Yes, I know I just dropped a David Lynch’s DUNE reference. What can I say? I like movies where you get to see Sting dress up in a a leather diaper and try to stab people. At any rate, my new short story is out, and after seeing the back cover and the table of contents for the first time with my story appearing first in both places, the flop sweat began to flow like pig’s blood at Cissy Spacek’s prom.
“Oh god,” I thought. “It’s first in the table of contents. People are going to read that first when they buy it.” I immediately got up and made a beeline for the fridge, looking for something I could dredge in powdered barbiturates and deep-fry. “If it’s bad they’re going to hate the rest of the anthology,” I ranted, as I dumped twelve ounces of cannabis sativa into a sausage casing (don’t worry, Mom, it’s medicinal).
I could have lubricated a menopausal nun with the amount of flop sweat streaming off my brow at this point. “There are 11 other authors in there that are going to not be given a good shot because I dropped the ball,” I continued. “It’ll be all my fault, the anthology will tank, my editors will fire me, my fiancée will leave me, my main client will tell me to beat it, and my car will catch fire while I’m on my way to the unemployment office, leading me to perish in a fiery ball of death.”
Then I remembered the pledge I made on Monday morning about paying anyone a dollar who didn’t like the anthology. I immediately had images of my landlord throwing me out as I stuffed my car trunk with handsome green trade paperbacks. At this point I was so nervous I was seriously considering smoking one of the cats.
Finally I calmed the fuck down a little bit and thought about things rationally. My editors knew what they were doing; if they thought I should be first up at bat, then I’ll trust them. Even if I get beaned, at least I’ll get on base, right? I’m sure the other writers can knock it out of the park with or without my help, and any reader worth his or her salt will know that you can’t judge an entire anthology on the basis of only one of its short stories.
It was at this point that I knew I’d crossed a terrible line: I’d made a baseball analogy. This clearly had to stop. Hell, I don’t even like baseball, at least not since I was benched one time during a Little League game for reading one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books in the outfield.
So I slapped myself a couple of times, put down my marijuana croquettes (they’d just come out of the oven, too!), and just took it easy. “The anthology will sell just fine, regardless of what order the stories appear in,” I told myself. “It’ll be great, everyone will be happy, and I should just shut up before people think I’m flogging this like a Mormon used car salesman with an underwater mortgage on his house and seven kids to feed.” I finally stopped shivering like a chihuahua on trucker crank and just relaxed.
Anyway, please enjoy the new anthology at your leisure, whether or not you enjoy my own short story! There are 11 other awesome authors in that book with me that I’m sure are just as nervous about people liking their work as I am about people liking mine, so give them a little love.
I’ll put some of those croquettes in a little baggie for you, I promise.