I sit in a chair that looks like it was made for established men to drink brandy and smoke cigars in; brown leather and purposely created to look weathered. My interviewer sits across from me in an identical chair, with my book resting on his lap. We're waiting for the cameraman to get settled. My interviewer is spiffed up in a brown sports coat ensemble that can only be described as debonair. The thumping beat of the club has long since disappeared within the soundless room of the nightclub. Adam and Marc stand next to each other, outside the realms of the cameras. I'm the one in the hot seat.
I’m not sure why Adam set me up with this interview right in the middle of my book launch party. I look at the interviewer and smile. He gives me a closed-mouth grin and nothing more. Well that was noncommittal, wasn’t it? I know the closed-mouth smile when I see it. It’s the same smile I gave to parents when they came to teacher’s conferences, expecting the worse, and then became shocked when they actually received it. The wide, open-mouthed smile, is for the parent of an angel: The child who writes all of her letters properly, knows all of her vocabulary words and can look at a number and tell me which number it is without having to count on her fingers. (I never understood how a child can remember what a number looks like by counting invisible numbers on her fingers.) And now, here this interviewer is, giving me a closed-mouthed smile as if I'm a finger counter.
I know immediately that I don’t have a chance with this man. He doesn’t like So, What If…? He hates the heroine. He can't understand why the heroine wants the hero. The book is boring. After all, this is a man who has read what is mostly a love story. Of course, he hated it. Men like stories about courtrooms, unfolding legal drama, and people stuck on various planets in the solar system. Boring things like that. They know nothing about true literature: girl meets boy, boy is a major douche. (I mean, isn't that what all Jane Austen books are about?) Only women can appreciate true literature. And, by the way, who asked this guy to read my fucking book! I turn around and look at Adam.
I’m angry with you for scheduling this interview.
Adam smiles and waves. I make a mental note to fuck him up later. I turn back around to look at the interviewer.
“Welcome to Pop-Korner,” (oh what a corny name), “where you get nothing but relevant pop news, from only the baddest motherfuckers in the game,” the interviewer says. Dammit, I forgot his name. “Tonight, live, I have Rachel Isles.” Oh goodness, what is this man’s name? What is his name! I look to Adam with a smile and wide eyes.
What is this man’s name?
Adam gives me wink. Adam! I look at Marc.
“Kevin,” Marc mouths to me. Oh, thank God! Marc is good for something, other than screwing women left and right! Good job, Markie.
“Hi, Kevin,” I say with a smile. “Thanks for dropping by the party.”
“Oh, I wasn’t missing this,” Kevin says. “Trust me. My girl would’ve killed me if I passed up a chance to sit down with you and talk about this book.” He pats my book on his lap.
“And what did you think?” I ask, knowing that if he gives me an honest assessment of my story and my writing, that doesn’t flatter me, I just may put a hit out on him.
“Of course.” Of course not.
“Best book I’ve read.” The comment surprises me. I look at him, waiting for a gotcha! or sike! but he looks at me straight-faced. And though I'm grateful he appreciates the story, something about that saddens me. This book is nothing but my real-life diary entries. These are honest thoughts about college and my internal growth, Vivian, and friendship, Marc and love. To say that you love this book means that you enjoy the story that once was. Because the story inside of that book is over. It's done. There's a new story, and it's not a love story. Marc and my story is over.
“I’m glad you liked it,” I tell Kevin.
“I did. And as a disclaimer for everyone watching live right now, I intend to get into some heavy shit here. Rachel Isles has agreed to dissect this book with me, and I'm taking her up on it. So, if you haven't read it yet because you’re either lame as hell or can’t read, then turn me off right now, pick up the book, have somebody read it to you, and then watch this program. Got it? Good. Now, Rachel, I loved the story but hated the girl.”
“Which girl,” I ask, though I know he means Vivian’s character. I feel horrible that Vivian will wake up tomorrow, look forward to reading and watching this interview, only to learn that someone hates—
“The main girl,” Kevin says. “Simone.”
The revelation catches me off guard. Kevin hates the character that is me?
“How could you love the book but hate the main character?” I ask.
“Because I liked the dude, Jax. I can relate to him, being from the hood, getting out by using his brain. Plus, I liked his personality: chill, polished, but still hood in a way. I actually couldn’t understand why in the hell he married the main chick, Simone.” And I say nothing. I’m shocked. I’m stunned. The interviewer hates me?
“What was it about Simone that you hated?” I ask. I hear Adam clearing his voice.
Relax, they don’t know this book is real, he’s saying to me.
I clear my throat right back.
No, Adam, I want to know. What is it about me that this son-of-a-bitch doesn’t like?
And now I’m interviewing him. “First of all,” this asshole says, “Simone doesn’t have enough spunk. She runs after Jax for years, shows up at the house he shares with his friends for his barbecues, waves to him on campus every goddamn time she sees him, practically begs the poor guy to sleep with her... I mean, she’s annoying as hell. I’m not too sure why he left his old chick, the one from the hood that he was with—what’s her name?—Rita?” Karla. “But see I have a weakness for women like Rita because my wife is a Rita. We met when we were younger, I went to college, I came up, and I brought her along with me. She gets me. Sure, she had a problem adjusting to my new world, but she’s fine now. She knows when to be hood and when to be chill. If Jax just would have had a mentor, an older dude from the hood, that could’ve told him this, he wouldn’t have ended up with Simone’s annoying and naïve ass. By the way, your characters seem real which proves you’re a gifted writer. What were your inspirations behind Rita: this down-ass-bitch who ended up losing her man to this light-weight bitch? And Simone—this girl who marries a guy she’s only infatuated with. And Jax; a man who clearly doesn’t love Simone. Where did you come up with these characters?”
And I just stare at him.
Pre-order What If You're Over My Sh*t? Here!
Pre-order What If You're Over My Sh*t? Here!