yes kids, I know it's been many moons since my sparkling prose graced the what we now know as The Internets - but I'm back because I am stuck here for another half hour on this Sunday...
This is the story of how every so often someone you think is going to be a terrific client turns out to be a REALLY REALLY shitty one. Yeah, sort of like someone you start dating and think, yes, this could be it! - except when it all collapses you realize the signs were there all along, baby, and you just failed to notice them.
So. This client has the literary chops - he can write. He had a book come out from a publisher I work for far far away, and wanted to meet me. He was going to be in my neck of the woods and offered lunch at a famous restaurant. Yum, I thought. We set the time, noon. By 12:30, I'm telling the host that I'm sure he's coming, can they hold a table? - then he sends me a text, he's on BART but getting closer. 45 minutes later he shows up. We cut a deal over lunch and everything is fine. He sends one half of the fee and off we go. It's a tricky project but it goes surprisingly well. But a pattern develops.
1) He's always late. Late very nearly for a live radio interview. late when we were supposed to meet up for dinner in a large city far far away. Never an explanation, and I don't recall an apology for these tardy episodes. But the client is always right until you begin to understand how wrong they have come to be.
2) The money gets funny. Instead of paying the second half of the fee as specified in a SIGNED letter of agreement, the money comes in dribs and drabs, - 300 in a check that a credit card sends you to use, a third party check (!) and on one memorable occasion, a spontaneous cash payment. He's not keeping track, and I'm feeling like he must be doing this gig with me on the sly - perhaps wifey doesn't know? - one check came in a card that actually said I had no idea what a burden this was to his family. Like I care.
3) He kept saying things that turned out not to be true. I'll do this he said, I'll talk to so and so about such and such, I'll be doing a reading at such a place - blah blah blah. There will be a check in your mail right after the holidays. One bullshit story after another.
So finally I am finished - met the terms of the contract, and tired of being asked to set up a reading for a book over a year old...I tell him I won't do it. All jobs have to come to an end. So he just does what he needs to do himself.
And I am owed a sweet $500, which will never get paid. Oh, did I mention he's a lawyer?
My note for payment ignored. He's out there on the -Net, on a major book site, to be sure. And one fine writer.
But not such a fine person.
It's not a cautionary tale, folks, even tho I love to write them. And it's not a victimized rant, either.
It's just what happens, sometimes.