Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Writers Over The Edge: The Hack Job.

A hilarious short about the lengths to which a writer might go for publication...

posted by Tamela Buhrke

George paused in a dark corner of the hall. Not paying attention, Tom slammed into him. They tumbled to the floor.

“What are you doing?” Tom hissed. He gave George a shove as he picked himself up off the carpet.

“What if there’s a guard?” George whispered, still on his hands and knees. He crawled to the corner and peered down the dimly lit hall, tilting his head to listen. Tom half-expected him to sniff the air.

Finally convinced that no one was going to jump out and arrest them, George gripped the wall and lifted his fleshy body up to standing. Breathing heavily, he pulled a kerchief out of his pocket and wiped the sweat off his face. His hands were shaking. Tom knew the signs. George was two-seconds away from a massive panic attack. He was tempted to tell George the deal was off. Instead, he shook his head and elbowed his way past his wheezing friend. In the middle of the intersecting hallways, he spread his arms out.

“There’s no one here!” he growled. “It’s 2 AM, and this isn’t exactly Fort Knox.”

George looked around anxiously, putting his finger to his lips. Tom ignored him and marched down the right-hand corridor. Finding the correct door, he waved George over. Within seconds there was a click and the door glided open. He smiled at George’s incredulous expression.

“What? Did you think computer hacking was my only skill?”

Tom closed the door and pulled out a small penlight. He spotted three desks with computers.

“What’s the name of this literary agent?”

George pointed to the nameplate on desk number two. Tom had envisioned an agent's office as a well-manicured high-rise setting, not this cheap room in a low-rent suburban office district. He glanced over at his friend. Pale, balding and definitely a mouth breather, George didn’t exactly fit his idea of a successful author either.

Of course, that was the point. George wasn’t a successful author. This B & E was all about helping him get there.

Tom searched the desk as the computer booted. He found the password on a scrap of paper under the agent’s mousepad. Typical. He was always telling people not to hide their passwords on their desks. But did they listen? In a matter of moments, he was in the agent’s email. A quick search would pull up all of George’s correspondence.

“Uh, oh.”

George bounced up against him and peered over his shoulder.

“What?! What’s wrong?”

“Dude, this agent stores all your emails in a folder marked ‘LMAO.’”


“So unless your fantasy novel is a comedy, you’re in trouble.”

George shook his head. “I don’t care about this agent, I only picked her because she was closest. My plan is bigger than her. I want you to send out an email from her to other agents and editors telling them how great my work is and how much she wants to sign me. See? Then the other agents will think I’m something special and they’ll try to sign me first.”

Tom rubbed his eyes, wondering once again why he was doing this. George pulled a wad of damp paper out of his jeans and handed it to his friend. On it was a list of email addresses and a message George had composed. It waxed poetic about George and his novel.

“Brilliant has two L's.”

“Just type it! The misspelling makes it more believable.”

Wishing he was home in bed, Tom typed out the ridiculous message, added the emails and pushed send. George clapped his hands silently and danced about the office. Tom looked back at the computer, worried that the image of a dancing George would spawn nightmares later.

He was surprised to see two responses in the agent’s inbox. Evidently, some West coast agents were working late. He opened the first email.

“You are such a crack up! That sounded just like him.”

Tom had a bad feeling as he clicked on the second.

“Ha! George Hardy, will he ever give up? I laughed so hard, I think I pulled something!"

Three more emails came in with similar results.

Tom closed the email program and shut down the computer. He ushered the still giddy George out of the office. As they walked down the hall, Tom put a hand on George’s shoulder.

“Ever thought about an acting career?”


Beth Groundwater said...

I love it! Thanks for my morning laugh out loud moment. :)

Tamela Buhrke said...

Hi Beth,
Glad I made you laugh! Writers Over The Edge will be a bi-weekly series. So stay tuned for more crazy antics and misadventures.

Brent Wescott said...

If the point of this story is that all writers are lonely, deluded hacks and an agent's job is really just to make fun of them, this isn't very inspiring. Just kidding. Clever story. Thanks.
It Just Got Interesting

Tamela Buhrke said...

When I worked in the corporate world (shudder), we always had those specific, crazy customers who would bother us constantly. We put them on our "wall of shame."

Since writers have such odds stacked against being published, and against making money once they are published, I wondered just how crazy some of them get. That's how this series originated in my crazy brain.

You just know that agents must have their own private "wall of shame"... even if they are too professional to talk about them in public. I certainly would. Their jobs must be like the first few weeks of American Idol, every day, just less painful on the ears.

Sara said...

*big smile*

I did have someone pitch to me in the bathroom once (at least it was a woman). I was holding the door to the stall and she was holding the door to the same stall, talking about the book as I was trying to...well...go IN. ;)

Still, most writers are charming. As I assume most agents are charming too.

Tamela Buhrke said...

Ha! I've seen a few stories from agents floating on twitter and blogs. People do the darnedest things. Hope that picked you up after all your nasty emails yesterday.

Elle said...

That was funny. Thank you :)

Joanne Kennedy said...

Loved it, Tamela! I really enjoy your humor and look forward to more.
But I think that might work. Isn't Sara's office near here somewhere...?