“I’m only gonna break, break your.....break, break your heart....”
“Hello...” I murmured groggily, as the sound of my Taio Cruz ringtone woke me up in the morning.
“Hello! Ben? This is your publisher!” the voice boomed down the other side of the phone.
“What?” I grumbled.
“Your book’s a hit! Top seller everywhere! We hope you can come down today to meet with your PR people to discuss a few things!” The highly excitable voice early in the morning was proving supremely irritating.
“My what people?” I exclaimed, still not fully awake.
“Your PR people. Apparently something you put in your book that you have to follow through. They have something for you planned. Come meet us this afternoon.”
“OK, whatever.” I hung up the phone, and dropped it back onto the floor.
I wanted to get back to sleep, but the damn phone call disrupted my sleeping pattern now. And then...
“Luda! Now I may not be the worst and the best but you gotta respect my honesty....”
“Oh shut up Ludacris.” I complained to nobody in particular as my wretched phone rang again.
The caller ID read Melissa.
“What?” I grunted.
“Ben! Wakey wakey! I read the news about your book!” came yet another chirpy excitable voice in the morning. My fuse was almost about to blow.
“What about it? Yes I know.” I murmured two contradictory statements.
“Come on! Let’s go celebrate! Let’s have a big meal! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, all day!”
“I’d love to, but I can’t.” I pretended to show interest.
“I have to meet my damn publisher. Apparently it’s about something I wrote, and they have something for me planned.” I complained.
“Aww...Well, call me when you’re done, okay?” I can only imagine the grin on her face as she hung up.
Melissa was my supposed girlfriend. Well, not really. She only thinks she’s my girlfriend. Truth be told, I only treated her like a sister. A pretty annoying one at that.
Depending on your point of view, I would be the luckiest or unluckiest guy in the world to have Melissa in my life. Sure she’s cute, and she’s a dancer, so that’s some talent there. She’s also reasonably randy (that’s sort of her nickname actually), in the sense that she’s, well, quite open sexually. Not that I ever did anything with her. Yet.
But she’s also quite irritating. She admits to that herself. I suppose most people would not be able to withstand her various antics of pestering and chattering, but I guess I’m one of a kind. I’m used to it really. And besides, it’s nice to have a companion for some things, sometimes. She ain’t half bad actually. She can actually be entertaining, if you could take it.
Regardless, I didn’t have time for her today. I got myself dressed and prepared to head down to my publisher’s HQ. I wondered what all the fuss was about anyway. It’s not like the first time I had a best-selling book.
I reached HQ and parked my Volkswagen Golf GTI in the facility’s car park. I love my cars, but it wasn’t really wise to splurge on super fast cars in Singapore, where I am mostly based, when the Government taxes the fuck out of you on them. So I kept a low profile with my trusty German hatchback, and left the exotics at my various pads around the world.
I walked through the sliding doors, into the air-conditioned reception area and towards the elevators that took me up to the offices. I only drop by occasionally, out of necessity really. I didn’t really have much business there anyway.
I knew the routine; Head out of the lifts, straight through the office, into the conference room. That’s the only place where they would really entertain me if they wanted a discussion anyway.
As usual, they had a panel waiting. I never really understood the who’s who in the company. They always seem to change every time I headed down, and I already mentioned I don’t meet them all that often. Today however, there was another set of people, which I presumed was ‘PR’.
“Yes Sirs, you wanted to see me today?” I said with a hint of indignation, but still managing to stay composed enough to come across as polite.
“Have a seat Ben.” The guy in the middle chair said, and I did.
“Ben, we want to congratulate you on your latest success,” they began.
Yeah, whatever, blah, blah, blah, I thought to myself.
“However, there’s this something we noticed at the end of your book, in the thank you credits.”
I raised my eyebrow. What did I write?
“It says that if your novel sells 50,000 copies worldwide, you would pick 5 fans and pay them a visit.”
What the fuck, I thought to myself, Did I really wrote that?
“Now, we may be a big company, but we are still open to litigation lawsuits if we are seen to be fraudulent to our readers. Hence we think you should carry out this promise.”
Oh no, I thought.
If there’s one thing I hated, it’s PR and promotion exercises like these. Sure, I appreciate my fans and all that, but people just irk me. I won’t turn down an autograph request for sure, but I try to avoid all these gimmicky PR crap if I could.
But now, I had dug myself into a hole. I must have been drunk or wasted when I wrote that line. That, or high.
“These are our PR people we’ve hired to discuss about those plans. Now Ben, we know you seldom do such activities, but since you’ve mentioned it in your book, we figured that it would be wise that you actually carry it out. Be nice to your fans for once.”
Thank you, I muttered under my breath, for stating the bleeding obvious.
“I’ll hand it over to them,” Middle chair guy said, and left the room with his silent group.
Head PR man started talking. “Now Ben, we calculated that you sold just slightly over 50,000 copies of your book worldwide, hence activating this clause that enables us to start on this project.”
Can you believe the crap these PR people say sometimes?
“We actually foresaw this problem before the books were sold, after your publisher alerted us, and so we inserted contest forms into the back bind of each copy of your book. The rationale of this being that interested readers can fill up the form and then send it back to us, thereby facilitating an easy draw which you can conduct in order to determine the five lucky winners.”
“And I wasn’t informed about this?” I sat up and questioned.
“We assumed you were aware of this.” was the reply.
Pfft, assume. Asses, I scoffed silently.
“So, these are the entries we received, and if you will, you may draw the winners.” PR man handed me what looked like a fish tank filled with paper.
Truth be told, it didn’t look like there were 50,000 entries in there. It was either PR were lying about the sales figures, or, more likely, not everyone was bothered about sending in the form so that they could meet me. Just as well, I thought.
I dipped my hand in, and the first one came out.
“Ashley, Australia” I said to nobody in particular.
Then the second
“There, your five winners. We will contact them and make arrangements for your visits. You’ll hear from us soon.” PR man collected the forms and his silent group left the room as well.
I thought about the names, and I realised, hey, it wasn’t that bad. Only three countries to visit, and Canada and USA are kinda near each other.
Should be fun, I thought
I'll have to say something first. I haven't got a lot of this written yet, so I cannot promise regular updates for now. I will let you all know when I do update though, but please be understanding. It won't be anytime soon really. Entertain yourselves with my other stories in the meantime. :P
Thank you. :)