The time is 12.40 and I’ve only just got up.
‘Great Scott, ‘I hear you ejaculate. ‘Martha, give in my notice at the bank and sign me up to be an author. Talk about money for old rope.’
The reason I’ve only just peeled myself from between the sheets is that:
- I’m ill.
- My agent has just telephoned.
Between the two of them it’s hard to say which is the bigger disaster. Illness brings sinuses the size of engorged elephants, a nose like Niagara Falls, the weight of a Blue Whale pressing on my chest and the sort of cough that starts in your feet and doesn’t stop until your ears fall off. Basically, it’s not pleasant.
The call from my agent, however, was orders of magnitude worse.
Agent: Taylor – what are you playing at? The Authormonitoringometer shows you still in bed.
Self: I’m not well.
Self: Well, I thought I’d stay here for a bit.
Agent: How long?
Self: Until I feel better.
Agent: How long will that be? Five minutes? Ten?
Self: Um …
Agent: And another thing. The Authormonitoringometer shows you’ve written only four words in the last twelve hours.
Self: Um … but they’re very good words.
Agent: And they are?
Self: She sat down quickly.
Self: Quite dynamic, don’t you think? Except I don’t remember her standing up so I’ll have to go back through the text and insert She stood up quickly somewhere. No problem – and that’s brilliant. One phone call and you’ve doubled my output. Top-class agenting.
Agent: Are you running a temperature?
Self: Hotter than the surface of the sun. In fact – melting into the mattress here.
Agent: Taylor, the Authormonitoringometer shows you getting up in the night. What’s that all about?
Self: Um … well … once to get a drink. You know – coughing. Once to go to the loo. Because of the drink, obviously. Once to grab four rolls of toilet paper and take them to be with me. And once to stare at myself in the mirror and wonder what I’d look like as a brunette.
Agent: You appear to have spent some time wandering in a circle.
Self: Oh, yeah, forgot that one. Set off for the kitchen, forgot why, turned back, remembered why, turned back again, lost interest and went back to bed.
Agent: What are you having for … pauses to consult 24 carat gold watch … mid-afternoon breakfast?
Self: I rather fancy boiled egg and toast.
Agent: Do you have any eggs?
Self: Er … no.
Agent: So just toast then.
Self: Actually I don’t have any toast either.
A short pause while my agent scarfs down half a dozen chocolates to give her strength.
Agent: Do I need to come round and Sort You Out? I can have the Julio bring the Rolls round in under a minute. If he knows what’s good for him.
Self: No, no, no. You stay safely in your penthouse office doing agent things. You know – shaving a couple of noughts off my royalty cheque. Monitoring your off-shore accounts. Counting your helicopters – that sort of thing.
Agent: Well, as it happens I am expecting a delivery of European White Truffles this afternoon … Would it help if I sent Julio round? If you’re able to open the front door, of course.
Self: Rising from my bed as we speak.
*** Note from agent *** She loves me really and, in reality, I did offer to send her some groceries to save her having to go out!