It’s BEA week…

…and, since all anyone’s doing is trying to find a comfortable seat somewhere on the floor of the Javits Center and thinking ahead to their drink order at one of the cocktail parties happening around town, I thought I’d ask you guys to make up a story involving these three pictures I took while making the rounds at BEA yesterday (yes, that’s Jim sporting an Afro). Go!






3 Responses to It’s BEA week…

  1. RK Powers says:

    As I walked, dodged and darted through the throng of humanity’s finest at the recent BEA event, I struggled to stay focused. Gripped by the reality of my unrepresented novel, my soul pierced with the guilt of letting my characters down, the crowd reminded me just how insignificant I can feel at times. Like a single grain of sand on a wave-battered beach, would anyone be alarmed if I was swept away into the abyss?

    I found myself wondering why I was really at the event this year. What was the point of it all? Surely it wasn’t some subconscious attempt at lifting my spirits. If so, it was failing – miserably. As I debated to myself, my mood became as heavy as someone being held down in the dark morass of despair with the weight of a thousand cast iron shackles.

    But something inexplicable happened. I bumped into a large yellow inflatable that was to one side of the isle, dressed in nothing more than briefs and a red scarf. I began imagining a story – its story – brewing, screaming to be told, to be written. I found myself wondering what its life was like as an inflatable. My pulse quickened. My imagination, kick-started like some rusted Buick, roared to life.

    I started to look, to perceive, the mass of bodies around me in a different light. A more positive light. That’s when I noticed an individual posing in one of those cardboard stand up things. The red-brown afro contrasted starkly with his dark glasses and fair skin. It wasn’t the silliness of the pose, it was the expression on his face that caught my attention. It was like the collective universe of would be characters with stories needing to be told saying, “you’re being a self-loathing, depressing nit-wit. Get on with your craft!” The man’s expression was, to me at that very moment, said, “told you so!”

    With a skip in my step I turned to leave. I saw a simple black sign with golden lettering that said, “Now Panic and Freak Out”. I took that as to say my time to entice that one agent is near. That my time to panic and freak out would be the first step as a represented author on a long and auspicious career.

  2. D. C. DaCosta says:

    “Hi,” purred a mellow voice. “I’m Jamie.”

    I dropped the magazine and looked up. My first impression was that a Brillo pad, swollen with too much soaking, had somehow attached itself to the head of a middle-aged computer programmer, but a second look and I realized that I was face to face with the famed Bearded Lady of Beekman’s House of Quirks.

    “I—I’m here to meet my yenta,” I stammered. “The matchmaker. For the dating service…?”

    “Leslie’s come down with a bad case of shingles,” she winked behind her nerd glasses. “I’m sitting in.” She played with the silvery bracelet on her right wrist. “Taking a break from next door, you know?”

    “Um, pleased to meet you.”

    “Let’s see…” She moved over to the desk and picked up a file, which she opened and immediately shut again. “Well…I’ve got good news for you, and bad news. Which do you want first?”

    That was a tough call. The combination of her busty figure and neat Prince Albert goatee was unsettling enough. I really didn’t feel qualified to make any kind of a choice. “You pick,” I told her.

    “All right, but you mustn’t blame me if it doesn’t turn out just hunky-dory for you, ’mkay?” She lowered herself into a chair, wiggling her posterior as if to ensure that it was safely ensconced before placing her black-painted fingertips together. “The good news is, we have a match for you. He’s a Superhero.”

    I blinked twice. “A—a what?”

    “A Superhero, child!” She stressed the word until it was mangled almost beyond comprehension. “Ay Soooooooo-pur-heeeee-roooooow!”

    “For reals?”

    Her dark eyes rolled and her mustache angled upwards as she gave me an indulgent smile. “Would I lie to you?”

    “I’m–I’m sure you wouldn’t, but…a Super–”

    “Soooooooo-pur-heeeee-roooooow!” she repeated.

    I tried to look impressed. She was staring, as though expecting something more, so I added, “Yowsa.”

    Her glasses beamed at me. “Yes, pet. This is the real deal. He’s young. Clean cut. Not a lot of hair, I grant you, but he’s got a killer smile, and they’re all real. A back-to-nature type, doesn’t like wearing shoes. He does like role-playing, though–-you know, costumes and such. Oh.” She swung her dark eyes around the room as though searching for eavesdroppers, before whispering, “No boxers for this boy. Strictly briefs.” She threw me a wink that might have been seen from the back row of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, then leaned back in the chair and heaved a contented sigh.

    Clearly it was my turn to say something. “Um. Do you happen to have a picture?”

    “Of course!” she exclaimed joyfully. “Right here. Oh, it was taken just yesterday, at a big convention in the City. Tons of people wanting to talk with him–-that’s a downside, kiddo, when you date a celebrity, everybody wants a piece of them–-but he was nice enough to pose when I asked.” She held her cell phone towards me.

    One glance and that was it. Bad enough that he was much too young. Bad enough that he was plump. But to top it all off, he had NO CHEST HAIR.

    “I’m sorry,” I told her, jumping to my feet, my hesitation and shyness completely gone. “My preferences list clearly states that my dates must have chest hair.”

    She slammed the cell phone down onto the desk and somehow stood up, the process complicated by the huge hairdo, which seemed to make her top heavy. “You HAVE to take the match that we offer you. You HAVE to accept what we suggest.” She was breathing heavily now, like a slightly leaky steam radiator. “We read your preferences, we laughed over them–Ha ha!-and they don’t amount to a hill of peanuts, because YOU didn’t read the fine print!”

    She flung my file on the floor at my feet. With shaking hands I picked it up and opened it. A notice, printed in white 96-point Microsoft New Tai Lue on a black background, told me my fate.

    I couldn’t fight it. Jamie was right. I had no choice but to follow my instructions.

    And so I panicked and freaked out.

    And she sat there, stroking her beard and smiling, another item ticked off her “to do” list for that day.

  3. Katie says:

    Jim sits uncomfortably close to agents on either side of him, when his mind wanders off. He starts to question his purpose in life. He thinks back to his days in college when he made his money as an afro chic tranny. No one could sing R-E-S-P-E-C-T like his glamourous alter ego Khan Teefa.

    The speaker comes to the front of the stage. Jim notices but is preoccupied with his pursuit of truth. The money was rolling in with Teefa’s provocative poll dancing routine, but Jim became jealous of Teefa when she started to get all of the attention. All of his friends were requesting Jim to dress as Teefa when they would hang out. Jim knew that he could be more than Teefa, and killed off his alter ego.

    At the same time, Jim noticed Baby Huey had a lucrative career selling diapers, and there was no competition in the adult market. That’s when it hit him. He could take his skills in character development and choreography and create “The Night Bandit.” His slogan would be “Stealing Spills Till Morning.” He took his last dollars and made a blow up prototype of his character: an egg shaped head, cute little eyes, a button nose and a big smile. Jim didn’t want the elderly to feel embarrassed about wearing a diaper, so he drew a red polka dotted cape into the design. This way the old folks would feel like super heroes wearing his overnight underwear.

    “Jim, Jim…” Miriam said. “What are you thinking about?”

    “How much I need a drink,” he answered.

    Later that night, Jim and Miriam went to a bar to meet with their clients. Jim had a few too many painkillers, and got up to go to the bathroom, taking his man bag with him. He stripped down to his tightie whities, took off his glasses and tied his red cape around his neck. He walked out of the bathroom with his shoulders arched back and his chest puffed out. Everyone stared in amazement.

    Miriam walked over to Jim. She looked him up and down. “Follow me…” She said sternly.

    She led him to the back room. He felt sudden panic, and started freaking out. Had he made the wrong decision to show the world who he really was?

    “Have a seat?” Miriam said. Jim spread out his cape on the plush purple sofa.

    Miriam said gently, “What’s going on?”

    “This is who I really am,” Jim said.

    Miriam shook her head. “Remember that day I met you. You were weeping on a street corner dressed like this. You just found out Procter and Gamble owned the rights to your super absorbent diapers. You were penniless. You thought you would have to quit school to keep a roof over your head.”

    “I remember.”

    “I told you then, and I’m telling you now. You are more than The Night Bandit. You are Jim McCarthy, agent extraordinaire.”

    Jim took his thick-rimmed glasses out of the side of his briefs and slid them over his nose. “Thank you, Empress of words. You have once again set me on the path to greatness.”

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