As I look around the expansive Manhattan office with the fancy furniture and the huge windows overlooking the city, all I can think is I pay this bastard far too much. His receptionist Mary sets down a glass of water for me and gives me a small smile before she heads out the door. I sigh and interlock my fingers waiting for the meeting to begin, twirling my thumbs around each other anxiously. I hear his throat clear and the door shut from behind me. He has finally arrived.
Blake Stevenson, my agent is a tall skinny man with longer curly hair that's slicked back. He’s 43 years old and has been in the business for the last 20 years. He’s one of the best, which is why he represents me in my contract negotiations.
“Jon! How are you my man?” he slaps my shoulder as he rounds to his side of the desk, putting down the first copy of my most recent novel.
“As good as it gets I suppose.” I mumble out. “How are Jen and the kids?” I ask.
He smiles at the thought of his family. “They’re good, everyone's adjusting to the new baby.” I nod my head entertaining his update on his little perfect family which I frankly could give two shits about.
“So listen Jon, this new novel, it’s shit.” He throws the 300 page manuscript down and It slides across the table to me. I shift uncomfortably, I know it’s shit. I wrote it heartbroken.
“Listen, I know things have been rough since Olivia and you split.” What the fuck does he know? Not only was it a breakup, the woman I’d hoped to have married, cheated on me with my best friend. She took out my heart and threw it in a blender and moved in swiftly with my college roommate turned best friend. No fucking shit things have been rough. “But I’m not submitting this to the publishers.” my eyes widen at this revelation.
“Why the fuck not?” I ask angrily. Just then Adrian, my editor, walked in, taking a seat beside me.
“Because it’s a shit book. This is not you, and I’m not going to have their confidence waver in my client because some tough life shit happened while you were writing. Their fucking deadline can wait.”
“Ah so you gave him the news.” Adrian chimed in. He was your stereotypical short balding man with glasses. “Not going to lie, he’s right. I got 5 chapters in and it’s a mess. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no flow. The list goes on. I stopped reading and called Blake right away.” he shifted in his seat taking a sip from his Starbucks coffee.
“Okay, thanks I appreciate the criticism?” Adrian raises his eyebrows and shrugs. What could he do? He had to be honest. Of course they cared about my success. More money the books make, the more they get paid. Fuckers.
“I’ve spoken to the publisher and I told them I wanted an extension on the deadline for your 7th book. You're lucky they agreed because of your past success. There is no deadline for completion. They are giving you creative freedom but you will only receive half of the initial payment until the book is completed.”
I snorted to myself. So one quarter of my pay. “How’d you swing that?”
“You’ve made the publisher millions on your novels. They want another hit and they are aware you’ve been through some stuff, so that helped. Even with a quarter of the pay it’s still quite a hefty payout that should last you awhile.” I sighed out as he slid the new updated contract to me. Looking it over he wasn’t wrong if my novel was that bad. I had to start over and was lucky enough to have an agent who saw that and a Publisher willing to accommodate me.
“Listen, this is what you pay me the big bucks for. You’re not only a client, you’re a friend.” he stands up pacing behind his desk.
“Thanks I guess.” I say quietly. This is not the most ideal situation, but it will help if I have some time.
“There’s a catch.” he adds. I raise my eyebrow at him. This should be good. “You’re going to take some time and get away from New York. You need to clear your head.” Adrian nods beside him. Like they have already talked this out and Adrian was only here for backup in case I went bat shit crazy.
“What do you suggest?” I inquired curiously, raising an eyebrow at him.
“Jen and I went to this amazing resort in Colorado. I’ve booked you in for an indefinite amount of time. It’s quaint, it’s quiet and peaceful, exactly what you need. And the owner, she’s not too bad herself if you know what I mean.” he wiggled his eyebrows at me smiling. Adrian laughed out.
“I don’t have a choice then.” I state.
“Nope, your flight leaves tomorrow!” he says enthusiastically as he slaps his hands together. He throws over my contract in an envelope with the details of my trip.
“Now get the fuck out of my office, get your shit packed and for the love of god write this thing. We don't give a shit what you write, just make it a hit!” he encourages.
“No pressure right?” I say sarcastically. He smiles at me and shows me out the door. “Have fun.” they both call out as I approach the elevator. I took out the trip information. “10am flight, first class, hired driver from the airport, Silver Springs Resort.” I mumble out to myself.
“Ok Silver Springs, Lets see what inspiration you can give me.”