Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Back in the saddle

Words cannot describe how happy I am to be back. If we had a conveyor belt for our stories, I'd be riding it right now.

Turns out that Chris's recommendation for a replacement for Penelope was excellent indeed. My interview with Kristina went so well that I hired her on the spot. It may be premature to say this, but I don't get the sense that she poses any unique personnel challenges -- she's pleasant, her portfolio is nicely padded with steamy smut, and there are no alarming gaps in her employment history. Time will tell, but she has already begun to apply herself to her first story -- the one that Penelope left incomplete. Marilyn took the blow with her usual grace and has gone out of her way to be nice to Kristina. I wish Marilyn would just take the hint and stick to her office tasks instead of dreaming of the glamorous world of erotica writing.

The sign-up sheet outside my office is, as I predicted, long. Six people need to speak to me. Bryn thought her position as Writer in Residence would earn her some privileges but alas, it does not. Anyway, I know what she wants to talk about and even the tray of brownies she brought in will have no influence on my eventual decision to appoint her to the No. 2 position at Amalgamated.

First on the sign-up sheet was M. Christian. Looking paler than usual, he slunk into my office, looked furtively around, and must have decided it was safe to stay because he then sat down.

ME: What can I do for you today, M?

M: I need protection.

ME: From what?

M: Them! The ones I told you about. They're using dopplegangers now. They know how. And I'm their test subject. I knew it was only a matter of time.

(I have always refused to believe that M is actually nuts, but when he uttered those words, I began to have serious doubts. Nevertheless, I continued listening.)

ME: Dopplegangers. Hmmm. That's serious. I mean, how can I know that I'm not talking to your doppleganger right now?

M: (eyes widening) Let me give you some proof. Amalgamated is my refuge and it's vital that I have your trust.

ME: All right. What do you propose?

M: Dopplegangers take on the opposite sexual urges of their subjects. It's the only trait they cannot emulate.

ME: Well, M, we've never been sexual. How would I know what the opposite of you is -- and that it's not your doppleganger showing me his stuff right now?

M: (turning red) You don't, Sage. You don't know. But I will find a solution to this problem and get back to you. But in the meantime, if anyone comes looking for me, may I have your promise that you will not reveal my whereabouts.

ME: It isn't George Putnam who's looking for you, is it?

M: Goodness, no.


M: No.


M: Certainly not.

ME: Then you have my assurance, M. But there are lots of other people here and one of them might squeal. Why don't we give you your own room until this drama boils over?

M: (tears welling up) Oh, Sage. How can I ever thank you?

Well, certainly, I intend to think of some highly gratifying way that M. can thank me, but for the time being, I've got start looking at this big envelope that just arrived from the Kinsey people.

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