So, I was walking down 42nd Street in Manhattan with a Revlon model on Friday, and other people were doing double-takes and practically bumping into each other. And I could almost see the cartoon balloons hovering over their heads, with the following words inside: “How in God’s name is that dipshit walking around with someone like her?”
We met by the big clock at Grand Central Station, and went to a bar there and had a couple of beers. We talked, and I was only a little stressed by the improbability of such a thing. Somehow our conversation flowed without much effort, though. And after a few minutes everything was cool. I was with a friend, just shooting the shit.
We talked about my book; she’s one of only five or so people who’ve read the first draft, and her feedback has been positive. She’s written two books herself, is writing two more, and has been providing advice and encouragement throughout.
We also talked about a lot of other stuff, just bouncing from subject to subject, and laughing. She’s a lot of fun, and certainly knows how to spin a not-always-PC yarn. Lotsa laughs.
Afterward, we walked to Park Avenue, to our agent’s office. That’s right, our agent. I feel kind of pretentious writing such a thing, but it’s true. We both have the same agent: the two of us, and a jaw-dropping lineup of well-known authors and celebrities.
When we were in the lobby of his offices, surrounded by all the books he’s recently brokered, I was thinking: “Is it, like, a million degrees in here? Shit, I feel like I’m about to burst into flames.” I think my blood-pressure was somewhere around 300 over 175.
My friend knew the whole staff, of course, and was yukking it up with everyone. I just stood there trying to maintain the integrity of my sphincter.
Then we were called back to the corner office, and had a twenty-minute or so meeting with the owner of the agency. He was friendly, but kind of reserved. He asked a few questions, told me he’d probably start shopping the book around after the second draft is completed, and it was all very upbeat.
I had several questions I wanted to ask him about the process, and he said, essentially, “Just finish the book and give it to me. That’s the process.” Heh. I guess I was overcomplicating matters in my head?
My friend (well, our friend… he and she have known each other for years) testified on my behalf, and said a lot of flattering things that made me blush. She has a history of helping people whose work she takes a liking to, and I’ve somehow had the good fortune of landing on her radar screen. She did a much better job of selling me than I could’ve. She was a force to be reckoned with.
When it was over, I shook hands with him, and he asked when he could expect the second draft. “Is June OK?” I said, just talking straight out of my ass. And he said that’ll be perfect.
So, I’ve got some work to do… My ass didn’t leave me too much breathing room, but I think I can have it done by the end of June. Actually, I will have it done by then. Probably is not a word in my vocabulary at the moment. I can’t afford any probablys.
We left his office, and she said she thought the meeting had gone well. I thought so, too. If nothing else, I’m more than just seven letters on a computer screen to him now… We walked toward Times Square, she gave me a friendly hug, and disappeared into a subway station.
I continued, hit the Where app on my phone, and located John’s Pizzeria. There, I had a really good chicken parmigiana sandwich, and two Sierra Nevadas, at the bar.
Then I hoofed it back to Port Authority, talked to an unfriendly, butthole-mouthed man at the Trailways counter, and eventually jumped on the bus back to Scranton.
I sent a few texts to people, and fell asleep. I think I was konked out for most of the three-hour journey, with Jean Shepherd playing in my headphones.
At one point I woke up, my shirt soaked in drool, and was surprised to find the bus almost completely empty. Had I overshot my destination? My heart went from zero to sixty in two seconds.
But I was OK (Scranton is the end of the line, fittingly enough), and I made it back home around 10 pm.
The next day I woke up and wondered if any of it had really happened. It all seemed (seems) so improbable. Jeff Kay on Park Avenue with an actress/model, off to meet one of the most powerful literary agents in the business?
There’s simply no way such a scenario could happen in real life. Ya know?
After the book is sold (hopefully), and I’m not so paranoid and superstitious, I’ll tell you who my celebrity guardian angel is. I want to thank her publicly, and will. But I’m afraid I’ll jinx myself by dropping names, and acting like a bigshot.
I certainly don’t feel like a bigshot (I mean, seriously), and don’t want to send out any bad vibrations, maaan. Once there’s closure to all this, I’ll tell you who she is.
And that was my unlikely Friday. The next day I was back to mowing the grass, wearing my Magnolia Thunderpussy shirt that Toney hates, and buying enormous sacks of potato chips at Sam’s Club. And there was nothing unlikely about any of that. Nothing at all.