When I saw the name on the housekeeping report, I thought ‘sounds familiar’ but I moved on with bleary eyes. The coffee shop was closed so the Innkeeper and I held our usual morning meeting sans caffeine and glorious back-deck view. We chatted for a few minutes on the front deck, in the shade of the trees, while the clock rolled towards nine.
The Innkeeper said, “Here comes a check-out,” which meant I had to stop cussing.
The guest walked up the steps to turn in his key.
The name on the register and the face in front of me came together. I blinked. I said, without thinking, “Be the Monkey.”
The man lifted his brows. The Innkeeper turned her head to regard me with concern.
“Be the Monkey,” I repeated, slower this time so the both of them might realize that I was not suffering from a mild form of Tourette’s.
I could have said, “Hello, Mr. Eisler.
“I am a fan of your efforts to inform and inspire those of us interested in taking control of our creative literary work through self-publishing. Be the Monkey was a pleasure to read. As well, I enjoy your collaborative Big Publishing on-line fiskings with Mr. Konrath. Is he traveling with you? Might I meet him as well on this fine morning? Would this create a paradox of some sort, the two of you together, while not at a writer conference, in the presence of someone who may or may not have just peed her pants a little bit?
“I’m a fan of your work even though I haven’t read any of your fiction. CIA espionage is cool—especially when written by a good-looking former CIA operative, I tell you what—but I gravitate towards stories with spaceships and alternate physics. Of course, since I’ve now met you in person I’ll download every single one of your books through Kindle Unlimited and I’ll read them. I’ll smile and say, ‘Oh, that was a good one, Barry, old buddy, old pal,’ because we’re like friends now, right?”
“Be the Monkey.” I might have said it a third time, I don’t remember. But he understood.
I think he said, “Wow.”
And then he may have said, “I was wondering if that was just a random statement.”
I laughed and replied with aplomb, “Oh, it was. Monkeys are a thing here in Humboldt.”
I then proceeded to assure the Innkeeper, who was a little concerned that I might be getting ready to fling poo at a paying guest, that this was indeed a person of interest to me and, having walked up to turn in his key, had thus exposed himself to this interaction.
It’s okay. He’s a writer, I explained. He wrote a book with Joe Konrath—who isn’t here because that would rip a hole in the fabric of my space/time reality—called Be the Monkey. That’s why I said Be the Monkey instead of Hello, see? Also, for a moment, I couldn’t remember my own name, let along the name of the best-selling author who just walked up the steps. I’m glad we’re all on the same page now.
The Innkeeper relaxed somewhat because she knows that I am a writer even though she doesn’t have time to read my work. So far I’ve only published
porn erotica in an attempt to juice my bank account and it is not working at all keeps me in beer money but that’s okay, because there’s no alternative. I will write no matter what, even if I have to clean rooms at the Inn for another twenty years.
Oh, dear god, please not for another twenty years.
Perhaps, Barry, old buddy, old pal, you and Konrath might entertain the idea of having a Lost Coast writing/publishing seminar. I know a great venue with an amazing view, boasting a blue horizon as wide as the new publishing landscape itsownself.
That was the monkey part of this post. This is the minion part:
To the delightful young teenager with the work permit who stayed an extra four hours to help me handle the room services and sort through the tons of stock and laundry when we had a full house and half staff: You are working hard to save up for your trip to Indonesia next year and I admire the fuck out of you for that. You don’t know about this blog but I want people to know of my admiration for this particular member of Generation Z.
To the Innkeeper: despite being on the clock 24 hours a day and exhausted down to the marrow of your bones, I thank you for your sense of humor, your willingness to get your hands dirty, and the beer-with-a-view after work. You are an amazing woman and the Inn Itself is so very fortunate to have you at the helm. The only reason I am compromising huge swathes of my writing time with 50+ hour work weeks is because I admire the fuck out of you, lady. You come up with one-line zingers that I steal without hesitation. Also, I need the money. It’s mostly about the money. I’m looking forward to the day we can BOTH take a day off and bar hop together. In the Cove, that’s easy. Since there’s only one bar, really. Unless you count the restaurant but they don’t have that cool chicken wire cage around the back deck.