Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday-morning smackdown

For no reason I could think of, I woke up feeling uncommonly cheerful this morning. The last two days couldn't have had much to do with it; I got no sleep to speak of in Vegas, by the time I made it back to L.A. I felt as if I'd been pummeled repeatedly by angry orangutans, and when I got home, I laid my hand open on the trunk-lid latch of my friend D's car, which led to a night of bleeding all over the damn apartment until the blood clotted (or I ran dry).

But the good cheer and optimism didn't last all that long. At 7:15 I called an editor back east. This is the one I have been trying to reach via phone and email since sending him the urgently required second version of an article that blew his assigned word count to smithereens (and took much more time, therefore, than it should have). Naturally, he called while I was away.

PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: For the following to make any sense, you have to understand that I stopped working for this outfit some years back over some major differences of opinion about the size and arrival time of payments. I was assured not too long ago that "new policies" were in effect.

When I got this clown on the phone, he said something to the effect of: "what do you want? I was returning your call." (insert sound of warning bell here)

I mentioned the story, to which he replied that, though he had been in a ripping hurry for it, he now wasn't planning to run it for several months. I reminded him that I need to know what numbers to put on an invoice so I can get, well, paid. He said "I'll get back to you in a couple of weeks with that."

A couple of weeks?

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON: I am about to boil down my thoughts about him into a single word some may find offensive.

He's a fuckweasel.*

What's worse, he's only the latest in a line of them I have to attempt to deal with.

The rest were, as usual, hiding behind their voicemail systems today.

I hate it when the very people for whom I'm working put me completely and irrevocably out of the mood to do any work at all.

Part of yesterday was spent in a car with an executive of the company that invited me to Vegas. At one point, he said "I've wanted to meet you for a long time. You're one of the very few in the field who has made a success and a good reputation as a freelancer."

This is success? Mother of Pearl, I'd hate to know what freekin' failure would be like....

* I never ran across this term, now one of my favorites, until I started reading Carl Hiaasen's wonderful novels. Aside from entertaining me immensely, the good Mr Hiaasen has expanded my vocabulary, too!


BingoPajama said...

FUCKWEASEL. It has a nice ring to it.

If this is what I have to look forward to should I ever get paid to write, methinks I need to fall back on that rock star dream ...

Interested said...

*fucktard* sounds better.

MrScribbler said...

Int -- "fucktard" is so common.

Besides, I like any compound word that has "weasel" worked into it. Weasels are hip.

Ms Bingo -- I hear it's somewhat better in other areas of the writing game. Don't depend on that, though. I have no first-hand knowledge.

Justfly said...

I take it there are never any contract agreements before you send the articles?

HarpO'Fly said...

Carl's a Miami boy. He caprtures the feel of a certain aspect of S.Florida, seeing it as a native.
We used to love his column when I lived there. He shredded some of the local politicos to pieces in hilarious fashion.

MrScribbler said...

JF -- contracts are rare. In the "good old days" there was an element of trust involved.

Also, had there been a contract in this case, it would have specified a price that was too low considering the amount of material I added to the story. This has been a problem with magazines that do work with contracts.

MrScribbler said...

HO'F -- I read his columns to this day (online), even though I'm not a Miami-oid. He's a sharp guy, and funny as can be.

Sally said...

At least tha day started out good. Hey, I didn't know you had such a prestigious job and that you were so good at. That is something to be proud of! *hugs*

HarpO'Fly said...

I think it's time to put the arm on those you don't mind losing. Not that you will when I'm done with them. Time for dirty tricks.

likeisaid said...

I'm with Sal, I didn't know you were a famous writer! I always wanted to be one..ah well, such is life. :)

MrScribbler said...

I'm only "famous" within a very small circle, and primarily because I've been dumb enough to pursue a freelance gig and not give up on it.

DAL said...

I think David Letterman has been calling people weasels (especially NBC execs) for a long time. When he moved from NBC to CBS, he still called the CBS execs weasels, but said they were a "higher form of weasel".

And remember that eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines, as the saying goes.

Maybe time for you to start travelling a bit closer to the ground?