps like that because Mom said you mumbled a lot on the phone but that you were VERY CLEAR about THOSE TWO THINGS, and I read somewhere that you can use things like ALL CAPS to indicate you’re really serious about something. On Facebook, it means you’re shouting, I guess. At least, that’s what my friends on Facebook keep telling me. They’re pretty excited that you’re going to publish my book, too.
Speaking of which, my uncle Bruce (not the one who blew himself up twice; Uncle Bruce is the one that hit himself in the face with a horse trailer) found out about my book and he’s already hit me up for some money. I don’t mind. He’s a good guy, really. He taught me how to play blackjack for my 5th birthday, which was pretty awesome, even though I lost my birthday money paying for blackjack lessons. My point is that I need you to send my $300,000 advance right away. Uncle Bruce doesn’t speak Russian, so he doesn’t know exactly how much he needs, but he’s my only source of medical marijuana so I kind of need him to keep all his fingers.
It’s not like I’m some kind of dope fiend or anything. I use medical marijuana because of the operation I need on my foot. You just kind of rub it on. Some people say that drugs help you be a better writer, though, whether you smoke drugs or just rub them on your feet. Like Hunter S. Thompson. Did you ever wonder what a dinner with Hunter S. Thompson and Nancy Reagan would have been like? And maybe Betty Ford? And Sid Vicious?
Anyway, I’m writing to tell you that I’m still waiting on that advance before I start writing my manifesto. I did do some research, and found out that hippies don’t call themselves “bad hippies” or “good hippies”. They’re all just pretty much the same when it comes to ethical standards, I guess. I don’t think this will change that chapter much, though, and besides, if it’s fiction, nobody has to know the truth, right?
Oh, and the other thing is that Mom and I aren’t using the telephone these days because we’ve had to keep that line dedicated for the talk shows to call. She tried to get a second line installed for that, but the phone company has Mom on some kind of restricted list or something. It’s way easier just to email me anyway (and cheaper, because the internet is free). I know you have my email address because the day you offered me a publishing contract, you also sent me an email. So could you please send me the REALLY IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT MY BOOK by email? I’m way better at reading anyway – I have a genetic condition in my ears.
Actually, now I’m a little worried. What if the reason you’re phoning me instead of replying to my email is that you’ve been kidnapped? Or man-napped? Or whatever they call it when someone who isn’t a kid gets abducted. Like, what if you’re sitting in a partially submerged duck blind somewhere in the Florida everglades and you can’t just get out because there are alligators all over the place and whatever kind of snake it is that eats people in the everglades. I saw a movie about that once; it was called Anaconda, but the special effects were a little dicey and I’m not even sure they used a real snake.
We’re going to have to develop a code so that I know you’re actually trying to get in touch with me about my publishing contract, and not just because you can only dial your phone with your tongue and you just keep hitting the redial button because the people who man-napped you nailed your thumbs to your butt crack. I really hope you haven’t been sitting in your own filth for a week, though, Nathan, because that’s actually pretty gross and I kind of hate the thought of talking to someone who’s sitting in their own effluvia, even if it’s totally not their fault or they’re old or whatever.
So here’s the deal. If you’re being held captive in a duck blind in the Florida Everglades and you can only dial with your tongue, call me and say the word “artichoke”. It’ll be, like, our safe word. Normally safe words are for things like wild sex parties and improv theatre, but I think it makes sense in our case. Wild sex parties really aren’t that different from improv theatre, now that I think about it. Except one of them gets government funding, and let me tell you, Nathan, the theatre is broke. I don’t really get the point of dinner theatre, either. It’s like you have to bribe people to come out and see a show that, admittedly, is the sort of show that dinner theatres put on, but they’re not all bad, you know. I just think that there ought to be a big enough draw for the theatre itself without the ham dinner and artichoke hearts.
Oh fudge! I used our safe word by accident. Sorry about that. I hope that’s not going to screw things up. Just in case, let’s change our safe word to “olestra”. Remember when that stuff came out in the 90s and everybody was literally shitting themselves, they were so excited? I never tried it myself because no matter how “infrequent” it is, anal leakage just really isn’t my cup of tea. You know, I’m not sure how we got so obsessed with poop. Let’s just stop talking about that now, okay?
If you’re not stuck in a duck blind in the everglades facing off against an alligator and a cottonmouth snake, I need you to email me and tell me what the REALLY IMPORTANT thing ABOUT MY BOOK is. I’m honestly kind of hoping you’re going to increase my advance because what with Uncle Bruce and my gimped-up foot, I’m having a tough time jotting down all my jot notes for my manifesto. Have you already contacted all of the libraries on the continent? Are you thinking of booking me to appear at their book clubs? I’ve given my notice at work, because once I go on tour, I won’t be able to just call in sick and they don’t have an “on world book tour” option for paid vacation. It was pretty exciting to write “I quit this mind-numbingly boring job because Ex Libris is going to publish my book, and they’re sending me a $300,000 advance, so eat my shit.” Probably I didn’t have to add that last bit. Actually, now that I think about it, I kind of wish I’d have just ended that sentence at “advance”. If there’s a mistake like that in my book, will my editor make you reprint it? Because I’d be mortified if my book was published with errors in it.
To be honest, I haven’t been enjoying my time at work lately anyway. There’s this guy in the coffee pool who never puts his five bucks in. He doesn’t think anybody notices, but I’ve had my eye on his shenanigans for a while. He drops in a bunch of coins and makes a huge show out of it, and he says things like “can’t believe the coffee pool is up to five bucks, hey?” He isn’t fooling anyone. The coffee pool has always been five bucks, and I’m pretty sure he’s only putting paperclips in the can. What a dick. I mean, I don’t mind the actual work – it’s a bit monotonous having to do filing that I’m pretty sure lawyers and doctors are completely able to do themselves because if anybody should know their alphabet, it should be lawyers and doctors, right? Even if they ARE from other countries. It’s not like the alphabet changes.
Speaking of work, I haven’t seen my contract yet. I was expecting it last week after I asked you about editors, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Could you check on that for me, please? I don’t know very much about contract negotiation, but I heard that if you don’t have a contract, there’s very little legal recourse a content creator has should a dispute arise between them and their creative producers. It makes good sense to have a written agreement. Do you include the price of a contract lawyer in my advance, or do I just use your lawyer? I’ll be able to check my email tomorrow after lunch, so you should probably just send it tonight. And actually, it makes way more sense for you to pay my advance via PayPal. I’ll issue you an invoice for $300,000. That doesn’t show up on your audit as a paybable or anything, does it?
Thanks again for your help, Nathan.