Tonight I am attending a book event for Canadian author Daniel Allen Cox. The streetcar was REALLY delayed so as I walked in to the event starting at 7, I heard the church bells chiming the hour. The event is being held in the back of a bar and I arrive to a handful of people.
Having come alone, I sit at a table and try to read from the book I'm waiting to get signed - no sign of the author yet. Someone decides the room needs more mood lighting, though what mood light a book launch requires I don't know, and turns the lights down just to the point where the words on the page in front of me become an unreadable blur.
I wander over to the merch table and buy a copy of the new book - not sure if I'll read it as I only seem to be reading ebooks lately. Still no sign of the author. I didn't realize I was attending a Rolling Stones concert with the band arriving an hour late.
I begin to daydream and imagine myself walking over to the book table and demanding a refund, saying I only came to get the book signed and at the moment there seems little chance of that happening.
I look around, it seems like everyone here has come with friends. Who are these people with friends with similar literary tastes able to drag them out on a Saturday night? My friends are all at home. Of course the majority of them are over 65, perhaps that has something to do with it.
An Asian lady comes around offering me a free issue of a magazine about magazines that I ignored earlier when I saw it on the book table. I take it to avoid having to say no and she encourages me to sign up for the magazine's newsletter. "That's why I'm here..." she says. I decline and she moves on.
The author has entered the room and is standing at the back drinking a beer and talking. Should I go over and ask for my book to be signed? Is everyone waiting to do that at the end? Is anyone else here waiting for that?
Someone comes over and asks for one of the chairs at my table and as they take one I feel like a lonely lady at a restaurant eating alone with no chairs around her and looks of sympathy from fellow diners. Maybe I should go ask him to sign the book... I read in the paper he has had trouble with over-eager fans, with stalkers, and I'm not eager to present that image so I sit and wait. The author used to be a prostitute and a porn star, I googled him tonight before I left home - he has a 10' uncut cock. Nice, but nothing to stalk over. Particularly since I have yet to finish his first book.
7:43, will this thing ever start? I should turn around and see if he's still there. Screw this, I was planning to eat dinner when I left here and haven't eaten all day, I'm starving to death. I need him to sign the book so I can go eat.
That's it, I'm going. Well maybe I'll go ask at the table where I bought the book. That would be less pushy. Yes, I'm going to do that.
I have been advised the author will probably sign but after the event. It's 7:47. The Rolling Stones have still not taken the stage.
I just looked around and suddenly the author is sitting RIGHT BEHIND ME. I'm going for it. I could die here waiting for this to start.
I walk over and ask the author and he smiles and says of course he'll sign my books, he'd be happy to. I pass him my books and think about other times I have been in this situation, other conversations I have had with other authors and nothing comes to me. I think my hunger has fried my brain. I smile. I need to say something, although usually when I meet authors it's not in the back of a dark bar with music playing. He was sitting with a friend and I can feel the friend's presence. I need to say SOMETHING! Nice weather??? Nice 10" uncut cock???
"You seem to know some people here!" I finally say.
Daniel Allen Cox looks up. "Yes, a few."
Damn, now I need something else!
"I'm about half way through your first book. It's good, I'm enjoying the humour in it. The shoe store. The turtles with markers strapped to their bodies that make artwork...."
"I won't tell you how it ends then" he says, again with a smile and a silence settles in as he continues signing, though a more comfortable silence than before.
The event starts as he hands the books back and I say thank you and return to my seat. The host announces that tonight is an event, that the evening will start with a short story by one author, followed by a reading from a novel by another and will finally end with a reading by Daniel Allen Cox. Again with the Rolling Stones.
I'm not going to last that long. I will faint from hunger before I ever get to hear him. And a large part of me also hates this ambush at book readings. They turn the event into a parade, making you sit through varying authors of varying quality. I resolve right then and there that if I ever write a book I will not attend group readings.
The first author takes the stage to start and I glance for the exits. Apparently the organizers knew what they were doing as the place is now full. Perhaps the invitation said GENERAL PUBLIC: 7 pm. COOL PEOPLE: 8 pm. And I some how missed it.
I turn to face the stage and listen to the man's story, something about two little kids showing each other their private parts and the one has a baby brother he has to drag around. I glance next to me and see a father with his two girls, both under five years old. What a fantastic education for them. Just wait until Daniel Allen Cox starts talking about prostitution.
How long is this thing? We ride the swings, we kiss in the park, my brother tags along.... My stomach is eating itself here - does no one care?
I grab my coat and as the story ends I zoom over to the doors to see they're closed and as I try one, locked. Perfect. I dash over into the bathroom to think of another plan. Someone of course immediately follows me in, looking around at me as shifty as if I was Dr Evil. Maybe he's looking to score with me? Maybe he's wondering why I'm salivating at the mouth and have a look like I might knaw off my own arm? Who cares. I zip up and make a dash for the exit.
Daylight! I'm free!
The first thing I see is Wanda's Pie in the Sky. Mmmmm... Pie... I walk in and see the display of baked goods and my stomach rumbles. I check out the prices:
6" pie: $8.95
9" pie: $16.95
$17 for a nine inch pie! Are they nuts? Measure 9 inches now with your fingers. It's small. I haven't eaten all day!
It's one inch less that Daniel Allen Cox's cock size!
I buy a slice ($6.50) and eat it on my way home, missing the reading parade but with newly signed books in my bag.
No wonder I had trouble finding people to come along.