The Pitch

What a day. Good news and weird reactions, but I think it was a good day overall.

In the office this morning I made sure I had all the papers for the MNM meeting, and I went over my pitch with Loraine once more. I asked if she wanted to join me, and she said ‘No’ she had faith in me. It’s a good thing she had faith in me, because I surely ddidn’t.

The plan was to catch the train around noon, and make it over to MNM for a post-lunch appointment. Just before I was about to leave, LadyBohemia popped her head in to see if I wanted to join her for egg and crest sandwiches. She’s been in the garden painting away, and was ready for a break. I sadly had to decline, but on my way home just now I stopped at the store and got all the fillings for egg and crest. I’m going to surprise LadyBohemia tomorrow and bring them in for lunch.

While I was on the train, Conspiracy rang. We chatted about the self-competition clause, and discussed how much of his blog needed to change in order to turn it into a novel. The problem is that I don’t know how much of it needs to be changed. And I guess it depends on which publisher we pitch it to. Some might be okay with it previously being a blog, while others will not. I’ve done some minimal research on publishers that have turned blogs into books, and I’ve asked Loraine to set up some appointments with her contacts at those publishers. In the meantime, Conspiracy is sending over the first few chapters that he’s rewritten. I think for now, I’m not going to worry too much about the self-competition clause, and just focus on Conspiracy creating a good book. I’ll deal with how much it’s like the original blog later. (I have all of the Belle de Jour books, but I didn’t read her blog. I wish I could get my hands on her old blog and compare it with her books to see how much has changed.)

Standing outside the front door of MNM was scarier than I thought it would be. For an instant, I thought NonFiction and Boobs would be inside waiting for me to come back from lunch, so that they could throw me unreasonable tasks. It felt like Intern2 would be at his desk, looking dapper and waiting for me to come back so we could have a gossip. And Goatee, holy fuck, I forgot about Goatee. I bet he would be there. I was so worried about seeing HarryPotter, I forgot about Goatee. I so didn’t want to see Goatee. Standing on the door step, I stopped worrying about what it felt like, and instead had a mini panic about those who still worked there.

I called on the buzzer. By this point I was so nervous my voice cracked when I said who I was, but despite sounding like a teenager on too much caffeen I was let in. There was a new woman at the front desk, and she definitely wasn’t the intern. She was quite lovely, maybe in her 40s, and very professional. One of those women who makes being a receptionist a career. Those wonderful people who take care of the office and help things to run smoothly. I’m sure she’s doing a better job than I ever did.

She rang to NewNonFictionEditor that I had arrived for the appointment, and he came out to meet me. He asked for me to follow him to the conference room, and as we walked to the back he said, ‘I’m sure you know the way.’

There was a new intern at Intern2’s desk, and HarryPotter was away. His desk was exactly the same, piled high with drawings and action figures and print-outs of weird quotations. Maybe he read my blog post and decided to be away during my meeting. I guess if he’s still angry with me, it’s for the best. I was just kind hoping he’d be there and we could talk. Or, actually, that was only one scenerio that crossed my mind. In the other scenerio,  he would be at MNM and we’d have to talk, but we wouldn’t have nice a nice friendly chat. I was so worried that he’d be really rude and make me appologise in front of everyone. (Yes, I know HP isn’t that type of person, but paranoia is never grounded in reality, is it?)  So, yeah, I guess it’s for the best he wasn’t there.

As I went into NewNonFictionEditor’s office I peeked inside Boob and Goatee’s offices. Boobs must still be on maternity leave because there was someone at her desk I didn’t recognise, and no one was in Goatee’s office. I guess nothing’s changed with him, never in the office. Probably out taking young interns to champagne lunches.

The meeting went really smoothly. We chatted a bit about changes at MNM, and the new global market they’re taking. How they’re playing on the whole Scottish diaspora thing. (You know, everyone in America, Canada and Australia have an uncle in Scotland. Most likely in Erskine.) So, they’re starting to market and sell towards those countries now, and buying the rights to these countries with each publication. Plus, with them finally moving into epublishing, it’s easier to sell to a foreign market that had previously been closed to them.

As NewNonFictionEditor talked about the changes at MNM, it dawned on me that my pitch wasn’t right. I mean it was okay, but I was about to pitch to the old MNM. It was time for me to tell him about the Gordon Highlanders book. I gave him a copy of the synopsis while verbally giving him a brief. I went over basic specs, then I went into marketing. I emphasised the global interest in Scottish war history, then proved my market by referencing some recent documentaries on Scottish war history that have come out of the US television channels like History and Discovery.

Now, I have a confession to make. I have no idea if those channels have shown documentaries on Scotland’s particpation in the wars of the last 100 years. But I figured it was a gamble worth taking, and it was likely that they have — at some point — produced a documentary on the subject.

The gamble paid off because NewNonFictionEditor rattled off a few documentary makers that he was totally into. I nodded, and then we talked about the book some more.

The meeting lasted for about an hour, but not all of it was pitching the book. We also talked about strengthening the Agency’s relationship with MNM, and I even discussed some other nonfiction books that I know Loraine is working on. And I told him to please pass my info onto the Fiction editor filling in for Boobs. He finished the meeting by saying that he’ll pass the synopsis and sample chapters to the Board with a report of support. He’s interested in the project, but I doesn’t know if it’ll go down well with those in London. (Things have changed so much since I was at MNM. They can’t commission without approval from London, which makes sense after (Old)NonFictionEditor’s fake book commissions.)

As NewNonFictionEditor walked me to the door I noticed that neither Goatee nor HarryPotter were back from lunch. I got away without seeing anyone I didn’t want to. Or so I thought.

I opened the door to leave the office, and Goatee was coming up the steps. I couldn’t believe it. I had managed to avoid him, and here he was. Fucking Goatee.

Right I should fill you in on something. Last summer when Goatee arrived in Australia, it wasn’t just to see his son and grandson. At first he tried to make it seem that way. That it was just a coincidence and he forgot I would be there. But it quickly became obvious that he was there to see me, and everything went really uncomfortable. That’s why I left and went toBrisbane– where I met Pete. Lucky me.

So the last time I saw Goatee, I was fleeing a city to avoid him, and here he was on the MNM steps. Yes, I know, of course he was on the MNM steps. He works for MNM. But I got so worried about seeing HarryPotter, I kind of forgot about Goatee. Well, not completely forgot, but I couldn’t stress about running into two people (or a third if you count the Fife stress – who still hasn’t rung me), so my brain just pushed Goatee into the dark recesses of forgetfulness.

Goatee smiled with he saw me. That big grin where he shows all his teeth, and the lines along the side of his eyes crinkle. He shook his head and said, ‘Well, well, well. Come crawling back.’

What? Crawling back, I’m just trying to pitch…

I hadn’t said anything, but he could tell that I was taken back by his statement, so he reached out, held the door open, said, ‘Just kidding. I know why you’re here. Let’s go get a coffee. My treat.’

As we walked to the café, I told him about the pitch and the book. Then Goatee said that he’d see if he could push it along. I told him to please do me no favours, the book needed to be picked up on its merit. He laughed and said that wouldn’t be a problem. MNM is different these days, nothing gets picked up that isn’t going to sell, but it never helps to have a friend in your court.

At the café I had a latte and he had an espresso. We talked about the changes at MNM and my role at the Agency. It sounded a bit like Goatee was getting micro-managed, which I’m sure he’s not too fond of, and I didn’t tell him about the Agency’s financial status. We talked for a while, but didn’t actually say much. We didn’t talk about Australia, and I didn’t mention Fife. But talking about superficial work stuff was nice. It’s like we were mere acquaintances.

I said that I needed to get back, and he walked me to the street. He gave me a hug and just before I turned to leave he invited me to his house. So much for being acquaintances. 

Well, when I say that he invited me to his house, I’m making it seem much more lascivious than it actually was. What he actually said was, ‘I’m having a BBQ this Monday for the bank holiday. Please come.’

I stammered a bit, and he said that his brother would be there along with several people I knew from when Goatee and I were dating. He said this like it was a good thing, but I don’t know if I really want to see those people. That life seems like decades ago.  So, I said that I appreciated the invitation, but I’m seeing someone and we have plans.

I know, I’m back to lying. Why do I do that? Fife hasn’t rung since the fight, so I can only assume that we’re finished. But I didn’t know what else to say to Goatee. I mean he was kind of asking me back into his life. Old house, old friends, and and I always had such a hard time saying no to Goatee. I figured the best way to avoid the situation was to lie.

He then turned things on its head and said, ‘I heard a rumour that you were seeing [Fife].’

Damn you small world of publishing.

I said that it was true, and he suggested that I bring Fife to the BBQ. Wow, talk about awkward. I dug myself deeper into the lie, and said that we were spending the weekend with his kids so we couldn’t possibly come along. As I said it, I got depressed about the fact that I always resort to lying when I’m in a sticky situation, AND I got depressed that I’ll probably never see Fife again.

Goatee said that the kids were welcome. His nephew would be there, as well as his friends’ kids. At the mention of his nephew and the girls I used to babysit, I was kind of wishing I could go. But I definitely can’t turn up alone now. So, I said I’d ‘think about it’. You know how you say you’ll think about something, when in reality you have no intention of doing it.

Goatee said to just turn up. He hugged me again; I closed my eyes and breathed in his cologne. I was taken back to the good times.

‘You look good. Long hair suits you,’ he said.

I had to shake myself out of it. I’m not getting myself into the middle of that situation again. No. Definitely not. So, I made a joke about having enough hair for the both of us. He told me to keep in touch, and to think about coming around on Monday.

Weird day all around. On a good note, it’s looking likely that MNM will pick up the Gordon Highlanders book. I got back to Dundee after 5pm, so I didn’t bother to go back into the office. I can’t wait to tell Loraine tomorrow about the possible MNM sale.


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