The lights come on and I am instantly blind.
Somewhere from the darkness beyond I hear a someone say, “Three, two, one, GO!”
Two red lights blink on in the near distance and it is show time.
With partial sight restored, I see Katie turn to me, smiling.
Katie: “Good morning, Jeff, and welcome.”
Me: “Hi” (I wonder how many millions are going to see this?)
Katie: “This must be very exciting for you, taking part in our special program introducing debut authors.”
Me: “Yes, it is overwhelmingly it.” (What the hell did I just say?)
Katie picks up a copy of my book and holds it up for the camera to get a close up.
Katie: “I like the title, Night Until Dawn. Can you tell us how you came up with that title?”
Me: “Well, you know, a lot of stuff happens from night until dawn, a lot of bad stuff.” (I cross my legs in an attempt to stop my knee from bouncing , and in the process nearly kick Katie) “Excuse me.”
Katie: (laughing) “That is quite alright. You don’t have to be nervous.”
Me: I ain’t, I mean aren’t, I mean I am not really nervous. (Drops of makeup sweat run into my eyes and burn like crap)
Katie: “Okay, let’s get back to the book. Can you tell us a little about the storyline?”
Me: “Sure, the story is about this guy named . . . (my mind goes blank! Don’t panic!) well, it is about this guy who gets murdered and no one knows who the killer is.” (nice recovery)
Me: (And what? Why are you staring at me, Katie?) “Oh, and since he was with the CIA, you know, all these undercover government people are running all over the Sahara jungle trying to get to the bottom of it.” (Now I’m on a roll)
Katie places my book facedown on her lap and looks puzzled.
Now she is laughing again. What the hell is so funny now?
Katie: “Jeff, the Sahara is a desert. No jungle.”
Me: “ Did I say jungle? I meant desert. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m such a doofus.” (This is turning into a freakin nightmare!)
From the darkness someone says, “Down in thirty.” (What is down?)
Katie: “We have just thirty seconds left. What can you say about your book that will entice people to buy it?” (So that’s what “down in thirty” means)
Me: “Well, what’s really cool about my book is that you don’t know until the very end that it isn’t a covert killing at all, but the guys own brother who kills him because of a dispute over their father’s will.” (Now, THAT was good)
Katie’s mouth is hanging open. Now what’s wrong?
Katie: (Blushing) “Jeff, your book is a mystery thriller. Did you mean to give the ending away?”
Me: “Oh, shit, I mean, shoot. Is the camera still on?” (I can’t breathe)
Katie: (Sighing) “Yes, I’m afraid so.”
Voice from the dark says, “OUT!” The lights go down. The makeup sweat no longer burns my eyes. These are real tears. There is laughter all around. I bury my face in my hands.
Katie places her hand on my shoulder. “It’s okay, Jeff, you did fine.”
Me: “No I didn’t. I’m screwed. Now no one is going to want to buy this stupid book.”
Katie: “I’ll buy a copy, Jeff.”
Me: “Thanks, Katie. Can I please just go home now?”