Friday, November 03, 2006

Publicity Terrible Tale #12: Flashed Fiction

From author Jennifer Macaire:

My YA book came out with a small press and was nicely publicized by the publisher on the front page of a trade magazine and with some full-color ads. But I'd always dreamed of doing a book signing, so, when my book came out, I immediately put my plan into action.

Nothing went as plannned.

I got flashed at my first book signing.

Before that, I was on cloud nine. I was a published author of a YA fantasy book! I was going to New York for the summer! What better way to kick off the new book than with a book signing in a big bookstore? I looked up a bookstore in the neighborhood and set the date. I asked all my family and my friends living nearby to come. I found a passage to read that was not too long, not too short and had some humor in it. Perfect. I found a little black dress that looked professional but cute. I brushed my teeth. I arrived on time.

The bookseller had set up a little auditorium with a table and my books sitting upon it. I had a poster the publisher gave me, which I propped up near the books. I sat on the chair. I waved to my parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles...and several strangers. The strangers sat up front. My family, in an élan of generosity, left the whole front row free. I introduced myself, picked up my book, and started to read.

The man front and center opened his legs wide.

He had on baggy shorts. He lifted them a bit to make sure I noticed he was not wearing any underwear.

I lost my place in the paragraph and had to start over. My first book signing and I was getting flashed.

I was determined not to let that little detail ruin my book signing, but my glamorous life as an author was taking a beating. I was getting flashed at my first book signing! And then the bookstore's cat jumped on the table and sat on my pile of books. It wasn't comfortable there. It jumped down and prowled around the table as I read. There were several titters--and I hadn't gotten to the funny part yet.

I risked a glance at the audience. Wrong move. Flasher had pushed his shorts up and was practically waving his equipment at me. The cat jumped down to my lap, lay down and purred. I kept reading. The cat left. I finished reading and stood up, determined not to look at Flasher. There were more titters.

I looked down. There was cat hair all over my black dress. It looked like I was wearing a gray apron. Resigned to my fate, I asked if there were any questions. There was a long silence. One person raised their hand.

"Yes, Mom?" I said.

Luckily there was an ice cream shop nearby, where I propped up my sagging morale with a double chocolate-dipped cone with lots of sprinkles.


Mister Mxyzptlk said...

Who hasn't been flashed in a New York bookstore at least once?

Lorra said...

I think I came across this guy a few years back on a Lake Erie beach. He was sitting in a sand chair at a ninety-degree angle to me wearing the same pair of loose-fitting shorts, proudly displaying the family jewels.

I nudged my girlfriend, and when she checked the guy out, we both burst out laughing.

Incensed at our reaction, the young man, who was oddly clean-shaven (ouch!), flounced off to sit by the boardwalk, hoping, I believe, to find a more appreciative audience. A tough sunburn, I'm guessing.

Nancy said...

Lorra, no no no, he was on a beach in Malibu, California. And he was sitting at 10 o'clock while I was lying with my feet at 6 and my head towards 12. Ewwwwwwwwww. I refused to react. I just turned back to my book and let him flash at my left ear.

Lorra said...

Okay, Nancy. Time to compare notes - or maybe you didn't take as long and as horrified a look as I did. But that was because I wanted to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me; if you're going to flash somebody, you'd think you'd have something more worthwhile!

Still makes me laugh almost five years after the fact. And to think he took his act cross country.