We were sitting in the Wednesday morning meeting today, when someone comes through the front door. Of course, I wasn’t at my desk because I was at the meeting, so I got up to see who it was coming in. (Oh, by the way. Picking up coffee and muffins for the morning meeting is so much easier by chauffeured car.) But before I could round the corner to get to front of the office, this man comes striding through into the back. He was wearing a grey suit and had a shoulder bag. I thought that maybe he was a pushy cold-calling salesman, so I asked ‘Can I help you?’
He greeted me by name. Now, I’ve never seen this person in my life, so I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought, at first, that maybe he’d been at one of the parties lately, but…no, I’d never seen him before.
He stuck his hand out to shake mine, but I just said again, ‘Can I help you?’
We were standing in a small corridor, and I was blocking his path into the back of the office, but he could see around me to open space and then into the conference room where I’d left the door open. He craned his neck around me, and said, ‘I just need to see Boobs for a moment.’
This is when I realised who he was. He called Boobs not just by her real name (of course), but by her diminutive nickname. The one that only close friends call her. As soon as he said her name, I recognised his voice. He was the irate caller from last week. I froze as I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t say that she wasn’t in; he could see her through the open door. I stammered a bit, and then I heard NFEditor yell (ever so lady like), ‘Oi. What’s taking you so long?’ Then she got out of her chair and moved over to the corridor where I was.
She stopped behind me, sized up the intruder and said, ‘We’re in a meeting. Do you have an appointment?’ Ah, for once her tact is not a liability.
The man stuck his hand out for NFEditor to shake and said his name. NFEditor recognised his name immediately, and told him, ‘We do not allow people to drop off submissions in person. If you would like to submit a manuscript, you’ll have to go through the proper channels.’
He said, ‘I have submitted in both electronic and print format, but I’m afraid that’s not coming across as well as I would like. If you don’t mind, I’ve brought a slide presentation which will…’
NFEditor cut him off. ‘Listen. We do not take sales pitches from writers. If you feel that your manuscript isn’t being well represented, then perhaps you should find an agent.’
‘I’ve tried that, but…’
NFEditor cut him off again, ‘I’ve the perfect agent for you. You’ll love him; he’ll love you. I’m sure he can get you a six figure advance and start the bidding on both foreign and film rights.’
My eyes were wide open in shock. I was still standing between the both of them. If he caught on she was being sarcastic, I was going to get punched. But then NFEditor did the strangest thing. She told the man to stay put for the moment, while she went into her office. She came back with a business card, gave it to the man and said to give the agent a ring.
The man thanked her profusely, said he’d call immediately, and happily skipped out the office.
I asked her whose business card she just gave out. It was that Edinburgh agent. NFEditor said, ‘He’ll regret banning me from his parties.’
Damn. That woman is a bitch.