Our first full day at All-Con Dallas 2018 was a rousing success. I sold a book.
A man picked up a copy of DAY OF THE DARK and asked if I had change. I was gobsmacked. Of course I didn’t have change. I hadn’t thought about needing change. I didn’t even have my purse.
David, standing behind me, pulled out his wallet and handed me two fives. I handed them to the customer in exchange for a twenty.
It was fun. I forgot to say, “Would you like me to autograph that for you?” But I’m new at this.
David, as usual, was more prepared than I. He came armed with Tootsie Pops and a bowl he’d bought at Walmart. Two Pops were taken, the first by a monster, and the second by me.
I’d forgotten how much trouble lollipops are. When you have one in your mouth, you can’t talk, and when you take it out of your mouth, you lose the use of one hand. David suggested I set it on a sticky note. Later, when I picked it up, I discovered something interesting: the stickum on the back of the sticky note was stickier than the stickum under the Tootsie Pop.
Most of the attendees were in costume, and we took a lot of pictures. David’s are good; he didn’t mind asking people to stop so he could get a shot. I was reluctant to ask anyone to do anything, so I snapped many of my subjects as they walked toward, by, and away from me. Moving targets, as it were. Fortunately, David shares.
Selling the book was the first Big Deal of the day.
The second also occurred while I was parked at the Aliens and Mysteries table. A man stopped to look at books and stayed to talk about crime fiction, and then about crime, and that led to his saying his grandfather was a Texas Ranger from 1928 into the 1950s. For over a year, I had looked without success for a certain piece of information about the Rangers in the ’50s. So I asked; he told me. I just love serendipity.
The second experience was also serendipitous, but it goes well beyond Big Deal. Tonight I had a sudden inspiration–an epiphany–that could change the course of my life as a writer.
And the credit goes to Lady Lola Lestrange of La Divina Burlesque.
I didn’t get a picture of her. But you can look her up.
I was sitting with friends yesterday evening, studying a menu, when our waiter tipped the tray he was carrying and poured ice water on me. Seven glasses full. Most went onto my lap. My slacks were sopping.
That was the most invigorating experience I’ve had since the Director of the Tort Litigation Division of the largest law firm in Austin hit me smack in the chest with a water balloon. No cause of action was involved. We were engaged in a water balloon fight.
She was contrite, apologized all over the place, but, as I told her, hitting someone was her job. I just happened to move into range.
If the fault fell on anyone, it was my attorney. I was parked at a picnic table with other paralegals and secretaries who were pleading headaches–one pleading a migraine, which she was subject to–when my attorney came over and said, “C’mon, Kathy.” I don’t know how he knew I didn’t have a headache. I could have pleaded migraine, but I didn’t.
He had migraines, as well, so he knew one when he saw one.
I had migraines, too, and I never lied about having one. I preferred to embarrass myself in a three-legged race than to tempt fate.
Anyway, lying to lawyers is not a good idea. They know.
So I participated and got the balloon treatment. And I benefited from the experience. In addition to forgiving the Director, I told her the water was a relief. Pease Park isn’t air-conditioned in late spring.
Best of all, I was the only paralegal wearing a wet tee-shirt. It wasn’t the kind that turns transparent, but it was a tee-shirt, and it was wet. Normally when I tell the story, I leave out the phrase not transparent.
Yesterday’s waterfall didn’t have nearly the joie de vivre of the water balloon incident. My friends were appalled and tried to dry me off. Several suggested I head for the restroom and wring myself out (staff had supplied terry cloth hand towels), but moving would have been disastrous. I would have left a trail of water from here to yonder.
Then friends worried I would freeze in the exceptionally cool room. I assured them I wouldn’t. I haven’t frozen since the Great Snow of 1986.
Anyway, after the initial surprise, I laughed and said, “I’m all right, I’m really all right, really, I’m all right.” And I was.
But I also wanted to spare the waiter’s feelings. There’s a reason I’ve never been a waiter, and dumping food and drink on people is it.
I’m glad I behaved graciously about the deluge, because later, the same waiter tipped another tray–while it was resting on a stand, which takes a goodly portion of dexterity–and lost an order of tacos pastor. That time our entire table laughed (except, perhaps, the woman who had ordered the tacos). I made a point of saying, “We’re not laughing at you; we’re laughing with you.”
The waiter appeared to take the business with equanimity. He probably zenned it. A lot of zenning goes on in Austin.
Telling the whole truth, as I must in a post involving attorneys, requires me to admit I took the cascade with aplomb for the reason every writer with half a grain of sense lives by:
It’s all material.
I tell the story of the water balloon because I think it’s public record, I hope. I hope also I can’t be fired retroactively. For anyone who just has to know, I’ll explain someday why a bunch of lawyers and support staff were lobbing liquid at one another. But the story is better if you don’t know.
I’m told, however, that listening to tort lawyers plan an afternoon of vigorous recreational games is most instructive, because they spend half the time discussing injury, liability, damages, duty of care, breach, proximate cause, and such.
My own speculation–and it is mere speculation, not legal opinion, so I’m not practicing law without a license–is that in any potential suit, sovereign immunity and res ipsa loquitur, plusa modicum of intentional infliction of emotional distress would battle it out in the courts.
And, yes, I had to check Wikipedia to brush up on most of those terms. I knew them for the test, but since then they’ve re-filed themselves in short-term memory. I do remember quite a bit about res ipsa loquitur and sponges, and I have vivid memories of putting together many trial notebooks.