Have you ever flippantly mentioned that you’re a writer and then seriously regretted it? I guess it goes without saying that I have. At my day job a while back, someone I rarely see wondered why I have a thesaurus on my desk. Feeling bold, I replied honestly, never thinking much about my confession even through a few follow-on questions. Apparently I was in a manic mood phase, for I don’t recall the exchange at all, neither his queries nor my answers.
Fast forward to this morning, the guy walks in. His greeting was not what I expected. “How’s your writing coming?”
Brilliantly, I said, “What?” When he repeated the question, I managed a semi-coherent reply about much-needed rewrites going well over the holiday weekend. He didn’t stop there, of course, and I could feel my cheeks heat the instant he asked what kind of stories I write.
This man, who looks like he could be my grandfather, appeared to have no idea what erotica is. When I explained that it’s romance with steamy bits, he asked if I had any stories with me. I flat out lied and said no, even though every single tale I’ve penned for the last several years is on the thumb drive in my laptop bag, not to mention the laptop!
He didn’t seem to notice my discomfiture, even when I told him in so many words that it is embarrassing to hand over my tales face to face. The one and only time I handed a casual acquaintance some pages to read, I nearly had a stroke. And he’s not someone I’m likely to see ever again.
This fellow, on the other hand, will be stopping by my office at least three or four times a month. And he asked me to bring something in for him to read if I remember. How can I convincingly lie every time and tell him all my stories are at home? Do I want to? Not really. Getting up the nerve after he walked away, I wrote my blog website down and stuck the note with his paperwork.
“There”, I thought. “I’m not responsible for anything he reads or doesn’t read.”
The evasiveness felt very honorable in an odd way, even vaguely Japanese in its sensibility. Then I inevitably thought about the matter some more. Why not print out a piece of short fiction without any sex in it? Believe it or not, I do have a few. ~grin~ Well, the end result is that I currently have a two page story tucked away with a note listing my blog stapled to it.
I ultimately just couldn’t go through with handing over anything, not even by sticking the sheets in his paperwork slot and sneaking out to avoid seeing him. What if he’s homophobic? Quite a bit of my material addresses gay relationships. Even the ficlet I printed out focuses on two men in love, whether or not it stands out in this particular vignette.
Odds are that I’ll see this man in another week or so. The last thing I need at work is the added stress of a business contact reading sensual stories and thinking of me. Any suggestions? Should I hand over a copy of “War and Peace”?