Sad but True File: Falling Down My Agent’s Stairs
December 2, 2011 § 36 Comments
Suppose you managed to get a rock star agent who sold your first novel, House of Gentle Men, in three days. Suppose you subsequently fired him in a Daddy-complex-fueled rage and then spiraled into obscurity for ten years while he represented a miserable failure called The Lovely Bones. Suppose you crawled back to him last year like a once-proud runaway beagle now being passed around for cigarettes at the local shelter. Suppose he sold your fourth novel, Blue Asylum, in four days. Suppose he and his wife then asked you to come and stay at his house in Upper New York.
You would think, as I did, I will not screw this up in any way, and I will be the perfect guest. Incredibly nervous, shivering and scarred from my years on the outskirts of publishing, I was desperate to please and immediately began gulping a drink that was eighty percent vodka to steady my nerves.
I went looking for the bathroom down a dark hallway, opened the door and stepped into nothing. For the bathroom was actually a long, steep stairway leading to their love den. I began falling, my right elbow going through their wall (see lower right of photo), my desperately flailing left hand taking out their family pictures as I hurtled down the stairs.
I could hear his wife screaming through the walls, and was still so determined to have a quiet night every few stairs I called out encouraging things like, “No worries! I’m okay!” and “It’s all good!”
I was still holding on to my vodka glass like a good guest as the contents splashed down the entire staircase.
She found me on my back at the bottom of the stairs, holding up the empty glass, the twist of lime behind my head.
I was quite banged up and had hit my head. I kept saying I was fine as they pressed an ice pack to my cranium as I downplayed the incident and cheerfully answered their questions (Example: Who is president of the United States? Answer: Clinton.)
They refused to let me fix their wall and instead memorialized it.
I will not be invited back.
Henry and Wendy, good times.